Monday, December 22, 2008

A year in review

DestoFante will be on the road for the next 10 days. First, Christmas with Mrs. DestoFante & her family in Florida; then, New Year’s celebration with my family in Italy. I expect the program to include a first jump in temperatures from -20°F with wind-chill in Chicago to 82°F in Southern Florida, then another sudden drop to the mid 30°F up in the Italian Alps near the Swiss border where my family live.
And DestoFante detests sudden changes in temperature.

These travel plans also mean that, maybe with the exception of a few hours of painting that I hope to squeeze in tonight or tomorrow, the wargaming year is coming to a close. It seems the right time to make a quick summary of the accomplishments of the past 12 months (there will be opportunities to discuss the projects for 2009 at a later time.)

First of all, this blog. It provided “method to the madness.” It has been a wonderful instrument to reconnect with old friends, and make several new ones. It really keeps the excitement going, and it works well as “discipline device”: it keeps me focused on my projects, and it provides the incentive to get things done, or to articulate my thoughts of the several different aspects of the hobby.

In terms of new periods, in 2008 I broke ground on three major projects: the Marlburian age, an “AK-47 Republic” imaginary African state, Lopongo, and my first foray in naval wargaming with 1/6000 WWI models.

Old projects never die, nor fade away… nor really get completed, because you also have one or two units here and there that can be added. In 2008, I made progress on the miniatures of my Abyssinia campaign, and I completed a few Napoleonic and WWI units.

In terms of rules, I was glad to provide some input to my friends EB who is working to revise the colonial module for an excellent ruleset (hint, hint: these are my favorite rules.) The project is due for publication in 2009, and it will probably be available at Historicon.

I also had the opportunity to buy and read two excellent rule booklets, among the best I have seen in several years: Sam Mustafa’s “Grand Armee” and “GåPå.” I promise a post on the topic of rules a long time ago, and for one reason or another I have not been able to write it yet, but I am looking forward to share with my readers some of my preferences & pet peeves on the thorny issues. Since I am very particular about what I like and what I dislike in rules, it is quite significant that in a matter of a few months I found not one, but two sets I sincerely enjoy very much.

I should add two further rule books that are going to have long-lasting impact on my gaming: the old but newly republished “The War Game” by Charles Grant, and the revised XVIII century module for Piquet, “Cartouche 2”, which hopefully will be delivered in time to appear under my Christmas tree in two days.

As for terrain and scenery, in 2008 I learned that paper models are cheaply (or freely) available, and they have reached an excellent quality. I plan several purchase at PaperTerrain over the next 12 months, as terrain is one area where I have been lagging.

Finally, this year marked my return to Historicon after a one-year hiatus. As usual, the experience was blast – both socially and in terms of shopping. The show is always the same, but that’s the way we like it. Crossing my fingers, I hope to have the good luck to return to Historicon in 2009, although it is too early to tell.

All these small and large accomplishments, I should add, were achieved during an unusually busy professional year, when we saw changes of historical magnitude in our economic and financial landscape. The almost complete silence in blogging during September and October were the direct result of such a dramatic time; nevertheless, the hobby has also been a major stress-reliever during a very tense period.

I should have time to make a few plans for 2009 during the flights in the next week or so, and I will definitely check in for the seasonal greeting over the next few days. Not sure if new pics will come available, but I will post any good ones I will get in my hands!


Bluebear Jeff said...

You have been a welcome addition to our "blogging community", sir.

By the way, my mother's family (Franscioni) is from Switzerland just over the Italian border.

It may be that our families are practically neighbors . . . *grin*.

I sincerely hope that your Holiday Journeys are wonderful and full of delight.

-- Jeff

Adik said...

that should be enough of a reason to send us scrambling for a few regiments of Suisse mercenaries, that served so many masters around Europe in the XVIII century!

... mine are already in the mail from Minifigs! ;-) And I am sure the Prince of Saxe-Bearstein would find some good use for them too!

Bluebear Jeff said...

My mother's family is from a small village north of Locarno (on Lake Maggiore) in Ticino Canton in Switzerland.

Is that far from your family's stomping grounds?

-- Jeff

Snickering Corpses said...

Your adventure into naval wargaming was directly responsible for prompting me into doing something with my Pirates ships. Have an excellent vacation and may God richly bless you in this Christmas season.

andygamer said...

Buon Natale e Buon Anno. (And the "Painting Wargames Figures" blog has a link to a German paper model company, FYI.)