Monday, December 28, 2015

Review of 2015

Well it's been over a week (nearly two in fact) since I've posted for various reasons. A combination of frantically building models for my games with Matt last Monday (some thoughts on the new Tau and Betrayal at Calth were in the previous post), illness, Star Wars and general seasonal busyness have given me very little blogging time.

After a big year for From the Fang in 2014, this year was a comparative slump. I had 430,000 pageviews last year compared to 340,000 this year. That may not sound significant but before then I'd seen a year-on-year increase in hits. You can see from the graph that there's been a massive downturn. In fact, September 2015 was the worth month's viewing I've had since Feb 2013! It probably didn't help that I only posted 5 times in September mind you.

There have been some successful posts though, my Imperial Knight magnetisation tutorial has garnered over 2,000 views and the Harlequins posts got a huge chunk too with the first part of the review being read 3,000 times. Seems like I should've done a Skitarii codex review too since my post telling people to go read Jamie's reviews has 1,800 views!!

I wanted to scale back my blogging this year to give me more time for hobby related activities. I've only posted around 80 times this year which is about two thirds of the number of posts last year. You'd think that would translate into more painted models and generally more stuff done but it really hasn't but I'll get to that. I'm pretty comfortable with this kind of pace though. It still means I'm averaging more than 1.5 posts per week. I'd like to even that out a bit though so there aren't droughts followed by a flood of posts. Still, I wish I was getting more hobby content up on here for people as I think that's where I'd like the blog to go.

Hobby Progress
Well, another abysmal year really. I'm still not able to field a full army of "finished" models. I'm not even close. I had the idea of starting an IK army so that I could really go to town on a very small number of miniatures and produce something I'm happy with. I've not even finished the first one and the other three are all in boxes still.

I signed myself up for Dave Weston's Hobby Season but it hasn't been the motivator I hoped it would be. Ultimately I know what motivates me the most. Tournaments. If I know I've got to get an army finished in time for a particular date I make a concerted effort. Otherwise I do little bits here and there. My Tau got quite a bit of love thanks to our friendly mini-tournament at WHW. My Tau look much better for it but there's still work to be done. The problem with working towards an army in that fashion though is that I tend to work on multiple models at once like a production line. Base colours on all of them, followed by washes on all of them, etc. I think I should start focussing on a single model, get that completely finished and move onto the next. That way I actually feel like I'm getting somewhere rather than starting with 10 unfinished models and ending up with 10 slightly more finished models.

As usual, despite trying to avoid distractions I've ended up working on the Calth miniatures and my new Stormsurge in preference of finishing existing stuff. What I need are small weekly or monthly goals to help me structure my hobby time and not feel overwhelmed with the amount I've got to complete. More on that soon then.

This hasn't exactly been a bumper year for tournament play. I played in an Outpost event in January finishing in a respectable 9th. My next tournament was my first X-wing event in March where I placed bang on mid-table which I was pleased with considering how many scum squadrons I played despite not knowing anything about them! The rest of the year consisted of a single game at BW9 and three at BWX. That's it.

The question is, do I actually want to attend more next year? Matt and I have signed up for a doubles at the Outpost in March, there'll be Double Trouble in June (more in a minute) and finally Fluffageddon in November. The Outpost is getting its act together again though so maybe there'll be some more events I fancy in between. I just find the scene a little difficult right now with too many variables of FW, formations, super heavies, etc. I was never doing that well but at least I was enjoying the games and feeling like I was in with a shot of winning them most of the time. We'll see how I feel as the year progresses but at the moment I don't think tournaments (or playing in them at least) will be a big part of my plans.

Blog Wars and Double Trouble
From my perspective BW9 and BWX were the best events I've ever run. They both had nearly maximum attendance with 48 and 50 players respectively. That's awesome but more importantly the feedback I got was generally excellent. Nevertheless, I decided that the format was getting a bit tired and from my end it was growing stale. In 2016 I'll be doing things totally differently. Double Trouble will, as the name suggests, be my first ever doubles event and a departure from BW in a lot of ways. The atmosphere will remain the same theoretically but otherwise it'll be a very different event. I just hope I get the support that you've all given BW over the years. I'm sorry I haven't gotten round to releasing more details or getting tickets up for sale but I'll be doing so shortly after the new year.

DT will be my only event next year know as Matt takes up the reins in November to run a singles event in the form of Fluffageddon. That means a great big chunk of time is freed up for me the second half of the year. I'll be helping Matt in any way I can as it's his first event but expect a similar feel to Blog Wars. Again, I hope we'll get similar numbers to Blog Wars.

Other Games
I'm not ruling out the possibility of more X-wing events in 2015 and in fact, I feel more enthusiastic about such tournaments than 40K ones. Having said that I really haven't been keeping up with the latest releases and we've barely played it recently. Matt got the big star destroyer for Christmas though so I expect we'll arrange something soon. With Matt now being a proud parent for a second time our gaming time is limited so I expect we'll have more evening gaming sessions instead of full days. That probably means smaller games like X-wing and some of the specialist GW games.

Speaking of which, we had a great first session of Betrayal at Calth. It had a lot more tactical depth than I expected with the simplistic rules and despite feeling like the odds were against my Ultramarines early on I finally managed to win a scenario at the end of the session. We'll hopefully finish the campaign soon and swap sides for another play through. I'm really happy to see GW continue to put out these standalone games and it's had the desired effect of tempting me into 30K miniatures. Whether I'll take more of a plunge though remains to be seen. Rumour has it GW is looking at specialist games again so I'd love to see new releases for Bloodbowl, Necromunda and Epic in 2016.

What's been frustrating is that X-wing hasn't drawn more of my friends into the hobby. Scott now has quite a collection of Rebel ships but Sam, Billy and Steve didn't succumb and buy anything. They all seem content to use our models for the occasional session rather than buying their own and making it a more regular occurrence.

My enthusiasm for the hobby (playing and painting alike) has been on a bit of a roller coaster this year. We really haven't gotten many games in at all this year. I hope this changes in 2016 but it's probably unlikely. It makes me question whether I can really justify having a whole room of my house dedicated to gaming or whether I should convert the room into a study where I can still paint models but make the table an occasional addition to our dining room (or even garage) instead. It'd only be a short term enterprise anyway as once my little boy is big enough, that'll be his room.

I'll talk about my hobby resolutions in the next post but it's going to be a period of consolidation rather than expansion I think.


  1. I think with any game system you just have to keep giving people tasters and hope it reaches critical mass... we had a few at my games club into x-wing, and the same two steadily played it every other time they came down, while two others of us had a collection, played a few games, got others to join in... then left it alone for a while. That was the situation pretty much from when the game first came out. However, recently my collection expanded to include some new ships, more importantly a second faction for me. This meant I could turn up and see who fancied a game, and between me and another guy, we could lend them pretty much anything they wanted to play. After several weeks of pratting around, x-wing was on several peoples xmas lists... I would estimate our player base will have gone from 2 solid and 2 dabblers in October to 7 solid and 1 dabbler in the new year.

    As for Calth, I played through that campaign with a friend, Chaos won 2 Ultras 4, including the pivotal final mission, although we haven't yet had the opportunity to reverse the roles. The falling over the edge of the abyss seems a pretty hard thing for the Chaos lord to avoid, although I do think my opponent erred in letting me break through the barricades somewhat too easily. As I said, look forward to playing again with the roles reversed to see if I can do better.

    Finally, don't feel too bad about the hobby slowdown, we've all been there. Right now my problem is I have ideas for a project that has lead to lot's of conversions, but lacking the good enough weather to undercoat it has gone no further. I could paint something else, I *should* paint something else, but I want to paint those models that I can't paint yet... so I end up painting nothing. It's frustrating to say the least, but I only have myself to blame...

  2. I'm with you both on X-wing. I've been trying to get people hooked on it, in very similar circumstances to you ginge.

    I have to say, I barely get 1000 views a month so I'm very jealous! I've started using the blog touch pro app to blog when I'm out and about or just have a spare 10 mins. That way I can do it when I'm feeling creative as much as when I need too. If reccomend it if it's something that allows you to "blog on the go". You can always touch it up before publishing it online.


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