I optimistically titled my 2021 New Year blog 'Here's to a better 2021!'. Well, it wasn't quite what I and many others hoped for, as COVID variants stopped the talk of a post-pandemic world. However, there were bursts of normality and thanks to vaccines, we are in a better place, just.
On the hobby front, there was a partial return to wargame shows. We had Carronade in Falkirk, and I trekked down to London for Salute. Nothing quite beats seeing games and ranges in the flesh, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones. The 2022 schedule should begin to get back to normal, although the cancellation of Salute is not a good sign. I have pencilled in Vapnartak on 6 February in York as the year's first show. The return to physical gaming has been great. Both at GDWS and Prestwick clubs, as well as at the house. I still do the occasional game over Zoom, but it was only ever a poor substitute for the real thing.
|Our Dad's Army game at Carronade was a lot of fun.
2021 was pretty productive on the wargaming front. I finished the Mongols for Saga, so I can continue to match my gaming with the Turkish TV series Ertrugul. I'm still on series two, so there is a long way to go! I returned to the Russo-Turkish War 1768-74 after reading Brian Davies' book, although I struggle with painting 6mm figures. My Turkish WW2 project expanded into 28mm with a Bolt Action army and down to 10mm for games of Rommel. As well as a return to naval matters with a Turkish and Soviet Black Sea fleet. As a 'what-if' opponent, I finished a 28mm Bulgarian army, thanks to those drug dealers at Great Escape Games. On the naval theme, I expanded my Black Seas fleets to the Ottomans and then off to the Adriatic with galley warfare.
My other big new project this year has been Cyprus 1974. I started by adapting some of my 10mm figures. Then, quickly moved on to 20mm for Modern Bolt Action. Turkish and Greek National Guard forces are largely completed and have even got them onto the tabletop. My less than subtle Xmas hints to my beloved have resulted in a box of ships making progress on the painting table. I plan to extend this project into some 'what-ifs' and later periods in 2022.
Trevor Royle's book diverted me into the Wars of the Roses in 15mm, just a temporary aberration that one. The anniversary of the Greek Revolution has led to a small excursion into 28mm, and as it goes on for many years, I suspect it won't be the last. Other new projects for the coming year include some Swedes for the Great Northern War as Ottoman allies. I will also expand my 28mm Napoleonics to cover the French Illyrian units.
As for wargame rules, I adopted Lasalle2 as my go-to set for 15mm Napoleonics and have enjoyed playing with the War of 1812 armies and the Greek Revolution in particular. I have played a bit with the new edition of L'Art de la Guerre, but To the Strongest! remains my Ancient/Medieval rules of choice - despite my abysmal cards. I played a bit more fantasy last year, and the return of Game of Thrones is likely to get that project going again. Oathmark has been my massed battle rules, and I am starting to dabble with Warlords of Erehwon for the smaller battles. Our cat now has his alter ego on the tabletop.
Books are always important to me, much to my wife's chagrin as, even with Kindle and PDFs, my library expands. I have started my re-read of Nigel Tranter's novels, with seven done so far. As I have the armies so far, it hasn't resulted in any wargame diversions. I have reviewed many fine new books this year, but I would single out the Turkish War of Independence 1919-23 by Ed Erickson as a model for how to write operational history. Saul David's SBS: Silent Warriors was also very good. Most of my reading relates to my writing and wargame projects, but I am easily diverted!
Travel has been limited. We got down to the Lake District, which while stunning, is more scenic than historical. Although we did stay next to a Roman fort. I have been down to London a few times to undertake research in the National Archives and British Library, including museums and exhibitions at the British Museum. Elsewhere in the UK, I visited the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum and the new Trimontium Museum at Melrose. Not without some logistical issues, we managed one overseas trip this year to Cyprus. Castles and the 1974 battlefields were the main points of interest.
|St Hilarion Castle in Northern Cyprus was magnificent.
I managed to downsize my semi-retirement last year to a day or so per week. This is giving more time for writing. I have a book completed and scheduled for publication this year. So, there will be more on that subject to include interesting campaigns that I didn't have the space to cover in detail. I have made a decent start on the next book and have two more in the planning stages. I managed two blog posts per week last year, which is the plan for this year. It tends to fit my reading and painting schedule reasonably well.
Well, that's it for the 2021 review and on to 2022. Let me wish everyone a Happy New Year, and let's hope for something better in 2022.