Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year in Review - 2014

Goodby 2014, we hardly knew you, but you were a pretty decent year.  In gaming terms anway....

Jumping to the middle, because why not, I went to my first GenCon this year.  It was a little weird for me to travel by myself for reasons not cited as "work", but once I got to the Con I was too busy basking in awesome to notice it. I also met a ton of awesome folks, so that helped.

GenCon let me sit on the other side of the table and experience the Cypher system as a player for the first time (and the 2nd, and the 3rd). Those games cemented the feeling I had had since late 2013 that Cypher system is one of my favorites. Getting to try both Numenera and The Strange (and the latter with a game run by +Bruce R Cordell himself) was certainly a highlight of my trip.

I played other RPGs too though, I gave 13th Age a try based on really liking some of the mechanics I had read about within that game.  I'm fairly certain it's not the game for me, but I might give it a go again in the future, and I will certainly shamelessly steal stuff for my Cypher games.  I got to try the new (technically its not even out yet) RPG based on the Hordes miniatures game from Privateer Press.  Its clearly built on the tactical skirmish game's bones, and that means that the combat works very smoothly having been honed previously.  I'd give it a try again, but I don't know that I'd buy into it.

I also got to sit in on some awesome panels.  Subjects like world building, on-the-fly GMing, and artwork, whatever caught my eye from the program.  The highlight here was a panel with Jim Butcher who's novels I devour.

But this is a blog mostly about games, and I played a lot of RPGs this year.  No shocker to most you of readers that my favorite RPG was Numenera. For the first time since college I felt like I could run what I wanted to run, and do so easily and successfully (at least I assume so because I never got any awkward excuses from my players why they couldn't show up).  I really can say that if I was never allowed to read, play or run any other RPG system I would stand by the Cypher system.

It's more than just the rules though, the community of people online and off has proven exceptional. This blog owes its existence to that community on Google+ where I started my Story Seeds as a simple writing/GMing challenge to myself and it ballooned outward from there.  I met a ton of folks at GenCon who said things along the lines of "are you the guy with the story seeds? I love those!" which emboldened me to step off the cliff a few weeks later and start this blog.

I had resolved to write more in 2014, I'd say I hit that resolution. (sorry weight loss, you just aren't fun)

Late in the year I also got (back) into gaming online.  Thanks especially to +Lex Starwalker and +James Walls for taking chances and inviting me to play.  Numerous cypher games later have allowed me a chance to get more time on the player's side of the table (an important thing for a GM IMO). I also got to a chance to try Fantasy Flight's Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG which has some promise. And of course I can't mention Jim without bringing up Quattro con Carnage which will be a really neat experience in seeing how different systems impact that "feel" of a game.

Gaming online also got a fire lit under my butt to work on a couple of personal project ... but those are more 2015 type things.

On the board game front, I also got a tonne of games under my belt. I started a monthly game nite with some co-workers. It's a fairly lite evening full of social games like BANG!, The Resistance, Zombie Dice, Tsuro, and Cards Against Humanity.  From that a subset of us spun off an additional monthly game nite which is more crunchy, we played a Descent Campaign, and then Arkham Horror, and in 2015 I'm going to introduce them to The Strange.

As far as gaming goes I really can't complain about 2014.  Here's to hoping 2015 is just as good or better!

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