Saturday, 17 December 2022

The Wollongong Wargamer's 2022


2022 in many ways has been a good year for the Wollongong Wargamers - we have attracted, and retained, new members. We have played a great variety of fun games, and happily returned to our regular haunt at the University after our COVID enforced wanderings of previous years.

However the year got off to a poor start with the sad loss of our mate Doug Parrish, a local wargamer, businessman and all round top bloke. 

He didn't attend regularly, but when he did, he made an immense contribution to the occasion with his larger than life approach and deep knowledge of history. 

He is missed.

Rather than follow a chronological sequence, this retro will reflect on our year by theme. 

Flames of War and Team Yankee were probably our most regular games played? There were one or other game ongoing on most of our evenings, and they have certainly been the big draw for our young bloods!

The backbone of our Flames of War games this year has been the Op YULETIDE campaign run by Colin. This is something of an alt-history scenario whereby the Op DRAGOON landings took place in the Balkans rather than southern France. Cue lots of mountainous terrain and air drops, which makes for challenging games!

There has also been time for large one off games, which have helped our newer members get on top of the rules. A big Sunday game in April was set in the Western Desert centered around the battle for Ruweisat Ridge:

My favourite was our Battle of Paderborn, an evening game in May, commemorating the likely only time that Pershings, Tiger IIs and JagdTigers faced each other:

Team Yankee has featured less prominently this year, but the games we have had have been pretty speccy! This game was set around a fictional NATO evacuation of Izmir, Turkey. 

I also set up some Team Yankee Fate of A Nation spin off games in a bid to encourage 1:144th games. No converts so far, but a couple of enjoyable games!

By a long way our most popular ruleset, however, has to be Bolt Action! 

This sustained us during the tail end of the last Covid outbreak when we played at the Bulli RSL...

and continued to be a regular feature of our Thursday evenings, 

with the table set ups and scenery becoming ever more spectacular, as has been the figure painting standard of all concerned.

So much so, that a very large Bolt Action game was once again the centre piece of our contribution to the local IPMS modelling show in May this year.

Another regularly played game remains Lasalle II, maximising the club's expertise after having been heavily involved in the play testing. 

Our Lasalle year opened in March with a big game between the Russian and Ottoman Empires in the little known battle of Arpachai, the game held in the spacious Bulli RSL's function room. In the background you can glimpse our sister club (Illawarra Horse and Musket) putting on a spectacular 28mm ACW game. We also used Lasalle to commemorate Salamanca Day in July:

More recently, on a smaller scale the Russians were out in force again, this time fighting the French!

But the biggest Lasalle event has to have been David's hugely successful Lasalle Games Day, when we were joined by Lasalle enthusiasts from Sydney and the Southern Highlands.

2022 has had something of a nautical theme for the 'Gong Gamers: we have continued the long running play testing of Sam Mustafa's soon to be released WW2 Naval Rules, but in the meantime held a couple of games of Victory at Sea, this one in May with a Guadalcanal theme:

The sailing navy has not been neglected, however, with several games of Black Seas held over the year...

Culminating in a large game on Trafalgar Night in October!

We were also lucky enough to have the nice chaps from Broadside: Empires of Steel come down for our BEOS WW1 Naval day. They introduced the rules and set up a series of games for us:

And, left to our devices, we steamed on, with a game commemorating Dogger Bank.

So far we've only recollected the more regularly played games of 2022, but of course there were a host of games played that, whilst popular, were perhaps not part of our staple diet. All I know of this Gaslands game is that, judging by the laughter, tears and yells emanating from that table, it was fun!

Whilst ADLG was not played regularly this year, there were several games played, all sporting beautiful figures.

To my regret we only managed one game of Rommel this year, organised by Peter P, but it was a terrific game: visually stunning, a challenging, historical scenario, and enthralling game play. If I am to have any New Year resolutions, one of them will be to pull my weight in organising more Rommel games!

We also managed just the one game of Blucher this year, with a return to my favourite battle and scenario: Quatre Bras.

There seemed to be far fewer Black Powder games early and mid year. But with the advent of Warlord Game's Epic scale ACW figures opening up the possibilities of manageable large scale battles, I organised an ACW campaign based on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. We opened with the Battle of Kernstown (below) and followed up with the Battle of McDowell. 

Our gaming year finished on a fun note with a large, casual game of What a Tanker! with players facing a series of challenges in order to qualify as Utter Tankers! 

This game was so much fun I anticipate WAT! will feature in our repertoire more regularly in 2023...Apart from continuing the Shenandoah campaign, and hopefully a few Rommel games, what else does 2023 hold for us? Well the YULETIDE campaign is far from over, and there has been talk of a present day 'what-if' Team Yankee campaign featuring a stoush between China and India. 

I also predict an increase in WW2 Naval gaming if and when Sam's new rules get published...Other than that, well its wargaming - we can travel anywhere in time and space!


  1. a really interesting array of tables - looks like a very strong club.

    1. Thanks Norm - I think you are right. Not sure what the measure of success of a wargaming club is, but I think a key point we have reached is that no one member is now indispensable - we have several folk who regularly organise a variety of games, so the club has a bright future...

  2. Always a strong club and presence. One of the best in Aus.

  3. What a great variety of games playerd there Sparker. You certainly have a thriving club and hope you can persuade more of the advantages of smaller scale miniatures in 2023.

    1. Thanks Steve most kind! Yes regarding the 12mm universe hope springs eternal - for now it seems the ideal scale for large Arab-Israeli tank battles, but as my Eastern Front collection grows we'll see if we can expand into WW2!

  4. @Sparker, Happy Holidays from the US. I've been enjoying your blog the last two years, and it has quite honestly helped me throughout the pandemic. I always look forward to a new post while drinking my morning coffee. I'm further inspired to actually paint my miniatures after visiting your page. I have much work to do! I love your Flames of War and various Napoelonic era content, but everything you all wargame is very enjoyable. Just wanted to say thanks to you and all of your compatriots!
    Best, Chris

    1. Hi Chris - Seasons Greetings from Australia! Thanks so much for the kind words and so pleased you've enjoyed the blog! Yes we all need some motivation to pick up the brush now and again...