Summary in a short sentence: 2013 was a good gaming year, by and large.
I played more of what I already own, sold off things I didn’t play any more and acquired a few more, but not so much as to break the bank. Here are my acquisitions for 2013.
- GMT Command and Colors Napoleonics, Austrian expansion (Secret Santa)
- GMT Command and Colors Napoleonics, Russian expansion (P500)
- GMT Pax Baltica (P500)
- GMT Rebel Raiders on the High Seas (P500)
- GMT Iron and Oak (P500)
- FFG Gearworld (birthday)
- DG Struggle for the Galactic Empire (flea market)
- GMT Cuba Libre (Secret Santa)
- DG Congo Mercenary (Secret Santa)
- Stronghold Code 777
- Brotherwise Boss Monster
- Catalyst The Duke (and expansions)
I did not, as I did in earlier years (2011), purchase even one boardgame from closeout bargain places like Tanga. I came to the reluctant conclusion that most of the time games are being farmed off to a discount mill for a reason.
I continued to back one “boardgame”, UP FRONT, on kickstarter. I purchased (but did not back) two kickstarter projects, The Duke and Boss Monster. I’m very happy with both games. Additionally, I backed a card game (of sorts) on Kickstarter, The Shindig Machine. Otherwise, I pretty much stayed away from Kickstarter in 2013. I haven’t been burned, not quite yet, but I’m also getting very tired of the non-stop bombardment by companies shifting the financial risk onto the shoulders of consumers. Boosters and rewards mean very little to me– if the basic product is good, I can wait until it’s a commercial product.
Game Play of Board and Card games was pretty steady in 2013, and I attended four conventions and several boardgame meetup.com events during the year and had a lot of fun. I did not attend any specifically boardgame themed conventions, such as Origins, GenCon, WBA, or smaller local ones like PresCon. I am not a tournament style player.
Miniatures gaming really commanded my attention in 2013, and most of my investment and creativity. 2013 was the year of the finished projects for me. Two major miniature game designs I’ve been tinkering with for almost a decade, a fantasy naval game called BIG DANGED BOATS (15mm scale) and a man to man fantasy Wizard Dueling game in 54mm scale, THE MAGI, hit the table in 2013.
On the very near horizon are a 1:600 Cthulhu Monster Invasion VSF game (THE GREAT CTHONIAN WAR), a man to man game set in the Napoleonic Wars in 54mm (AT SPEAR’S POINT) and possibly a pulp SF game set in a Spaceport bar in 28mm scale.
I also played several other games, historical and non-historical, at various venues– hobby shops, the Gaming Camp I run in August and at four conventions– Fall IN!, Cold Wars, Historicon and the Williamsburg Muster.
I’m really enjoying the creative high of designing and painting and constructing right now, so miniatures probably is the hobby area that had much of my attention this year.
I remained a big proponent of digital stuff this year– especially now that there are such a burgeoning amount of releases for portable platforms like Android and Ipad. I tend to purchase boardgame conversions for the most part. I’d be hard pressed to say what I liked the most, considering the glut of releases at the very end of the year that were available at Black Friday prices. I just haven’t played everything yet. So far, however, I’m giving high marks to DRIVE ON MOSCOW (Shenandoah Studios), SAN JUAN the port of the card game by Ravensburger Studios, and the relatively newish LORDS OF WATERDEEP (Playdek) all of which have commanded my attention. I’m also giving huge high marks to JOHN TILLER software for porting many of the unique turn based wargames he has become famous for in the Windows domain into Android this year.. for insanely great prices. The interface might not be the greatest but these are games that have been commanding top dollar from Matrix games for almost ten years now, it’s nice to have this alternative– especially for real, turn based historical wargames.
Audio Podcasts down: I listened to fewer game podcasts this year– as some of them have grown to gigantic commercialized networks that are constantly shilling for kickstarter projects, their subsequent output has shot through the roof, and I have to be very selective about what I’ll listen to any more. Two of my favorites have drastically reduced output– one as a result of tragedy (Gameopolis) and one because of career changes (I’ve Been Diced), and I’ve become a bit more diverse about what I’m listening to on the commute these days. Likewise, I’ve given up on Stitcher and just use Itunes Podcast app because you can fast forward through the advertisements and stuff you don’t want to listen to with it.
Youtube Up: I’ve watched more Youtube game reviews of games because the visual element appeals to me. So many people are getting into the act now, I like the diversity of game reviews on youtube more than audio.
Meetup.com steady state: I’m still gaming with smaller groups via Meetup.com, but almost always at public hangouts. I guess I’m shy.
Summary (the End)
I didn’t buy as much and I designed and played more in 2013, and that’s a big win win for me. I had fun bringing projects to the table this year and they were well received. I still love games and gaming, and have since I was a kid. The hobby continues to amuse me. It was a good year!