The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian (2015)

One of the things that really impresses me about Paul Ward of Matakishi’s Tea House is his focus. He chooses a new project, plans the project, does the project, finishes it, and moves on.

I’m a bit more scatter gun myself despite the fact that at work I encourage teams to limit work in progress. I start with a focus and get a lot done but then often wander off on a tangent when something else comes up that sparks my interest. I let myself do that because this is my hobby, not my job. A hobby shouldn’t really be a chore, it should be fun.

However, I have now realised I might be trying to do too much. I’ve got a lot of unfinished projects on the go. Too many. So I thought I’d share what I’m working on and where I’m up to with it. Maybe the list will make me feel bad enough to limit my work in progress and get some projects finished.

Megalomaniac

Megalomaniac surveying all those unfinished wargaming projects

Big Bases

In late 2012 I decided to rebase my collection (for periods up to 1850) on Big Bases. What a monster of a project. I think I’ve put figures on over 1000 big bases so far and I’m only half way through. The result is pleasing but the work is quite dull (see above about “fun” versus “chore”).

Activity Status Who is doing it
Rebase Gunpowder Warfare armies Liberators, Peninsular War, Thirty Yeas War are done. Carlist Wars aren’t done because I don’t have enough figures in my battalions (9) to make big base battalions (24). Similarly I’ve not done my New Zealand Wars because I’ve only got standard DBA/HOTT sized armies for the period. Haven’t done my Italian Wars because I don’t have complete armies (oh, no, another unfinished project). Steven
Rebase Ancient Warfare armies Fall of Rome is done hence the resurrection of our Fall of Hispania Campaign. Have done enough of Rise of Rome to play Big Base DBA with Roman, Carthaginian, Seleucid, Iberian. Gallic almost there thinking about Thracian and Macedonian variants. Steven
Rebase Medieval Warfare armies Done a few stands. Hundreds to go. Urg. Steven
Big Base DBA Ancient Spanish - Infantry

Big Base DBA Ancient Spanish – Infantry

Play test my Crossfire Scenarios

Too many of my Crossfire Scenarios are “draft” and not play tested. This is because this website started as my wargaming notes and everything went on it, including unfinished work. With the move to WordPress I now only post finished pieces. Time to go back and tidy them up.

You can help. For example, prompted by Vaggelis I updated my Crossfire at Position Four: The Village P Scenario. There are more to do.

Crossfire at Position Four- The Village P Scenario

Crossfire at Position Four- The Village P Scenario

1963-75 Portuguese Colonial War

I started it in 2009 and by 2013 my Portuguese Colonial War project was looking pretty good. Then I stalled on the Challenges of Insurgent Warfare for Crossfire.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Buy, convert and paint the Portuguese Done enough to get started but could do with more. I think I’ve got a combat group of Caçadore, a couple of teams of Commandoes, and a combat group of GE/GEP. I’m particularly proud of the Portuguese MG42/59 gunners I converted Steven
Buy and paint the Insurgents Done. I think I’ve got about a company Steven painted some (the better ones if I do say so myself) but other acquired off ebay
Buy and paint Poorly Armed Insurgent Mob Done enough but need a lot more Steven
Buy and paint baggage carriers and civilians Done enough but need a lot more Steven
Choose the rules I wrote a Crossfire variant called Fogo Cruzado, but then I had second thoughts Steven
Solve the Challenges of Insurgent Warfare for Crossfire I have some ideas Steven
Find another set of rules that dodges the Challenges of Insurgent Warfare for Crossfire I have some ideas with Cold War Commander top of the list Steven
Portuguese Convoy

Portuguese Convoy

1815 Battle of Sipe Sipe / Viluma

In 2014 I began a new Liberators project = the Refight of the Battle of Sipe Sipe / Viluma. Okay, the armies are for 1815 (when Sipe Sipe occurred) but what I’d really like to do is refight all three campaigns in Alto Peru (1810-11, 1812-13, 1815). That might be too ambitious but why not aim big.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Supplement my 1817-18 armies to use for 1815 Most painted and based; more on the way Martin is painting the 1815 figures. Roland painted the 1817-18 Argentines who are being re-used for this. I painted the 1817-18 Royalists. I’m basing them all.
Choose the rules I’ve tried a few but I’m still looking for a better fit. I might have to write my own. Steven
Do the scenarios, yes there is more than one scenario to be had here despite the fact nominally it is for a single battle Yeah, I just have to get around to put fingers to keyboard Steven
Battle of Sipe-Sipe

Battle of Sipe-Sipe

Battle of Kadesh

In 2014 my Stalingrad Project got side swiped by my Sea Peoples Wargaming Project. It all started when I got a DBA army of Sea Peoples from John Mclennan around about 2007. They were sitting quietly in storage gathering dust when I noticed more available on ebay, so a new project began and my Russian ruins went into storage.

The Sea Peoples, New Kingdom Egyptian and Hittite figures are all done and I could say the my Biblical project is done. Only one thing holds me back. I haven’t done the finale: re-fighting the Battle of Kadesh. Okay, bit of a story there about how a battle a few decades before the Sea Peoples invasion can be the finale, but that is part of what makes it interesting to me.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Top up the armies I’ve got tons of figures already and really shouldn’t need any more but, well, I’m greedy and chariots look nice and you have to have a lot of chariots for Kadesh or it isn’t Kadesh Martin will probably paint them
Decide whether I need to model the city of Qadesh itself and if so buy/build and paint it No, no, don’t do it Steven, that would be crazy! But Baueda Wargames do a Middle Eastern City … Steven
Decide on rules Big Base DBA or should I go for something that is a good simulation instead; hmm, tricky Steven
Do the scenarios – yup, more than one trust me, it is all in my head Steven
Do the timeline of Sea Peoples I have read a lot of books. A lot of books. But still a lot of work to do to type it up Steven
Sea Peoples at Kadesh

Sea Peoples at Kadesh

1634 Battle of Nordlingen

Roland finished painting my Dutch and Spanish armies for the Eighty Years War about 1999. We started updating the Spanish in 2010 and Swedes came along in 2011. Now after a long, long, long time, my Thirty Years War armies are almost ready to hit the table. I’ll start with the Battle of Nordlingen because, well, it is a Spanish victory. 🙂

Activity Status Who is doing it
Paint and base the Swedish Done Roland painted them and I based them
Paint and base the Spanish 35 figures to go Roland is painting them and I am basing them
Paint and base the Catholic Germans I got some infantry and cavalry from Ian Galley. Actually on the cavalry I’m probably good because of my Dutch. Strictly speaking I need quite a few more foot but, well, that is just depressing. Ian painted the Catholic Germans and Roland the Dutch. I based them
Paint and base the Protestant Germans I’ve got some uniformed guys off ebay. And of course I’ve got an entire Dutch army Don’t know about the ebay guys. Roland painted the Dutch. I am basing them
The Battle of Nördlingen by Jacques Courtois.

The Battle of Nördlingen by Jacques Courtois.

1811 Battle of Albuera

I specialise in Spain and Portugal but I don’t play the Peninsular War. Shocking! So I really need to get my Albuera Project finished. I’ve settled on V&B so that’ll help but lots to do.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Build and paint the armies I’ve got all the armies in unpainted 15mm lead. I also have the Spanish painted with figures from another manufacturer in 18mm and I’m starting to collect the French in 18mm as well. Yes, I know that isn’t efficient but there you go. Still seems a long, long way to the end I’ve painted a fair few Spanish then got more off ebay. Roland painted the Portuguese. I will most likely will pass the delights of the French and British onto Martin
Write up the historical battle Done; you’ll see it later in the year Steven
Write the scenario Done; you’ll see it later in the year Steven
Write a better scenario When I get around to it, maybe when I’ve got the armies Steven
Albuera: Buffs defend the colours

Albuera: Buffs defend the colours

1942 Stalingrad Project

In early 2014 I decided to do a project on Stalingrad. I’m thinking of a big, multiplayer Crossfire game. Probably on an 8’x5′ table filled with urban stuff: houses, ruins, rubble, railway lines, at least one factory. Maybe some large identifiable features: Factory (again), Grain Silo, Railway Station 1, etc.

It didn’t happen because I got distracted by my Sea Peoples Wargaming Project and researching the Biblical period. But Stalingrad is still on the agenda for 2015.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Refresh my existing generic building sectors done, but might need redoing with even more colour Steven
Buy/build and paint a bunch of new houses, ruins, rubble Lots bought/built. Half painted Steven
Buy/build and paint at least one factory Eyeing likely commercial contenders but they live in the USA and I live in the UK Steven
Buy/build stuff to fill up a Stalingrad period factory Looking for inspiration Steven
Buy/build big identifiable Stalingrad features Looking for inspiration Steven
Stalingrad Factory

Stalingrad Factory

Soviet Tank Rider Battalion

Inspired by Bessonov – Tank Rider “Mount the Tanks!” I started a new Soviet Battalion for Crossfire. A Motorised Rifle Battalion who are armed with sub-machineguns rather than rifles.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Buy the figures Done. My wife bought me the figures for a birthday. And eventually I even got the figures despite the best efforts of Caliver Books to scupper the project – long, very grumpy making story. Galit
Paint the extra Soviet battalion One company painted. Then about a thousand other projects intervened. See above. Steven

1909-25 Rif Wars

The Rif Wars are perfect for Crossfire. But the project stalled back in 2008. Sigh. So close yet so far. Bugs me.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Spanish Foreign Legion Done Steven
2nd Tabor of Regulares of Tetuán Done Steven
converting Ansar figures to make the Riffi Converted 1 company worth. Couldn’t face doing more. Steven
Paint the Riffi Not done. Terrifies me. All those fancy patterns on their Chilaba. Not me
Buy/build and paint Crossfire friendly North African buildings Bought them. Have painted a few Steven
Riffi converted from Peter Pig Dervish Rifles

Riffi converted from Peter Pig Dervish Rifles

1944-45 Italian Campaign

In a Patriotic mode I purchased Kiwis for the Italian Campaign (1944-45). Of course they need an opponent so I picked Fallshirmjaeger because of the Monte Casino. The because of a flirtation with the French Expeditionary Corps I got Goums.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Buy and paint the Fallschirmjaeger Done Anonymous painter, John Mclennan and Roland Davis all contributed to the painting. I based them.
Buy and paint the Kiwis I got the figures. Unpainted. Sigh. I’m thinking asking Roland to paint them. I will base them.
Buy and paint the Goums I got the figures. Unpainted. Sigh, again. I will base them but I’ve no idea who’ll paint them or when.
NZ 26th Battalion at Monte Cassino

NZ 26th Battalion at Monte Cassino

1942 Second Battle of Kharkov on a table

I’m quite interested in the failed Soviet attempt to retake Kharkov in 12–28 May 1942, otherwise known as the Second Battle of Kharkov. I have an aspiration to fight the entire battle, or at least the northern sector, on a single table in one sitting. Using an operational set of rules like Megablitz or Rapier Offensive.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Choose the rules I need to experiment a bit. Hurrah Stalino seems a good choice because of the scale and the grid system. Steven
Design the scenario Nik Sirenko, who is Russian, did some research for me and found some great maps of the area from 1942. I’ve read it up a bit. That is it really it. Nik and Steven
More trucks I’ve got lots but You can never have too many trucks for an operational level game Steven
Soviets at Second Battle of Kharkov

Soviets at Second Battle of Kharkov

16th Century – Armies for New World DBA

I’ve got figures for the New World but just barely enough to play my New World DBA and then only Conquistador versus modest sized Aztec forces. My Maya and Portuguese have never been on table, Incas and Tupi are unpainted in boxes. With my move to Big Bases none of these are adequate. Bit of self inflict pain there. Sigh.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Get bigger armies Modest armies. Lots to get Steven
Spanish Attacking Aztec Temple

Spanish Attacking Aztec Temple

Rise of Rome – Circle the Mediterranean

Inspired by the one day DBA Campaign where the Rise of Rome is simulated with a ring of six nations surrounds he Mediterranean, I’d like to do this at scale. Get all the major nationalities that surrounded the Mediterranean and opposed Rome in its rise.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Roman Done Ross, Wayne, Roland painted them. Steven based them.
Carthaginian Done although if i branch out into Sicily I’d probably need to supplement with Early Carthaginian bits (Chariots) Ross, Wayne, Ian painted them. Steven based them.
Ancient Iberian Done Wayne painted them. Steven based them
Seleucid Done Ian painted the core. Also got extra pikes off ebay. Steven based them
Sicilian Greek Mostly done although I need a suitable camp ebay painted them. Steven based them
Gallic Mostly done. I just need to finish rebasing to Big Bases and do a camp. Ian, Ross and ebay painted them. Steven based them
Numidian I have enough figures, I think, and they are painted, but need to check whether I really can field an army. Need to do the camp Wayne and Steven painted them. Steven based them.
Later Macedonian I’ve got some surplus Seleucids but need more for Antigonids Ian and Steven
Ptolemaic Again I’ve probably got some surplus Seleucids but need more Ian and Steven
Celtiberian I’ve got the figures but only enough have been painted to provide mercenaries for other armies Wayne painted the ones that have been painted. I based them
Thracian I’ve read a great book on the Thracians, otherwise just a twinkle in my eye Steven

16th Century – Italian Wars

I started my Italian Wars project in the early 1990s. I got the figures for the Spanish/Imperialists and arranged to have them painted. When I got the infantry I discovered, to my mild horror, that they weren’t using the Black Undercoat Method so weren’t compatible with my other figures. Worse still I never saw the cavalry figures again as the painter went out of business and disappeared with the figures and my payment in advance. Bit miffed about that.

Activity Status Who is doing it
Start again Looking for the inspiration. Haven’t found it yet Steven
The Battle of Pavia by an unknown Flemish artist (oil on panel, 16th century).

The Battle of Pavia by an unknown Flemish artist (oil on panel, 16th century).

New Zealand Wars

My New Zealand Wars project stalled before I even started this blog back in 2001. The period appeals because I’m a Kiwi but I don’t have solutions for the Challenges of Wargaming the New Zealand Wars.

Play more games

Okay, it isn’t a project but I really should try to play more games. The last couple of years have been a bit slow on the actual gaming front. I lost one of my regular opponents and my family increased – in combination that meant less games. Gotta turn that around.

Germans concentrate in depression

Germans concentrate in depression

8 comments to The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian (2015)

  • Dick Bryant

    Simple solution: Quit your day job!
    Simple solution #2: Live to 80+ as I have you CAN get a lot more done.
    Seriously I find that having a regular gaming night of once/week keeps me involved and I get more done. We game in many periods: Old West Skirmish, Medeival, Franco-Prussian, Colonial (PITTS), WWII ( CF-of course, CY6, SeekreigV-Naval,Chain of Command). We are thinking of getting into one of the operational level WWII games ( I can’t find the Rapier Objective you mention). And DBA (old School). I have something i am working on in each period but am in no hurry. Suggest getting to abasic level in each area you are interested in so that you can play it, then add as you have interest. Trying to do it all at once just doesn’t work.
    Dick

    • Steven Thomas

      Dick. I quite like the idea of being a full time war gamer. But the mortgage needs paying. The kids education needs catering for. And I’ve several thousand wargaming projects to fund. So, unfortunately, I’ll have to keep being a part timer.

      I”m also trying to get a regular Thursday night game in. Trouble is my regular opponent gets distracted every now and then. You see he is single and, well, dating apparently has higher priority than gaming. Don’t understand it myself. But then I’m married.

      The Rapier Offensive rules are on this site. But Megablitz are a good commercial set – if your players are not competition types. And I’m tempted by Hurrah Stalino.

      Unlike you, I am in a hurry. Hitting 50 a year or so back really got me determined to finish some projects. Obviously not determined enough – see above – but more determined than I was.

      Yes, “basic level”, sound advice. The trouble is … I’m a megalomaniac. 🙂

  • You’re right. You have too many projects, like me several years ago. I picked three eras, focused on those, let another period skip in and now focus on just two. Fantasy role playing over the computer twice a month and WW2 operational level. I am joyously happy with the two eras I have focused on, have a group of friends that have the same focus, and we get together on a regular basis.

    But you gotta do what makes you happy and you sound happy. Good on you.

    Bronco

    • Steven Thomas

      Two! Two! I’m not sure I could cope with just two. I’ve already got heart palpitations thinking about it. Unless you consider these as projects:
      (1) Spain and Portugal in all periods
      (2) New Zealand in all periods

      Then, just maybe, my megalomaniac tendencies might be satisfied.

      Of course, those are quite big projects. 🙂

  • Hi Steven

    Just discovered your website…not too sure if you remember me but we met many moons back at Vince’s shed.

    Pleased to see that I am not the only one with too many projects on the go. As has been said gaming nights do focus the mind on those projects.

    All the best and if you are ever around SW London and want to drop into my shed drop me a line – you can see the range of stuff we do on my blog http://www.shedwars.blogspot.com

    Giles

    • Steven Thomas

      Of course I remember you Giles. And many a night in Vince’s Shed. I’ve even got a few shots of our games on this site. And some of Vince’s more recent 6mm stuff.

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