New Gaming Year Ir-Resolutions 2023?

One of the interesting parts of this Twixmas part of the blogging year end is reading people’s reflections on the past year’s gaming and personal highlights and lowlights.

Usually this is followed by some optimistic New Year’s Resolutions to conquer the lead / plastic mountain (warning – traditionally this risks a gamer’s demise!), buy less, play more, sort out storage etc etc.

What are your New Gaming Year plans or resolutions this year?

Instead for the last few years I have sketched out things that I might or might not do on the tabletop this year, Ir-Resolutions that may or may not happen, rather than resolutions.

It’s a hobby, after all; if they don’t happen, the world won’t stop. It may or may not be cheaper than a whole year’s gym membership. It will certainly be more fun!

My 2022 Irresolutions for the record

A wander through the blog roll monthly section for 2022 will reveal that many of these were quickly halted in February by …

The Ukraine Invasion

One of the major impacts on my gaming this year was the invasion of the Ukraine in February 2022 and its raised nuclear threat.

I have found this all quite disturbing and unsettling, which is how real war should be regarded. Ukrainian flags can still be seen online and in our streets as a reminder during this conflict’s first Christmas at war, reaching people in a way that maybe the Balkan Wars of the 1990s didn’t. Many have said that this is our first active ‘hot’ European war since 1945 (setting aside the Cold War). I’m not sure where that leaves out the Balkans and Kosovo conflicts.

I’m not sure why the Ukraine Invasion had such an effect on me, maybe like others it was the inescapable press and social media coverage and the presence of refugees in our midst?

I wasn’t gaming much at the time of the First and Second Gulf Wars so cannot compare this but I have generally avoided gaming modern conflicts on the tabletop.

The Ukraine Invasion also coincided this year with the Falklands 40th Anniversary.

The Falklands in 1982 was the first conflict that I remember living through as a child, watching on television and reading about in near real time in the newspapers.

I was reading Featherstone’s Colonial Small Wars at the time of the Falklands, borrowed from the school library. The Falklands had a vaguely steampunk Victorian feel to it, a risky distant punitive Colonial Small Wars expedition but one with helicopters, aircraft carriers, machine guns, submarines, fast jets and Exocets but still a lot of improvisation, logistical challenges and infantry yomping.

The Falklands was close in time to some of my school friends’ decisions to leave school and join up. Some of them served in Northern Ireland and the Gulf, later in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Thankfully they all came home, physically at least unscathed.

My samples of ‘modern’ British Army Troops bought with pocket money c. 1982/3 from Platoon 20 – unused and now quite battered.

I bought a few sample modern figures (for a possible diorama project?) from Platoon 20 at the time. However I never had much desire to model or game these recent wars on the tabletop. I was surprised to find that these now vintage historical figures are still available, now sold through East Front Miniatures.

These modern wars seemed too close in time to game on the tabletop, having met people who served (and suffered) in Vietnam and World War Two. I became increasingly aware of the effect of WW1 on a whole generation, including my own community and family. Who would not be affected by the long lists of lost boys’ names on the wall in my school hall and the local war memorial?

Coming of age in the Nuclear 80s, I found many around me questioning the state of things through CND, Greenham Common, disarmament and White Poppies amid the Cold War politics.

As I grew up and should have left such “childish things” behind, people were asking whether War was a suitable thing to game on the tabletop? Did war toys support and encourage acceptance of militarism? etc. etc.

The WW2 veteran tankie Donald Featherstone had a small amount to say on the matter with his “no lead orphans” approach and end quotes from Wells’ Little Wars (1913). The ethical argument about gaming war rumbles on with video games today.

I also acknowledge that, done well, wargaming or recreation on the tabletop can be a valuable way to research, learn from and understand different conflicts from modern and future conflicts right back to distant historical events.

As a result, I have put away the khaki, the grunge, modern weapons and figures into the cupboard this year, at least for now and possibly until the Ukraine conflict is resolved.

I have replaced them instead with diverse DMZ or Demilitarised tabletop games – Snowballers, Scouting Wide Games, Skateboarders and Suffragettes! These were all pre-2022 projects that had been trundling along on the back burner anyway.


So having put away the khaki, what might 2023 bring?

Highlights and irresolutions of NGY New Gaming Year 2023?

A. Woking 54mm Games Saturday 4th March 2023

I have been trying to attend this cheerful niche 54mm gaming day, originally to take the Scouting Wide Games on the Tabletop Project, since before COVID affected the March 2020 event.

I have writer friends who won’t tell you what they are currently working on as it somehow saps the energy and risks jinxing any new project. I hope that writing this does not jinx me getting to the Woking game day.

I look forward (rail strikes and pandemics willing) to finally meeting some other 54mm players and collectors. Some like Mike Blake and Brian Carrick inspired me as a young gamer to take 54mm seriously on a Skirmish Wargames scale after reading Featherstone book chapters or their magazine articles about Big Wars in the early 1980s. They are still gaming in that scale after forty plus years. Impressive. What a life long hobby!

This year with a little help from Alan ‘Tradgardmastre‘ Gruber (whom I have met up with several times over the last few years) I am taking the 54mm snowballers and snowball fight rules / game for some fast fun games.

I already have two to three snowball teams made up mostly of converted Christmas Village Lemax 54-60mm resin figures (lighter but more fragile than lead to take to Woking by train).

However via the wonders of the Christmas cupboard, the team at Imperial Miniatures provided some fresh castings by Dorset Soldiers of an unusual 54mm snowball team to unveil at Woking … Watch this snowy space!

b. Paint some more Peter Laing figures?

What might I do to celebrate Peter Laing’s 50th anniversary year, Laing having launched his 15mm figures and invented that scale in November 1972? Certainly I will be keeping an eye out for more Laing figures appearing on online auction sites of second hand figures with the help of the MeWe Peter Laing Collectors circle / forum. I might even get around to painting some of them.

C. Scouting Wide Games for ever!

I have really enjoyed working with and converting 42mm Figures for this unusual project, along with the historical and uniform research on obscure youth groups shared through my project blog.

However, as in Irresolution A, it will be 54mm snowballers that I take up to the Woking Games day this year. The smaller Scouts and Guides will have to wait another year …

D. More SciFi, Fantasy and Role Playing Games influences?

I have watched some interesting sci-fi and fantasy series to pass a cold dark evening (when not painting) that often suggest games scenarios. Disney, Netflix and Apple TV have offered watching (and rewatching) whole series such as Wayward Pines, Wednesday Addams, The Hardy Boys, Star Wars Andor / Rogue One, Stranger Things, The Orville, amongst others.

They offer a grungy dystopian view of the future that has interested me since the colourful shiny 30s and 50s 60s sci-fi of Flash Gordon, Star Trek and comics tha I grew up with was challenged by the grunged up and rusted Star Wars films in the late 70s.

Some of my wider family are interested in (what are to me the incomprehensible world and rules of) Warhammer 40K and Dungeons and Dragons. Adding elements of personalised, role playing, character driven skirmish games into my games might be interesting. I also find interesting the overlap of tabletop figure gaming with video game scenarios .


Somehow outer space, sci-fi and fantasy seem (ethically?) remote enough to allow for bloody perilous ImagiNations conflict of Close Little Space Wars? I could always operate non-lethal “Set to Stun” Rules.

Some of my late 2021/ early 2022’s Airfix Space Warriors painting

So a return to a Back Yarden Far Far Away is probably on the cards?

E. More Marching Bands and scaled down Pomp (and Circumstance) of the Coronation?

Will another mantelpiece parade be in order in May?

I’m not a natural Royalist and have no interest in watching The Crown and the Netflix factional or fictional goings on of the Royal Family on TV. The Queen’s Jubilee and funeral however was an interesting historical event and military pageant.

F. Storage, Big Wars and Little Wars?

I need to think about (my lack of) lead figure good display and storage cases – am I a toy soldier figure collector or gamer or both?

A review of my gaming and modelling space and bookcases is needed, as finding stuff when boxed up in my garage and household storage is a problem. 54mm figures, terrain and buildings take up a lot of storage space!

Vintage 50s and 60s plastics probably shouldn’t be stored in garages or lofts with unregulated extremes of heat, if you want to avoid brittleness.

G. Carry On Blogging …

Happy New Year from some of my diverse gaming blogs, of which amongst others:

Man of TIN Blog – the original (almost full up!) blog

Man of TIN blog two – the successor blog

Pound Store Plastic Warriors – Little Wars on a Budget

(Snowy and) Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop

Collecting Peter Laing 15mm figures


That’s probably enough New Gaming Year 2023 Irresolutions for one year.

Not much changed from 2022, just with slightly less khaki and invasions …

Happy New Year and best wishes to your busy paint brushes, shiny toys and tabletop games.

Blog posted NYE 31 December 2022 / 1 January 2023 by Mark Man of TIN

12 thoughts on “New Gaming Year Ir-Resolutions 2023?”

  1. Interesting post which has given me much to think about. I do like the Lemax snowball teams and anticipate the mystery team’s arrival with enthusiasm. Three loud Huzzah for your blogs and the interest, enjoyment and inspiration they provide!
    See you on the other side, of Midnight!


    1. Thanks Alan for your contributions so far to the Scouting Wide Games and Snowball fight games. It’s been an odd year in many ways, let’s hope that next year is more positive (and fun). I look forward to seeing what happens in the Duchy Of Tradgardland “the other side of midnight”.


  2. We tend to forget that the early Britains lead hollowcast figures were closely based on uniforms and wars of the time; when a war started a new range of figures mirrored it, for example the Boer War and the war between Japan and Russia.
    It could be argued that toy soldiers helped prepare boys to become soldiers. I love that scene in Young Churchill when Winston’s dad asks him what he wants to do with his life; Winston is playing with his toy soldiers and replies, ‘well I’m awfully fond of wars and things,’ and so he goes on to become a soldier and generally enjoys the excitement.
    On the other hand wars are not caused by children playing with toys. They are caused by geo-political clashes over resources, ideology and borders. Even religion and tribal loyalty still play a role in some conflicts, usually civil wars.
    Fantasy games can be just or more brutal than those depciting real wars. Think of the Dark Elves and Dark Eldar who take joy in torturing their captives. Yet, the vast majority of Datk Elf players are not psychopathic murderers. Nor are most ork players bloodthirsty holligans. Most wargamers are probably actually more quiet and peaceful than average.
    In my fantasy campaign game my characters are created with dice rolls to determine personality and skills. One of these is a percentage roll for Battlefield Intelligence. Another is for kindness and so on. My Beersteiner king’s Kindness roll was only 20 something but he had very high leadership. I concluded that he was popular with his army but inclined to crucify and burn alive rebels etc. In other words any POWs could be dispensed immediately with if it was inconvenient to send them to be worked to death in the mines. For him NOT to be brutal he would need to roll a die UNDER his kindness percentage.
    Some other characters were in the 90s score for Kindness so one could expect them to pause in rushing to battle to save a stranded, distressed kitten and to feed well their prisoners.
    Many of us enjoy watching the most extreme brutality in horror, Sf, crime and war movies but we don’t become murderers. As for modern wars, they hold less wargaming interest for me simply because they lack colorful uniforms. However they do hold technical interest for weapon use and political intricacies. I can study this without losing sympathy for Ukrainian refugees and victims of war.
    It is true that, for a long time now, the contemporary nature of a war tends to delay the toy soldier application. For example, during the Vietnam war most of the toy soldiers children played with were of WW2 type rather than Vietnam war. Now, a good portion of plastic army men are contemporary in the modern American style with Fritz helmets. Specifically Vietnam war toy soldiers are also available, primarily for the adult market.


    1. Thanks for your comments James – what I wrote is intended as no criticism of others gaming choices, just writing about an unease I have, partly from living and working amongst non gamers.
      That scene in Young Churchill is ‘accurate’, based on his autobiography, quoted in Featherstone’s War Games (back in 1962). Wells (also quoted in Featherstone’s book) summed it up well enough in his ending to Little Wars.
      You are absolutely right, fantasy and sci-fi can be brutal and horrific – especially when they are a veiled comment on our modern day world – but somehow because it is made up or imagined, it doesn’t seem to be judged in the same way.
      Interesting point about the speed that some manufacturers respond with figures for playing or simulating the conflicts of now, whether Ukraine or the Boer War or the Russo-Japanese War.


      1. You don’t know me that well. I comment on things in an abstract way, not usually to show offense. Of course we are all different in our sensibilities. I was just throwing in my two Bob’s worth. I love your blog, by the way.
        I’d like to see some more stuff on Angria and the Glass city. Maybe you could invent some uniforms and adventures. What a quirky way to get interested in imagi-nations and so interesting as a result.


      2. Excellent! my own imagi-nation, vaguely Renaissance, era fantasy campaign will be getting into swing again in a week or two. I am paying more attention to the personalities of characters, and it is interesting how, once I have rolled for various qualities, they start telling their own stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mark….I like your approach to new year resolutions…as you suggest it’s a hobby not a chore so why have resolutions at all. Just do what ever you feel like. As for the effect of Ukraine on your wargaming interests, I get that, it has been and is a rather disturbing event for any thinking person. If that means you don’t want to wargame but “play” game that is fine. Our hobby is very broad and caters for all tastes and interests, all are equally valid….Happy New Year….Regards.


    1. Happy New Year Tony. As you say the hobby is so wide or broad that some less serious “Play gaming” is a refreshing change and new direction. Tabletop gaming with the input of fantasy or science fiction or Imaginations (like your TIAN world) vastly increases the possibilities of gaming from being restricted what actually happened historically.


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