During my last couple of months away from the hobby, I had time to consider the scope of periods and projects that I've entered into, the effects of aging, and my own mortality. I've realized for some time that some of my aspirations (and very possibly a majority) for the table top are never going to be realized, but I've had a horrible time trying to reduce projects and periods that I've already planned or started, as the balance between enthusiasm and work to be done doesn't correspond to any logical reduction of projects or periods.
For example, 28mm post apocalypse is large in scope, involves a lot of terrain and miniatures yet to be completed, and given the nature of post apoc, most projects for this involve more work (and time) than those for other periods. Thus, dropping post apoc would make sense, eliminating a disproportionate amount of projects and work in the future. But it is one of the periods that I am most enthusiastic about, and feeds my need for an artistic (limited as my skills are) gaming outlet.
I've tried approaching my problem from different perspectives, without finding a satisfactory solution. But, during the "Covid era" I did succeed in staying largely focused on my Cold War project, or family of projects, which largely contrasts my much broader shotgun approach to the hobby before that.
Given that "success", I've decided to try selecting a subset of ten periods, and moving forward will attempt to limit work to these, with a goal of achieving a state of semi-completion, before moving on to new periods and their associated projects.
If nothing else, this will result in a much more limited shotgun approach, hopefully leading to a better balance between building/painting and playing games, than I've accomplished working on all thirty-some periods at once.
So, the ten "periods" are:
1/3788 Star Trek/Star Fleet Battles Klingon, Federation, and Romulan fleets (Lyran and Kzinti are more or less done). I already have a good start on Klingon fleet, with some Federation and a few Romulan ships done. The plan will be to complete one fleet at a time, each as a single project, maybe separated by other periods.
6mm 1950s Cold War. I've already started the campaign for this, and work is almost complete, with just a few aircraft and a handful of support vehicles needing paint. The plan is to work on this for a couple weeks to a month, and then maybe occasionally add a few overlooked vehicles here and there as needed.
6mm WWII East Front Barbarossa. Despite having a fair amount of armor done for each side, this still needs a bunch of work; vehicles, infantry, aircraft, terrain, and buildings. I plan to continue picking up miniatures for this, as the money tree permits, and work on like items for each nation as projects; German armor, Russian armor, German aircraft, etc. These projects will be alternated with projects for other periods on this list. I should be able to get some games on the table by next year.
15mm WWII East Front, Barbarossa. This will go hand in hand with my 6mm Barbarossa, allowing focus on smaller and more infantry oriented battles. All of the infantry are done, as are most of the German vehicles. I still need to add a small number of German and a notably larger number of Russian vehicles. I have no soviet aircraft yet, and will need to build some East front buildings to get this on the table. The various parts of this will be done as separate projects, alternated between other period projects.
15mm France 1940. Largely done. I may add a few bits of terrain as needed, and otherwise have a very small number of vehicles and a few airplanes to paint. This will likely get completed as a single 4-6 week project, though may take less time.
15mm Cold War 1950s. The biggest single step for this is to paint British infantry, which will make it table ready. Additionally, I plan t add a small number of vehicles and to build a few airplanes. I figure that it can be all done in a two to three month window.
15mm 1970s Cold War. This will involve Soviet, East German, US, UK, and French forces. I have all of the infantry, with East German, Soviet, and US painted. Soviet and UK vehicles are done, as are a small number of US vehicles. The holdup is really the US vehicles, which I mostly have yet to build masters, mold, and cast. Currently, I still cannot get casting resin, due to chaos initiated by Covid. This will be completed as a series of projects by nation, spread out over years. The US forces will be the last to be completed due to the mastering and casting process, but I will be able to bring games to the table in far less than the total completion time, as I get the most complete armies done first.
15mm Soviet-Afghan War. I already have a large collection of infantry, Soviet vehicles, and terrain for this conflict. Rounding it out will involve adding a few more helicopters and a mix of terrain items; walls, ruined buildings, gardens, etc. I've also been toying around with a design for a more dramatic modular hill/mountain system. Work will consist of new terrain projects or aircraft as needed for scenarios.
20mm Vietnam. An infantry company (plus support) each of US, PAVN, and VC is ready to go. Primarily, I need to add terrain, and a hand full of aircraft, and then will likely build up Vietnamese forces for some larger scenarios. The work will be done as a series of projects as needed to put scenarios on the table.
28mm Post Apocalypse. This has been an ongoing project for many years, and I've only touched the tip of the iceberg. The period will be addressed as a series of terrain pieces and miniature factions added as needed to develop my campaign. I can see spending 2-3 months per year for several years to get this period developed.
Of these, I can currently put seven of the periods on the tabletop in some form, without any further work, so most of this is filling out the scope of the periods/conflicts.
For now the goal will be to focus only on these ten periods, putting everything else on back burner until a period is "completed", at which point, I can choose to add one of the back burner projects to the group of ten, or to simply focus on the remaining periods on the list. I'll decide which route to go, when I get to that point.
I'm hoping that this approach will allow me to balance completing projects with playing more often, as I find that I often have a sense of needing to "complete" all of my projects before playing. I'm also thinking that by the time significant progress is made on these periods, that the sparkle of some of the back burner periods and projects will not be so bright, maybe making it easier to let go of a few things.
It may still seem like a pretty brood approach (or maybe just plain silly), but for awhile at least, narrows the scope of work to just over a fifth of the projects, and just over a quarter of the periods that I've started.