This year has been mixed at best. Costs have gone up all over, while household income is at best flat, so financial difficulties have gotten fairly bad. This led to me finally letting go the storage unit we’ve been renting. I had been meaning to do it in a more controlled fashion, but money was pressing, so it got done in a bigger hurry. There was a lot that truly needed getting rid of, but six large boxes of books are now gone. There were things I was definitely ready to let go, but there were a good number I would have liked to have kept as well.

Fox Den‘s republishing of Campaign continues, with issue #83 due out the same day as this post. I only got out one mid-month release, Guidon #5. Panzerfaust #52 is next up on that, and I need to get it laid out, as I bet it will do well. As it is, I got paid eight times again in 2022, for a bit more than $600, which is down a bit, but nicely steady, considering that a fair amount of money came from the Wargamer’s Guide series.

I’ve kept the blog on schedule, with hardly any extra posts, but I’ve generally caught up with game writeups and book reviews, after usually having about four of each to catch up on for the last couple of years. I’ve also reactivated a few subjects that I’d largely abandoned thanks to the overcrowded reporting schedule. I got eight reviews of Paradox’s games out this year, including the big ones for Stellaris and Hearts of Iron IV. I still have another five in the can, and also put out another spell collection for GURPS Dungeons & Sorcery, with a bunch more ready for that too. I also finished off a Forgotten Realms review I had 80% done for years.

Steam tells me I played twelve different games this year (not including Final Fantasy XIV). Four of those are space 4X games I tried out during the Steam Summer Sale. A couple of them are interesting (with Galactic Civilizations III being best of the lot), but none measured up to Stellaris and FreeOrion. I also got a bundle deal on Civilizations III-VI, and have spent a good amount of time on VI (I need to try out V still), which is very good. In a way, they’re still layering on complications, but overall, its’ actually a fairly streamlined experience. One unit per hex is definitely too draconian (I think a stack limit of three would be much better), but militaries are down to sizes that aren’t just boring to handle. Right now, my Dad and I are playing Civ VI on Fridays instead of Stellaris, though we’ll probably go back to that when the current game is done.

The Monday ASL games have been dropped, leaving me with a ‘reasonable’ four day-a-week schedule for board gaming. As ever, there’s a long list of games to try out, but I got around to Men of Iron, Serbien muẞ Sterbien (/1914 series), Space Corp, and Battlesuit (and SPANC). In turn, I introduced Mark to Der Weltkreig, and Jason to GTS. Out of all of those, I think GTS is the best series, though there’s a lot to be said for just about all the others. I think the 1914 games are too ambitious, and should have concentrated on the logistics of keeping a corps operating when you have the divisions moving around as separate pieces. In “old hat” territory it looks like I only got 5 ASL scenarios in, but Mark and I’s SFB campaign has gone into a very challenging second year for me. I also finally finished off version 2.1 of the Federation & Empire vassal module. I’ve gotten a bunch of extra scenario setups in, so I need to look them over, and put them in a v2.1.1.

Game spending is down from the stellar heights of 2022, but still a lot higher than it should be. In my defense, I got some really great deals for some of that. But a HASL, a Journal, Briefings, the new Pursuit of Glory, and the Wiz-War Kickstarter really added up. It certainly confirms me in my decision to skip the next issue of Skirmisher as not being interesting enough for me, though there are some games likely to be ‘must get’ titles next year to keep the total up again. (Most notably, Twilight of the Reich.)

Sadly, I’m way off my yearly reading goal this time. I can say there’s some really heavy books in there, and I’m in part two of a three-book boxed set (which gets counted as one there). I also didn’t get any Osprey books to pad my numbers this year. The best non-fiction of the year would be John Hussey’s two-volume study of the Waterloo campaign (extra points for detailing much of the Allied planning before Napoleon attacked). The biggest disappointment was Mike Robinson’s book on Quatre Bras, which was too limited in viewpoint and analysis. But that was nearly the only disappointing book this year (dishonorary mention goes to Virginius Dabney’s Virginia: The New Dominion), and Sumption’s Hundred Years War series continues to be excellent. On the fiction end, I finally got to Ryan Campbell’s Fire Bearers trilogy, which started good, and got better as it went. Kingfisher’s (Ursula Vernon) Summer in Orcus was also a delight that should not be missed by anyone who likes portal fantasy.

Also, got some upgrades and replacements around here. I went into the year needing new shoes and a new chair. Well, the latter is taken care of. Also, I spent a few weekends in June on tech upgrades. I replaced the drives in Index (NAS) with a pair of larger drives, so the house server has space again. I also installed a NVMe drive in Erza, and now boot off of that, and upgraded to Windows 10 (thanks Steam). At the moment, I’m not touching Win11 unless something really forces my hand, because I thoroughly disapprove of the UI changes there. I gave Smudge another NVMe drive for Christmas, and moved Gyodo’s boot drive over to it, and it is even faster than my machine now (from being much slower to boot).

Past the money and storage issues I led with, things have been fairly stable around here. Well, Twitter blew itself up, and I do now spend some time on Blue Sky. My hopes are for more reading, more gaming, and less spending on the latter.