So passes 2023! If you’ve been following along at home (and if not why not) you’ll have noticed it’s been an exceptional year for Goonhammer Historicals. We’ve delved into new periods, different games, outlined our philosophy, gone real weird with it, painted hundreds of miniatures and generally evangelised for the best part of the miniatures hobby. Our bit.
We’ve also doubled our output this year to two articles a week! That’s been both a huge challenge and an opportunity, and we’re incredibly proud that we’ve managed to turn our corner of the mighty Goonhammer colossus into a dedicated historicals grog space. So for our end of year round up this time we’ve asked the team to talk about their favourite articles to give you the greatest hits of our biggest year yet.
The past year I was supposed to focus on only a couple of game systems and I guess I succeeded at that, provided you redefine “a couple” in a broad way. The big reveal for me from the past year has been Blood & Plunder. I’ve done a review of the starter set, and next to the quality of models the gameplay is very fun as well. You can expect some more perspective on that next year. The whole project of building and painting the starter was really enjoyable, with top notch production value from the books, card decks. I honestly didn’t expect a naval game with just two boats could be this enjoyable. Writing about stuff you find fun is enjoyable as well, and it gave me an excuse to learn more about pirates and the period in general.
Next year will be covered in shakos and bicornes, as I tackle the great white whale of historical gaming, Napoleonics. I’m fairly motivated to start working on Austrians and French, and I’ve got a ruleset to work towards, the fairly new Soldiers of Napoleon. Unfortunately the Napoleon movie was not a great inspiration, but they did get the costumes right, as far as I can tell. Anyway, I look forward to diving into that period.
This year has been the story of me finding a new shiny toy and immediately getting intensely distracted before I’ve finished the current project. Abandoned projects scatter the road of 2023 like starving soldiers abandoned on Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow (see, keeping it topical). I managed to focus enough to produce a showcase of my Soviet Women’s Rifle Platoon, and it was great fun getting to go into detail on the history behind that!
The goal for 2024 is to actually finish some goddamned projects and write more articles. Another showcase in the same style, but on my Senegalese tirailleurs, is on the cards, as well as actually finishing my 28mm Napoleonic Hungarians (likely also for Soldiers of Napoleon). After that, perhaps some 12mm WW2 Buffalo Soldiers (with showcase), maybe some wild west stuff, maybe even some 6mm Napoleonics! Ultimately I want to do more stuff like the Soviet women article – hobby projects to justify deep dives on the history of marginalised or under-discussed peoples.
As a devotee of Chain of Command, I’ve enjoyed collecting and painting forces for that game. I even let Mugginns talk me into buying his Senegalese Tirailleurs off him even though I already had Russians, Japanese, and Bersaglieri in my backlog. I’m such a rube. I guess I know what I’ll be doing next year! (let’s be real, all that will take me more than a year)
My article of choice this year is actually a series of articles, and those are the ongoing play-through of the “Totensonntag” Pint-Sized Campaign for Chain of Command. Since I have to pick just one, I guess it’ll be the first introductory article. The reason I am going with this one is because I think Chain of Command really excels in campaign mode, where the outcome of one game affects the conditions of the next. Additionally, campaigns are cool because they capture a particular moment in a conflict and let you bring all of that tension and drama to the tabletop. These kinds of games can also teach you a lot about what was happening, and learning more about the history of a particular action is (in my opinion) one of the joys of engaging with historical wargames in the first place. Committing to write AARs for a campaign is an ambitious goal, but it’s one I’ve really been enjoying. Thanks to everyone who has been reading along!
2023 was actually a big year for me in terms of non-historical stuff – I played a lot of Age of Sigmar. My goal was to play enough to be competent when doing a major GT and I did just that. I played my Beasts of Chaos at the Michigan GT and had a great time.
Even then, I still made time to run a Civil War Sharp Practice game at AdeptiCon and play in a bunch of other Lard America events. The highlight of my Historical career this year was attending HistoriCon over the summer with my brother – I haven’t been to that HMGS con before so that was amazing. I ran my Mexican – American War Sharp Practice game, played in ACW Sharp Practice, Rev War, What a Cowboy, and a few others. It was an amazing time.
This year I’ll be running two days of games at AdeptiCon in Lard America, a 6 player event for The Silver Bayonet and likely playing in Bolt Action Combat Patrol. I’ve dug really deep into The Silver Bayonet and I think I’ll be painting and playing that a lot in the first few months of 2024. Despite doing historical gaming for decades, this is my first foray into Napoleonic stuff – so it’s been a lot of fun to research and paint.
It’s been a massive year for me, largely in going from scrabbling to fill the weekly historicals slot to having the headache of working out which fantastic article the team has written up goes next! Personally I’ve dabbled in the far future, worked out some shit via modelmaking, and made a lot of Victrix Kits and enjoyed every one! It’s been a year of a new scale – 12mm – which I hope to do a lot more of next year, including terrain and airplanes, finally getting a WW2 force worth putting on the table.
My favourite historicals subject this year – as last year – has been Napoleonics. With the movie coming out (and oh what a disappointment that was!), it was time to update our Getting Started: Napoleonics content, and with a massive effort we covered building forces on a budget, game recommendations, small scales, 3D printing and painting guides, with more painting guides to come until we’ve done every single major and minor combatant nation. Doing this was great fun – and it turns out you guys really liked it too, so expect further pushes like this for different periods and wars next year. My favourites from my own pen were the Start Collecting and Start Collecting: Small Scales articles, purely because doing an imaginary shopping list at Victrix, Perry and Baccus was great fun. Classwarcraft’s Napoleonic 3D printing guide really caught my eye, and so I’ll be getting in touch with a few 3D printer friends to get some of the highlights from there too.
Next year is, unsurprisingly, more Napoleonics. Another unit or two and I’ll have the 28mm Imperial Guard done, which is great! The Haitians are lagging behind but will get there eventually. Unfortunately though, I’ve heard the call of something bigger…. something at a very different scale. Something…. salty, and wet.
Oh no. I’m a boat guy now.
That’s it for our roundup of this year – thank you all for reading along (in ever greater numbers!) and for all the comments on social media, support, retweets, chat on the patreon discord and the generally fantastic community we’re building here. Stick around for 2024 where we’re either going to all get into boats voluntarily, or Lenoon will press gang everyone into it!
Questions, comments, suggestions? Favourite historicals articles from this year? Contact@goonhammer.com or leave a comment below.