If you’re like me, you woke up on January 1st, 2019, expecting an ordinary year of the standard length of 365 and a bit days. Now, as we see out the last hours of 31st December, that feels like it was approximately a decade ago.
If you want my advice for how to dilate time and space, then as a step 1 I would recommend starting a website by accident and watching it grow exponentially month on month, and gain things like “content scheduling” and “team meetings” and “deadlines” where it used to just be where you posted a silly battle report where you forgot to take pictures all the way through and have almost definitely infringed on someone’s intellectual property. For maximum effect, it’s best to start doing this when the main product your website is about has a sudden avalanche of releases, fired out in a scattershot fashion in a way that suggests maybe the sales strategy has gotten a little compressed.
Complaining aside, this has been a wonderful project to be involved with, and I look forward to it growing even more in 2020. May Number ever go up. Hail Number. Besides the website, how has the rest of the year been?
Per my handy spreadsheet of “games played” I’ve played 82 games in 2019. That’s slightly fewer than last year (85) and with much more mixed results – 47 wins, 32 losses, and 3 draws, compared to 68 wins, 17 losses, and 0 draws. There’s two big differences that explain this – firstly that far more of the games this year were at tournaments (56 compared to 37) and that the tournaments I went to in 2019 tended to be bigger and more competitive than in 2018. I also had a wider disparity of results – last year I played in four 1-day, 3 game events and went 12-0 overall, and five 2-day events where I went 4-1 in every event except Battlefield Birmingham 14 where I lost my first and last games. This year in comparison I went 2-3 at Last Chance Open, 2-3 at Bristol City Open, and 2-4 at NOVA Open – a horrible record from my perspective. I’m also not including this year’s LGT, where I was 1-2 on day 1 before dropping out.
The flipside is that I also managed my first 5-0 at Battlefield Birmingham 15 and came 3rd overall, went 4-1 at another 3 events, and 3-2 at my last event of the year (Element Games Grand Slam) where I had to play Mani Cheema on day 2 in the 2-1 bracket – a tough draw from anyone’s perspective! That’s a very mixed bag and I think part of it is the lack of casual games, or even small RTT style events, on that list. Not getting to practice makes you rusty – you make obvious mistakes or forget key things. This is especially true for me, as someone who usually has to play something a couple of times before getting it – I sadly don’t share Wings’ ability to read a page of text and immediately start constructing a mind palace of possibilities, Sherlock-style. In particular I think this was the problem at NOVA – the list I put together was full of good stuff but it didn’t really work together that well, and I didn’t practice with it enough to find that out until after the point where I needed to know.
So where is all this going and what does it mean for the year ahead? Basically, the short answer is “play more.” As I’ll talk about a little later, this was challenging throughout 2019 – life was very disruptive and getting in games was tough a lot of the time. 2020 looks like being calmer, and I can get back to getting regular games at the store to get used to piloting lists and keeping up good habits – and practicing that stuff before it hits a tournament table.
In 2018 I painted, uh, quite a few models. 280, to be precise. It took me about 2.5 hours to take the retrospective picture of them all, because just getting everything out and then packing it away again was a real chore. This year was a slightly more sedate 105:
That is a whole mess of stuff. I didn’t get as far with my Aeldari project as I would have liked to, although I filled out some of my Drukhari neatly – especially that big block of Talos. The full list of stuff above is:
Everything Corrode Painted in 2019 - Click to Expand Craftworld Eldar Daughters of Khaine Drukhari Genestealer Cults Harlequins Imperial Assassins Sisters of Battle Slaves to Darkness Space Marines Ynnari Warp Runners (Adeptus Titanicus) Other
Daughters of Khaine
Sisters of Battle
Slaves to Darkness
Warp Runners (Adeptus Titanicus)
I also knocked out a couple of Whirlwind turrets and touched up a few older Marine models and my Callidus Assassin by giving them new bases to bring them up to the modern standard and also touch up their paint (these guys are hiding over on the right hand side there). Some of this was fantastic and an absolute pleasure to paint, and some of it was an absolute chore (looking at you, Eldar Rangers). Even if I would have liked to get more done, I’m overall pretty pleased with what’s on that list, and I think mostly the stuff I’ve painted in 2019 has come out a lot better than even a year or two ago.
The problem is that I am not exactly painting at what you might call a replacement rate. At the end of 2018 I put in some work to get my backlog under 100 models, finishing the year by skimming under that target with a svelte 99 left unpainted. The problem is that despite painting just a bit more than that this year, my outstanding backlog at year end is, uh, 46x. That means that overall I’ve bought or otherwise acquired 577 models in 2019, and not painted 4/5ths of them. That’s what I suspect a concerned relative would call “unhealthy” or “a problem,” and while of course I say “no it isn’t” looking at that definitely suggests I should slow down on the purchasing front and focus on getting stuff finished that I already own. This will in no way be affected by my impending visit to Warhammer World and the siren song of the Forge World store, nor the Sisters of Battle full release at the end of January.
Speaking of “mixed.” This year had some huge highs and some pretty deep lows, so let’s talk about them.
First up for highs – I got to do some awesome travelling this year, taking in Austria, the US, and Antigua. After visiting it this year Vienna is my favourite city in the world and my wife and I are already planning to go back in 2020. Antigua was also stunning – it’s one of the only places I’ve seen where how it looks in the photos is exactly how it looks when you’re actually there.
Here’s a couple of pictures. Be glad I can’t bore you all with the full slideshow:
Not only did I get to visit cool places, but the US visit was of course the NOVA Open trip which anyone reading this site has heard about ad nauseam. I won’t go into it again (you can always go back and read all of our Road to NOVA posts if you want to relive it), but of course the real highlight was the friends we made along the way. I got to meet dozens of people who are either contributors to Goonhammer or friends of same, and it was fantastic, and thanks all for being such great people.
This year marked 5 years together with my wife, and our 3rd wedding anniversary, and of course every year spent with her is another year where I’m thankful for having her in my life. We also adopted two cats early in the year and they are a pair of absolute menaces and the cutest, best things in the world.
We also bought a new house which is a huge improvement on where we were living before, basically a step up in every possible way, and I finished off my professional exams and officially chartered.
So that all sounds great, right? Well, mostly. I began to notice issues way back in February, when I had to call ahead to a client to say I wouldn’t be able to make it out on site – not because anything in particular had happened, but I just couldn’t go out that day. It took me a while, but eventually I had to talk to work and to a doctor and get signed off for a couple of weeks. That was about the middle of March, which is about six weeks after I first started noticing anything was wrong and well past the point where I should probably have done something about it. While I can’t pin it on any one thing because there were multiple factors in play, I can say that work has been stressful as hell this year, and involved a ton of the bad kind of travelling and general disruption to my life, and that had a big effect. Since then, things have mostly been better, though still somewhat up and down (remember when I said I dropped from LGT?) and I definitely felt that getting to the end of the year I was dragging myself across the line. I don’t really have a point here except to say that I have not, traditionally, suffered with mental health at all, and I consider myself pretty well-educated and aware of my own feelings and mental state, and it still hit me out of nowhere. Learning to manage stress and know when I’m over-committing is something I’ve had to work on. If you’re feeling the same way, then I advise you to reach out and talk to someone – don’t hang on assuming things will get better on their own.
That’s a down note for a website which is mostly about optimising the way you push toy soldiers around on imaginary battlefields, but whatever. Overall, the good in 2019 has outweighed the bad, and I look forward to sharing 2020 with my family, my friends here at Goonhammer dot com, and of course all of you who are unaccountably reading this long after we expected everyone to lose interest. As you start rolling dice in a new year, and a new decade, we say – fuck ’em up!