2013 is only about a week old, so I feel it’s still young enough in the year to reflect on my personal top five gaming moments of the year past. 2012 was surely filled with plenty of gaming – from board games and video games to RPGs and podcasts – so I thought I should give a nod to those out there that made last year one of (if not THE) best years in gaming I’ve had. The following are in no particular order.
The Borderlands 2 Intro Cutscene
A couple of disclaimers on this one. First, I never had an opportunity to play the original Borderlands and second, I haven’t even come close to finishing Borderlands 2. That being said, as the release date loomed closer and closer back in September, I was still on the fence about whether or not I was going to buy it. However, one Google search and a YouTube video later, there was nothing I wanted to spend my gaming money on more. I became pretty obsessed with the intro (the four protagonists reminded me VERY much of the MITC crew’s original AD&D 2nd Edition party) and even ended up buying the entire “The House That Dirt Built” album by The Heavy seeing as the intro’s song, “Short Change Hero” was stuck in my head on a constant loop for weeks on end.
The Numenera Kickstarter
Much to my excitement (and the chagrin of my fellow podcasters and Twitter followers), August through mid-September was a VERY (over)exciting time for me as I jumped on board Monte Cook’s Numenera Kickstarter. It was only the second of three Kickstarter projects I’ve gotten in on, but man was it exciting to watch this thing hit over half a million dollars! I got in at the $70.00 Patron level, an investment that quickly increased courtesy of stretch goals. The following is a list of what my hard-spent money will get me:
PATRON $70 Level (+$10 shipping outside North America)
App (Android, iOS, or PC)
Name in the back of the corebook
Player’s Guide PDF
Numenera corebook PDF
Exclusive Kickstarter supporter adventure (The Nightmare Switch) PDF
The Devil’s Spine 32-page adventure PDF
The Mechanized Tomb 32-page adventure PDF
The Other Side of the Maelstrom 32-page adventure PDF
The Ninth World Bestiary 160-page PDF
Sir Arthur’s Compendium 160-page PDF
Numenera 3D Paper Fold-Up Terrain PDF
GM’s Screen PDF
Cypher, Creature, and XP Deck PDFs
Numenera corebook in print
Ninth World Guidebook PDF
In addition to all of that, I ponied up an extra $20 for a special set of dice specifically designed for the game and Robert dropped $60 on top of that as a birthday gift to get my hardcover book upgraded to the special leatherbound volume. Come on July 2013!!!
Flash Point: Fire Rescue aka Matt’s Double Death
When Robert first brought this board game to the table, I was a little hesitant about it. It had a cartoony look to it that reminded me of Kindergarten classrooms and I was a little confused on how exactly the game was supposed to be played… and then… Shit. Got. Real. We played a couple of rounds with the simplified rules, with the first game resulting in a loss, mostly due to my penchant for chopping through walls rather than going through doors, thus weakening the entire structure. It was when the game mechanics began turning fire into explosive fireballs that I knew this game was special.
Early on, we had designated all the victim tokens as representing either ourselves or those closest to us – including the cat and dog tokens – and by the final game, we all had things well in hand. Despite already having reached our rescue quota (thus having won the game), we decided to keep going and see if we could rescue everyone left in the house. I had spent the majority of the game driving the fire engine and dousing large portions of the house with water, but, wanting to be a hero, I moved my token into the house in order to rescue the final victim – the token that represented me… and then the house collapsed, killing both me the victim and me the rescuer. Everyone else survived…
So, both Robert and I have talked about this gaming convention on the Podcast plenty, but I wanted to give it one last mention before getting excited for the next one! Strategicon: Gateway 2012 was my first gaming convention and was a big step for me as a gamer AND and introvert. Up until the convention, I had never gamed with complete strangers, but came away from the weekend feeling much stronger as a gamer and happy that I had stretched my geek wings. I had the opportunity to play some new systems – Wild Talents and Hero System – make some new friends, and some even better memories. Gen Con is still my Mt. Everest for conventions, both gaming and geek alike, but it’s good to know that I can hit a local convention three times a year. Oh, and if you haven’t already, read up on the highlight of my Gateway 2012 experience – Here, here, and here.
Gamerstable Actual-Play Podcasts
It’s safe to say that the guys over at the Gamerstable Podcast have been a great source of inspiration, encouragement, and entertainment for myself and the rest of the Monkey in the Cage crew. Not only do they produce a quality gaming podcast on a weekly basis, their series of actual-play podcasts are second to none. Released under the moniker Openly Gamer Theatre, the production of these particular episodes are more than just a recording of an RPG being played. The time and energy put into the post-production an editing raises the bar for all other actual-plays because you aren’t listening to a game, you’re listening to a full blown audio drama. Kudos to Eric, Mike, Jayson, Dan, Mark, Shawn, and Shannon for a job well done (and for inadvertently intimidating the MITC crew right out of the actual-play recording process).
Getting the Adventuring Party Back Together
Getting quality time around the table with my three closest friends on a weekly basis has been by and far the best gaming experience of the year. We Monkeys have been gaming together since long before the podcast was created and will undoubtedly be doing so long after said podcast has made us all rich and famous (or driven us all crazy… whichever comes first). Getting a chance to delve back into Karen’s World of Darkness/Hunter: The Vigil game, having Ramses run some excellent sessions of Mouse Guard in his first full run a s a GM, and having the privilege of playing in Robert’s Savage Worlds Thrilling Tales one-shot all serve to make 2012 the best. Add in all the psychotic games of Super Mario Uno, our dance crazy Peripheral Party, and taking a crack at more boardgames than you can shake a stick at is going to be tough to beat in 2013, but I’ve got a feeling that this year is going to make last year look boring!