Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Looking Forward to 2012
Today I'm thinking about next year, and unlike yesterday's more general post this one is more personal. What do I want to change or accomplish next year on the gaming front? Well what did I do this year?
In 2011 I worked on creating a more balanced gaming diet, introducing the Apprentices to more board and card games like Munchkin, Memoir 44, and Command and Colors Ancients. It is, however, the year I let Warhammer 40,000 mostly die. Part of it is competition for time, part of it is that it's really built around 2 sides and with 3 interested parties that's tricky to pull off, and part of it is expense. Maintaining multiple armies for multiple people is a strain, even with my economic upturn. When a single unit for the game is as much as a core rulebook for an RPG I can get a lot more hours of fun out of the RPG book in the short term.
RPG-wise we expanded their horizons to include Supers via M&M, ICONS, and Marvel. We went into space with Star Wars d6 and Star Wars Saga. We are trying on some boots and saddles with our foray into Deadlands. So it was a good year. Blaster and Red are my main two gamers and they have been armed with PHB's for every edition of D&D along with books for a few other games too. I don't think the OSR is big amongst the high school and junior high crowd just now but if some local 16 year old decides he wants to break out a Greyhawk Wars campaign then my two are ready for it!
What about next year?
Well my main 4E campaign came to an end so I will probably move to fill that gap. I'm tempted to go back, pick up, and finish my Neccessary Evil campaign just for a change of pace. I'm also tempted to run a Mutants and Masterminds game both for a change of pace and just because I think it would be fun. Somehow though, I suspect I will be back running 4th Edition before the year runs out and I'm fine with that - D&D has always been our "trunk" game, with other games branching out from it. Nowadays I seem to only have the bandwidth to run one regular (sorta weekly) full-length grown up game, and Lady Blacksteel and my other regulars seem to prefer that schedule too. In the past the desire for more variety has spurred me to try alternating sessions between two games and it works some of the time, but it can cause a loss of focus and some "what did we do last time?" moments each session. Have to ponder that one.
With the Apprentices we have ongoing campaigns of D&D 4E, ICONS, and some irregular games of Basic D&D, Star Wars, Marvel, and now Deadlands. That will probably continue. The other RPG's I'm sort of interested in introducing are Champions, Gamma World, Traveller, Shadowrun, and Star Trek. I realize "only" may be a mischaracterization there but they are still so new to this thing that I want to expose them to a wide variety of games and then play more of what they like. I once half-jokingly proposed to my gaming group that was suffering from a serious case of short gaming attention spans that we just go ahead and plan to play a new game each month: assuming we could meet 3 times in a month, session 1 would be character generation and the kickoff, session two would be the meat of an adventure, then session three would be the finale and a discussion about the game. The next month we would do it all again with a new game. It was funny then, but I'm seriously considering it now for 2012 to help me better manage the Apprentice games. If we can keep the main 4E Temple of Elemental Evil going at least once a month too, then I think this would be a really good "World Tour of RPG's" because I could work in a few more besides - GURPS and Warhammer FRP and some others. Hmmm.
Besides RPG's I want to continue the boardgames and I will probably work in Settlers of Catan and some more light wargames like Combat Commander. I also want to work in some other miniatures games (I have a lot mini's, many of them gathering dust) like Federation Commander, Battletech, B5 Call to Arms, Song of Blades and Heroes, and Giant Monster Rampage. I had some homebrewed car combat rules and giant monster rules of my own a few years back so I might even dust those off if the time opens up. I'm not sure how 40K fits into this anymore as while I love the universe and have nearly 25 years of stuff for it I don't like the cost and the overhead of painting and storage and keeping up with the rules so much anymore. It's probably going to be a "when I really really feel like it" and not according to any kind of plan.
On their own the boys have made some attempts to start their own D&D games with friends but it has not been easy. All of them have complicated schedules and homework and there is still a huge "nerdy" stigma attached to it even in this age of Warcraft and Skyrim. They also have been playing some Heroquest (the old MB boardgame) and Risk and Stratego so that's been fun to watch too.
Beyond this we do some Xbox time together and play City of Heroes regularly too so we don't lack for options with our fun time - the trick is juggling kid schedules and work schedules and doing all of those normal family things while still making time for these. I've found that if we don't schedule it ahead of time, like any other gaming session, that it tends to get eaten up by other things and bumped by last minute changes of plan. I did a lot of that this year so I intend to change it for next year so no one ends their weekend disappointed.
I'm sure some new things will emerge that will change all of these plans at some point, but for now these are my goals. Whenever I do set up a new main game you can rest assured it will be chronicled here, warts and all. If I do go with the "Game of the Month" plan - and that idea is really growing on me as I write this - then I will certainly document that here as well.