Monday, December 30, 2019

Auld Lang Syne 2019

          Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
          and never thought upon;
          The flames of Love extinguished,
          and fully past and gone:
          Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
          that loving Breast of thine;
          That thou canst never once reflect
          On old long syne.

At this time of year we naturally look back on the past months and even the past years at what has occurred in our lives and the world, at our gains and losses. We particularly remember what no longer exists among us beyond memories, to enable the spirits of these things to live on by various acts of commemoration.

Humans forge their own significance to their individual lives, their families, their communities, and even larger entities. Our perceptions and meanings form our realities; this affects the scope of our commemorations of things past. For some their awareness reaches only a little beyond the mass media’s tedious reflections at this time of year, beginning even before the yuletide holidays with constant lists of those who passed in the last year or, worse yet, annoyingly ubiquitous “Top 10 of the Decade” lists for every subject imaginable. The flood of such easy content can overwhelm us, distracting us from more pressing news and dire action.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Holiday Gaming Failures

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

In my earliest days in adventure gaming I tried desperately to recruit my cousins, particularly when our families gathered at the holidays. As kids cousins often fulfill the role of natural playmates, especially when close in age as my cousins were. We’d indulged in traditional board games when we got together, but roleplaying games seemed a bit more advanced; although we often had plenty of time together, the interest and focus just wasn’t there. It certainly didn’t help that the adventure games available to us at the time were probably more complex than our age group. The holidays – with their gatherings of friends and family – seem ideal times to introduce non-gamers to our hobby; yet our ambitions often fall short.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Thankful for Thanksgiving Gaming

 The winter holidays seem the ideal time to indulge in fantasy and games, a subject I’ve covered before here at Hobby Games Recce (“The Season for Fantasy” and “Share Gaming during the Holidays” come to mind). This year we got an early start, with some games played over the extended Thanksgiving holiday to keep us entertained. So while we looked forward to turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings on the dinner table we spent some time around the gaming table trying some new games and old standards to pass the time with friends...and get in at least one solo game to continue testing a new system. It reminded me how grateful I am for tolerant family, game-ready friends, and the online contacts who feed me new inspiration.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Game Conflict: “Man Against Game”

“Man is the unnatural animal, the rebel child of nature, and more and more does he turn himself against the harsh and fitful hand that reared him.”
H.G. Wells

Wandering through Target’s toy and game section I couldn’t help but spot a surge of new games from Ravensburger, the German board game and puzzle company. Seems like the company recently started acquiring licenses to produce games based on popular media properties: Disney Villainous, Jurassic Park Danger!, a JAWS game, and Horrified, based on the Universal Studios monster movies...even Star Wars and Harry Potter re-skins of the company’s well-established Labyrinth game (not tied to the Labyrinth film). The ones that sparked my interest – JAWS and Jurassic Park – both seemed to offer opportunities for interesting cooperative gameplay, with players controlling the characters and the game rules determining the actions of the shark or dinosaurs. But when I took a closer look at these, it was clear one player ran the antagonists while the rest got stuck trying to survive.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Game Reviews in the Internet Age

In a world where everyone is a publisher, no one is an editor.
And that is the danger that we face today.”
Scott Pelley

A game designer I greatly admire recently lamented the lack of quality game reviews. With the explosion of roleplaying game publishers thanks to the internet and Open Game License (OGL) one might naturally expect a concurrent explosion of online punditry would include blogs, podcasts, forums, and other outlets with intelligent opinions of game product. But their quality and critical approach has always varied so greatly...and toward the less-than-satisfying end. So where does one go for intelligent, carefully considered reviews of game product across the seemingly infinite and ever-changing expanse of the internet? Rather than trust the old outlets with some vestiges of authority today’s consumer must become an internet-savvy editor of their own review sources, finding, evaluating, and choosing those they personally find most useful from among the seemingly infinite internet landscape.

The internet has moved our society from more insular, intimate communities toward larger, more inclusive communities of casual acquaintances and strangers. While this broadened the scope of information available to us, it has also exponentially increased the volume of content and hence diluted the quality of content we see. Where once we trusted game magazine editors, local hobby store employees, and our gaming buddies to curate our game experience (including reviews), we must now ingest and evaluate a vast flood of game and review content from innumerable sources. The ease of the internet encourages everyone with an opinion to post it (unfortunately a practice not limited to gaming), even enabling consumers to casually and often anonymously rate products with little inkling as to their critical concerns.

Certainly reviews in the past had their issues, but it seemed easier to navigate given the more limited content to peruse; today the sheer flood of material, despite offering “more options” on the surface, threatens to overwhelm those seeking quality game reviews.

The Way It Was....

Where did we find game reviews back in the Golden Age of Roleplaying (the early 1980s) and the years before the internet?

Magazines: Periodicals provided my primary source for game reviews before the internet. The long-lamented Dragon Magazine provided me with plenty of intelligence about new games that might interest me; over the years I read other magazines for reviews, but few managed to cover the scope of Dragon. For years it not only provided game reviews but brief evaluations of fantasy and science fiction novels. Although one might raise concerns about corporate bias, most reviews covered a host of other publisher’s product. The advertisements in magazines could also pique one’s interest about upcoming games, showcasing their amazing artwork and tempting us with the potential for future game sessions.

Hobby Stores: Hanging out at the local hobby store (or book store, or game store, which seemed rare back in the early days) one could not only peruse the latest releases and judge for ourselves, but we could ask sometimes-knowledgeable staff for opinions or talk with fellow gamers we met there. Here we might also read magazine reviews without having to purchase the periodicals themselves; on one of my earliest purchases (the Dungeons & Dragons Expert boxed set) the clerk tossed in an outdated copy of Adventure Gaming magazine, which contained a comprehensive look at Chaosium’s Thieves’ World box, which quickly rose to the top of my gaming with list.

Friends: Game table chatter with buddies often veered toward product...what folks heard about, what they wanted, what they’d bought and were showing off. Their recommendations mattered because these players shared the same tastes in gaming. Their interest in a particular game indicated a potential new pursuit to bring to the table, one with seemingly guaranteed players.

Conventions: In my youth I rarely attended conventions. GenCon was too far an too expensive, an the only local convention. PointCon, at the West Point Military Academy, focused more on wargames. Still, over the years conventions have offered me a chance to check out new games first-hand, often beyond simply perusing the rules through chats with designers and occasional demo games. While these weren’t reviews or recommendations from other consumers, they gave me a firsthand look at potential purchases.

Were these always reliable, satisfying, and useful reviews? Of course not. But they served us well in their own way, offered us a reasonable number of resources to evaluate and make educated decisions on whether particular products were right for us. Like a good reviewer, a cautious consumer knows what they like content-wise and can discern a reviewer’s biases and critical failings. In most cases those offering reviews were accountable to others or face-to-face to the consumer. Those writing for magazines answered to an editor, who represented a publisher. Store clerks, gaming friends, and even those hawking games at conventions had an in-person relationship with potential consumers who could easily return if the review proved incorrect. This accountability – to whatever degree – imbued reviews with some semblance of authority or trust...something often lacking in the Internet Age’s easy anonymity and lack of accountability.

The Here and Now....

The internet enabled an explosion of creative minds who could publish whatever they wanted, all without the infrastructure of a traditional analog publishing house...including editors who could evaluate, revise, and even reject work that seemed unacceptable. Some view editors as “gate-keepers” who limited one’s freedom to produce whatever they wanted of whatever varied subject and quality. One naturally assumes the great material would float to the top of the internet deluge while the dreck settled to the murky layers below. Editors used to help with that it’s determined by internet mobs sending things “viral,” clustering around products and producers like rabid cultists, fueling the ever-ephemeral immediacy of the internet before something else bursts into the public consciousness and knocks much of what came before into forgotten oblivion.

The deluge of content also let loose a similar torrent of commentary about that content. With little accountability to an editor or publisher and beholden only and directly to their media consumers, reviewers share their opinions across a multitude of platforms. Just like the roleplaying game publishing scene, traditional avenues for reviews have faded in the face of an onslaught of content – forums, websites, blogs, videos, podcasts – all offering widely varying formats, depth, coverage, and quality in their reviews. Instead of relying on trusted publishers, each consumer’s responsible for finding and evaluating internet “influencers” offering reviews. Individual gamers must now serve as their own curators of the review experience...and indeed of their overall experience on the internet.

One might think I’m rather angry with the internet – I’ll admit at time various aspects of it frustrate me – but I believe it’s enabled more positive changes than negative ones in the adventure gaming community. Even in the move from established review publishers to the onslaught of online reviewers I find something positive: where once we trusted someone else’s opinion and choice of review subject (and their authority in publishing it) we must now cultivate our own critical eye while scanning the vast, turbulent ocean of content. We ourselves must each be our own “editor” in the absence of competent editors holding reviewers to quality standards of criticism.

Where Do I Find My Reviews?

I rely on my “Internet Radar,” a combination of websites I monitor, some social media platforms, a forum or two, and particular resources catering to my interests. Not all of these provide reviews – many simply inform me of new products – but they’re enough to make a quick decision whether a new game piques my interest and deserves greater consideration for purchase. After the demise of Google Plus someone recommended consolidating my website browsing through an aggregator for my web browser, primarily filled with bookmarks from my gaming links. It’s proven a great time-saver and gets me the latest updates in a timely, easily digestible format. I also rely on the occasional personal recommendation, though these remain rare in these times of limited online engagement in the post-Google Plus era.

When examining my sources for reviews, several sites come to mind:

BoardGameGeek: Along with its roleplaying game sister site RPGGeek BGG provides a treasure trove of useful information about games, including images of components, reviews, and files for rules, alternate rules, quick reference sheets, and other resources. I can’t bring myself to sift through the aggregated news and announcements, but if I know what I’m looking for I can easily find it with the search function. Most reviews skew toward the comprehensive, higher-quality end of the spectrum; many include actual play reports to enhance comprehensive commentary on rules and gameplay. Note: I primarily check BGG over RPGGeek given how few roleplaying game products I purchase these days.

Tabletop Gaming News: Perhaps my most useful source for new product information, TGN offers material submitted from numerous gaming companies about new releases, including links to the company website. It covers the full range of board games, roleplaying games, an miniature wargames (hitting most of my gaming interests). Granted, this is more a line into my “Internet Radar” but it serves as starting point hearing about and evaluating new products. Most posts appearing in my aggregator I gloss over since product doesn’t fit any of my genres of interest, but some tempt me enough to read and pursue.

Game Nite Magazine: TGN always announces new issues of this online PDF magazine devoted primarily to board and card games. In-depth reviews last several pages each, provide excellent photography of components, and offer succinct recommendations at the end.

Amazon: Assuming Amazon offers a gaming product I’m considering I check it for a preview (if available), more details on the content and author, and, of course, reviews. Despite the notoriety of online reviews of any platform I find I glean the most useful information from Amazon reviews. I usually start with the worst ones, discounting any dismissing a product because it wasn’t what the buyer expected or it arrived damaged and couldn’t be replaced easily. Beyond that I look for clues that reveal critical positive and negative points, compared to my own expectations and gaming style.

Left by the Wayside: I have numerous websites I used to visit seeking product reviews that, alas, no longer satisfy me (if they’re around at all). I mourn the passing of two in particular. I still occasionally check the reviews at RPGNet, but their trickling pace of release and limited scope (rarely covering games that interest me) pales in comparison with review materials other online venues offer. The Dreams of Mythic Fantasy website compiled news of Old School Renaissance (OSR) resources every week; alas, James A. Smith, Jr., who worked so hard collecting, organizing, and presenting all that information, passed away on April 10, 2019. Other sites offer relatively comprehensive and sometimes overtly biased roundups of OSR content, but James was both comprehensive and objective. I will miss his contribution to my gaming radar and his services to OSR gamers. I’m afraid I have little time or patience for video and podcast reviews. I might turn to video reviews I find if I’m seriously on the fence about a product, but my love of print runs deep, being better able to scan and digest it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Art-Inspired Game-Writing Prompts

Writing is truly a creative art – putting word to a blank piece of paper and ending up with a full-fledged story rife with character and plot.”

William Shatner

Wandering around bookstores one often comes upon a rack of notebooks labeled “Writing Prompts” and other such inspirational titles (usually near the blank notebook section). Occasionally I pick one up, check out the exercises, and imagine how something like that might apply to inspiring roleplaying game writing and design. I think these exercises can prove useful both to newcomers seeking to explore their writing potential as well as experienced authors continuously honing their craft (although they rarely have time to indulge in such frivolous experimentation...though goodness knows I should find the time). In ambling around the vast cacophony of ideas and opinions inundating the interwebzes I stumbled upon two resources that provide inspiration for game-writing prompts...or more precisely prompts for creating source material for fantasy roleplaying games. Unlike the “writing prompts” notebooks I’ve seen, these offer visual inspiration specifically attuned to roleplaying gamers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Player-Tinkerers: Customizing Game Rules

tinker (verb): to work in the manner of a tinker, especially: to repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner.”

Merriam-Webster Online

I recently ordered a pretty pricy battle game and – after the initial euphoria of opening the box, reading the rules, and sorting all the tiles, counters, and bits – soon found disappointment in the actual gameplay. The game worked, of course, and I admired some of the mechanics; but in play I encountered several instances that didn’t seem to make sense and even crippled the abilities of units in certain frequently encountered situations. I ambled about in despair for a brief moment...I’d just spent money on something that didn’t work to my satisfaction. But then I reminded myself I could tinker with the mechanics to transform it into something closer to the satisfying play experience I expected. That’s part of our nature as gamers: if a game isn’t working for us, we seek solutions to make it work. And sometimes that’s part of the fun.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Organizing the Deluge of Gaming Goodness

Back in the “Golden Age of Roleplaying” (for me the early-mid 1980s) organizing all the wondrous little bits of gaming goodness seemed so easy. Materials came to us in easily digestible bits that fit into conventional containers: bookshelves, folders, binders, boxes. But today’s gamers face a veritable deluge of useful content thanks to the connectivity of the interwebzes. How do we – can we – organize all the relevant gaming materials we purchase, download, view, and create ourselves in this Electronic Age where everyone’s a creator and nobody’s an editor?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tinkering with Gridded Naval Wargames

I credit Bob Cordery and his gridded wargames rules (including the Portable Wargame series) with kindling my interest in periods and battles I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced. His Gridded Naval Wargames recently drew me to the basement wargaming table for some maritime combat action. I’m not a huge naval wargamer. I’ve dabbled in Fletcher Pratt’s game (“The Quest for Naval Minis”). I created a solitaire game simulating the submarine action of Operation Drumbeat. I’ve considered buying into Ares Games’ Sails of Glory, but have second thoughts when I look at the price and complexity. Cordery’s rules – rife with interesting asides, historical insights, and practical examples – inspired me to explore the genre and tinker with the many gamers do to improve upon mechanics and enhance their play experience.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Trapped in the Museum 20 Years Later

I just published the 20th anniversary edition of Trapped in the Museum, a solitaire adventure gamebook I first released back in 1999. Back then S. John Ross gave me his kind permission and much-needed encouragement to use his Risus: The Anything RPG game system for the brief pulpy tale of a college student who suddenly wakes up in a dark, locked museum. Another mutual friend, Shawn Lockard – who for a while hosted the WEDGE West End Games fan website – maintained a site for me where the free solo gamebook lived for a while. At one point I even printed copies to give away at the few convention appearances I was making at the time. It was all in an effort to keep my name and game design reputation in the public eye in the hopes it might attract some freelance writing work. It was the unintentional launch of a 20-year independent publishing career.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Limitations of Programmed Solo Adventures

I’m wrapping up work on two programmed solitaire adventures, a 20th anniversary revision of my Trapped in the Museum free adventure and a much more substantial science fiction scenario, The Asturia Incident, each using the OpenD6 system. I enjoyed working on them. They offered a break from more traditional roleplaying game writing and allowed me to have fun exploring elements within each genre. Both serve as tutorial adventures walking players through the skill-roll process in numerous situations, though this proved a bit more difficult to adjudicate thoroughly in the longer scenario. And while I’m thinking about developing a substantial pulp-themed solo adventure (a sequel of sorts to Trapped in the Museum), I feel I need some time to cleanse my palate from the rigors of programmed solo scenario writing. As entertaining as I hope the final product might seem, writing a programmed solo adventure takes a great deal of creative effort and has limited appeal in the roleplaying gamer market.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Solo Tékumel Actual Play Report

Lately I’ve had an urge to explore M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel setting through solitaire roleplaying. (You can read my earlier missive on this subject, “Prepping A Solitaire Foray into Tékumel.”) So one night while my wife was off watching Game of Thrones with friends and my son sat glued to the television screen watching American Idol (neither of which engages me in the least) I spread my solo gaming materials across my standing desk and indulged in a brief foray into the Empire of the Petal Throne. My heroes consisted of Ibásh, a young, idealistic priest of Keténgku; Bara, a protective aridani warrior late of the Legion of the Mighty Prince; and Thékuto, a well-traveled trade liaison for the Victorious Globe clan, to which they all belong. Their masters have quietly charged them with researching and retrieving an ancient automaton. As the first step in their journey they stopped along the sákbe road at the Tower of Deathly Hospitality (detailed in the earlier blog entry on this subject). Seeking shelter in the midst of a torrential monsoon, they find a caravan camped on the platform as far as possible from the dilapidated guard tower, with a lone fellow staring into the open door into the structure calling for his wife but, alas, not brave enough to enter and search for her himself. After learning of the tower’s haunted reputation from the encamped caravan, the group approaches Hóru hiArusá, a craftsman from the Silver Collar clan heading home with his new wife. Dzái sought shelter in the tower against his wishes; she has yet to emerge, call for help, or otherwise make her presence known. Although Ibásh wants to charge in, Thékuto, ever the voice of savvy reason, asks what Hóru’s willing to do if they group finds and returns his wife. The artisan offers them a finely wrought copper cup he himself crafted. Encouraged by this incentive the heroes enter the tower.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Do I Need that New Edition?

Seems like everyone’s releasing a new edition of our favorite games these days through regular hobby distribution channels, online, or Kickstarter campaigns. Some are genuinely updated and overhauled, others are classic games in spiffy looking refurbished packages with enhanced contents. Each time I see one of these I mentally undergo a quick evaluation – did I enjoy an earlier edition, do I like the setting and mechanics, will I play it, can I afford it? – and almost as quickly dismiss it. (Exceptions exist: see below.) I expect most gamers employ a similar cognitive subroutine whenever the prospect of any game purchase arises; but new editions often add an extra factor, that we already have a version of the game, one we most likely enjoy. Can it rekindle the love we once felt for this game? Can this new edition encourage and enhance additional gameplay? Is it simply a money pit to cash in on our nostalgia?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Summertime Excursions & Battle Cry

A cannon overlooking Lenn Park
on the site of a Civil War engagement.

We recently took my son, the now nine year-old Little Guy, to his first Civil War battlefield. I’m always worried about doing these things too soon, but he demonstrated an interest in the history: getting enthralled by the National Park Service movie on the battle, examining and reading about the artifacts, walking along the trails to the barely visible remains of entrenchments, and tolerating his father and uncle droning on about aspects of the exhibits and terrain. His growing understanding of history merging with my enthusiasm for games gives me an idea for summertime activities that might benefit him next year when he studies Virginia history: combining day trips to area battlefields with reading books from Daddy’s library and playing games portraying the events we study. Our trial visit to the Chancellorsville battlefield and a few rounds of Richard Borg’s Battle Cry helped convince me this just might work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Prepping A Solitaire Foray into Tékumel

Reading Man of Gold and diving back into Tékumel source material inspired me to explore Professor Barker’s rich, very alien setting through solitaire play (my distant past attempts at running it with friends having met with little success or satisfaction). I took some time to assemble my resources and work out some story basics...and then I put it to the test on an adventure seed I wrote as a challenge I issued in on of my recent blog posts, “Demonstrating Potential: Adventure Seeds & Outlines.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Gaming Eulogy for Google Plus

Google Plus is gone. Like a friend who parts ways following a different path of life than our own, it has wandered off into the ephemeral oblivion that consumes much of the content on the ever-changing interwebzes. I feel grateful to have involved myself with it since 2011, when a gaming friend sent me an invitation to the beta version. The experience expanded my horizons on various fronts, mostly game related. Google Plus exposed me to new people, material, and ideas that sometimes challenged my comfort zone but always expanded my experiences as a gamer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Demonstrating Potential: Adventure Seeds & Outlines

I’m re-reading M.A.R. Barker’s novel Man of Gold and it’s drawing me back into the rich, complex, distinctly non-western roleplaying game world of Tekumel. I’ve discussed this setting before (“Tekumel: The Lands of Joyful Addiction”) and how, despite the vast depth of the game world, I can never quite dive into it at the gaming table, at least for very long. After some reflection I’ve identified several reasons for this, not necessarily limited to Tekumel but particularly to games with esoteric settings. They all feed my growing list of elements I feel necessary in a good roleplaying game core rules set beyond basic, intuitive, yet easily adaptable mechanics (no doubt fodder for future Hobby Games Recce posts). But I want to concentrate on one aspect often missing from the various incarnations of Tekumel-based roleplaying games that could help make them and other games more easily accessible: adventure seeds and outlines.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Plethora of Projects

I’m slowly nearing completion on my latest project (though still a few months out from publication) and I’m already looking ahead to my next game-related endeavor. My writing schedule, such as it is, must accommodate my other roles in life. I manage to regularly work on projects despite the constant guilt that such activity neglects my household duties, innumerable homeowner projects, and the responsibilities of a father to an inquisitively sharp third grader. The start of a new year has me recovering from a month of preparatory activities for the yuletide holidays and an occasional pilgrimage to visit distant family. My productivity wasn’t helped by recovering from sickness both after the holidays and late January’s inadvertently “plague-themed” birthday party for an acquaintance, in which most guests fell ill in the following week. Yet the days are getting longer, my schedule’s returning to some semblance of order (as much as the Lords of Chaos will allow), and my gaze turns once again to game-writing projects at hand an in the near future.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

GM Aids: NPC Cards

They don't look like much, but
they kept me organized.

In my last missive I mentioned some of the boxed sets we assembled at West End Games included cards; it reminded me how I’ve used index cards for non-player characters stats and other useful information in both my home games and products I helped design for West End. Having relevant game material handy remains essential for gamemasters, whether running a pre-published scenario or managing the characters’ free-form sandbox hex- or dungeon-crawl. I don’t always care to page through rulebooks in the middle of a game – though a scenario isn’t quite as onerous to peruse – so having cards around allows me to arrange the core information for an encounter just as I like on the tabletop to maximize ease of reference.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WEG Memoirs: Assembling Boxed Games

Remember when roleplaying games came in boxes packed with multiple rulebooks, cards, dice, and other goodies? What a a joy to revel in opening that box and celebrating each little piece that promised to grant us an exciting gaming experience. Yet how did they get into that gorgeous box in an age before cheaper Chinese manufacturers and robot automation? Humans put them there. Humans working in a stuffy, hot warehouse, mindlessly laboring at an assembly line, putting each component into each box one at a time. For a short while in that glorious age I was one of those humans.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Derivative D&D

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”
Abraham Lincoln

I’m constantly amazed learning about the origins and influences behind Dungeons & Dragons, how even today the roleplaying game hobby continues evolving based on past works “improved” by those who feel they could do a better job...and sometimes actually do. Two publications best illustrate the movements from which D&D derived much of its imaginative power and mechanical implementation: Jon Peterson’s monumental scholarly history Playing at the World and the visually impressive coffee-table tome Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana by Peterson and a host of others who have reflected on the origins of the roleplaying game hobby.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Early 2019 Games on the Road

Several times each year I go on the road to run events at game days and conventions. I have my favorites, most within easy driving distance and an overnight hotel stay. On Sunday, Jan. 27, I’ll make the trek up to Northern Virginia for the NOVAG Game Day at the Centreville Library, where I’ll host a Panzer Kids game. Then on Feb. 15-17 I’ll be in Williamsburg, VA, for the ODMS winter convention, Williamsburg Muster, where I’ll run the obligatory Panzer Kids game and a few other kid-friendly events. If you’re in the area come out and join us or the other folks running engaging miniature wargames.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Holiday Gaming Cheer

Despite an overly hectic holiday season overshadowed by a week-long pilgrimage to visit family in New England – tempered with a nice persistent head cold – I managed to find some solace amid the chaotic drama and logistical nightmare of traveling at this time of year. My family and friends were quite generous bringing gaming goodness to brighten this darkest time of the year and the bleak winter months (and I’ll admit I treated myself, too). The season offers a reason to indulge and invite others to indulge my adventure gaming interests. This year was no exception. In the past I’ve discussed how the December holidays seem a magical time perfect for such escapist pursuits as board and roleplaying games with friends and family. Although this season was fraught with chaos, I appreciate the game-related cheer that brightened my holidays.