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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: Year in Review

It's customary around this time of year to do some gaming retrospection; it's been a big year for me.

A lot of what's been going on in my gaming year has been concerned with behind-the-scenes administration and preparation for the start of a new campaign in Isles of Darkness, the live gaming society I'm a member of. None of that has been particularly exciting to non-members (or even to members for the most part), but it does mean that I'll be starting a new live game in the new year (my first in several years), so that'll be fun. Hopefully I'll have props and planning stuff to talk about.

This is, of course, also the year I started this blog. It's been interesting, even though not a lot of people read it. I've sparked some good discussions and made some new acquaintances, so that's a good thing. I also started recording my YouTube videos, which again sparked some conversations.

I got a lot of painting done this year; 192 models, including 30 over the Christmas break. I'm not the greatest painter in the world, but lately I've been turning out stuff I'm satisfied with -- it's simple, but I think it looks good. I do need to overcome my habit of getting bored or impatient and leaving a figure 95% done. If I remember tomorrow I'll do some photography and show off my new models.

I'm very happy with the level of minis gaming I've been doing this year. I've played Strange Aeons, SAGA, Bolt Action, Flying Lead and some old reliables like De Bellis Antiquitatis and Full Thrust. I also picked up some new games, including World in Flames, which I haven't had the chance to play yet. I have an every-other-week minis meetup, which alternates between painting and gaming. I've also had the chance to use a lot of my miniatures in my D&D game -- I know you don't really need them, but I have a collection already and I like having the visual representation. I've got a lot of figures in my unpainted pile that I'm looking forward to painting in the new year, including some Wargames Factory zombie survivors and some Conquest Games Normans, plus some Oldhammer goodies.

Speaking of my D&D game, it continues to be pretty successful. I think the players are having a good time, and I'm having fun as well. I think I'll be happier after I switch to 5th edition in the coming year (my PHB is on backorder), since it seems like the simpler rules will suit my playstyle better. I became very frustrated with the 3.5 skill system, which I felt didn't allow enough deviation from character design -- that is, when the characters decided they wanted to run away to see to become pirates, there was a mechanical problem in that it's hard to become a capable sailor if you haven't planned it from the jump.

My online gaming struggles with scheduling -- I'm the youngest, the only player without kids, the one most completely in control of my own timetable, and even I miss the occasional date, so we don't get to play as often as I'd like. Sometimes I don't feel very rooted in that game, because it happens so infrequently. But it is great to be able to game with people across the country and even in other countries, so I think that you have to take the rough with the smooth.

I probably bought more RPGs this year than I had in the previous several years combined, partly because of Bundle of Holding and partly because my interest in games coming out reawakened. I had sort of burned out on small-press indie games, but my interest is reawakening, and I'm excited about the new D&D, which I never expected to happen. I even kickstarted some things, including the new game from Sine Nomine -- though I haven't read the download yet!

So overall it's been a good year in gaming terms. Next year I'm looking forward to jumping back into running a live game, as well as keeping the D&D game going from strength to strength. I am also going to sort my various collections of early medieval miniatures into complete SAGA armies, covering at least Anglo-Danes/Vikings and Normans, plus maybe another option. I am sworn not to get into the Crusades version until I've done at least that. I'm also going to try to run some kind of modern supernatural investigation game, tabletop-style, maybe using Unisystem or maybe something else.

It's been a pretty good year, gaming-wise, and I'm looking forward to the new one. How was yours?

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