So what have your top ten hobby highlights of the year been? This could include anything - an event, a game, a new range of figures, whatever. The list need not be in any order of importance. If your name is Fran or Ray it will probably include many happy memories in each other's company.
Here's my top 10, in no particular order.
1. Blogging. I've really enjoyed how connected I've felt with gamers around the world as a result of the blogosphere. I was touched by the kindness of you folk out there when my dad died, and the blogosphere has also brought me a group of beautifully painted British Paras courtesy of Tamsin in the UK. Closer to home, I've made a new buddy in the hirsute form of Man Cave Paul after 'meeting' each other via our blogs.
2. Meeples and Miniatures. I eagerly await each new episode of Neil Shuck's podcast to listen to while painting. I love the arcane and sometimes grumpy arguments about point systems, 'heft' and whether boxed games need to come in boxes, and enjoy listening to Neil interview games designers and figure manufacturers to get an idea of what's going on in the hobby world.
3. The School Wargaming Cub. 2012 saw the club developing some momentum, and it has been a real privilege seeing the boys getting into it. You should see some of the figures that boys who were entirely new to the hobby a year ago are now painting. One of the main reasons for success this year has been...
4. SAGA! 2012 has been the year of Saga in the Duchy. I've played more games with more different people thanks to it than ever before. What a tops game!
5. Taking part in a Saga tournament. I entered my first ever tournament this year at Hall of Heroes, and even won it! The victory was sweet, but even sweeter was just having a full day of gaming with some great blokes in a fantastic venue. Seriously, if Hall of Heroes had a bowl of oranges lying around as an anti scorbutic there would be no reason to ever leave.
6. Battle Group Kursk. Terrific looking set of rules that has made me excited about WWII gaming again.
7. Fireforge miniatures. Boxes of affordable 13th century knights? What's not to like?
8. Two little Dux. Dux Britanniarum and Dux Bellorum joined Saga this year, making gaming the early medieval/dark ages arguably more interesting than it ever has been before. I'm really looking forward to starting a Dux Brit campaign.
9. Cabot's Acrylic Stain and Varnish. What I use instead of Army Painter Dip. Great stuff that helps me get figures on the table without making me feel ashamed of them looking goopy or too dark.
10. War and Peace Games. Great local online business run by people who know the hobby, know how to look after their customers, and who are happy to help support local clubs.
It has been a good year. Add to all that the fact that I painted 348 28mm figures along with a few in other scales, and a feel a curious glow of contentment.