2020 Looking Back – Disgruntled Wargamer

2020 Looking Back

Resolutions – are they worth it?

In January, I made a bunch of resolutions. Within the first two weeks, I accomplished one: Play out of town. The games weren’t my greatest, and I only managed to get two in during the local tournament, but it still counts! Still, with the world being as unpredictable as it is, I have to ask myself why I make resolutions, and why bother trying to keep them when the universe is such an unstable place? And it turns out, the answer as it fits me, is really simple.

Resolutions help us define our successes and failures, and provide personal challenges that shape our experiences during the year.

Personally, the resolution to accomplish a goal gives me purpose. In life, I have a bunch of goals that are achievable, clear, timely, etc. They’re crafted in the way of the 7 Healthy Habits, Six Sigma, and all they other buzz-word corporate self-help ways that are taught all around the world. My goals are role based, relating to my identities as a father, husband, employee, retiree, youth coach, and so on. As a tabletop wargamer/hobbyist, I made goals that would be enjoyable, give my gaming a sense of purpose, to give me a sense of accomplishment, and to develop me further in that role as a wargamer/hobbyist.

This year, I learned a little about myself, and why I play games, while I struggled to meet my goals during a worldwide pandemic.

Covid, and how I realized why I play games

Shortly into 2020, the whole Covid-19 shutdown happened, and our local meta receded into the dark corners of basements, online games, and anywhere but the local game store. My office allowed me to work from home for a while, but being tied to a desk all day made logging into an online game less and less desirable.

I think that’s why I play tabletop games. It’s a physical break from the sitting, the small mouse movements, the glare of a screen. A fully developed table draws me in, transports me somewhere else, and allows me to think beyond the 2-D realm of my workstation. Suddenly I’m no longer a cog in the machine, but a commander of machines. Success and failure is no longer nuanced, but plainly measured in wins and losses. Ability and luck determines the outcome. Regardless of that outcome, a camaraderie binds opponents together, because at the end of the day, it’s still just a game.

Oblivion

Although this year would be difficult to get 50 games in, I figured I would try to have as much fun as possible. So my wife and I started and worked our way through the Oblivion campaign.

Overall, we had fun. We both agree that she needs to get more games in, so she won’t forget what her army does. While we made an effort to play every month, I let the game count fall by the wayside, and stopped tracking those types of things. The quality of our experience became more important than quantity.

The switch to Oblivion, and playing against someone at an earlier stage of learning the game meant that I couldn’t just plug away with a single list or pairing, or even a single faction. It wouldn’t help her learn, and wouldn’t help me either. So I explored Crucible Guard, playing several games with Lukas. I blew the dust off some old Cygnar and Khador, and piloted my favorite Legion of Everblight warlocks (the twins).

Painting Goals

I almost completed my Trollblood army. The last model painted during 2020 was the Hearthgut Hooch Hauler. I’m rather proud of my work.

I also painted up the three pyg tanks, a couple of Protectorate of Menoth warjacks, and a slew of troops.

While I didn’t finish the Trollblood faction, I got close. I only have the Dhunian Archons, a repaint of Grissel 2, a Glacier King, and (new as of today), Brug. In a few months, I’ll have some time again, and push out those last models. I think after Trollbloods, I’ll focus on Crucible Guard again, and finish up my Rocketmen.

Video

My first video wasn’t a game. Instead, I made a video highlighting the Glowforge and its capability to cut tiny things. It also showed how I converted my Pyg tanks to look more like an actual tank.

My first video

Play Infinity?

I tried Infinity. About half a dozen game in, we lost interest. The rules were a little clunky in some spots, and there wasn’t really a way to learn with other people. I still like the models, the terrain, and will continue to follow the game because it has some interesting things that cross into Privateer Press’s Warcaster game.

I plan to enter into Warcaster some time next year (fall 2021, probably). The game has some aspects of Infinity, but I really like the dice system better in Warcaster. I figured that out by playing Riot Quest in December, during the holiday break.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Riot Quest. I’ve played only four games so far, with two and three people, and with and against Malvin and Mayhem.

First game of Riot Quest, with re-printed cards, since I lost the ones that came with the models when I bought them months ago.

I actually enjoyed Riot Quest enough to purchase a model I have no intention of playing in Warmachine/Hordes just to play in Riot Quest, and because it came with cool portal markers that you can put on the table, and it also had another bounty deck. I’m not going to go into gameplay here. I’ll write something on Riot Quest later.

3D Terrain

I tried some terrain projects, but didn’t complete any new things this year. Work, volunteering, and all sorts of things took up my time. In fact, one of the projects, a mountain, failed so badly that I pulled it apart, cut up some of the foam, and stashed it away so that I can reuse the material for something else.

In summary

Everything went crazy, I didn’t play as much as I wanted, but I do appreciate it more. I have another player in my house, and hopefully we’ll be able to get games in the future. I’ll think about what I want to do this year, 2021, but I’m not setting up anything really ambitious.