Tuesday 5 December 2023

Cruel Seas: "It's a wrap"

 Another project bites the dust.

I'm now rummaging through my shed, updating my spreadsheet and looking for 'low hanging fruit - tasks that can be completed relatively quickly i.e. 12 Heavy Gears get painting priority over my ~100 Warlord pike and shot.... 

I've painted at least ~700-800 minis this year (admittedly to merely 'acceptable tabletop' standard) with 205 in the last fortnight alone. About 600 yet to go in my unpainted lead mountain....

Raumsboote - a kinda minesweeper/patrol boat. I'll come back and tidy the camo later - but the main thing is it is playable.

Fairmile D's - my favourite WW2 naval vessel. Pity it would cost me $120+ for another pair... the pricing on Cruel Seas makes GW look like a thrift shop.

Some Higgins and Elco PT boats to co-operate with the British. I left off the masts as they are stupidly bulky but will probably replace them with a pin - later. My over-riding mantra is "is it table-ready - now?"  - I often come back and pretty up bases and add details in later on.

My 2023 focus was on making playable, self-contained projects - painted minis, suitable terrain, fun rules - and clearing the lead mountain of unpainted minis, which stood at 1200+

A few self-imposed rules:

1. No new minis until you have painted DOUBLE that in old, existing minis

2. New minis must be painted within a fortnight. If you can't, you bought too many.

3. No new projects/genres until you have completed ALL minis from another project/genre (preferably similar). Purchases should preferably complete an existing project or a game you play a lot (MESBG etc)

4. A dozen minis per week (steady progress, but not a punishing chore)

5. Tabletop standard - basing can be basic, you can always come back to mini later if not 100% satisfied.

 "Can I play with this mini, does it look cool on the table yet?" not "Is it perfect" Is it a playable toy or a Golden Demon winner?

6. If you buy pizza, you have to build terrain with the boxes 

A suicidal ram in a recent Death Race game. Both cars exploded.... This is a game that is amazingly cinematic but kinda slow; 3-4 people with a simple car each is what I'd recommend. Go to page 3 and have a look at the "steps" a player makes in a turn. Despite my caveats, I strongly recommend the game for the cheap fun it'll inspire collecting and kitbashing Hot Wheels.

A few things I've found helped in my painting marathon:

Swap painting locations - I have 3 painting 'spots' and a moveable paint tray

Swap paint projects (1800s Venice -> Death Race car wars -> PT boats). Try new paints and brushes.

Excel spreadsheet to monitor finished/unfinished minis (look at this BEFORE ordering any new toys)

A brief painting session each night after my kids are asleep

Cutting down on layers (i.e. why paint a leg seven times? Undercoat->wash->highlight->tidy/detail if needed.)

Watch topical DVDs (Battle of Britain prior to Blood Red Skies, etc)

Ensure you play game/s with completed projects

Recording progress


  1. Wow, great progress! Stupendous results.

    I look forward to see some of the games you play with your completed stuff.

    1. I've never got into battle reports, if that's what you're saying? Pausing to take photos kinda breaks the game flow, like looking up a rulebook.

      The only time I tend to photo/record things is when I am solo playtesting rules and I seldom bother with nice terrain :-/

      Speaking of playtesting I think I have your Castles in the Sky sitting on my table - have you changed it quite a bit during the process? (I think I recall trying an alpha version back years ago)


    2. Battle reports can be as detailed or sparse as you like. Some will take a photo after each player turn, so that's a dozen photos for a 6-turn 2-player wargame. Or you can just take pictures when something notable happens. It can be valuable when doing structured play testing.
      It really depends on your goals, but most games have a flow where it's not too inconvenient to take a picture.

      - GG

    3. Yeah, Castles changed a lot. The core mechanic changed to dice pools and adding/subtracting dice from the pool rather than Target Number mod changes. I also changed the Command and Control mechanics a lot.

      You will still easily see the core ideas and elements stayed the same though.

  2. Replies
    1. Nice to hear from you!

      As a fellow coastal forces aficiando, have you played Manley's Narrow Seas yet?