Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 In Review

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas.

This was a good year for me, game-wise.  A bunch of new games, and a bunch of expansions.  And some really good ones, too.  It was also a year with some significant changes for me personally.

Let's look back, shall we?

Games Played Five or More Times in 2012:
Dungeon Twister - 24 games.  Many of these were on the new PS3 version of the game, which I really love.  Sadly, Hydravision appears to have folded, so there will probably not be a PC or XBox version, which is very sad.

The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game - 16 times.  It's amazing what being in a campaign that meets regularly can do for your numbers.  I'm enjoying the game, but most of that is the people who are in the game. Honestly.

Skull and Roses - 15 plays.  It's relatively quick. It's cutthroat. It's easy to learn. And I just love this game.  I can't get enough of it.

7 Wonders - 11 plays. I played a bunch of this one, in large part because of the expansion that came out this year - it's hard to play (or teach) an expansion until you are very familiar with the core game.  I do still love this game, however.

Win, Lose, or Banana - 9 plays.  A lot fewer than I'd expected, considering the game takes maybe three minutes if you have a very slow Winner.  Still the best $1 I have ever spent on a game.

Evo (second edition) - 8 plays. This is the demo table I stuck to the most at GenCon.  Every year, it seems like I tend to play one game over and over and over again. This year, it was Evo. I got to play Seasons and Libertalia both at the convention, but most of my plays of those were after GenCon.

Dungeons & Dragons (4th Edition) - 7 plays. I'm in a campaign for this one, too, but our schedule is a bit more ... difficult.  I'm still enjoying this one a great deal. And I'm really curious about how Next will turn out - the playtest materials have been .... interesting.

Sorry! Sliders - 7 plays. I blame +John Boone for this. It's not a complicated game. In fact, it's stupidly simple.  There is no reason for this game to be as much fun as it is, but I'm hooked.  I should probably eventually grab my own copy.

Libertalia - 6 plays.  I had a pre-production copy of this before GenCon, so I got a couple of plays in before anyone else did.  I like this game, and, based on the reviews, I'm not alone in that. This is the first game to be published under Asmodee's Marabunta label.

Shitenno - 6 plays. I want to play this one more.  Period.  This was my Game of the Year last year, and I still love this game.  I even sent a copy to a friend of mine as a gift. I will be trying to get more copies for friends this year.  This is still an amazingly good game that I haven't played enough.

We Didn't Playtest This At All and  We Didn't Playtest This Either - 6 plays each.  I hate Fluxx.  This is no secret.  It's actually pretty well-known. This game scratches the same itch that Fluxx does, only without the annoyance of uncertain play time.  If a game of this takes more than fifteen minutes, you're doing it wrong.

City of Horror - 5 plays. I was lucky enough to get this one before the general public did. It rapidly became a favorite, but, for some reason, much of my group didn't take to it, so it's only had a limited number of plays.

Immortal: Invisible War (3rd Edition) - 5 plays. We were in a campaign of this.  Proof positive that a good GM can make a bad game a lot of fun, because this is a truly bad game.  I'm told the first edition was very derivative of the Highlander series (both TV and movies), and it moved away from that over time. Either way, the system left me cold and the setting failed to grab me.  But the game itself was a lot of fun because of who I was able to play it with.

Seasons - 5 plays. I received Seasons well after the general public did - only about a month ago, in fact. And I didn't get many plays in at GenCon.  I expect to play more of this one in 2013.

Divinare - 5 plays. This is a favorite. I do love this game.  I even had it early.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm missing a few plays, to be perfectly honest.

Other Notable Games
With less than five plays, there are other games which will, I suspect, become more important next year. Kemet arrived a few weeks ago and has already seen the table twice, to extremely positive reviews.  Panic on Wall Street, River Dragons, and Gentlemen Thieves all arrived this week, as did Serenissima.  Those will hit the table next year (and maybe even next week at the annual New Year's Eve Game Night).  Mythic Battles is scratching that two-player itch in a way I had not expected.  And an expansion is rumored to be inbound, which would be awesome.  Because it's a great game.  And I have Archipelago. I haven't been able to get it to the table, yet, however.

Kickstarter played a sizable role in this year's finances. I had 21 projects fund this year on my account, and my wife had 36 on hers.  The vast majority of those were game-related.  And the vast majority of the projects we funded this year have either been delivered or aren't late enough to be cause for concern.

Projects I have especially appreciated this year have included (but are not limited to):

Tephra - I really like this fantasy/steampunk game.  The preview material was strong enough that we backed it for three copies, and I'm glad we did.  I just wish the designers would put more stuff up on DriveThruRPG. They have (oddly) decided to put some of the supplemental material up, but not all of it.  And not the core book.  Their book, their decision, I guess. T-Shirts.  I'm not a small man, so when I saw their "BODY BY GYGAX" shirt, I knew I needed to have one. They arrived a few weeks ago, and I'm very satisfied with our purchase.

Pennygems.  I am a sucker for neat things like this. I actually saw these in person before the kickstarter went live, because the designer is a friend of a friend who had some at her birthday party.  They are the best "generic" counters/tokens I have ever seen.  I have a couple of charts that I use with numerous miniatures games as reminders of status effects and necessary rolls.

Personal Upheaval
This year, we moved.  We had been living in Everett, Washington. I'd lived there for a decade after moving out of my parents' house.  This year, we bought a house that was about an hour South of Everett.  We bought a house that was much larger than the apartment in which we had been living. Now we have room for all of our games ... Even with the basement (where the games both are and will be), the kitties are much happier, here than they had been before.

Several times, I thought that it would disrupt the schedule here - I was late a few times, but I never missed a post.  Which is a good feeling.  I also acquired a few new photography toys and tools that will keep this blog eye-catching if nothing else.  I hope.

I also became significantly more active on Google Plus. At the same time, I have become less active on Facebook. In fact, other than occasionally commenting on friends' posts, I'm not active there at all. My blog posts are automatically pushed there, but nothing I'm posting there isn't already available elsewhere.

I only did one Con this year - GenCon. We had the largest team to date.  And the best team to date. The new people were all top-notch, good spirited, and funny. I don't know how Stefan and Christophe keep finding crews for GenCon, but I hope they never stop.

Revision Work
While I've done revision work for non-Asmodee publishers, this was the first year I worked directly with some of their partners. Usually, Eric H. (a translator) would send me rules and I would tweak and polish and send them back.  This year, that pattern continued for Asmodee, but Matagot sent me work directly - Kemet and Room 25 are the first two games I've worked directly for them and I very much hope they are not the last.  I had previously worked on Matagot's games (Cyclades, Giants, and Dice Town are the three that spring immediately to mind), so I knew already that they do good work. I just hadn't worked directly with the team.  I hope this continues into the future.

I also worked on more games this year than in any previous year.

Other Work
Asmodee did something new this year: They asked me to write an article for Game Trade Magazine.  It's tough writing to a deadline with a target word count.  Thanks very much to +Wade Rockett for his advice and input as I worked on the article.  I'll let you know if and when it goes live.

As the work I do in games has ramped up, my day job has slowed down.  I'm not concerned, but it's noticeable.

Looking forward to 2013
More games.  There are some really good ones coming down the pipeline - I've already mentioned Gentlemen Thieves, Kemet, and Room 25.  Kemet has already earned a permanent spot in the car.  Room 25 looks to be a lot of fun.  I was told that Asmodee will either have a larger booth or a more centrally-located booth at GenCon this year. Or both.  So it's going to be a big year for all involved.

And I haven't mentioned it yet, but, if you are or will be in the Greater Seattle Area, you should consider joining us for New Year's Eve at Phoenix Games.  It's safe and filled with board games, including a few that aren't available elsewhere, yet.

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