Thursday, December 27, 2012
Looking back on 2012
We're feeling retrospective as 2012 comes to a close, so we felt like it might be a good idea to look back on a year of gaming in the Windy City.
The year began with the club ramping up our first concerted effort to produce a series of blog posts on a particular topic. In this case, it was 28mm on the Cheap, a series that aimed to dispel myths about the perceived expense of gaming in 28mm. It's our favorite scale, and we've got plenty of tips on how to avoid breaking your gaming budget. The series actually began in late 2011, but it really gathered steam in 2012. It was also an excuse for us to share some of our favorite makers and manufacturers of affordable minis! We also expanded it to talk about cheap, DIY terrain and vehicle conversions. It's now a regular feature on our blog.
In February, we got our hands on a playtest copy of Apocalypticum, a post-apocalyptic skirmish ruleset under development by Ganesha Games, publishers of the excellent Song of Blades & Heroes. If you follow this blog, you know that CSW has a soft spot for post-apoc gaming as well as Ganesha Games. We enjoyed the game and look forward to its eventual publication.
By April we were gearing up for our second appearance at Little Wars, an annual convention that takes place in suburban Chicago. In 2011 we ran a straightforward Song of Blades & Heroes scenario. This year, we aimed a little higher: post-apocalyptic highway carnage! Check out the battle report from the game to get an idea of how epic it was.
Later in the summer, we launched our first club campaign: The Iron Isle, a Song of Blades & Heroes fantasy epic! That link goes to a description of our campaign world, as well as battle reports from the 20-odd individual games we played over the course of the summer. It was a fantastic series of games, and the campaign really inspired us as a club to dig deep into the hobby. We painted miniatures and built terrain all summer long, buoyed by the fantastic games we were playing in the campaign.
It was around this time that our recruitment efforts began to pay off. We had regular gaming space available at Pat's house and Karl's house, and our small group soon grew to number 6 or 7 regular players. We're very excited to see new faces at CSW's regular game nights!
By September, we were beginning to talk about our winter campaign. The consensus was that we wanted to try out a full-blown post-apocalyptic campaign -- after all, we had the miniatures and we had the vehicles. Time to put 'em on the table! With this in mind, the terrain bug bit a few of us that fall. Pat started knocking out various post-apoc ruins and rubble bits. Karl converted a bag full of plastic farm buildings into a table's worth of industrial warehouses. He also snagged an architectural tabletop model at an auction and reconfigured it as an urban wargames table. Tim churned out a great collection of modular modern office buildings, as well as a batch of foamcore ruins and some plaster car wrecks.
We took a break from all this post-apoc prepping to host our second annual Halloween zombie game at Games Plus. Carnage in New Chicago, the sequel to 2011's Escape from New Chicago, allowed us to really one-up our previous game in a lot of ways. We had more terrain, more zombies and most importantly, more players!
We closed out 2012 by auditioning a number of rulesets for our upcoming post-apocalyptic campaign. We tried Neutron York 3000, In The Emperor's Name and This Is Not A Test, a work-in-progress ruleset that we are helping to playtest. We're leaning towards TNT, though our recent game raised enough questions that we decided to have another go at it in early January.
Thanks to all of our readers who took the time to post a question or comment -- and bonus points to everyone who came out to game with us in 2012. Watch this space as we head into 2013! We hope to share more photos, battle reports, tutorials and gaming fun with all of you.
-- The Players of Chicago Skirmish Wargames