Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gaming Expectations for 2012

I’m not one to celebrate much at New Year’s…it’s an odd time we look back at the past year and look forward to the coming one, with the regrets and frustrations of the former tempering the hope for the latter. Still, I’m optimistic when looking forward to my potential gaming activities in 2012 for a number of reasons.
Interesting Releases 
The new year promises several game release that appeal to my wide range of interests:
After fading with the demise of Italian game company NG International (a.k.a. Nexus) Wings of War: Dawn of War (a World War II aerial combat game) returns with a new company, Ares Games, as WWII Wings of Glory. Although the popular Wings of War/Glory games use cards, the company also produces fine miniatures that help the game come alive visually. I’m looking forward to the return of the game, both to see it reach a broader audience and to continue collecting aircraft for my favorite campaigns, the Battle of Britain, Flying Tigers, and Pacific Theater.
Ares Games also hopes to release Sails of Glory this summer. The game promises to use a similar system of merging board, card, and miniatures game elements so players can engage in naval battles from the Age of Sail (1650-1815). If the minis and gameplay are anything like the Wings of Glory games (essentially an accessible, light miniatures wargame), I’ll hope to invest in the rules and some ships to give the system a try.
Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast/Habro releases Axis & Allies Air Miniatures: Angels 20 in February. The successor to the Axis & Allies land miniatures and War At Sea games focuses on World War II aerial combat with 15mm miniatures. While the initial starter set features six minis focusing on the Battle of Britain, I’m not sure I’ll buy into the expensive, randomized boosters to build my arsenal of aircraft (the subject of an upcoming Hobby Games Recce piece).
The folks at Gordon & Hague Historical Wargames, a relatively new venture, not only offer their good-looking Severed Union rules for free online, they sell 10mm pre-painted minis for wargaming American Civil War battles. While some might consider the minis on the expensive side, these pre-painted, based minis offer a good alternative to those of us without the time and focus to purchase and paint metal miniatures for our passing interest in the American Civil War. I’m hoping to get some soon in my continuing quest to find minis and a good rules set to fight out the Battle of Culpeper Court House.
I’m always on the prowl for new games across my spectrum of interest -- roleplaying games, board games, wargames -- often gleaned by announcements at GeekDad, Tabletop Gaming News, and other similar sites.
The Hobbit

It’s a long wait until the December release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; and somewhat incomplete having to wait yet another year for the second half, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, but I’m eagerly anticipating Peter Jackson’s vision of perhaps my favorite piece of fantasy literature (even more so than the Lord of the Rings trilogy). The film isn’t exactly a game, but it’s inspired fantasy gaming and certainly fueled my love for and enjoyment of gaming since my earliest days.
Forging A Gaming Group

I’m hoping to work a little harder and find a bit more time to bring together a few disparate gamers I’ve casually met from various circles: a father taking his kids to Friday storytimes at the library; a gamer in a nearby county I met years ago at a gaming convention in North Carolina, whom I often see at the annual con, yet can’t seem to find time to actually meet closer to home; the folks at the Friendly Local Gaming Store, Game Vault in Fredericksburg, even if they’re a 45-minute drive away. I also hope to find more time to host a few more casual gatherings for some other friends who aren’t quite as intensely immersed in gaming but still enjoy an afternoon of good board games.
Library Teen Gaming Events

The monthly teen gaming events at the local library are my one regular chance each month to get out of the house and share new gaming experiences with young people who take an interest in analog games. (The event also offers a digital gaming alternative used more as a filler between games than as a core activity itself.) Though I usually host several core games -- Matt Leacock’s fantastic cooperative board game Forbidden Island from Gamewright, the territorial strategy game Hey, That’s My Fish! and the lamentably out-of-print yet thoroughly intriguing Pirateer -- they’re excellent games and draw everyone into some tense, enjoyable gameplay, both from those who’ve played before and those just learning the rules on the spot.
My Gaming Projects

Despite my limitations on time and focus, I’m still hoping to pursue several gaming projects. I’m dedicated to continue my generally weekly postings to Hobby Games Recce on a variety of pen-and-paper gaming subjects, from roleplaying and board games to wargames and conventions. I’m resolving to try making monthly updates at the Griffon Publishing Studio website, much neglected as my game-publishing activities are these days given my other responsibilities in life; but with some projects reaching the near-publication stage, the website (and my other online venues) offers a focal point for game insights, designer notes, announcements, and other interesting bits that directly affect me as a designer with Griffon Publishing Studio. Then there are the actual game projects I’m working to bring to publication through Griffon Publishing Studio, including a short solitaire wargame, an Egyptian-themed abstract board game, and a new roleplaying game concept; of course, some materials, like the always-under-development Infinite Cathedral medieval fantasy setting, continue taking shape, and I’m currently retooling its format to allow for multiple, smaller releases instead of one enormous sourcebook.
Those are my major gaming expectations for 2012. I’m sure if I thought about it much more I’d find a few additional bits to add, but overall these are the main developments (or resolutions, if you really want to use that term) I’m looking forward to in the New Year.