A Year in Gaming, 2016

I got 94 games in, one more than last year. Maybe in 2017 I’ll hit 100! Let’s not get carried away.

The Friday Table

I wanted to get 20 sessions of Edge City in, and we sure did (right at 20.) The game has leveled out and I can see how to make it work for almost everyone at the table, so I’m going to keep that goal of another 20 Edge City sessions in 2017. If I can get more, I will.

My goal of leveling out and picking only a few games to run at the Friday table started out wildly unrealistic a few years back, then transitioned to too difficult, but momentum kept me pressing the number of games back, and in 2016 I can finally see how I might keep it down to 3 or 4 games.

My Friday table focused on Edge City and Axes and Anvils. We did have a number of other games briefly; we tried out an arc of old Warhammer, we had a couple sessions of The World Between for Fictive Hack, tried out some Dead of Night for a couple sessions, played Fictive Avengers as a present for a friend, and they helped test a couple sessions of the Black Space Hack.

Online, Running Games

Online, I ran Silent Legions for 4 arcs, totaling 16 sessions. That was going along really well and then people got busy and we didn’t schedule another arc, and we have continued not scheduling another arc.

I ran the last arc for the Unrecommendables using my Knives of Duskwall hack of Blades in the Dark, and by the time we limped across the finish line I got the feeling that game had run its course. No follow up planned.

I ran some Dead of Night online, as well as at the game table, and got a pretty good sense of how it runs. It is really structured for one shots and pacing is really tricky, so that was a great experiment but not going to find its way into the regular toolbox.

The Ghostbusters hack of Lasers and Feelings worked great, and if I had some Ghostbusters fans it would be a go-to for one shot or campaign play. But I don’t, really, so that one sits on the shelf. (This may be a good point to note that due to a crisis of confidence I went back through all the stuff I hung on the blog for people to check out and heavily pruned it back. Ghostbusters made the cut and got to stay.)

I made a hack of Star Wars d6 that looks really interesting on paper but didn’t work very well at the game table and needs either major work or a layer of dust. You can guess which it is getting.

The Black Space Hack was fun, and I have hopes it will come out in 2017.

I had some good times with Guns of Telluria, and I’m reaching the usual point in adaptation where I’m itchy enough that it makes more sense to transition to a similar rule set from the inspiration, but not use the inspiring rule set itself. Makes things cleaner for IP, and gives me a freer hand. That does set the project back some, but I was playing it more than developing it anyway, so I didn’t really have any momentum.

I must say, much of what I have from the OSR works REALLY well for Guns of Telluria. If your overall theme is poking through the wreckage left behind by a war between humanity at a WW I tech level and various fey courts, there is a lot of good stuff. Castle Gargantua, Vornheim (as a treaty city that didn’t go to war) and Barrowmaze (where Vornheim buries their rulers).  That’s just for a start.

I used Roll 20 more this year too, mostly hosting Guns of Telluria. I figured out some good techniques for using that site to bolster the effectiveness of presenting my game there. That’s always good.

I also tried Viewscream for the first time! I think everybody needs a practice run before they get a handle on how it is played, but the game is great and should get more play (in my opinion.) It is super low prep, and you basically need Hangouts and you can engage it.

Running For Game Day–Blades in the Dark

I ran quite a bit of standard Blades in the Dark, for 3 game days (total 7 sessions.) One of the days, I had a group of 4 in the morning, and all 4 came back and brought another for the afternoon session; that’s flattering. I look forward to the game coming out!

Games I Played

I got to play some games too. Shaun ran a session of Axes and Anvils for the Friday table. I got to check off two bucket list items this year online.

I also got to play 2 games of Blackmash with Bryan; I would like to have more of that!

I played Call of Cthulu for a couple sessions with Scott Dorward, and a session of Cthulhu Pulp. That was great, and playing with Scott online is a goal I’ve had for years! He did reduce one of the players to texting him threats during the game, which is something I haven’t seen before. Good stuff.

I also finally got to play in a game by Jack Shear online! I’ve adapted a lot of his material for other games, and adjusted it to fit my own sensibilities, so it was great to be actually in one of his inspiring games. It was D&D 5e in Krevborna for Gothic fantasy. I cycled through 3 characters across 15 sessions (only one of them died.) I can’t remember the last time I had that many sessions of a single setting in a year, so that’s pretty great.

A Bleaker Note

I just could not get a game of Lasers and Feelings together at all this year. That saddens me some, I admit.

My ability to get online games together has dried up altogether as well, in the last half of 2016. I had quite a few games I set up with a couple weeks notice that I just could not get two players together to confirm the time. All you really need are some good anchor players who want to play and have some flexibility, and then pulling in others around the edges (and them recruiting too) keeps you in enough players to play. If you can’t get and keep those anchor players, though, it’s rough out there.

I mean, I know people are busy, but you begin to wonder; is it me? Surely word of mouth about my games is good, people want in, right? Maybe not? It’s hard to get feedback from players that confirms or denies that sort of thinking.

Thanks to Players

So that transitions to a thank you to my players. Without you there would be no game sessions. Thank you for playing with me, and I hope to see you at my game table in 2017.

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