Thursday, December 26, 2013

One year in review - or two…

The year 2013 is coming to an end, and it seems a good time to pop back on my DestoFante blog for a quick update. Blogging has clearly taken a backseat in my gaming related priorities, already quite stretched by my busy traveling and business schedule, Mrs. DestoFante's busy traveling and business schedule, as well as the legitimate demands of the 4-year old Destofante Jr. That said, 2013 was a good year, in which projects were kept on a good track, and many ideas were sharpened. I am remained committed, as much as a wargamer can, to limit the number of periods in my collection: WAS/SYW, Colonial, WWI, Modern Africa. I have been able to rationalize (in some sort...) my collections, out of the realization that, as a solo player, I really do not need thousands of figures suitable for multi-player games. Also, I feel somewhat more focused about the rules that inspire me. Years of unrestrained rule purchases have fortunately come to an end, and I now gravitate toward two-three favorite sets per period. If you are curious: for WAS/SYW, Might & Arms, Piquet Cartouche, possibly Maurice and Kriegkunst; for colonial, The Sword And The Flame, Piquet Din of Battle, THW Colonial Adventures; for WWI, Piquet Barrage, TFL If The Lord Spares Us, and Greg Novak's Over The Top; for modern Africa, TFL Charlie Don't Surf (a Vietnam adaptation of IABSM) and Ambush Alley. At cost of sounding a little sentimental, I want to take one moment to share the greatest hobby's joys of this year, which happen to be the same joys of the prior's: at the very end, for all our toils in collecting and painting miniatures and terrain, learning rules, devising scenarios, what really matters most is the great bond of friendship and camaraderie forged around the gaming table. This year, I was blessed to meet friends, old and new, at Historicon (for a fantastic siege game arranged by Eric B. and Tim C., a Renaissance clash with Peter Gonsalvo, Gabe and Michelle, and some quality time with Andy, Tom, Jim, Rob, and the team at Rebel Minis). During my business traveling in London, I had the immense pleasure Tim C. in Harpenden for a fun game set in East Africa, and enjoy lunch in the City with Bob C. of "Wargaming Miscellany" fame. In San Francisco during a conference, I only touch base with Freddie A. and Jeff G. - next time, we must ensure we get to the table! Unfortunately, I missed a big gaming extravaganza in Denver with Bob J., Brent O. and Sam M., and I can only hope this will be repeated in 2014! Here's a few pictures with some of these 2013 highlights. At Historicon, Eric B. offered a preview of his latest creation, a witty siege game loosely based on the Piquet mechanisms.
Eric's terrain was gorgeous - and still a work in progress! Of course, my bad rolling resulted in much amusement being had by all, especially when I blew up my own gunpowder magazines!
The game provides a great sense of how sieging operations proceed. It was unnerving to see those trenches getting closer and closer, and little could be done by a couple of brave sortie from my grenadiers. Finally, a breach was opened in the fortress (Warsaw, if I recall correctly the set up of the scenario) and the Russians came in. We called the late game before playing out the storming, but the destiny of the Polish capital was very much decided.
In Harpenden, I played the German in a East Africa scenario where my askaris were called on defending a line of hills from the assault of a full Imperial and British brigade. (Ironically, I play the British in Tanga at Historicon 2012: it seems East Africa is a recurring theme of the games I join.) I successfully held the line until the time to catch the last train from St. Pancras - I'll call it amoral victory, even if things were getting dicey for the Germans after the loss of a gun and some machine guns. Here is a picture of the British lines closing my the hills I was defending.
To all of you, my dear friends, old and new, close and far away: a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thinking of a DestoFante website

It seems that in recent years blogs have become the standard for wargamers. They are fun - I have one, too, albeit somewhat dormant. Even if I do not write much these days, I check the blog roll on mine almost every day, and I enjoy very much what other people contribute.
So far, so good.
But here's my question: are website a thing of the past? Personally, I have dear memories of the Major-General Tremorden Redding, Bob Cordery's Colonial Wargaming, AK-47 Ztum-Setum, The Great Adventure about Great War Spearhead, just to name a few of my favorite.
The limit (and the strength, in other regards) I see in blogs is their "daily diary" nature. Yes, as a reader (and a writer), it is great to receive a daily pill of wisdom, a splendid picture, a AAR for the ages. But in a blog, all these contributions will end up buried over time; also, a blog makes very hard to arrange the narrative of a campaign, unless labeling is carefully done and the sequence of battles is not too stretched over time. This is particularly true for blogs like mine, which cover many different interests and periods within the hobby, and are not updated with frequency.
All of this to come to another question: am I a fool in contemplating the creation of a website? A site where notes, thoughts, OOB, AAR, reviews may be collected and organized in a more logical order than a blog allows? When I first started DestoFante, I intended to use the blog as a way to generate materials, and have them later organized in a proper site. The blog has become little more of a collection of WIP entries, but I still wouldn't mind to have things organized properly.
Finally: if I create my website, what platform/host should I consider? I know google offers free space on Google Site, but I do not know the quality of the service (although I would be tempted to go that route only because of the hope the technology would resemble Blogger, with which I am rather comfortable now.)
Just sharing some food of thought.