Sunday, January 03, 2016

Gaming Goals, 2016 Edition

I used to have annual gaming goals on a regular basis some years ago. I stopped after a while because they were too ambitious, and I usually changed my mind about my goal as the year went on.

This year, I've decided to restart the tradition, dividing the goals into a couple of different categories. Given I've slowed my Euro buying considerably (everything feels like mechanism stew after a while, and we rarely play games more than a couple of times in my group), most will be wargaming related, although not all.

First up, my solitaire goals:

  • Play the entirety of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Wrath of the Righteous to completion. This should not be difficult, as I am a huge fan of the system and enjoy the game immensely, even if it's difficult to get my group playing. I got through most of Rise of the Runelords but one really bad session with me screwing up mechanism after mechanism (usually forgetting to close locations when facing the Villain) that resulted in one really bad luck event that killed the entire party. I just didn't have the gumption to put in new characters partway into the fifth adventure set. I struggled with the base set scenarios for Wrath after scanning the cards into CardWarden on my iPad, but have found the adventure path scenarios to be much more playable (and they have nerfed the base scenarios about the time I just gave up on them). I'm one scenario away from completing the second set, and it won't be hard to finish up. A great game to play during my recovery from surgery in a couple of months.
  • Document the solo play of four long wargames. I did some of this in the past, but there are a few games out there I'd like to track in regular reports. At present, I've got Sixth Fleet set up on the side table, arrayed for the long World War Three scenario (the advanced scenarios are "different" in how likely the wide array of minors will be involved). I've started at a Low preparedness level to keep the range of units on the map manageable, and while I'm planning to play the Long scenario, I may shift to the Medium scenario (which only modifies the Armistice die rolls every third turn) if things are dragging. Expect to see regular session reports on this for the first couple of months, and my plan is to have this game finished up by the end of February. 
Next up, my ASL goals:
  • Become comfortable with the full Infantry rules and much of the standard terrain. Actually, I'd call this a modest goal. Having a regular partner and getting involved with the local Bezerk Commissars group, I expect this won't be an issue at all. We may get into Guns and even a few vehicles, as this stuff isn't that far off from the SK material, but there is a huge leap in the infantry rules. 
  • Play ASL in a tournament setting more than 200 miles from Portland. Chris and I have discussed making some sort of road trip to play at a tournament or two (or three). This may end up being at BottosCon next November, we will just have to see. There are tons of opportunities for cons, especially in the summer.  This will need to either include the wives or pass the spousal aggro test. 
Third, my "opposed" war-game goals:
  • Learn OCS and GOSS. This will probably involve some solitaire activity getting the system learned, and in fact I've started with OCS already as Reluctant Enemies is on the table. This was originally supposed to be a great intro to the system, but the replay of the first turn neglected to note the placement of units on the map, and thus was very difficult to follow along with. There has been an extension of the example that includes the second turn as well as the starting position, so this should be much easier. At worst, I will learn one (I have already played OCS before years ago, Tunisia, so this is very doable).
  • Play a large scale game via VASSAL. Probably an OCS or GOSS game, although this may end up being one of the monster SCS titles like Day of Days. Many options here. I've had terrible luck with more than one opponent, and other than Chris it can be difficult to get someone playing live, so this will probably be async once we have the system in question down. Note I'm not saying we'll finish, but I intend to give it a good shot.
Fourth, everything else:
  • Play Pandemic Legacy, Season One. This may end up being a solitaire exercise, if only because my gaming group struggles to get a consistent set of players from week to week. I've spoken to someone who played solitaire and enjoyed it, although obviously it would be more fun with others. 
  • Play PACG in an organized play setting. This is the least likely thing, in large part because I haven't found a store running this in my area. I really want to try out the class decks in the format they were designed for, but playing solitaire in this format strikes me as requiring more management than I want to do because of the way the class decks work. With a new base box coming out soon, this seems like the time. Biggest problem will be missing one or more sessions because of surgery, although this I can play in my sleep. Usually.
  • Run an RPG campaign. I am a really good DM. I do voices, I engage the players, I generally do a very good job of prep as well as play. When I suggested doing this with the group, there were several people interested. I figure I'll be able to have a monthly group at best, and that can be difficult. I'm planning to run a Pathfinder adventure path campaign, although I don't expect to get through the whole thing in a calendar year. This is a very high priority for me. 
  • Play an Imperial Assault campaign. My friend Jesse is going to start a campaign in the near future (once the NFL is done with it's season) and has invited me. Now that I'm not gigging, this is much more likely, but it will almost certainly cut into RPG time. If nothing else, I will run a full day mini-campaign with Twin or Return. 
Hey, look at that, Tom Vasal! I have ten things in my list!

Why do I think this is a more realistic list? Partly because some of the activities are solitaire and some are not. Being retired, I have a lot of time to devote to the solitaire and async activities, although most of the multiplayer activities are going to take up weekend time and there are a limited number of those. Also, some of these goals interlock and are really just extensions of what I'm already doing (ASL comes to mind). 

The biggest threat, of course, is surgery and my recovery. From previous experience, I can tell you that trying to absorb anything involved while on opiates, which will be about a month, is difficult. The other trick, which you would never expect, is that I will need to observe "sternal limitations" which mostly means strict lifting limits of 10 lbs the first month, 15 the second. I am not so much suggesting that I won't be able to play "heavy" games (yuk yuk) but that I won't be able to lean on a table as I'll effectively be lifting 40 lbs or so. From experience, I know this is a difficult habit to break, and I do like standing while playing war-games. This combined with being artificially stupid will limit the activities from mid March through mid May. That said, I expect to finish my PACG campaign during that time, and I fully expect to be running an RPG after the first month of surgery. 

Kind of nice to be making goals again. One of the reasons I decided to retire from gigging was to spend more time gaming with friends and this list crystalizes my goals. 

I intend to post regular status reports on the goals, so stay tuned. 

Next up, at least gaming wise, I intend to start documenting my Fleet game. I also have some things to say about the NFL...


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