Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Reckoning... a.k.a. how I did on my 2019 Resolutions

Well, my resolutions for 2019 didn't exactly work out as well as I hoped, but at least looking at them can give me an idea of what worked, didn't work, and what I can do next year to be more successful.

So let's have a look at what I wanted to do last year, and see how it went.  I had five total resolutions:
  1. Get 15 painting points
  2. Reduce my number of unplayed games by 10
  3. Play 50 games of Warmachine/Hordes
  4. Read 18 books
  5. Lose 25 pounds.
 Oh boy.  Let's start at the beginning.

Get 15 painting points
I ended up with zero.  That's the bad news.  The good news, I actually did put paint on miniatures, and put at least three colors on some miniatures (a unit of Gatormen Posse).  This would have put me at five points, which is at least a start, but I admit I can't really count them as they aren't 'finished'.  In my head, this was going to be easy to do, as I really thought I could find some time to paint every week.  But as it was... almost every weekend got filled up with SOMETHING, and most of my evenings were spent trying to get my basement finally organized and completely situated, figuring that long term that would make me a lot more productive.  I have finally managed to put together a system that lets me work on miniature assembly in a structured, consistent way... I just need to figure out how to do so with painting.

Reduce number of unplayed games by 10
I made quite an effort to play through my backlog of unplayed games, playing roughly 15-20 games that I own but had never put on the table.  Overall, I did well.  Yet, I ended the year with more unplayed games than I started.  The problem wasn't actually my rate of acquisition (okay, it wasn't the ONLY problem)- I actually hadn't done a good job of cataloging all of my games on BoardgameGeek, which I use to keep track of what I have played, and haven't played.  This caused me an issue as I went through my collection of, say, Against the Odds Magazine games, and realized I had ten games that I hadn't accounted for.  Oops.  I didn't really have a good way of tracking what was new, what I had owned but hadn't accounted for, and really... much of anything but what I played, but I had a clear goal to reach, and I failed to reach it.  I *think* I can tackle this again next year and complete it though, if I really work at it.

Play 50 games of Warmachine/Hordes
I ended up at 21, half of my goal.  In truth, this was a pretty ambitious goal, but the end result of trying to shoot for this did actually increase how often I played, forced me to play people I've never met before (a wonderful experience, even if it meant a bunch of losses), and I think brought some of my friends more firmly back into the game.  Overall, I'm happy with how it went, even though I totally failed my resolution.  I'll pick a smarter number next year (probably 30).

Read 18 Books
Finally, one resolution I succeeded on.  I read 21 books this year, totaling 5888 pages, with the longest being Anna Karenina.  I'm happy with how I did this year, and I hope to increase that goal for next year.

Lose 25 pounds
I wish I had an excuse for this one, but I don't. I just dropped the ball.  I was doing really well for a time, and then I stopped prioritizing it.  I didn't GAIN weight over the course of the year, which is a small solace, but it was not a good year for this, sadly.

Anyway, I went 1 for 5 in the resolution department.  That's pretty awful, but hopefully next year I improve!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Gameplay Summary of 2019

It's that time of year, where I go through and start looking at all of the gaming I've done the previous year and think about how things have gone.  I will mostly mirror last year's post on this, I think.

The ten games I played the most this year:
  1. Warmachine/Hordes - 21 plays
  2. Magic: The Gathering - 17 plays
  3. KeyForge: Call of the Archons - 13 plays
  4. Warhammer Underworlds - 9 plays
  5. Cataclysm: A Second World War - 9 plays
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - 7 plays
  7. Splendor - 7 plays
  8. Marvel Champions: The Card Game - 7 plays
  9. HATE - 7 plays
  10. Fight for Olympus - 7 plays
A few games stuck around in this group from last year- Warmachine/Hordes, Magic, Splendor, and Warhammer Underworlds have still seen quite a few plays from me this year, which is awesome.  The rest are new, although several of these are from very early in the year, or from over a two-day period.  Still, interesting to see what I have gotten on the table frequently.

Last year, I managed to get my wife to play more board games, and it reflected in what I played- Ticket to Ride, Catan and so on.  This year, due to various reasons, she played less, and the only game that made the above list was Splendor.  A shame- although I think next year she'll probably be a bit more available for gaming.

I played a total of 99 different games this year, a total of 266 plays.  This is only slightly down from last year's total of 286 total plays (and I don't remember how many games).

Let's look at how I split my gaming:

There is no Roleplaying Game section... because I didn't play any Roleplaying Games this year.  Our Mutant Year Zero campaign, run by Rob, took a break in 2018, but hasn't returned, and so far, nothing has come back to fill that.  So we won't have much to say on the RPG front for 2019.

Straight board gaming, as I imagine is usual, took up most of my gaming this past year.  Given how it's the catch-all for everything, this is something I suspect happens every year, but I haven't been paying attention thus far.  This year, 121 out of my 266 (45.5%) plays were normal board games, led by KeyForge, Splendor, and Fight for Olympus.  Splendor is still one of my wife's favorite games, so I expect that one is going to be something I get a chance to play for years to come.  KeyForge is a bit of an odd one to categorize.  When I envision 'card games', I think of games where I am building a deck beforehand, and the deck construction/tuning/testing is part of the 'card game' process.  KeyForge doesn't really have this.  Even though the primary component of the game is, indeed, cards, and the gameplay is that of a card game, I've been counting it as a board game.  Your opinion may vary, of course :).

Miniatures gaming came in second, with 60 plays (22.6%).  One of my goals this year was to play more Warmachine and Hordes, and even though I didn't quite get as much as I wanted, I did manage to play a bunch more than last year, and it made up over a third of the minis gaming I did this year.  Other games of note this year were Warhammer Underworlds (as my brother tries to get more into the game), HATE (which Rob and I played early in 2019), Kill Team, X-Wing, Infinity, and WarCry, plus a bunch of others.  I tried some new miniature games that I think I'll play a lot more in 2020 (like Marvel: Crisis Protocol), and I had plenty of reason to start dusting off my old GW minis.  Overall, it felt like a good year for playing with miniatures.

Coming in third were card games, which I define as games that not only use cards as their primary component, but also involve pre-game deck building.  Think Magic or the LCGs from Fantasy Flight Games.  Here, I had 55 plays (20.7%), with Magic leading the way, as it's the one easiest to find opponents for.  Following it, I played a lot of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (playing through all the quests, in order, with Joey), Marvel Champions (the new LCG from FFG), and the Star Trek CCG 2nd Edition (which I've taught to my brother, and he has enjoyed).  Given that these games can be easy to fit in, I thought I'd end up playing more this year, but it just really hasn't seemed to happen.  I'm honestly not sure why, although the fact Netrunner is no longer officially supported certainly hurt.

Finally, we come to war games, or conflict simulation games.  Here, I ended up with only 30 plays (11.3%).  Given that these are frequently the longest to play and set up, these being the lowest is not surprising.  Thirty seems like a pretty good amount, however, I can't complain.  The ones I played the most were Cataclysm, War Room, and Europe in Turmoil.  Cataclysm even made my top ten, as we played each week for several weeks in a row at two points this past year.

One more pie chart for this year.  I wanted to see how frequently I play cooperative games vs competitive games.  This is how my split looks:

Okay, about what I'd expect- I play a lot more competitive games than cooperative ones.  As a matter of fact, over 85% of my games were competitive (one or more players against one or more players).  Interesting, although unsurprising.

Anyway, that's it for my look back at the previous year.  Time to start looking ahead!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Monthly Summary for November, 2019

An on time update!

Games Played
  • I posted a bunch about what I played during my fall gaming retreat.  Instead of repeating that, I'll just leave a link to that here, and you can see what I played.  
  • Warhammer Underworlds - Two games against my brother.  He's trying to get better at the game, and the best way to do that is to sit down and play more games.  We played twice, using his stuff.  Game one, I took Mollog's Mob against the Godsworn Hunt.  I think he wasn't sure the best approach to take, went from attacking Mollog to not, and I just made a beeline for the center of his forces, killing as I went.  I end up winning 13-9.  The second game, I take the Fellhoof and he takes the Grimwatch. I swarm his side of the board early, gain a bunch of glory from the 2 health guys, and start going after my objective cards. I easily handle everything thrown at me, and win 18-7. 
    Start of game 2.
  • Magic the Gathering - Six games against my college roommate, Eric.  My card collection is a bit of a mess at the moment, as I'm organizing everything, finally, so we played with his cards.  We ended up playing five games of brawl, one of Commander, and ended up pulling about three wins apiece.  A lot of fun!
  • Warmachine - Two games, one against Joey, and one against Rob.  I play both games at 75 points, using Cryx in the Dark Host theme.  First game was using Pirate Queen Skarre against Joey's Armored Korps list, with Kozlov as the caster.  I end up assassinating him on Turn 4, I think, basically throwing everything into pulling it off, and barely succeeding.  I then play Iron Lich Asphyxious against Rob running Butcher3 in Jaws of the Wolf, a theme I always struggle against.  This game ends early as I get too close to his caster, and he rushes in and kills me.  I need to do better about remembering to keep track of Butcher's threat!
    Butcher within 2" of my caster... this game is over :(
    Game end, as I smother his warcaster (the red, unpainted miniature just left of center, mostly hidden)
  • Marvel Champions - I know I played this at the gaming weekend, but I wanted to play it some more, so I decided to play some two-handed solo games.  I played three games.  Game 1, I used Leadership Iron Man & Justice Spider-Man against Rhino Bomb Scare. My heroes actually handled everything pretty easily, beating up Rhino twice, and winning.  Game 2, I take Protection Black Panther & Aggression Captain Marvel against Klaw Masters of Evil. Things go okay, but the two heroes really can't handle the Schemes well, and end up unable to mitigate how quickly the Threat piles up at the end, and lose.  Game 3, I use Leadership Captain Marvel and Aggression She-Hulk against Klaw Masters of Evil. Once again, handling the minions doesn't end up being too hard, and for a time, I handle the threat on the schemes well, unfortunately, one or two setbacks is all it takes, and I lose, probably a turn or so away from being able to win. 
  • Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth - Two games, with Mark and Rob.  We play the next two adventures in the Warg campaign, and win them both, pretty handily.  I think next time we play, we get to see some of our equipment upgrade!

  • Lord of the Rings, The Card Game - Three games, as Joey and I are starting a progression playthrough of the LotR content.  We went through the Core Set scenarios.  In all three games, our hero loadouts were Beravor, Theodred, Denethor for Joey, and Legolas, Eowyn, Eleanor for myself.  We started with Passage Through Mirkwood, and had an easy time of it, blew through the quest stages, and chew through the enemies. Ended up winning on turn five, with a total of 102 points.  Next was Journey Along the Anduin, we once again cruise through it. The final stage gives us a brief bit of stress, but we survive, and manage to win, once again, with a score of 140.  Finally, we played Escape from Dol Duldur, which I have never won- we eat through the first two parts easily, and handle the Nazgul, honestly with very little trouble. We hit the last part, and blow through it, easy as can be. 157 points. 
  • Master of Wills - Luckily, there is an app for this game, because the rulebook is actually pretty bad.  With the app and the rulebook, I was able to figure out how to play, and I played two quick games against the AI... losing both.  Not even closely, honestly.  It was pretty bad.  Still, the game seems interesting enough that I'll invest a bit more into some of the expansions. 
New Arrivals
  • Marvel: Crisis Protocol - Superheroes, miniatures, designed by Warmachine veterans?  Uh, how was I going to pass this up?  Of course I wasn't.  Looks freaking amazing- I'm sure I'll post a bunch about that as I play it.
  • Marvel Champions - I've mentioned this above as something I've been playing, and it came out right at the beginning of the month.  How do I like it?  I think it's amazing, obviously!
  • Cthulhu: Death May Die - Finally, my Kickstarter reward arrived!  I am super stoked about it, I can't wait to play!
  • Warmachine miniatures - I won't list everything I've recently bought here, but with my primary game store having a 50% off their whole stock of Warmachine stuff, and the MM Black Friday sale... yeah.  I have a lot of stuff to work through.
  • Card Game Expansions - Quite a few.  A pack for Lord of the Rings LCG, Game of Thrones, LCG, Arkham Horror LCG, two packs for the VS2PG... just working to get caught up with all of these games :)
  • The Czech Legion in Russia - A solitaire game depicting the Czech Legion in Russia during World War I, new from One Small Step as the current issue of Counterfact magazine.  I'm happy to see this issue, as I am almost all issues of CF... but man this one was a pain for a few reasons.  What a mess the customer service for that company is at times.  Anyway, I have it, it should all be resolved, so I can't really complain.
  • KeyForge Worlds Collide Starter - May as well get two decks from the new expansion, right?  I have two from all the others, after all.
  • Master of Wills - I backed this one on Kickstarter, as it looked to have some elements I like (mainly, deckbuilding and fixed distribution).  I played it a bit, as I related above, and it seems okay.  I have the main game and one of the expansions.  Like I said, it seems alright.
Miniature Assembly/Painting
  • More assembly- I assembled the Hermit of Henge Hold, the five minis in the Riot Quest box, two Stalkers, and a few more random fixes of miniatures.  I started working on Crisis Protocol miniatures, as well.
  • I read Ire of the Void- an Arkham Horror novella.  Probably the best of the set I've read so far.  Maybe I just like academic POV characters.
  • Some rulebooks, which aren't worth mentioning.