A Good Year for Gaming, Examined
So as I already posted, I had an epic year of gaming. Sixty percent more games than any year for the last decade. We’re talking raw college-levels of gaming.
How did this magical thing happen?
For one, 2011 was the year of the West Coast game tour, with convention and gaming events large and small, epic and intimate: Johnzo-conzo, GameStorm, NemoCon, Fabricated Realities, Go Play NW, PAX, CozyCon, and GeekGirlCon. Fantastic and unique events all through the year.
Second, there was the mighty, unstoppable, dice-crushing juggernaut that is Story Games Seattle. Make no mistake: run a weekly public gaming meetup and you will game a lot. At least once a week, in fact. Civilians beware, it’s a highly virulent gaming vector. Just walk near the building and you’re likely to get sucked in and start role-playing. Before you know it you’re using words like antagonism and conflict resolution.
Here’s the weird part: I didn’t even have a regular gaming group in the usual sense. Y’know, that Tuesday night crew you try all your new games with. Instead I played with a huge variety of people. Story Games Seattle meets every week, but I’d be lucky to play with the same people twice in an entire month. It’s a constantly shifting roster of players and even when it’s fairly stable we mix up who plays with who. Case in point: in 2011 I played with 103 people I had never gamed with before, ever. This is a crazy and wonderful thing all by itself. Educational too. There is nothing that sharpens your gaming skills like gaming with strangers. I highly recommend it.
This was also the year I finished Microscope and sent it out into the world to make new friends. Anyone who tells you that isn’t a harrowing process is lying or they aren’t releasing a game they really care about. Sometimes it’s nerve-wracking and sometimes it’s fantastically rewarding. Those two things don’t cancel out: it’s both at once, or sometimes one right after the other. Has this scared me off game design? Clearly not enough, because I’m already knee-deep playtesting Kingdom.
All in all, this has been a really fine way to spend a year. Playing lots and lots of fascinating games with lots and lots of fascinating people.
To all the awesome gamers who made my year possible: thank you. Now let’s play more.