2013 Retrospective

This has been a bizarre year in many respects and I’m not just talking gaming wise.

I’ve changed job twice since the beginning of the year and that brought with it some challenges around my free time, particularly of late.
I started this blog which when I set out to do it I was confident of achieving the post a day goal but that’s proven to be unachievable for a variety of reasons (see above), still at least I managed it for 100 posts!
My game time has solidified around the Friday night gaming I have at DWARF in Dunfermline where I think I’ve managed to attend 3 sessions out of 4 on average over the past 6 months which is great and I’ve reminded myself of the gaming goodness that’s available out there.

My Gaming Principles have been fleshed out and have largely stood the test over the past year.

Quick reminder –
1. Only buy it if you’re going to use it.
2. Is everyone having fun? Including you.
3. Accept that you’re going to be the GM.
4. Change is a good thing and is necessary.
5. Opinions aren’t as important as knowledge and experience.

I think the 1st one is probably most open to debate.  The games where I’ve not used it or indeed not used it that much are probably systematic of this hobby and my personal enthusiasm for the products that are put out by publishers.  That doesn’t mean I have abandoned this principle, more that there will always be exceptions (Star Wars LCG being the most notable one although there are others).  I plan to do a value related post to show the variance across my 2013 purchases in the next few weeks so we’ll see just where the problem lies.
The other 4 seem to just be everyday parts of my hobby and also I feel they relate to the Tabletop Ambassador post I did a while back.
So does anything need revisited or added or anything like that?  I don’t think so.  I believe that these 5 principles are working for me (value aside for some things) and indeed believe that they will continue to be the core of how my hobby operates.

Alongside that I established my current hobby objectives.  Again a quick reminder –
1. Sustainable and regular gaming.
2. Play more with more.
3. Home based gaming.
4. Play something new at least one in every six gaming sessions.
5. Visit more game shops.

Apart from number 3 these are all doing fine.  Sure I’ve been restricted by only having the Friday nights for gaming but I expect in 2014 that this will change and I have some thoughts on how to do that.  The home based gaming I suspect hasn’t happened for a number of reasons.  The main one is that I just haven’t put the time or energy into making it happen.  The other is that there may be a psychological barrier going on here – home is for home stuff type of thing.  I don’t associate my time at home with my hobby so the motivation (whilst there) isn’t that strong.
I didn’t do enough of 5 but that was largely down to work stuff getting in the way.  I expect that to improve in 2014.

If I was to add anything to the objectives it would be – Attend more gaming conventions.  That’s largely driven by my plans to go to GenCon in 2014 and with the news that D&D Next / 5th Edition will be released there I’m more excited than I was previously about going.  I also have a desire to go to UK Games Expo (2015 I suspect) and Dragonmeet (2014 is possible).  Alongside those I should be at Conpulsion in Edinburgh again this year but I’m less convinced about that as every time I go I feel more underwhelmed than before…  Definitely a post needed on that topic.  Just need to ensure I’m giving constructive criticism rather than just having a moan!

Highlights of 2013

Board games.  As my gaming shelf will attest 2013 was definitely the year of board games for me.  Why is that?  Well I think in the main it’s down to being able to just grab some games and sit down to play, with minimal (or in some cases) no prep required.  Any particular games?  Sentinels Of The Multiverse, Seasons and probably The Resistance are the stand out games for me just now.  There are others that I thoroughly enjoy (Lords Of Waterdeep) but those 3 are probably the 3 biggest successes.

Alongside boardgames I’ve re-ignited my roleplaying thanks to Edge of the Empire from Fantasy Flight Games.  I expect the first half of 2014 to be loaded with EotE gaming.  I also expect some D&D Next to be in there but (perhaps predictably) that’s likely to take a less important role until the game is officially released in the Summer of 2014.

The people I play games with.  Without getting all slushy and asking for a group hug I have to say that the group of people I’m gaming with are great and the group continues to grow which is excellent.  As I’ve covered here through my posts on community this is a large, if not the largest, part of the hobby for me and it reminds me why I do it.

Lowlights of 2013

Nothing really stands out as a particular lowlight.  If you look again at the objectives I’d set myself sure there is still that home based gaming gap but other than the odd Friday when I just couldn’t make it along to play games I don’t really have a lowlight for 2013.
There was the 1st Anniversary of the closure of KoA which did hurt a little but I don’t think I’d reflect on it as a lowlight as such.

So in summary?

2013 has been a good year of gaming.
It’s difficult to say if it’s “the best ever” or whatever as I don’t think I can really compare it to anything in the 1st Chapter.  It’s definitely up there though and I hope 2014 is even better.