2016 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

It has been a year since my Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian so definitely time for the 2016 update. I figured that, by sharing what I’m working on (far too much) and where I was up to with it (not far enough), I’d feel bad enough about my lack of progress to limit my work in progress and get some projects finished. Well, it worked, but only partly. I still worked on seven projects this year and finished none.

Summary of the Year

I’ve actively worked on only seven projects this year. A vast improvement over my list from last year. Particularly since the focus was very much on the first project (#1), with modest amounts of energy expended on the next couple (#2-3) and the last few on the list (#4-7) received very little attention at all. Every time I found myself with some free time I’d look at the big list, get depressed, then start at the top again. I’d work through the list thinking of things I could do towards the project and would stop as soon as I found something constructive to do. This meant I’d usually only work on things near the top.

Megalomaniac 2016
Megalomaniac 2016

#1 Play test my Crossfire Scenarios (1941-45)

My most successful project this year was play testing my Crossfire Scenarios. I didn’t finish it – not by any means. But I had a good go at it. And it got me playing more wargames, especially Crossfire.

I have to admit I need help with this project so I went looking for it: Help wanted – Please play test my Crossfire Scenario. Nothing subtle about that. One of the suggestions was that I divide my Crossfire scenarios into Draft and Completed. This helps people know which scenarios are more immediately playable and which demand a bit of caution. Between my helpers and I we notched up 13 games with After Action Reports in 2015; there might have been other games that I never heard of.

Panzers on over watch
Panzers on over watch in my Papa Eicke Game

2015 also saw the completion of my series on Drawing Wargaming Maps with PowerPoint. The last post was Drawing PowerPoint Maps for Crossfire. And, as I revisited each Crossfire scenario, I’d often take the opportunity to update the map and convert it to PowerPoint.

Table Push to the City Scenario
Table Push to the City Scenario

As part of that process I’ve increasingly tried to make my actual terrain pieces – the things that go on the table – match the size of the features on the maps. This might have been obvious to you when I described Making Field Features for Crossfire but I’ve also done it for my terrain templates. This has always been true of my generic square building sectors but 2016 might see me make map symbols for my rectangular building models.

Crossfire Field Catalogue
Crossfire Field Catalogue

I hope to continue play testing more of my Crossfire scenarios in 2016. I hope others will as well.

#2 Rebase and reflock

I’ve been rebasing my collection since 2012. Armies for periods up to 1850 have gone on Big Bases. There was a bit of a lull on the Big Base thing in 2015. I didn’t rebase any more figures from pre-1850 so my Medieval Warfare armies are still neglected. I did base new figures – for example my 1815 Royalists on Big Bases.

Guardia del General Cavalry
Royalist Guardia del General Cavalry from 1815

I also rebased my World War II armies for Crossfire using my Flocking with Sand, Flat Earth paint, and Dry Brushing. On conventional Crossfire bases, if you’re wondering, and they do look great. The first units to feature on the site are my Soviet Divisional Reconnaissance Company.

X-1 Recon - 1st Russian Scout Company 4
X-1 Recon – 1st Russian Scout Company

Perhaps most significantly I’ve tried to get my terrain to match my flocking style. I got four wargaming boards from TMterrain and also got new hills that I’ve flocked in the same way as my troops and the new table.

Wargaming Boards Flocked Side 3
Wargaming Boards Flocked Side 3

I’ve now rebased everything I regularly use. It would take a resurgence of interest in Medieval Warfare to kick this project off again. So, for now, the rebasing project might drift down the priorities. Not “Done” but “Done for the moment”.

#3 Stalingrad (1942)

In early 2014 I got an urge to do a big, multiplayer Crossfire game set in Stalingrad. This idea is to Chris’s 8’x5′ table 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. But nothing much happened in 2014.

Throughout 2015, notably at Salute, I purchased MDF houses and ruins, although I admit I already had quite a collection in storage. In late 2015 the project started getting a little bit real when I began to assemble and paint them. Quite of lot of them.

Buildings and ruins I have assembled and painted recently
Buildings and ruins I have assembled and painted recently

The highlight, so far, is the Large Ruined Factory For Crossfire. But there is also Stalingrad Ruins from Warbases and a How to Make Your Own Rubble Material for Stalingrad.

Painted WT Ruined Factory - Close Up
Painted WT Ruined Factory – Close Up

Thanks for your help on Brick or Black and How to Use a Big Ruined Factory Feature For Crossfire. I appreciate it.

Chris and I also played some small Stalingrad games. Kind of a taster for the monster to come.

I hope to play the big Stalingrad game in 2016. Of course as soon as that monster is out of the way it will be replaced by an equally insane idea … hmmm, how about Berlin 1945!

#4 Battle of Sipe Sipe / Viluma (1815)

My 2014 Liberators project saw some progress in 2015. I’ve got the armies painted and based – the 1815 Royalists are featured on this site. The highlight has to be the General’s Battalion. Purple trousers. Say no more.

Royalist General's Battalion - Fusiliers - Column
Royalist General’s Battalion – Fusiliers – Column

Unfortunately I haven’t actually played Sipe Sipe. I’m still musing on what tactical rules to use. Actually I’m pretty sure it will be Napoleon at War, I just haven’t invested the time to learn the rules.

I also got a little distracted by the Battle of Tucuman (24 – 25 September 1812). Quite distracted, including producing two scenarios and play testing each:

And I got diverted by an obsession with how to get a good wargame from an assault on a fortress. That lead to some background material: Seizure of Talcahuano 27 March 1813 and Combat of Talcahuano 28 May 1813.

So close, yet so far. However, I do hope to play Sipe Sipe in 2016 and get this project “Done”.

#5 Battle of Albuera (1811)

My Albuera Project has also been making steady progress this year. Aside from a growing collection of painted and based figures – this year has been about the French – I’ve also been doing some writing:

I’m particularly proud of the relief map I drew for the battle. Okay, okay, I drew it in 2014, but it got published for the first time in 2015.

Albuera Map Steven Thomas
Albuera Map Steven Thomas

At the current rate of progress the armies should be completed in 2016. And that would just leave me one battle away from another completed project.

#6 Soviet Motorised Rifle Battalion (1944-45)

I haven’t done much on my Tank Rider project. But I did do a WW2 Painting Guide for a Soviet Motorised Rifle Battalion with Vallejo Paints.

Painting Guide for WW2 Soviet Motor Rifle Battalion
Painting Guide for WW2 Soviet Motor Rifle Battalion

Hmmm, I’d have to get tired of painting ruins (for Stalingrad/Berlin) before this project resurfaces. Maybe in 2016 but no promises.

#7 Battle of Kadesh

I did a tiny bit on my Sea Peoples Wargaming Project but nothing on the Battle of Kadesh. Chris and I played a Hittite versus Egyptian Game and I mused on What DBA Troop Type are Sea People Warriors?

Flanking NKE archers score
Egyptians deal to Hittites

Oh dear, another project that is only one battle way from Done. New Years resolution for 2016 anyone? Play one game and complete Kadesh!

Neglected Projects

So I’ve been good, i.e. I neglected some projects. This is the list of projects that, last year, I convinced myself were still active but which I didn’t do anything on in 2015:

They may, of course, resurface in 2016. I’ve some painted but unbased Aztecs in storage. Kharkov came up in conversation with Chris the other day and we got rather excited about the possibilities. I picked up some unpainted French Goum for the Italian Campaign (insane I tell you, insane, but an on-line retailer was having a sale on FoW stuff). And I still buy any books I can find on the Portuguese Colonial War.

New Temptations

Aside from all of the above I’ve been tempted by a few new things:

  • Platoon of SU-122 for Ponyri (1943)
  • Berlin featuring the Spanish SS “Unit Ezquerra” (1945)
  • More tanks. Lots more tanks. And maybe some guns too. (1941-45)

Okay, I confess. I’ve purchased things for all of these. German buildings for Berlin. The SU-122 models. The tanks because my local bricks n mortar retailer was having a massive sale on FoW.

Sorry. I can’t help it.

4 thoughts on “2016 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian”

  1. About your Berlin project, the correct name for the SS unit is “Ezquerra”. By the way if you need information from spanish sources let me know

  2. Steven your blog is always good fun to read and an inspiration. I hope 2016 is as good as 2015 has been.

    I need to kick start my Xfire games again and I hope to be able to play test some of your scenarios.



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