Its been a very interesting year in terms of hobby! I think the key word for 2015 has to be “change”.
There are 2 major forces for change, I think. The first is that some major franchises are pushing into the wargaming space. Aliens vs Predator and Star Wars Imperial Assault hits the 28mm sci-fi skirmish scene, Star Wars X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing hit starship dogfighting, and Star Wars Armada and Halo Fleet battle hit strategic fleet battle simulations. People who wouldn’t dream of playing Warhammer 40K are playing these and getting sucked into the wider hobby.
The 2nd big change has been the demolition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and its replacement with Age of Sigmar, a much simpler game with a much higher fantasy tone. Some people love it, others hate it, but it has certainly opened up a lot of eyes to trying new games and systems. People who never dreamed of buying anything but GW miniatures now happily buy miniatures from all sorts of places to play a wide range of games. The world of fantasy games in particular is now much more open.
There are other factors as well – Infinity and Malifaux go from strength to strength, and Guildball has been massively popular out of nowhere in the fantasy sports arena. But people do seem to be really looking at the broader industry to a much greater degree than ever before, and the quality of mixtures and games has skyrocketed.
I know my hobby patterns have been shaken up massively this year. I’ve got into Malifaux a little, and got into Star Wars X-Wing and Armada a LOT! The death of Warhammer Fantasy has paradoxically got me very excited about fantasy models again, and I’ve been enthused for lots of new games, like Kings of War, Frostgrave, Of Gods and Mortals, classic 3rd edition and 6th edition warhammer. Dark Elves have been resurrected, and Dungeon Saga has opened me up to new model lines – a mantic undead army is tempting in 2016!
40K isn’t getting me excited like it used to. Some individual models being released are magnificent, but the general trend is leaving me a bit cold. I’m not sure why – I think its the new scale of battles. It feels like replicating the old epic stuff in 28mm – I don’t really want to play with loads of fliers and titans (though I may have and Eldar Titan to paint up in 2016!!!) and superheavy tanks. I really enjoyed 5th edition with infantry on the ground. I’m still enjoying painting models, like my tyranids, but it’d take some pretty amazing offers or superb models for me to buy much. Of course, I suspect a cracking novel or a good game or two will change that up entirely! 😀
I’ve also broadened my paint selection quite a lot! I’ve moved from GW only through Army Painter, and now into Vallejo, particularly model air and airbrushing! I’m now very keen on finding the best paint for the job regardless of brand…. though I do prefer dropper pots!
I’ve seen a big move to gaming online between physical events, with x-wing, armada, malifaux and guildhall all having strong presence and support on Vassal. Infinity relies a little more on 3d and line of sight, but there are infinity modules too. It helps encourage people to know the rules and play, and really strengthens the community around the games.
Although I haven’t been able to game as much as I’d like taking part in events like #WAAC charity raffles have been tremendous fun and very rewarding! In more ways than one, having won a force of Malifaux Ressurectionists! I hope I’ll get more games in, and more painting time next year, but most of all I hope its just as much fun!