Saturday, 21 January 2017

Looking Back at 2016...

My last post was a little past the  middle of November, and given the gap I must apologise, gentle reader (note that 'reader' is singular), but it has been a busy time.

Aside from the general business of the festive season, with family to visit, drinks to imbibe and food to relish, we have also been busy moving castles. Moving castles is not the most streamlined of processes, it is messy, tiring, and a lot of wandering around wondering which box contains the thing you want in any particular moment. Even having been in the new castle now for around a month, much of our lives are still hidden in some box or tub, probably under some other box or tub.

So the first post of 2017, in the true spirit of the Roman goddess Janus after whom this month is named, I shall be looking back at 2016. 'How quaint' I hear you murmur, 'nobody does reflections on the previous year in January' I hear you stutter, almost spilling your muscat down the front of your velvet monogrammed pajamas.

While you may think it true, careful examination of the interwebs will clearly show that this time of year typically sees bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, geeklist makers and people of all stripes create lists of those things that were best about 2016, and what they are looking forward to in 2017. Who am I to buck a trend?

In all honesty 2016 was an ugly, drawn out, painful and generally turgid affair. If it was a Beast, even Belle would have been urging Gaston to put the bastard down. But it is done, and while 2017 promises (on a global level at least) to be worse, it is here, and so has to be faced with whatever sense of optimism you can muster or whatever banal aphorisms will help you through.

But, I am not here to moan relentlessly from the comfort of my first world life about how tough it all is, I'm here for the gaming! Well, mostly.

At the start of 2016 I wrote a post covering some of my hobby goals for coming year... well, the end times have come and it is time for a reckoning.

The first of my goals was to play at least 100 different games over the course of 2016, which, surprisingly, is something I managed quite comfortably. I ended 2016 having played 115 different games. For those interested the geeklist I used to to keep track of them is here.

Some of my favourites from the year include Battlelore, which was nice to get back to the table again, and Shadows over Camelot, which is also an older game, but a thoroughly excellent one. The best 'new-to-me- game I played in 2016 was probably Codenames, which was a lot of fun, and something I am looking to playing more of in 2017.

In terms of miniature games, and aside from Spartan games such as Dystopian Wars (which I have worked on), I would have to say I was most excited to play Heavy Gear Blitz and Mordheim. Both games were new to me, and while Mordheim is an old game, it is truly a wonderful game. Heavy Gear is something I am hoping to get to the table more this coming year. The minis are great, and I am really enjoying it.

The Scions of Erasmus... my Mordheim warband...

A Hunter Squad for Heavy Gear Blitz...

My next goal was to reduce the number of unplayed games in my collection. This is a goal at which I failed, I'm afraid. I ended 2016 with several more games unplayed than I began it. Hopefully I will have better luck in this department in 2017!

I'm looking at you Sekigahara!

My next goal was to spend more time playing games with my family. I would say this goal has been achieved, I still want to make sure I take the time to play more with my wife and kids in 2017, but the grounding in 2016 was a starting place.

Song of Blades and Heroes with my son...

I had the goal of playing more RPGs in 2016, something I did not manage to do I'm afraid. I really hope that 2017 picks up in this regard... we have a maiden voyage planned for the coming week with the upcoming Star Trek game by Modiphius, so hopefully this is something we can build up!

I had a painting goal of getting a Squadron a month painted, and surprisingly I think I came close. Between my Covenant models, my Mordheim Warband and some Heavy Gears, I am pleased with how much I managed to get done...

Lots done by my own low standard... fingers crossed that I manage more in 2017!
My blogging goal was to write at least two blog posts a month. I think (if I've added correctly) that I managed some 36 posts over 2016, some months I was quiet, some silent, but overall I am happy with my blogging output. My posting is too haphazard in both regularity and subject matter to ever accrue many views, but writing is my goal, not building up my views stat!

My podcasting goal, of recording and posting something at least once a month, turned out to be impossible. With the Element 270 podcast winding up due to scheduling difficulties, and On Minis Games struggling this last month or so due to the move, I just haven't had the time and opportunity. Here's hoping that 2017 sees On Minis Games get going properly!

Lastly, I had a goal to read at least a book a month. Without a doubt the stand out book I read in 2016 was The Martian, by Andy Weir. It is an absolutely wonderful, totally engaging and brilliantly executed book, and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone. If I was to include the books I had read to my class, this goal would be a shoe in, but considering only books I read for my own pleasure, I fall short of the mark. Again, I hope to make amends in 2017!

And that about sums up the obligatory reflection on 2016. at some point I'll get around to formulating goals for 2017, so until then...

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