2012 in review

As I’ve mentioned previously, 2012 was my first year of doing New Year resolutions. I had some moderately challenging resolutions to complete, and I did pretty well with them if I do say so myself.

1. Play at least ten games (roleplaying or board) that I have never played before. EXCEEDED!

In 2013 I played six new board games:
– A Game of Thrones board game
– Cosmic Encounter board game
– Qwirkle
– Dominion
– Mansions of Madness
– Chaos in the Old World

…and fifteen new roleplaying games:
– Apocalypse World (at the mid-year point I’d only done intro sessions; I’m now two sessions into a campaign)
– Archipelago II
– The Extraordinary adventures of Baron Munchausen
– Lady Blackbird
– Microscope
– Trollbabe
– Leverage
– 1001 Nights
– Don’t Rest Your Head
– Hot War
– Age of Arthur
– Wordplay
– Trail of Cthulhu
– Monsterhearts
– Dungeon World

2012 pretty much heralded my full induction into the world of indie games, after a tentative start in 2011. But trad is neither gone forgotten; I’m still running my Dark Heresy campaign and playing in a WFRP campaign (albeit spliced with Apocalypse World).

2. play a full roleplaying session, not just a one to one, entirely over Skype (or G Chat). ACHIEVED!

Done! I ran Disaster Strikes! for Indie+, but sadly ended up with only one player (sob!) so this didn’t count in the end, despite being a fairly successful session (and a first for one-on-one DS!). But I’ve since started an online Apocalypse World campaign with three friends, using G Chat. This has worked very well indeed and fills me with hope for not losing touch with roleplaying friends when I move to the countryside in May.

3. Read at least ten sci-fi and/or fantasy authors I’ve not read before, including at least five women. ACHIEVED/EXCEEDED!

In 2012 I read the following sci-fi/fantasy books by authors I’d never read before:
– Spin State by Chris Moriarty (technically I started this in 2011)
– Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
– The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
– This Alien Shore by CS Friedman
– The True Game by Sheri S Tepper
– Faith and Fire by James Swallow
– The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
– Green by Jay Lake
– A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
– Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey.
– Legend by David Gemmell (seriously can’t believe I’ve never read him before – though frankly I was not that impressed with this one)
– Stories of your life and others by Ted Chiang
– Subterfuge, edited by Ian Whates (lots of authors here, but doesn’t quite count ’cause it’s short stories. Whatever, I’m putting it on the list.)
– The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction III, edited by George Mann (same comment applies)

I’m pretty pleased with this. But for 2013 I’d like to increase my overall rate of reading; I did read some other books besides the above but my total books read for the year is fairly pitiful. I need to find more time for reading at weekends and in evenings (I do most of my reading on my commute).

4. Write a complete roleplaying system. EXCEEDED!

At the mid-year point I was partway through designing Quick Draw. I have now adapted that system for use with Disaster Strikes! and bolted on a stats system, and rules for structuring the story. I released a full beta test version to playtesters on New Year’s Eve (phew!) and have already received my first playtest report, from a total stranger in Ohio. It’s pretty damn cool to think that people I never met halfway across the planet have enjoyed playing my game, and the feedback has been very useful too. So thankyou Jay, if you’re reading this.

In addition, I entered the 24-hour roleplaying game design contest on RPG Geek with Farmtopia, my story game based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Next year I hope to develop this further into a game about revolutions more generally (with Farmtopia as a module). I’ve got heaps of other ideas, too. I’m hoping 2013 can be the year of designing stuff.

5. Complete my murder mystery for Undying King games. FAILED! I’m wondering whether it’s time to admit defeat on this. I just don’t seem to be making time for it. Every time I have a good long stretch of time I’ve ended up focusing on something else. I’m not quite ready to call it dead yet, though.

Other significant stuff from a gaming point of view:
– I went to my first proper roleplaying convention (Furnace in Sheffield)
– I went to London Indie Meet for the first time (but hopefully not the last)
– I (we) launched Black Armada and got it firmly established
– I created House of Ill Repute, a political playset for Fiasco

It’s been a busy year!

Josh Fox

Rabalias grew up wanting to be a pirate. But a band of evil bureaucrats kidnapped him and forced him to work for The Man. Even so, Rabalias was patient and cunning. He escaped by gnawing his way through the walls of his prison and concealing the hole behind a picture of cthulhu. He fled to the coast, and stowed away on the Black Armada, where he worked his way up to the rank of Admiral.

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