Sunday, 6 January 2019

Happy New Year

First a very Happy New Year to those of you who follow my ramblings.   As I start the tenth year of this blog I must thank you all for the support over the years.   I do it for my own satisfaction, but it is nice to know that you take the trouble to read it.

Jan and I have just returned from two weeks with my son and his family in the UK.   He lives in a lovely village called Rothbury, which is north of Newcastle.   It is a lovely walking area, and we usually explore the nearby hills and valleys.   However this year we have both suffered from flu, which cast a shadow over the festivities.   Fortunately we got Christmas Day over before Jan went down.   However New Year was a very quiet occasion.   It was a particular shame because the weather was sunny and even mild (by local standards) and would have been ideal walking conditions.

We have now returned to sunny Spain.   My cold is much better, though Jan is still suffering.   Tomorrow I lead our first walk of the New Year, and we settle back into our busy and enjoyable routine.

An occasional break of routine is a good opportunity to consider objectives and priorities.   Here in Spain we have a busy routine and little opportunity, or desire, to just sit and think.   Without the distractions and the opportunity to work on the campaign or wargame there is plenty of time to do just that.   Particularly if you don’t have the energy to do anything physical.  

This year I had more time than usual to read wargame blogs and forums.   At this time of year many do a review of the past year, and outline plans for the New Year.  This often involves taking on a new period, scale or project.   Many plans will not mature, but I do envy them the enthusiasm of planning.

I have not bought a new model soldier in more than 12 years, nor have I painted a single figure in that time.   Having developed my campaign system I have spent all of that time wargaming, rather than collecting or painting.   I have no regrets about this.   Instead of hours painting figures I spent hours each week running the campaign, wargaming the battles and updating the campaign blog.  

However I do miss the excitement of new projects.   I have no interest outside of the Napoleonic period, so a different period is not a possibility.   I have no desire to replace my figure collection, I have already done that at least four times over the years.   I have no interest in new wargame rules, all have proved a disappointment over the years.   This is probably due more to me than to the rules themselves.   Because we wargame so often we quickly find the flaws in new rules, or perhaps I should say rules with which we do not agree.  We then adjust the rules, which lead to further problems down the line.   Using our own house rules allows me to adjust them as necessary to provide the type of game we enjoy.  Because I have written them I am better placed to anticipate any resulting problems.

I have tried new projects over the past few years to create wargames outside of the campaign.   Although it is great fun working on the project, the games have always disappointed compared with the campaign games.

It’s a nice problem to have.   A bit like wealthy people complaining that they are bored with their lives.   But I still feel a little envy when I read about a fellow wargamers projects for 2019.


Jacko said...

Happy new year Paul !



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Jacko

Thanks very much
And a very Happy New Year to you too



MIN ManofTin said...

Happy New Year!

JWH said...

Happy New Year Paul,

Thanks very much for another year of stimulating blogging. Reading you mention Rothbury reminds me of how lovely that area is - I felt a definite pang of homesickness!

Just as a couple of thoughts about projects that you could do without buying soldiers, painting etc.

1 - Could you introduce a grand strategy aspect to your campaigns (in terms of allocating resources between the different theatres, for example)?

2 - Could you re-fight some more of the historical campaigns, suitably modified for your playing style and campaign rules?

All the best

'Lee. said...

Hello Paul, I have been following your recent posts and would like to wish you and Jan a Happy New Year. I would also like to offer congratulations on your recent 50th wedding Anniversary, that really is quite an achievement, we have clocked up 35 years, so some way to go yet!

As for the hobby, I like the way you keep busy with blogs and campaigns as well as playing frequent wargames, I do envy you that. We must meet up at some point Paul.

All the best,


JWH said...

Many thanks for another great year of blogging Paul. And many thanks too for reminding me about Rothbury, and the beauty of home...

Regarding projects that you could do that would not involve any new purchases, new periods, new rules and so on, I thought of two potential directions:

1 - You could introduce a grand strategic element to your campaigns to link them together more closely (i.e. allow concentration in certain theatres at the expense of others).

2 - You could play some more of the historical Napoloenic campaigns, suitably modified for your campaign and battle system.

All the best


thistlebarrow said...


Rothbury is a lovely village, and if we had retired in the UK it is very likely that we would have moved there.

I have thought about adding a grand strategic element to the campaign. It would be easy to do as I already have the background and the necessary maps. It would also add more purpose to the six campaign areas.

I did try the historical Napoleonic campaigns some years ago. I started with Bonaparte in Italy, but in the end I preferred my fictional 1813 campaign. I found it to be very restricting to try to recreate an historical campaign.

Thanks very much for your suggestions



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Lee

Thanks for your comments

A very Happy New Year to you and your family too. I expect you getting over the "honeymoon period" and settling into living in Spain. This is the difficult time of year. It can be very cold during January and February, and in particular keeping the house warm is a problem. The houses seem to be built to keep cool in the summer, rather than warm in the winter. It was lovely to have really efficient central heating when we spent Christmas with my son in the UK.

I follow your blog and look forward to seeing how you develop your wargaming now that you are settled in.

best regards


James Fisher said...

Long may you blog Paul.

Dare I ask, will Brexit potentially stuff up your little bit of paradise? :(

thistlebarrow said...

Hi James

Thanks for your comments.

I doubt if Brexit will make any significant difference to our life in Spain.

We have lived here for 12 years plus, and have long been "legal". That is to say we have registered and submitted tax returns during that whole time.

There may be minor problems travelling between here and the UK. But we only do that twice a year, so should not be too difficult.

Certainly no intention of returning to the UK in the near future.