Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 In Review and 2016 Resolutions

Happy New Year! In the lull around holidays, and awaiting the imminent arrival of my first child, I thought I would review the last year and revisit my Hobby Resolutions from the past year, and outline some new ones or updates for 2016.

To recap 2015, I'll try to just hit some highlights.

In January, we saw the Necron release, and I bought in pretty big to expand my army, picking up a pair of the army bundle boxes. I also hosted a Kill Team Tournament at my place. I had started with Tau for the Hobby Challenge, and piloted them to a 3-0 run.

In February, I diverted from the Tau for the hobby challenge and painted up some Tyranids to take to the Forge the Narrative Seasonal. The highlight of my hobbying was the Dimachaeron. I took my Tyranids to a 1-4 weekend at the Seasonal, but had a good bit of fun and lots of good games.

In March, I moved on from the Tyranids and worked on some Necrons for my hobby challenge. I also took them to a small event, going 1-2 for the day. In April I went back to the Tau and finished up a second Riptide. In May I didn't do much hobbying, though I started a couple commission projects, the first of which I finished in June.

Over the summer in June and July, I got together a small group for Phil's Road to the NOVA Open league and played with a planned Tyranid list. I took the list 3-0 in league play (one of our members moved right after the league started) but in the championship tournament I got beat pretty handily by Matt and Mike, ending up 1-2, and feeling much less happy with my list.

To begin August, I decided to go with Necrons to NOVA, and formed my Arachnophobia list. This was followed by a hobby weekend with the guys where I painted the majority of the army and got a test game in against Ron.

September kicked off with NOVA, where I had a very good showing, making the top bracket with my Arachnophobia Necron and Eldar list. Also generally just had a great time hanging out with friends I've made over the last couple years.

Also in September I started a new job, which cut pretty heavily into my hobby and writing time. For the remainder of the year, I knocked out my last few commissions, and worked on some Malifaux minis, getting my first Gremlin crew fully painted, along with the Starter set miniatures.

As the year draws to a close, I don't foresee my hobby time increasing for a while, but I still should be able to make a couple events and have fun playing and talking the hobby with friends.

Now for my 2015 Resolutions in review:

1. Have Fun, Damnit!:
The description I initially used keyed on not taking armies to events for perceived strength. I didn't exactly follow this adage, but I did feel like I did a good job having fun at events; despite going 1-4 at the February FTN Seasonal, it was a great time. I similarly had a great time while doing much better at NOVA. In our gaming weekends we did some tournament prep, but we also goofed off and painted and worked on our hobbying.

2. Get the Grey Tide Under Control:
2.A. Have 25% of my 40k models painted:
In this I succeeded, making it to 33% of my collection painted, or 411 models. This was certainly helped by my NOVA prep, but also by getting rid of my Dark Eldar. Considering I have over a 1,000 40k models, it will take some serious chunks to continue seeing progress like that on my grey tide. I painted about 150 models this year for 40k, which would put me in the 45-50% range, assuming I don't add more models, but I also don't think I would be able to keep up the same pace.

2.B. Have 50% of my Tyranids (by points) painted:
I didn't quite make this goal, getting 49% of my Tyranids painted, or over 4,000 points. I would basically just need to finish one more Monstrous Creature to get to the goal, but that didn't happen. Unless a new book arrives in 2016 with some decently large changes, I don't see putting Tyranids as my priority in the coming year, as I have most of what I would want to play with painted.

2.C. Eliminate Backlog Items:
I managed to move the Dark Elves, though the Wood Elves are still buried in the closet. I also put my Dark Eldar almost entirely on the auction block. While I still have a lot of them, I dropped them from my backlog, and will probably eventually part with them for a song.

2.D. Fully Paint a Malifaux Crew:

So, by the letter of it, I completed this challenge. That said the intent was that I would maintain close to 100% painted. Instead, I fell into the trap of buying a bunch; I have all of the Gremlin masters as well as assorted others. As of right now, I have only 24% of my Malifaux collection fully painted, and 26% of my Gremlins. That said, I do see Malifaux as being a bit of a higher priority this year, and with the lower model count, it will be a bit easier to make a dent in this collection.

2.E. Complete the Hobby Challenge:
Again, a sort-of pass here. I got something done just about every month, but it ended up diverging from the original single army design into a bit for a few different armies (Tau, Tyranids, and Necrons). So while I ended up with a new 1,850 army, it was of the same variety of an army I already had (Necrons), so I still only have two armies that could possibly be fielded solo for a tournament army. That said, I could almost run a Tau/Eldar/Flesh Tearers mashup of an army. Those three will probably get the majority of my 40k attention in the coming year as I try to have more armies field ready.

3. Better Store, Display, and Transport Models:
I have loved my Tablewar Display Case for transport and storage, but as far as overall display and storage at large, I'm still somewhat lacking. We have some plans for a remodel of a room upstairs that will free up some wall space for display cases, and help me organize much of my things. However, this plan is, unfortunately, on hold for the time being.

4. Build Friendships Through Gaming:
The first part of my goal was to attend events and make friends. I think I did a decent job of this, forming closer friendships with some of the people I met at the couple events I attended, and generally being friendly and keeping in touch with people I met. It was pretty cool getting to know Mike V. through forums, then meeting him at the FTN event in February, then getting a chance to go head-to-head at NOVA in a streamed game.

As for the second part of my resolution, I wanted to be more of a regular in the local area. In this I think I failed, as I was still unable to attend most of the local events (I believe my last monthly tournament was in March or April). I am not sure how much this will change, though I am going to try to help out a bit with some of the logistics of an event being planned for April 23-24, being called NRVCon. The hope is to have a 32-man 40k event; sometime between 1,000 and 1,500 points.

For 2016, I think my resolutions will be dialed back a bit, but along the same lines:

1. Have Fun:
Again, this is what it comes down to. I again want to be a bit more involved in the local group, but embrace opportunities to have fun with any hobby/gaming time I get. This doesn't mean I will just play "for fun" games, but that I will have fun at events, even when I'm playing at highly competitive levels.

2. Work on the Grey Tide:
As usual, a multi-parter:

2.A. Continue trimming down the Grey Tide:
While I don't think there are many armies/models I would expect to part with at this point, just making a point of not adding more models that are just going to sit on the backlog. Ideally, I should paint more than I buy, and make a dent. My goal will be to get to 50% of my 40k collection and 75% of my Malifaux collections fully painted in 2016. That means I'll need to paint about 200 models between the two, so it's a bit of a stretch.

2.B. Try New Things:
While trying to hammer out grey models, I also want to expand my repertoire and try new skills. Something I've just started trying is using/making washes. I know that might seem like a pretty basic skill, but it's one that I shied away from for a long time because the people I learned from looked down on using washes. Just as people look down on airbrushing, this really doesn't make sense; there's no reason to not use a technique when it would be the most effective one to achieve a desired effect. Hand-in-hand with washes, I also want to learn more about glazing techniques and wet blending for highlights.

This resolution is to expand and improve my skills, while also looking at those skills that will allow me to paint models to a high tabletop level rapidly.

2.C. Have a Third 2k+ Point Army Painted:
This could prove difficult, particularly as I don't want to "chase the meta" and add more models to the backlog, but I would like to have my Tau, Eldar, and/or Space Marines fieldable as an army on their own. All three have gaps, particularly from a serious list perspective, but my Space Marines could be my "fun" army and just be what it is.

3. Better Store, Display, and Transport Models:
I didn't feel like I really accomplished this goal in 2015, so it stays on the list. Along with this, I also need to do a serious overhaul of my storage of unassembled/unpainted models/armies and supplies.

Those are my big three goals. I might build on them in April when I look at FTGT's birthday, but for now, my plans are pretty short-term. Once I settle back into a routine in a few months I think I will be better able to set goals for myself for the remainder of the year.

As far as events go, I'm still definitely planning on going to NOVA, and hoping to defend my NOVA Olympics crown, as well as recruit people to my team and maybe win the team trophy as well. There's also NRVCon that I'm going to help as best I can, and looking forward to playing in. I also had a small team event penciled in for Memorial Day weekend in North Carolina, but so far haven't seen any updates. Depending on whether I make it to that event, I might try to schedule a second event for some point in the year.

So that's my year in review and resolutions for 2016. What are your 2016 Hobby Resolutions?

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