Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 ... a make or break year (alternatively a gaming mid life crisis)

Big game ... no clue how many points we were playing with
it was easily 10 full armies worth.  Germans vs. Americans and
Russians in a cool moving train objective scenario.

2012 a new gaming diet ... my new years resolution and my reasons why.

First I have to say ... it should go without saying that we game for fun right?  If not what the hell is the point.  So for me yes indeed gaming still has been fun but not nearly as fun as I know it can be.  I'm not lamenting for some past better than it really was "golden age" to return.  No I am a realist with gaming and I feel I know what I can reasonably accomplish myself and what I can reasonably expect from people in my gaming group.  That said gaming is not nearly as good as it could be right now and I hope to change that.  I think gaming for me has gotten a little "out of shape" to continue with the diet analogy.  So I need to start an exercise regimen and go on a diet (hell I need to do that in reality, but that is thankfully off topic here).  I am going to try to trim the fat this year and focus on some new "exercises" like painting minis, outright dropping gaming activities that aren't producing for me in terms of fun and enjoyment, etc.

This past weekend I attended a historicals game at a game store about 25 miles from my house. A new group of folks, seemed like good guys generally and the store they play at was great. I got to play almost the entire game, I wasn't using my own minis it was a big game with some pretty specific forces, etc. so the club provided everything.

I was running a portion of a large American group, mechanized infantry battalion. I haven't played any flames of war in about five years and I have to admit I didn't play much back when I was playing. I might have a dozen games under my belt. This is a new version of the rules since I played though I didn't really see where the changes were, everything seemed familiar even after all that time. I had a great time and the game renewed my interest in flames of war and solidly reaffirmed my new interest in 15 MM. So a good start to historical gaming for 2012. A potentially new group/club to game with ... a store that heavily caters to historical gaming ... just in time to coincide with my desire to jump into historicals.

This brings me to the next part of the post and it is first a resolution for the year, a very, very difficult resolution and perhaps one that I might not ever be able to make again. It is going to be probably impossible to pull this off, overly ambitious, a little unrealistic, but ... NO VIDEO GAMES of any kind for 2012. Why would I do this to myself? Why deprive myself of such entertainment? Simple ... let me now launch into just what I have planned for the tabletop this year. Let alone a whole bunch of real life realities such as an ultra busy family life, big wedding in the family that is going to take alot of time, etc. graduate school to contend with, several trips planned and a huge transition in gaming for me. The other stuff is irrelevant for the purposes of this blog, yet clearly we all have lives beyond gaming eh? Because of that I have increasingly found myself questioning the value of gaming vs. the value of other pursuits in life. Not the important life stuff, but the frivolity of life.

Seriously why tilt at the windmill of gaming when I could just try to learn to play the piano, or strike out at a foreign language again or get into photography, spend more time hiking and camping, etc. For me the other more important stuff comes first always as it is, family, etc. etc. but the discretionary time spent doing gaming ... the past few years the returns have been very diminishing returns I must say.

So instead of just hanging it all up and calling it a day with gaming, which I would hate to do very much. I think it would feel like losing a limb or something ... seriously. I have spent the past year or so really thinking about what I could do to cut off the dead tissue and bring the limb back from the brink so to speak.

I have been on the road to recovery now for awhile and come to conclusions about gaming. Spending time doing gaming to borrow a phrase from an old friend "just because it is like something I used to like to do" rather than because it is good in its own right ... what the hell is the point of that? But honestly I've done that for a long while now with parts of gaming. I've played games that really weren't that enjoyable. Alot of cookie cutter D&D, with versions of the game I find tedious. Alot of solo video gaming and MMOs and the like and alot of just ho-hum ... semi-fun games that could be better. I've struggled to put my finger on what was wrong. Part of it is gaming with many new people in a new area, it has taken time to get to know people, etc. gaming with old friends you've known for years and years vs. new people you don't know well can have its ups and downs. Beyond that though as I've bemoaned in many other posts here ... gamers are changing ... the internet and "popcorn brain" for us all has really meant a difference that I've seen in terms of what people are really willing to play, and even then what they seem to be good at and what they just half-ass their way through.

So all that swirling melee of life, deep thoughts, the reality in which I live ... changing preferences ... ultimately has led me to the conclusion that I need to focus more on what I really want out of gaming and the rest of it be damned.

 Yet that will come with a price to the "rest of" my gaming. D&D will likely not happen this year unless it can dramatically change and get better.  I'm hoping I can work to reform our D&D group a bit, if not I'm going to have to put it not only on the back burner, but in the Tupperware container and into the fridge for now.  I'll likely have a Friday night indie/small press RPG night with a pretty dedicated group to those kinds of games. Saturday gaming is in flux right now ... I'm thinking its going to be a few Saturdays a month of historical gaming and some public play via the gaming club I founded at Weber State University. That will likely be the some total of that. I have had an ongoing D&D game on Saturdays ever since I moved to Utah nearly 3 years ago, so parting with it will be bittersweet. Video games though have become the "junk food" of my gaming life and I simply don't have space in my gaming "diet" right now to accommodate them and take my gaming to where I want it to be.

A fat stack of new historical rulesets that just came in the mail this week (thanks to some great sales at Warhammer Historical and Foundry) to choose from this year. First out of the game will be the Warhammer Old West system. Then Hail Caesar and then (not pictured) Black Powder. Flames of War is likely to rise again this year at some point as well.

As for the minis ya that is a gigantic amount of painting to do, I didn't even bother to put up the huge amount of terrain I picked up to go along with it all.

There are essentially two Roman armies, Zulus & Brits, Old West, Ancient Germans, Celts ... some of the armies will need more fleshing out but its a gigantic undertaking is all I'm really trying to express.

New adaptor for my flash cards from my camera still working out the glitches so sorry for the vertical images there ... damn phone!!  All that stuff came this past week and I'm really just trying to show the hundreds and hundreds of figures to assemble and paint (beyond that stuff I just received about 120 old west figures that came in from Foundry that I didn't snap pictures of) and no small amount of terrain to tend to. New rules to learn, etc. etc. If that isn't enough ... the grand pappy of RPG systems I hope to learn and start playing with the indie group soon ... burning wheel.

So 2012 is going to be a big, busy as hell year for me and I just don't have time to play video games this year, beyond that I don't have time to waste on bad games and on gaming that isn't fun. Will I hold to that ... I hope so ... for the sake of other gaming I hope so. I want more from my gaming time, I want most of all fun, honest to goodness fun. But I can't deny I seek what gaming used to give me years ago, an actual sense of accomplishment, very good camaraderie, and the kind of relaxation and solace that only a good pastime can provide. So I hope to bring those back into my own gaming, and in the process ... hopefully ... save gaming for myself for not just 2012 but for hopefully the rest of my life :)

So I'm calling myself out here and just damn going to try to take the bull by the horns and make some well needed positive progress this year with gaming.

Anyway happy gaming to you all in 2012!! May it be fruitful and multiply :D


uniteallaction said...

A Big Hello from your newest member.

I recently came across your blog and just started to follow you, as I think it's great, so we might have a couple of things in common as I too have a hobby blog you might like to follow to at


So feel free to drop me a comment and hopefully become a member, keep up the good work. And hopefully I'll hear from you soon.

The Lord of Excess said...

Thanks, stopped by your blog indeed it looks like we have quite a bit in common so welcome and happy blogging to ya as well as happy returns in 2012!

Scott said...

I have been re-examining my own habits and my gaming possessions as well. I am going to sell a great many things this year and never re-acquire them. Extra/unpainted armies are going. Board/Card games as yet un-played are going. Board games that I do not like, going. I am tired of holding out on the idea that I might have or maybe once had a good time with a game. I have plenty that I need to play more or that are great and have been played once. I am going to focus on them. I'll most likely sell those that I have no more use for (Battlelore and Memoir among them.) My life and the lives of those around me have changed. Pursuing things just for the fact of doing it, no longer holds interest. I really desire to do only what is present right now. Maybe it's the new year talking, but I have some things to accomplish this year.

The Lord of Excess said...

Ya feeling the same way ... time to return to the point of gaming and that is to have fun with it ... not to endlessly cling to what "used" to be fun.

Monty said...

Great post! I used to be a huge PC gamer but once I started with miniatures, I shifted away from PC gaming to painting and gaming historical miniatures. Now whenever I have a free minute, I think, "do I want to do X or paint?" and the answer is almost always paint. One obsession for another, I guess! Good luck with giving up video gaming!