Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Top Three Gaming Moments

Its been a funny old year - when I have looked back at what we have done, we don't seem to have done lots of gaming but in reality it appears that we have done more than we usually do. Maybe its because I have been virtually convention-free this year? Maybe its because we have had a smaller group? I have no idea. Still, there have still been some excellent gaming highlights.

There has been one gaming, but not at the table, highlight - next year I have been asked to be a Guest of Honour at Continuum, which is one of the 'name' conventions on the calendar, especially amongst 'trad' circles. Clearly, I'm going to have to pull my socks up to make their generosity worth their while.

Honourable Mention: Playing @ Furnace
Gaming at Furnace was a delight this year, as I got to play one of my favourite games (Mouse Guard) and one of the systems I was yearning to play rather than GM (FATE). Great GMs and great games with great players. It was just an excellent convention.

Honourable Mention: The Gamma World finale
Gamma World was a funny old game. From the initial character generation to the rollout of the campaign ideas, randomness ruled, and it was a little difficult to balance and plan things. Kudos to Nigel for riding this rollercoaster so well. The final session, however, managed to do something I thought was impossible and that was to provide a funny, poignant and poetic ending to the campaign. For the three comedy heroes to be so close to global snack food domination and then have it snatched away from them, to end up back at square one and for it to feel like victory? Wonderful!

Future Mention: Dave's D&D Game
Two sessions of a campaign does not do something this epic justice, so I'm going to note this as a 'one to watch' for 2012.

#3: D&H 40k
As seems to be a growing tradition, one game which didn't necessarily 'work' enters into the top three. At Furnace, I ran two games of Duty & Honour based in the Warhammer 40k universe. The games were fine and I had a lot of fun running them in a very Gaunts Ghosts manner. However, the main victory was making the conversion of D&H, getting it printed up and it working just as I intended. The future, both literally and in game development sense, was here.

#2: Chronica Feudalis
CottageCon was a big of a wipeout for me this year. I was very unwell indeed and had to leave half way through. The upshot was that I only got to play in one of the games - a game of Chronica Feudalis based around 'The Tudors'. It was excellently conceived, perfect for the occassion and marked with some brutal PvP political action. The playaids were exemplary and really helped with the immersion in the setting. A great one-shot session. Excellent.

#1: The Temporal Detective Agency
My daughters have always been 'gaming curious' and have dabbled in the past, so they bullied me into running something for them. We have had three sessions (incl chargen) of the Temporal Detective Agency thus far and  it has been revelatory. The girls possess a passion about the subject matter and a real  ... purity (?) in the way that they approach the games. It has been the most refreshing gaming I have done in years. Real thrills, real excitement, real fear at one point! The only downside is that it takes me a while to think up a good enough story to put before them so my output is not matching their demand. Mouse Guard next for them, by the way!

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Resolutions in Review

The Bottom of the Glass tradition returns, as the end-of-year triumvirate of posts look back, and forward, on the gaming year.

#1: Game More (SUCCESS)
An absolute success. My main gaming group have played through the end of our D&D campaign this year, and then Gamma World, the Dresden Files RPG and a little Burning Wheel too. Dave has successfully started a second gaming night, with some new blood, playing D&D which has been very tasty so far. And, as if that isn't enough, I have been playing with the girls - mainly the Dr Who RPG. From precious little to a smorgasbord of gaming. Superb.

#2 Fold or Twist with Omnihedron (QUALIFIED SUCCESS) and #3 D&H V2.0 (FAILURE)
This is a difficult one. Lots of things changed this year in my work life and that meant that I had to make some very difficult decisions with respect to Omnihedron. It became a matter of priorities and resource management - the main resources being time, energy and concentration! The upshot has been the mothballing of Omnihedron for the time being. Its not dead - just resting, and I have some things planned for next year when I get my head into gear. The decision - well, I like to think of it as a decision because that implies I had an active part in it - was a hard one, but in the end it was a right one. The upshot was that I had to cancel all my rumoured and planned projects which included the revised edition of D&H. That was poor form on my part and it is definitely something that will never happen again.

#4: Run Another Game (SUCCESS)
An easy one, this. I've been running a Dresden Files game which has been OK. I have some serious and growing issues with the system and the way that it handles wizards, but the story has been fine and the attitude I have tried to adopt - more an ongoing game rather than a fixed campaign of unrelenting awesome, has been interesting. I'm not sure it 'worked' but it was nice to try it. The games with the girls have been highly entertaining and some of that entertainment has had me wondering about the effects of cultural metagaming on other game play. More on that later though..

#5: Time Management (SUCCESS)
... but a Pyrrhic success if ever there was one. I have gone through a period of extreme 'faff-pruning'. A huge number of Facebook time-sink games have gone the way, as has any real attempt to do any hardcore MMO gaming, retreating back to just F2P DCUO. Work has become a far more regimented system, with marking and planning done with military precision - especially hard as my new position results in some very random callings upon my time. This has kept me open when it comes to gaming and allowed me to maintain things. However, a lot of this extra time has been surrendered to just vegetating in a knackered stupor. I don't think this is a gaming thing - I think it has more to do with health. However, I have managed to make room for gaming, so its a win!

#Unofficial 6: Continue Avoiding Toxicity
This isn't even a question nowadays. I just walk away. Self-editing and knowing when to turn the computer off are amazing skills.

So, three and a half out of five this year - mostly due to external factors. Not too bad really. The year has been far better in terms of gaming than this post seems. Which naturally leads to the next post - Best Games!