My most significant highlight by far must be becoming a grandfather with the birth of Arthur to Sarah and Matthew. Lets hope we've added another gamer there! I enjoyed some much less important highs, on the gaming front of course: namely having two pieces in Wargames Illustrated's 300th issue and finishing my set of ECW rules, "A Crowning Mercy", which should be available from Caliver Books exclusively in mid January 2013; visits to numerous shows up and down the country, from Vapnartak to Wargamer, via WMMS, Salute, Partizans, and Warfare.
My lows were loosing my father-in-law, Ken, a kind and gentle man to the horror of Alzheimer's and, on a personal level, having my left knee replaced in early September. Sue was also quite poorly in July and August, but is thankfully fully recovered now. In all of these lows I felt sustained by the love and kindness of family and friends, the latter both physical and ethereal. As Churchill said, "War is a game that is played with a smile." Good advice for any wargamer if you ask me!
Turning to the year as it passes then. I see I played 53 games in total, mostly between January and August. Of these I won 17, drew 6 and lost 30. Clearly I am not Premiership material when it comes to my win ratio! "War is mainly a catalogue of blunders..." afterall, to quote Winston Churchill, again! We seem to have played many different rulesets, with perhaps the old favourite Rapid Fire loosing out in 2012 more than any other favoured set here in GHQ. I shall have to rectify that in 2013 I think. The Byklabad Chronicles continued to unfold, as that rascally Raja of Rhanli fought the British of Havelock-Bykleigh in the Great Mutiny, while in Zululand the devious Chief Bykelezi strove in vain to defeat Lord Rawnsley, not to mention that canny Boer, De Whyt. In the Sudan the 'Barmy Bykli' continued to resist the southward march of Lord Walton's Column and Lord Rawsnsley's Relief Force, with little success I have to say. Lord Emsworth and The Empress made a couple of appearances and in the Old West New Paddock City was erected and saw some action as the year drew to a close. In the ACW we continued to play out several scenarios using my own Bull Run to Gettysburg rules, in which genre I probably recorded my best successes over the year. We dabbled in the AWI, the Seven Years War and the French Indian Wars and towards the year's end we sampled Bolt Action in 1940 France and Shropshire. In the English Civil Wars we played numerous games as I developed my new ruleset, probably the highlight of which for me was the battle of Pyddle Down! I played several games at Jon's and Phil's over the year, with usually more success than in GHQ I have to say! Black Powder and Through the Mud and the Blood featured strongly, but my greatest enjoyment was a Setting the East Ablaze game really, following the exploits of Ivan Juztukov, Soviet fighter ace and scourge of the Chinese Warlord Wun Ung Lo!
Painting totals, for figures at least, was a respectable 677 completed, all 28mm, in a bewildering range of periods, manufacturers and genres, from AZW figures in January to Samurai in December, via ECW, ACW, F&IW and WWII figures! Terrain building consisted of some Grand Manner Wickups; a scratch built Indian shrine for the Mutiny, clumps of palm trees and finally New Paddock City itself ~ a wonderful set of buildings from Battleflag which I furnished with Frontline Games resin items.
Turning now to the year ahead as I 'stand at the gate of the year' I feel constrained to offer some sage advice from the American deaf-blind writer, Helen Keller, who wrote, "Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." Keeping that advice ever before me I hope to enjoy many more games with my chums here in GHQ and beyond and to dive wholeheartedly into my new projects for the year ~ a Samurai skirmish game using figures from Museum Miniatures and the ubiquitous Perry Brothers; a Bolt Action Burma campaign utilizing Warlord's growing range and the Back of Beyond, more properly Rhawnlistan, with the Rhawnlistan Field Force drawing on Brigade Games, Copplestone, Pulp Figures and Woodbine Designs in the main. But, as we should all bear in mind, we know not what the future holds for us, in our lives or our hobby, as we stand at the gate of a new year. ~ I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.” Or perhaps more prosaically as Winston might say, "KBO! KBO!" seems to be the best approach.
Whatever you game and paint and in whatever scale I wish you ALL
A REALLY HAPPY NEW YEAR!