Wednesday, 31 December 2014

That 2015 Look Ahead Post

Last year’s look ahead post was structured by –
  • Game Time
  • What To Play?
  • What Else?
  • Other than Gen Con?
I’m going to use a similar structure to this for simplicity other than of course there will be no Gen Con in 2015 for me (Yes +Greg Barr I mean it!).  So…

Game Time

I’ve pulled together a calendar of all events / sessions of gaming that are a) available to me and b) likely to actually happen.  Yes, I’m that guy.

Here’s a breakdown (spreadsheet available on request!!!) –

DWARF FRI
38
DWARF SAT
12
ENT SUN
23
ENT FRI
10
Other Events
14
Total Days Of Gaming
97

So keep in mind that this is what is available to me.  What I expect to actually attend is somewhat different.  The “Other Events” includes things like conventions and other stuff that I‘m considering including a couple of special events throughout the year.

You’ll also notice ENT FRI as an entry in this list.  This is an attempt to create more local gaming capacity (at the expense of some potential DWARF time...). Given my lack of overall available capacity for more gaming I’ve opted to swap the last Friday of the month from a potential DWARF FRI to an ENT FRI. Whether this actually happens is of course debatable…

So how does that resolve?  Based on limited scientific calculations I’ve gone with the following –

RPG
21
Board/Card
37
Other
10
Actual Days Gaming
68

The “Other” is made up primarily of conventions and special events with 1 exception that I’ll come to later in this post.
The RPG is inflated as currently all of the ENT FRI sessions will be RPG sessions, in addition to those I have as DWARF FRI sessions. I stress currently as I have no set venue for these ENT FRI sessions nor do I have a clear view on how this will work.
Board / Card is a mix of ENT SUN, DWARF FRI and DWARF SAT sessions and also relates to that 1 exception above.

So in theory I will be gaming 1 day in 6 throughout 2015.  I can say with absolute certainty that this will NOT happen.  If I get over 50 days of gaming in (conventions included) I’ll be happy, in fact let’s say 52 as that’s an average of 1 day’s gaming per week.

What To Play?

This is a bit of a tough one for 2015 but only because I’m spoilt for choice.

Board & Card games will continue to dominate my hobby time if only because of my ever expanding collection of games and that’s essentially what ENT was built for.  I have a lot of games now and the ENT community in particular is growing its own game collection so there’s more choice on offer than when we started out (which is great). I don’t want to pre-suppose what games we’re going to play as it’s usually a gut feel thing on the day itself.
What I do want to do though is play more Sentinel: Tactics and we’re planning to support the Greater Than Games month in January 2015 so would be rude to not play Sentinels Of The Multiverse too. Also in January (as I’ve posted previously) ENT is planning to host a Pandemic Party on the 25th so Pandemic along with Pandemic: Contagion will be played.
Other than that though the only objective (with a small “o”) that I’ll set is to try and play every game I own once during 2015.  That’s going to be hard to do but would be good to see how far into my collection I get!

RPG wise I want to improve on my time spent on that from 2014. If nothing else I want to run 2 separate games, 1 for the DWARF crowd and 1 for the ENT crowd, note that these “crowds” aren’t exclusive and anyone else that happens to join in on either can do so.  Whether those be campaigns or variety of one-shots I’m not fussed.  There is appetite in the DWARF crowd for more Star Wars so that’ll likely be the option taken there. For the ENT FRI crowd though I’m really not sure.  D&D 5th Edition is the obvious candidate and I do want to run it but there’s also Atomic Robo and a few other games that are calling me back – All Flesh Must Be Eaten being one of them…
When starting a new RPG community (ok so it’s a fork off the ENT SUN community) the temptation could be to launch straight into a campaign game.  With something that’s largely fledgling and really only having 1 “active” GM (that’d be me, although I know +donjondo has and think +Michael Mauderer might have too) the better approach may be to taste test a variety of games to generate that appetite.  We’ll see though…

That’s largely it right?

Well if I succumb to the musings of Greg and John Laurie I may have to admit that Battletech: Alpha Strike is a wargame.  If so then I want to play at least 6 games of Alpha Strike during 2015.  Might have to pick up some of that Dropzone Commander Cityscape scenery though...

Where to Play?

As I’ve now added “Attend More Conventions” to my objectives I should really cover what my intentions are here.  I’ll also try and cover any special events that are part of my plans for 2015.

Conpulsion – Given last year’s largely poor experience I’m tempted to give this a miss in 2015. Currently I’m unable to make my mind up so this will likely remain as a TBC until nearer the time. There is a sense of obligation to go though and I’d be interested to see what improvements have been made.

UK Games Expo – This is the priority convention of the year for me. In the absence of Gen Con this is the nearest thing from a UK perspective.  My accommodation is already booked, just need to finalise the list of others who are going and then get ourselves organised travel wise.  I also need to make sure I remember to take the time off needed pre and post!

Spiel Essen+Greg Barr and +Liz Mackie are -ahem- encouraging me to go to this and it is the exception I referred to above in the Other category.  It’s certainly cheaper than going to Gen Con (Essen in Germany as opposed to Indianapolis but the cost needs to be something I can justify. It might also have to be a later than ideal decision on whether to go but yes Greg the fact that there’s a beer hall in the convention centre is an added draw…

Glasgow Games Festival – This happened at the end of November and I couldn’t make it for a variety of reasons. IF it’s held again in 2015 and doesn’t cause any schedule challenge then maybe I’ll go. That obligation sensation is there alongside Conpulsion as it’s a Scottish Games Convention of sorts so I should probably make the effort…

Dragonmeet – London’s game convention which I had hoped to go to in 2014 but couldn’t justify it… If other events like Spiel Essen and the Glasgow Games Festival don’t happen then maybe 2015 will be the year I’m at Dragonmeet.

There are a few special events that I want to make happen in 2015, some are incorporated into existing ENT SUN sessions but others are a bit more than that.

These are only really planned up to end of July and there will be other options beyond that but I wanted to pull out a few things from this.

The Greater Than Games team always celebrate in January as that’s when they were formed as a company. For 2015 they want to game stores (and some other people like me/ENT) to host special events to promote their games.  There might also be special limited edition promo cards available if they arrive from the states in time!
So in January (11th and 25th) I want to play Sentinels at ENT SUN events alongside hosting a Pandemic Party at the end of January (25th).  Should be totally doable.

In March it’s the Fife Science Festival and we’re trying to link up with the Anstruther Science Café group to co-host this event at an ENT SUN (22nd). Again it’s likely that Pandemic will play a part but it’s Science so most things can be played!

April sees the next International Tabletop Day (11th) and again we’ll use an ENT SUN (12th) slot to host this.  I really, really, want to push the boat out for this!

June has the first “special” event that I want to organise in 2015.  I had wanted to organise an event in 2014 to raise money for MacMillan Cancer but that didn’t happen for a variety of reasons.  I want to make this happen in June 2015 instead.  Why June?  Too many reasons to mention but the one at the front of my mind is that this would be the 1 year anniversary of the passing of my friend Ray Gillespie.  Aiming for something around either the 13th June or 20th June for this. I have a venue in mind as with before but this is still in the early forming stage…

Lastly we have Gary Gygax Day in July.  This is normally the 27th of July and there’s an ENT SUN session on the 26th so will likely use that for D&D themed fun.

What Else?

So that covers a whole host of conventions and special events etc but is that it?  In short, no.

I have some ideas that may fall at the first hurdle as they’re primarily about “the hobby” as opposed to “my hobby”.
I also have some ideas that reflect on what I referred to in the 2014 Retrospective post about changing how I engage with my hobby.  Some of these are wrapped up in the above but mostly these are about doing something to improve my enjoyment of my hobby and indeed getting that enjoyment in different ways.
All sounds pretty mysterious? Well that’s because currently it has to be at least until I’ve fleshed some of these ideas out a bit more.  Some of the content is also perhaps a little close to the bone so I need to make sure I’m pitching it right…  It’ll become clear as we move into 2015 what some of these are, assuming of course that they don’t fall at the first hurdle!

Phew! Just read that back and there’s a LOT of stuff here… Maybe I should have split it into 3 posts? What it does say though is that 2015 is looking like a ramping up of hobby commitment for me and also looking to stretch ENT more through the use of events and more sessions in general for RPGs.
It should be a very good and busy year!