Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Forget 2020, Look to the New Year

 “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”


The new year begins in only a few days. Although we want to forget the dumpster fire of 2020 and put it well behind us, its ruinous effects on various levels will unfortunately continue wreaking havoc with life as we know it well into the new year. For some it has and will continue to plunge them deeper into physical and economic hardship, a malicious result of America’s reliance on cruel capitalism for the masses and corporate welfare for the privileged few. In past New Year’s holidays I’ve waxed nostalgic about the prior year, reflecting on one as we stumble into the next. Looking back on what the world has lost in 2020 offers little comfort, especially knowing that the first months of 2021 hold more of the relentless challenges and upheavals we’ve endured since March. We must all reflect on how the pandemic has affected and will continue to impact our lives, communities, and world in our own way. Although I’ve looked back at how the pandemic has changed my own life, especially as related to the adventure gaming hobby, I take some comfort looking forward to the coming year when we can appreciate some of the adjustments we’ve made in these unprecedented times and anticipate an eventual return to cherished activities we suspended to survive the Year of the Pandemic.

The adventure gaming hobby offers some degree of escape from the tribulations of the real world; so it comes as no surprise I focus my optimism for the new year in this realm. I expect I’ll continue immersing myself in solitary hobby activities for the first few months of 2021: prepping and painting wargaming miniatures; reading new game acquisitions; trying out new games (either solo or occasionally with willing victims family members); and, of course, designing and writing new game material for roleplaying games and wargames (some of which have, regrettably, shifted to the back burner in the face of everyday chores, maintaining the home front amid the pandemic, and the holiday season). Suspension of normal activities like going out and shopping freed up some funds for slightly increased game purchases that sustained me through 2020 and will continue to keep me happily occupied in the new year. The generosity of other gamers with gifts throughout the year has provided me with some new material for my gaming hobbies. Blogging here at Hobby Games Recce has kept me busy, though it’s not always a satisfying exercise; however, interacting with fellow gamers here, by e-mail, and in comments on their own blogs has demonstrated that no matter how isolated we are by physical circumstances, electronic communications help start and maintain friendships among those with common interests.

I’m also looking forward to receiving a host of Kickstarter games I backed in 2020. The funding platform can provide some sense of frustration as one waits from the end of the pledge drive to the actual delivery of a game. But in these times finally receiving a Kickstarter game is like receiving a forgotten present that shows up unexpectedly (which, after this holiday season with an overwhelmed US Postal Service having delays of up to two weeks on my Priority Mail packages, isn’t beyond the pale...thanks Congressional Republicans and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy). The new year should bring along such games as Relics of Rajavihara, a puzzly solo adventure game with a pulp explorer theme; the nature-themed tile-placement game Cascadia (including solo mode); Worthington Publishing’s Hidden Strike: American Revolution game; a re-issue of the Reiner Knizia classic Tutankhamun with high-quality components; and last but certainly not least, the super-mondo Conanthe Cimmerian: The Tower of the Elephant which offers a solo mode and, yes, comes with an actual tower you build for the game. I backed many of these because they offered solitaire rules (which I’d play on my own anyway, pandemic isolation or otherwise), which suits the current situation and can shift to multi-player mode when the plague lifts.

I look forward to the day when vaccines prove effective and ubiquitous enough to return us to a greater if adjusted sense of “normal” so we can resume postponed in-person hobby activities like trips to regional game stores, the local used book store, and area museums. Most hosts of conventions and game days early in the year have wisely chosen to cancel in-person activities; but I’m still planning out new scenarios and games to run when these events finally resume. I await the day the local history museum can open and host gallery talks, including one I’d planned to give introducing kids and interested adults to historical wargaming (the source of one of my primary disappointments in 2020). And, of course, I can’t wait to invite friends over for some good food and gaming, an absence we definitely noticed during the holiday season. We must remain patient.

So join me in raising a glass, not to celebrate the past year, but to joyously look forward to the new one. Let some blessed inebriation (imbibing the substance of your choice) help us forget 2020 and relegate it to the burning dumpster of history that typified its numerous miseries. Celebrate what little good we found there, remember the lessons we learned, keep fighting to right the injustices we found there, and move forward into 2021 with a renewed spirit to help make our lives, our communities, our world better...with plenty of gaming to spare. Happy New Year.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”


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