Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Gaming Year in Review

Like a contorted hockey season, my gaming year is officially over.

The Blog
2013-2014 was a banner year and 2014-2015 blew that out of the water.   I averaged more than a post a day and my hits went up about 20%.  Somebody's reading this!  Of course, a spam hit from Italy overinflated my growth post-Historicon.  I hate Italy.

The Top Ten Blog Posts of the Last Twelve Months
1. Battle of Isandlwana, Family Style
2. Cold Wars 2015 - Friday
3. History of the Gnome World, Part One
4. The Board
5. Mandatory Holiday Swag
6. Plunder from the Tomb
7. The Lost Shrine of Tu'Lip
8. Sphinx Head by Maja
9. RPGaDay (2014) Favorite Con Game
10. Reaper Bones Kickstarter Launches in June

The readers have spoken, so family-fun AARs it shall remain!

The Best Laid Plans
So, looking back at my plans back in October 2014, the year appears to be a dismal failure.
  • Car Wars?  Nothing, save jumping on the Arenas Kickstarter
  • Samoa?  Outside of restoring some beat up figs, the island was quiet.
  • Home?  Filed deep into my records.  I'll try not to mention it again.
  • The Gnomish Space Marines?  Despite hyping some playtesting at Mepacon, I was forced to cancel and haven't looked at things since.
So what has happened?

Emerald Vale moved down the street and expanded it's square footage and inventory, while reducing its owners from two to one.   I did some Sunday night booster drafts last Fall, and lived la vida loca at a midnight pre-release tournament.    I actually haven't played Magic since, although I did acquire one of my beloved Ihf-Biff Efreets, put it in the Treefolk Deck, and shoved that in a drawer.

They seem to be doing well with Magic, Infinity, Games Workshop, Heroclix, and an unusally active Blood Bowl group (when did Blood Bowl get expensive... along with everything else?). 

It is the one place in my life that I've encountered vaping, and as much as the smell of cigarettes on someone coming in from a smoke break disgusts me, the idea of someone vaping while playing a game makes me want to smash their faces in with a lead pipe.  If it's permitted in the game area, I'll avoid game nights. 

Now, I've discovered that the one owner has gotten out and the other is moving the store again to another location within a quarter mile. Joy of joys.

They're also not particularly responsive to my idiot proof special orders I've submitted from my Apathy of the New Releases columns.  Nothing comes out till October, but I've yet to know if anything was even ordered.

My only 5-gnome-out-of-5 gnome review, Pop's Culture Shoppe, is finalizing their webstore, and I'm tempted to avoid close proximity, eschew Amazon discounts, and pay for shipping and handling if Pop's can just communicate and get my stuff to me.

For now, the FLGS is getting drink and chip purchases for the kids when we make a futile run there.

Cold Wars 2015
We got back to the core group (Steve, Brian, and myself) for the "Guy's Weekend" and we had a good time. I played in a Western using Blood and Swash,  a WW2 game using Doctor Who Miniatures Game, Two types of Jousts, including blowing through the competition to win the Gnome Joust!  As I plan for Fall-In! in November, I'll try to plan a weekend like that, just with a six year old in tow.  I'll go light on the Mad Elf.

My Kickstarter addiction resolves most issues that I have with my FLGS. 
Car Wars Arenas  - ON TIME/EARLY
De Horrore Cosmico  - DELIVERED - ON TIME
Pyramid of the Lost King  - LATE, VERY VERY LATE
Tales of the Caribbean   - CAMPAIGN JUST STARTED
Star Patrol: Carrier Commander - CAMPAIGN JUST STARTED

Of the old stuff from last year that's still pending, only the RAFM CoC minis are still outstanding, and it's just a matter of shipping them from Canada.

The Mini-Birthday Throwdown
Unlike last year's epic throwdown, this was a small affair with Brian and Steve involving Harbor, Battletech, Tiny Epic Defender, and a cutthroat game of Connect Four.  

Operation Tom Sawyer
My plan to clear off the painting table was a moderate success.  Only 53 new items painted, but I fixed up most of my Samoan armies and Gnome armies (207 total).   I also whitewashed the table and have some tiny projects in the queue for once.

#30GamesAMonth:   Thirty different games over thirty days in September was a grandiose task that real life crushed like a steel-toe boot. 

Gnome Wars: Not Much this year.  The kids have been happy with smaller scale 25mm skirmish/role-playing.

Magic:  I have quenched my thirst for the game for another decade.  It was enjoyable while it lasted.

Zombie Dice:  Zombie Dice has become the go-to game in the family.  It's quick, it's simple enough for Millie, and Maja tries to teach every person that walks in the door. 

CoC - People were maimed in England, but in Egypt, the gloves have come off.  Character death may be a way of life in Cairo.  The players have been warned.

Savage Showdown: I've tried using this stripped down version of Savage Worlds to replace T.I.A.R.A. and Gnome Wars, and so far, the kids like it.  Fast and simple, until the special rules kick in.

Of course, the biggest news of the year occurred last month, when the beloved Hoyce returned to the area.  We're desperately trying to arrange CoC, Hackmaster, and 2nd Edition AD&D games with him, as well as convincing him to become another fella on the guys weekend to Cold Wars 2016.!

The 2015 Gaming with the Gnomies Awards!
Best Kickstarter:  De Horrore Cosmico.  Great book, great communication, and I don't even own a copy of Cthulhu Invictus!  It's that good.

Worst Kickstarter:  Reaper Bones II  - Somehow RAFM, now with a ten-month delay, gets a pass because the minis are awesome.  They share the same fate as Chaosium, not having enough money to ship crap out.  Perhaps I just expect a company as professional as Reaper being able to schedule in enough delays into production so late when an item is late, it's still early according to Kickstarter guidelines.  It could be far, far worse, as some of the $1 pledges I've made are for projects that will never see light of day.

Best Game:  ZOMBIE DICE.  Although the Risus IOU game was the best role-playing session,  this game keeps our family together.  Can't beat that.

Best RPG Buy: Cold Harvest - Stalinist Era scenario.  Who's worse, the Mythos or the humans?

Best Minis Buy:  The Battletech Introductory Boxed Set I got from my wife for Christmas.  Sure, it's more expensive than the old Games Workshop boxed sets that I use to gauge "expensive." but it comes with soooo many minis, and  a better painting guide than GW produces (and charges additional for).

Best "Other Purchase"  The spice rack my wife got me for my paints ranks up there, but the Windsword Miniatures Sphinx Head that Maja painted wins out. 

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