It’s the end of the year, and so I’m naturally drawn to review what went on in it, and think about what I want from the next. In this entry, I want to talk about what went on, at least when it comes to RPGs.
Firstly, games I’ve played. There was a one-shot of Legend of the Five Rings, a fantasy game based on east Asian tropes. I rather enjoyed it, and would have liked to play more, as there were lots of seeds for that, but such is life.
Then there was Esoterrorists over Google+ hangouts. This was an eye opener in two ways- both letting me discover how the Gumshoe system works (I’m now a zealous convert), and the joys of gaming over hangouts. Hangouts gaming was a jar to the system; for the first hour ago, I found myself simply thinking “this is odd”, and not really relaxing into it, but then something clicked, and I came to see it as being about 75% as good as face to face gaming, at least when there are no technical problems with sound and so on. The experience led to me trying some Traveller online, and rediscovering the joyful game of Traveller character generation and the richness of world building in the Traveller universe.
Finally there’s convention games. At ConQuest, I got to play rather than run Fate for a change, in the form of a wild west horror game. At Furnace, I got to play Dogs in the Vineyard and MouseGuard. I loved them all.
In 2013, I ran more games than I played. I ran a few sessions of the Dresden Files RPG set not in modern times, but in Roman Alexandria. That was fun- I should go back to it. I ran a one-shot of All Flesh Must Be Eaten. I ran a three session playtest of my setting, Ninth Legion, written for Reign, where the missing Ninth Legion of the Roman Empire was transported to a Celtic Otherworld. I ran games at conventions- my game Age of Arthur at both Furnace and ConQuest, and at Furnace the space opera game Bulldogs!, and a World War 2 plus zombies plus the Special Operations Executive game powered by Savage Worlds.
What have I learned? Well, to begin with the obvious, it’s not ideal to run a system for the very first time at a convention, though not necessarily disastrous. I should have back-up player characters ready in potentially deadly one-shots. Still talking about one-shots, I still need to fully bridge the gap between freedom of action and pace. Sandbox-style investigations are possible in campaigns. Oh, and I like Gumshoe (that which powers Night’s Black Agents and Esoterrorists)- it joins d100 games, Fate and Wordplay in my standard systems toolkit.
Not RPGs, but this was also the year when modern boardgames and card games really took off for me. I’ve played and hugely enjoyed Elder Sign, Fluxx (several versions- Zombie Fluxx is my favourite), Gloom and Pandemic.
Coming soon…2014 plans.