My, it's that time of year again.

As I wait for the iron to warm up, I thought I’d take the opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy New Year! I hope you both have a much better year than this one/the least one (depends when you read this) and you don’t have to settle for what you deserve.

I had intended to get another, proper post in before the turn of the year, but that ironing isn’t going to do itself (nor will anyone else do it for that matter!). I thought about doing a review of 2013 – no I didn’t, just kidding. There will be thousands of people reminiscing for the next few days, so why should I recount everything I’ve made a mess of (again)? Although, in fairness, it wasn’t such a bad year: only one death, but I suppose there’s time yet. AND for 2014 I’m not going to mention the World Cup or the Scottish Referendum either because there’ll be lots and lots of people posting about those. Oh yeah, I forgot the Winter Olympics, but nobody watches those anyway.

So, I’ll end on a joke I just heard from an old matelot:

 “I must be ill - I thought I saw a sausage fly past my window, but it was actually a seabird. I think I've taken a tern for the wurst.”

Quid agis?

Quite a bit really, some of it even wargames related.

The past month or so has been a bit of a smorgasbord of events, including hospitals (not me), mortuaries (not me – I think!), house moves (again, not me), disputes with neighbours (strangely, not me either) and not forgetting Christmas.

Going to follow the usual pattern of 'wot I got for Christmas' and then on to the usual fantasies. So, had a nice haul of goods and, strangely for a blog like this, only one wargames related gift. The overall total was certainly a collection worth having and I'm pleased as punch. The wargames present is best described as a 'birthmas' gift from my son who had been badgering me for weeks for some idea of what to get me for my birthday (November) and Christmas. I finally got round to giving him a list for my projected Prussian force C1806 and received a couple of pounds of AB pewter in exchange. Proper chuffed. This was followed up with a copy of Al Murray's book 'Watching War Films With My Dad', one of only two books received this Christmas.

Now, it's certainly a niche book and not to everyone's taste either because the subject doesn't appeal or you don't like Al Murray, but I've started reading it and find it enjoyable. He writes pretty much the way he speaks so it's almost like listening to him talk you through it.

This is actually Al Murray but the way and not 'The Pub Landlord'. He strolls along discussing Airfix kits and Action Man as well as some bloomers in war films and dismissing some awful titles from the Hollyweird catalogue. However, it's much cleverer than it first appears and draws in a variety of topics such as how generational change has led to a view of the Second World War which is far removed from that of our parents.

It's not belly laugh funny and not intended as a comedy piece at all, but it certainly generated at least a smile a page for me. I've certainly recognised myself and a few others in it so far and I think it's worth giving a go. It'll almost certainly be in libraries by now (if you've still got one near you, that is).

As many of you will know, the world's gone completely mad with this Analogue Hobbies' Painting Challenge, well sixty one people have and they're (mostly) going flat out in the pursuit of glory and painted lead. Personally, I'm far too indisciplined to follow such a path: I'm still trying to convince myself to base the Maine battalions I painted recently. Real life does tend to get in the way though and I do get seduced away by books and films too as well as other pleasurable things. I am, however, ploughing on with the Bloggers for Charity painting quota for the 2014 demo games and, when these are put to bed, I'm likely to start on my new 14th Brooklyn ACW figures from Forgotten and Glorious. Lovely figures, very cleanly cast. The company has also got an Iron Brigade funding campaign underway.

Swiped from the Forgotten & Glorious website.

About a month ago I went across to a mates' house in Welsh Wales (it's 'English' Wales really) for a couple of days for an old school style game. 
He hasn't got a bloody clue!

Good fun and the food and beer were good, but it's not really my thing to be honest. However, the important bit it that he's thinking about making the rules available on the net free of charge. This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows him, but might be something of a shock to the more money or kudos driven. The rules have been at least three or four years in development and now look nothing like their original form, but they do work, they're simple (but not unsophisticated) and, if you're experienced enough, reasonable easy to adapt/modify without destroying their balance. So, we're still thinking about the best way of doing this, but watch this space for more details later.

Now then, I've been thinking again. During the course of that weekend foray (and other conversations) it became clear that there's a certain cachet to being a wargamer. True, it only has value amongst those of the wargaming persuasion and many proud wargamers wouldn't be so proud if it came out in mixed company and it can be a deal breaker in some situations: “Have you seen my 28mm Seleucid Companions?” doesn't seem to have the same innuendo as “Have you seen my etchings?” - or, God forbid, maybe it does. Nevertheless, solo gamers are a type sometimes sidelined, tournament gamers can be looked down upon, wargame developers revel in the esoteric and so on. So, what is a wargamer? If there was a Euro-standard for such a beast or there was some financial benefit to being a wargamer, how could that animal be defined? Is a solo gamer a lesser being than a club gamer and which clubs are more desirable to seek membership of? Is a fringe interest more or less beneficial to the hobby than mainstream periods? Do 'rule mechanics' gain extra kudos? There are league tables, mostly associated with particular rule sets, but do they show anything other than who's best at playing to those rules or, possibly more accurately, of those players who have access to sufficient opposition, enter tournaments or simply can be bothered, who is best?

National associations have tended to be eschewed: a natural reaction by a group which can't even agree on a common set of rules for a given historical period or conflict and certainly can't seem to decide on a definition of what a wargame is. Ergo can anyone define a wargamer?

A Quick Competition!!!!!

(by cartoonist and caricaturist PaK)

Not mine, but over on 'Prometheus in Aspic', MS Foy is having a competition with two types of glory: one for those who simply desire the honour of winning and seek no reward or, for others not of the Lasalle school, the chance to win two excellent Napoeonic themed DVD's (Region 2). It's a simple competition and worth entering. Details are here.

Go to it!

The Song of the Dodo

Yes, nice to see you too. Where have I been? Nowhere really, but I've been reading and ruminating and the like. Been cautious about wha...