Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Top Three Gaming Moments

And as the resurrection of the blog continues, we return to another Bottom of the Glass tradition - the gaming moments of the year. This year has been pretty much dominated by one game - D&D4e - but there have been other highspots as well.

Honourable Mention: 3:16
I'm tempted to say that it is a sign of the narrow range of my gaming this year, that this game makes an honourable mention because it wasn't exactly the greatest game in the world. I should really have said '3:16 ... the last hour' because it was at that point that I 'got' the game and it really kicked up a couple of gears and became a pleasure to play. Something as simple as adding media cameras to the troopers helmets was the trick. Its based on Starship Troopers right? Throw in the satire and it worked far better.

Honourable Mention: Rise of the Zulu
Again, not the most stellar game in the world but a real pleasure to run because it was an open playtest style game with a group of players who, in the most part, had played and really understood D&H perfectly. More than playing the game it was really cool just to be able to talk about the rules and the intent behind the rules and play around with some concepts with a really cool group of people. A great way to start Furnace this year.

Honourable Mention: Dead of Night
It had been a long time since I played DoN and I had never played the new second edition. Its good. Really good. The scenario was like mana from heaven to me. Sort of Cthulhu meets The Hunt for Red October. The players were all great - I got to bellow orders at Andrew, in character, which was both entertaining and cathartic! The game played out well although I winced sometimes with some of the rather entertaining physical feats that were manifested - like ejecting the reactor from a nuclear submarine ala Star Trek.

Number Three: Dresden Files
I think, to a degree, this game taught me a good few things. First - if you are going to pitch a game, deliver that game rather than defaulting to your usual high powered, high stakes adrenaline fest game. Two - I have a high powered, high stakes adrenaline fest default game and I'm quite good at it! Three - there is a level of systems mastery that comes with playing games and cannot be delivered by reading them (I only really got the game in the last couple of sessions) and Four - planning a good 'trad' delivery game requires time. Time which I may not have. It was great to be at the head of the table for my home gaming group again after such a long time but really it gets number three because of what it taught me rather than for the quality of the game.

Number Two: Lady Blackbird
Ah, now this? This was much better. The sort of seat-of-the-pants gaming experience that has become my bread and butter over the last couple of years. It was a different gaming group set up with Ben added as well. The system and the set-up really worked well for me, and the freeflowing nature of the narrative was excellent. I loved running this and I would love to return to some different iteration in the future. In fact....hmmm

Number One: D&D4e Epic Tier
Waaaaaaaaaaaay out in front, its not even funny, the final third of the City of Kings. I've written before about the quality of this game but I recently re-read the GM's blog about the game and it all came flooding back to me. It was sheer quality from start to finish and really capped off an excellent campaign. It will be exceptionally hard to top it. Ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Gaming Resolutions - The Results

Its that time of year again, where I address last years gaming resolutions and set some new ones. I should really make a subtle new sub-resolution of 'write some more in your blog!' as well, as I have been terribly lax of late. So without further ado, lets see how I have done this year, shall we?

1. Maintain the momentum of Omnihedron Games (SUCCESS)

Aye, no problems here. All of the games have sold like hot cakes, funding my trip to GenCon and more. I've knocked out another Miscellany which has sold well. I've done some work on Rise of the Zulu and Vive Le Empereur (A French book) but most of my recent energies have been focused on Duty & Honour 2nd Edition which will be the rules capstone for the game system as a whole. Add to this that BtQ picked up a couple of places in the Indie RPG Awards (Runner Up in Best Support and second runner-up in Best Game) and it is currently placed for the finals of the UKRPG Game of the Year and well ... things have been good.

2. Balance the time pressures of work and gaming (SUCCESS)

Gaming has flowed this year, with D&D wrapping up very nicely indeed and that leading into a Dresden Files game from me. We should kick off some Gamma World tomorrow and we even squeezed in some Lady Blackbird. Hell, I even ran a non-Omnihedron game at Furnace! Now, however, I want more. Work is becoming more manageable and soon my night classes will drift away into the occassional tutorial. If I can plot some stuff around WoW raiding, I definitely want to get some more gaming in next year, one way or another.

3. Exploit Google Wave (SUCCESSish)

I ran a Google Wave game of Beat to Quarters and it was good, but like so many online games, it faded due to real life commitments from some players meaning that they could not contribute as readily as they would have liked to. Looking at the technology as well, it was quite good but in the end we were using it like a message board with a built-in card flopper rather than something actually useful. Of course, the entire point has become moot as Google have retired Google Wave and put it into some sort of unsupported software care home, which I think is a shame really. However, I made a go of it.

4. Be More Selfish at Conventions (FAIL)

Conception: Slots 12, Played 1, Ran 1
Conpulsion: Slots 5, Played 0, Ran 1
Games Expo: Slots 6, Played 0, Ran 1
GenCon: Slots 'many', Played 0, Ran 0
Furnace: Slots 5, Played 2, Ran 3
Dragonmeet: Slots 2, Played 0, Ran 0

I ran one more game and played one more game than last year. So this has to go down as a massive fail. I can put it down to a number of things - certainly my feelings of responsibility for sales on the CE stall contributed a great deal as did my generally being a mug when it comes to calls for referees. GenCon sits there as a stark and confusing stat. I had a good time at GenCon this year, but it coincided with the explosion of my dislike of convention gaming and really, finding a non-Living game there was difficult. Ironic, I know. The indie side of things seemed virtually impenetrable.

5. Avoid Toxicity (SUCCESS)

I think this one has been a definite success. I have only really interfaced with one public forum - UK Roleplayers - and I have made a concerted effort to present a positive, forward thinking and constructive face on it. I have abandoned a number of other fora and feel so much the better for it. I have been in a position, on a number of occassions, where I have written a post and then thoughtfully deleted it. Not through fear of reprisal but more through consideration of their tone and content. It is so much better being nice.

So, three and a half out of five. Not too bad. Circumstances dictate that at least one of these will not be an issue in the future. The dissolution of Collective Endeavour to about half its size and my decision to give the convention circuit a year off in 2011 mean I will be focussing my gaming at home. Thats got to be a good thing.