My Year in Review

Image by: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

By any standard of measure, this has been an absolutely amazing year for me in terms of games and gaming. In fact, prior to the events of this year, I never would have guessed that I would have had the kind of year that I have. If you’ll indulge me, I want to take a look back at what has gone down and what it all means for me going forward.

Enter, The Troll

The thing that started off the year right (even though it happened in March) was the start of my writing for Troll in the Corner. If Ben had never put out the call for new writers in reddit, then the overwhelming majority of things that have happened to me in terms of gaming never would have happened. In fact, writing for TC directly led into the first event of the year that really expanded my gaming horizons and opened my eyes to entirely new worlds of gaming.

The Origin(s) of it All

Before I started writing for TC, I had decided that I was going to try and go to some gaming conventions this summer. I had originally planned on going to GenCon. Then, I found out that The Gamer’s Haven was going to open their gaming convention, KantCon, to the public. Then, a few months before it was to happen, my wife reminded me that the Origins Game Fair was held in Columbus and suggested that I go.

Origins 2010 was the first gaming convention that I had ever attended and, as such, it left an indelible mark in my gaming history. There, I played in system that I had not even heard of prior to attending. I discovered Burning Wheel, Cthulhutech, Eclipse Phase, Delta Green and more. I had a fantastic time there and fell that going was a great way to kick off my summer convention schedule.

I’m the Kind of Guy that Likes to Roam Around

Following Origins, I attended four other conventions this year, all with varying degrees of enjoyment. From KantCon in Kansas City, to GenCon in Indianapolis, to Con on the Cob near Cleveland to GASP-Con in Pittsburgh I experienced a wide variety of games and gamers. I learned a lot about how I need to approach a gaming convention during the process. I found that, without a doubt, the best part of going to gaming conventions is meeting the awesome people that attend them. If not for some amazing people, I would not have had near as good of time as I had at these events.

Game Mastering for the Win

This year also saw the rise of me as a Game Master. I had been running games for about a year before this, all told, but this year I found out that I really love to GM. I  ran five events at KantCon and I competed in the Iron GM competition at GenCon. In both instances, I was much more comfortable behind the screen than I ever have been as a player. I like the sense of control (illusory though it may be at times) and I like seeing the reactions of the players when I do something well.

I definitely feel like I can improve as a GM and every time I listen to a gaming podcast or read a blog or play in someone else’s game, I do my best to learn from it.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

I have never, at any point in time in my gaming career to this point, had this many RPG products in my possession. I’ve done a bunch of reviews for TC since going to the summer conventions and I have more waiting to get done. I am thrilled to see how many different RPG products are being produced and what the average quality of all of them is. There are some amazing books and products being put out by a wide variety of companies. I do need to make sure that I don’t bite off more than I can chew when it comes to these reviews so I can make sure I can get them done in a timely manner. But, you live and you learn, I guess.

Finding the Thing I Love

More than anything else, I found this year that I really, truly love tabletop RPG gaming. I knew that I enjoyed it prior to the events of this year, but I never knew how deeply that enjoyment ran. The creative process, the social interactions and the exploration of the themes of the various games all run together to make this, for me, the greatest hobby that anyone could ever hope to have.

What Does All of This Mean?

It means that I’m looking forward to an amazing 2011. I’ve got the plans in the works to attend Origins, KantCon and GenCon again. I will likely also try to go to Con on the Cob again, as well. Additionally, I am working out the details to be able to attend PAX East, which would be an amazing time.

Beyond the conventions, I have my own home game that I’m running, and I plan to keep giving you guys session updates and sessions audio.

Finally, I am sure that I am going to come across some more amazing RPG products this year. I’ll keep working on the reviews that I have to do and I will gladly look at whatever I have time to look at from nearly any RPG publisher; you never know where you’re going to find a gem.

Lastly, Thanks

Without all of the folks that read TC, without my friends in gaming, without Ben and my fellow Editors, and of course, without my supremely understanding wife, none of this would have been possible. Thank you all and I’ll see you in 2011!

[tags]Actual Play, New Year, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, rpg, rpgs, roleplaying games, conventions, reviews[/tags]

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