Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 in Reflection & 2017 Gaming Resolutions

This year hasn't been a great one in many respects, but at least I played a lot of D&D.

I didn't get much gaming in at home. I attempted to start a Star Wars campaign using the West End Games system before moving onto White Star. While I greatly preferred running White Star, I just couldn't keep the campaign going. Star Wars is a property I don't mind visiting, but I found myself struggling to channel that universe onto the table. It's just not a toy I want to play with.

I did find success in running a weekly D&D 5e game at my local game store for several months. Although I wasn't a huge fan of 5e and the campaign cemented my opinion of the game as not being a good fit for me, it was a lot of fun to get in so much play and I could definitely see myself developing as a DM. Compared to the amount of gaming I got to do prior to this campaign, I was now in intensive training. I would probably still be running this game weekly if the store hadn't gone under.

I also ran my second convention game at Griffcon, a small local tabletop conversion. Rather than 5e, I ran my own version of OD&D. My first convention game was about two years ago and I was a nervous wreck going into it. After weeks of running D&D at the game store I am now much more comfortable in running a game for strangers and barely broke a sweat.

At this same convention I was finally able to play in my first game of D&D. I had played in many retroclone games at conventions, but this was the first time the DM was running a game officially titled Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, it was AD&D and it was a blast.

The book of my year was definitely Maze of the Blue Medusa. I spent several weeks running this at the game store and it was the basis of my convention game. I kept meaning to write an official review of the book, but there is very little I can say that hasn't already been said by those better spoken than myself. The book is brilliantly designed, highly functional, and is a powder keg of creativity. I spent about a month fully immersed in this book and it was an excellent experience. I had to drag my LGS group out of the Maze to give them a proper finale as the store closed, but I otherwise would have been happy to run the Maze until the players explored every single inch of the labyrinth. Yes, it is really that good.

Going into 2017 I've kicked of my first superheroes campaign using the DC Heroes system, which I've wanted to play with since the early nineties. It's quite the departure from D&D but the players seem to be having a ton of fun and it's good to have a change of pace.

I have just a few resolutions for this new year. Really, they are more like guidelines than resolutions. My goal is to slow down and simplify my gaming hobby. While I played more last year than any other year, I'm not sure it was always the best gaming I could have done. 2017 will be more about quality than quantity.

1. Never run a game I don't love. I ran a lot of 5e in 2016 and I don't like to run 5e. At times this made gaming more stressful than fun and I won't have it any more.
2. Be a serial monogamous gamer. Like many others, I suffer from gamer ADHD, in that I jump from game to game as soon as something grabs my attention. While I'm probably not going to run all of these games, this habit of jumping from one game to another means that I don't get to drill down and really get to know a game inside and out. This year I want to focus on one game at a time. Once I feel I have gotten everything I can out of the game I will move on and focus on one other single game until I am completely satisfied.
3. Use what I have. Outside of gaming I'm trying to simplify my life and pare down by belongings. As this applies to games I am a going to avoid acquiring games as much as possible. Likely, if it's not published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Satyr Press, I'm not going to go out of my way to get it. I know this means I'm going to miss out on a lot of good stuff this next year, but I've amassed a backlog of adventures and source books and need to justify their continued place on my shelf. Same goes with non-gaming books. I'd like to read through the rest of the Elric books on my shelf and also tackle the collection of Grendel comics that are currently gathering dust.

I might try to get another weekly game going at the newer, hipper game store in the area. It's not a convenient at the previous store, but I still miss the constant gaming. But I'm only going to entertain this idea after I've gotten DC Heroes well under control and don't have to spend as much time prepping each session of that game.

I'm optimistic for 2017, at least in terms of having fun with games. It will likely be just as bad as 2016 in every other way, but at least there will be games.