Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gaming Gratitude at Thanksgiving

As we approach the American holiday of Thanksgiving people often pause to reflect on the many things in their lives for which they remain grateful; a practice one might consider as a brief, daily exercise to help put a more positive spin on our everyday lives.

Of course I’m thankful for the many blessings I often take for granted in my life: a supportive wife and energetic preschooler; our collective decent health; a nice house with room for my office, numerous bookshelves, crafting areas for my wife, and my basement miniatures painting area and wargaming table; my wife’s good job in her chosen career field (despite shut-downs, furloughs, and the vilification of Federal workers); fully operational transportation; and a small group of real-life friends, some of whom share my interests in gaming.

Many things for which I’m thankful relate to gaming since it has been and continues to be a major portion of my life and career (such as it is). In sharing some of the many mostly game-related aspects of my life for which I’m thankful I hope kind readers might similarly reflect on the gifts that grace their own lives.

I’m extremely thankful for:

Involvement in the Hobby: Some days I have trouble contemplating how relevant I seemed to the adventure gaming hobby when I worked for West End Games, when I had a regular, paying outlet for my work, and when I had the means to offer others the opportunity, guidance, and inspiration to become successfully involved themselves. These days I’m just grateful I have the time and means to stay active in game publishing through several venues. My often demanding schedule as a full-time father provides me with snippets of time to pursue writing and game design, even if much of that never quite makes it to publication. E-storefronts like OneBookShelf’s DriveThruRPG and RPGNow enable me to publish PDF game content for a meager profit. Hobby Game Recce provides a platform to share my insights on and experiences with the adventure gaming hobby. Occasionally I find an opportunity for actual paying work for the hobby, particularly with the fine folks at Wicked North Games. These all keep me involved as a designer, editor, and publisher in the adventure gaming hobby, providing positive feedback and some degree of accomplishment for which I’m extremely thankful.

Online Engagement: The internet has provided many opportunities for gathering and sharing information while engaging with gamers in far-flung places. Various venues online enable me to research games before making an educated purchase, to find new games in PDF and print, and to just look up interesting information and free game aids to enhance and expand my play experience. I’m fortunate that I’ve found a very positive and encouraging community through the Google+ social network. I’ve learned about new games, Kickstarter projects, conventions, play techniques, and other adventure gaming goodness I’d wouldn’t otherwise discover on my own in my insulated little existence. In some cases I’ve heard of gamers in need whom I’ve helped out with meager donations to their crowd-funding campaigns. I’ve found a forum where I can buy, sell, and trade games among fellow enthusiasts. I steer comments and discussion of my Hobby Games Recce posts to Google+ for more civilized, respectful interactions. I’ve even managed to do some Google+ Hangout gaming now and then, an opportunity to game with people near and far and try out a new gaming experience.

Gaming Family: The past year or so we’ve tried to maintain a family game night at our house. Every Thursday after dinner we pull out a kid-friendly game to play together...King of Tokyo, Otters, the X-wing miniatures game, Dino Hunt Dice, Castle Panic, Robot Turtles. Occasionally we indulge in gaming on the weekend or in some other free time, and even invite other game enthusiasts into our home to play...and test their patience with a talkative four year-old. I’m looking forward as the Little Guy grows to introducing him to new games, experiences, even conventions.

In past years I’ve revised a Thanksgiving piece I wrote years ago for another job and posted it here. Those sentiments still stand...that we should remember to always remain grateful for our blessings and continually seek to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I’ll close with one of two quotes I usually use at this time of year, from a fellow who stood up to political tyranny and inhumanity to save others at the cost of his own life.

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Want to share your gratitude for gaming’s effect on your life? Start a civilized discussion? Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.