Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 In Review and 2019 Resolutions

Over the last year, while post frequency remained lower than we'd like, I started the year with a Year Review and Look Ahead post. So it seems appropriate to kick off 2019 with the same, looking back at 2018 and my resolutions for the year, and then making new resolutions for 2019.

To start, a quick review of 2018 in terms of the hobby: I hosted a gaming weekend to begin the year, as is becoming tradition. There were six of us at various points rolling dice and having fun with some pre-Big FAQ 1 lists.

My first event of the year was Warzone: Atomic Empire in Durham, NC. I took my Nids and managed to make top 5 overall thanks to my paint score, winning my group thanks to two solid victories day 2 to end up with a 3-2 record.

Next up was ATC; for the second year I lead a team in and we did better than expected, going 2-1-3 on the weekend. I was the sole non-Imperial player, running my Bugs to a 4-2 record on the weekend. This is definitely a highlight event of the year and already have plans in place to return for a third year, this time leading mostly the same team.

To end the summer, I had my annual trip to NOVA - and I took a new army, running Blood Angels (with Guard and a Knight). This marked my first event in 8th edition without my Tyranids, and I piloted the list to a 5-3 record, losing in the finals of my bracket after starting the event 2-2. I made showcase again this year and ended up in the top 10 overall despite a middle of the field bracket and battle placing.

November saw the last GT of my year with Warzone: Atlanta, another staple event. I took Blood Angels again, despite Adam and Nick Nanavati talking up Nids (and then running them to great success). I went 4-1 with my Blood Angels, though scored low on battle points in most games, meaning I wound up in the middle of the pack.

To finish the year, I made it to my first RTT all year, taking my exact same Warzone: Atlanta list and managing a 2-1 day.

With that whirlwind recap of 2018, let's see how what I did compares to my Resolutions from last January:

1. Have Fun: 
1.A. Play More Games:
I don't think I can say I accomplished this with, if anything, less non-event games than in previous years. Part of this goal was to streamline and better enjoy events by not stressing about things like the clock or just mission selection. I compensated to a degree by opting to run more familiar or more streamlined lists than what I felt might be the best list I could put down. Regardless, this will feature again as a resolution for this year.

1.B. Set realistic goals and expectations for events: 
I think I largely accomplished this, though partly because I don't feel like I had overly defined expectations and goals for any event this year, at least not based on gameplay. For the most part I was better about expecting to do middling well, but not much better, and that will probably always be my goal; to win more games than I lose at events.

2. Clear out the Backlog:
I'll give myself a partial pass here. I was focused on clearing out commission backlogs to allow more freedom to paint my own minis. While I still have a couple models outstanding for Bryan's Dark Eldar, those are the only models left, with me having knocked out the remaining models that were on my plate. I also wanted to work on getting more time to paint so I can make progress on my own models. This is where I fall a bit short, in my mind, as I still rarely paint more than an hour or so a week, with many weeks where I don't paint at all.

3. Place Highly at an Event:
This was couched as being a stretch goal and while I didn't place highly in battle-score, which is where the crux of the goal came from, I did place better than I expected at a couple GTs thanks to paint scores, making top 5 at Warzone: Atomic Empire, and top 10 at NOVA in Overall scores. I was proud of my performance in both, but I didn't really scrape close to top tables.

4. Revitalize the Blog:
A bit of a partial pass here, as well. I wouldn't dare to say we're terribly regular, but nearly doubled the number of non-Podcast posts in 2018, so that's something, though an average under two posts a month leaves something to be desired. 

Looking ahead to 2019, I think these will still stay as more or less the staple resolutions they have been, with various tweaks and specifics for this year:

1. Have Fun:
The staple every year, and the ostensible reason any of us spends the time and money we do on the hobby. In that vein, I think a bit of a return to my roots, as it were, is in order for 2019. This will tie in a little to the next resolution, but I think I have gotten to the point in my collection and hobby where I do not need to devote every ounce of my attention on crafting lists and painting models for the next tournament. This is in part because the start of the year is a relative dry-spell for me in terms of events, but I want to be more flexible with my own expectations and plans for events to allow me to follow my hobby muses more.

The same sub-resolutions carry over from last year as well. I think playing more games, both as practice and those without designs of being direct inputs to a tournament list will do me well. Not only does more practice mean a more relaxed tournament experience overall, but more games that follow various muses also open up more enjoyment of the wider range of my collection that can often times feel like it's just collecting dust. With all this said, if I'm spending less of my little hobby time focused solely on painting and practicing for tournaments, I have to also accept I may not be as tuned as possible when I do go to events.

2. Empty the Backlog and Paint from Inspiration:
Kind of a follow-on to last year's resolution, fully crossing that out and then moving on. As I mentioned in Having Fun, I want to get back to painting things that inspire me or catch my interest for the sake of painting more this year. In order to feel truly free to do that, I need to knock out a last couple items from my age-old commission backlog; namely two Raiders and a couple one-off models for Bryan's Dark Eldar. From there I'm more free to paint what strikes my fancy, like some awesome Rievers:

3. Revitalize the Blog
Continuing this one from last year, but with a bit of a twist; rather than just "moar posts" I want to focus on getting back to the roots a bit with this blog. By that I mean getting back to doing just hobby update posts and looking at cool conversions and fluff and the wider aspects of the hobby. I still have pictures from Warzone: Atlanta of the Armies on Parade that I haven't even loaded onto my computer, let alone shared as cool eye-candy.

On that note, if you have suggestions or requests for content, let me know in the comments or by dropping me a message on email, facebook, carrier pigeon, etc. 

To wrap up, I'm keeping my blog resolutions a bit vague and also more hobby-centric this year. And while that seems like a step back from tournament and competitive play, I think it's more a rediscovery of other sources of inspiration and excitement that I have for the hobby that have been overshadowed.

All this is not to say I'm taking a step back from competitive play, because I am not. I dropped the "Place Highly at an Event" resolution mostly because I don't think it's a realistic resolution; it is not something I have the time right now to work toward making realistic. Despite dropping that resolution, I will still go into every tournament looking to do as well as I can and strive to compete for top tables and high placings. That's largely just a part of me I don't expect to change; I'm going to expect myself to win a majority of my games and be disappointed and look to improve my play when I don't.

So with the caveats added to the end, that's my resolutions for 2019. What are yours; what do you hope to accomplish in 2019?

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