Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thank you, Alan Poulter

In a recent news update from CSW, I was disheartened to learn that Alan Poulter, who ran the site for twenty years has decided to step down as webmaster. I want to say that web-grognards was boardgamegeek before there was a boardgamegeek, but I don't have my facts straight to back up such a claim. I can say, however, that web-grognards was a place for wargamers long before we were welcome on boardgamegeek.

I first encountered site way back when I was a young teacher in 1994 or 1995. It was in the heady early days of the internet and it was powerful - in the site's primitive text-based format - to see that there was a community of wargamers out there, that I was not alone.

The site really was a database, very much the way that boardgamegeek is a database today. But this database was for wargames. It was hard to navigate. It was not particularly well organized (for instance, reviews, replays and variants were almost haphazardly placed in game's listing). There were even some games on there that didn't seem like wargames and some surprising exclusions. But it was awesome. Derk has described unlimited access to BGG as "trying to sip water through a firehose." That's what web-grognards was for me. I was gladly sipping through the firehose.

I could never get the contest. I spent most of my time working through the alpha listing of the database or clicking somewhat randomly on the many options available for the site. I registered for the opponent finder sites (to this date, no opponent has "found me" this way, although I did find one or two short term opponents). I searched the  facebook myspace geocities-style pages that it linked to and found, many times, the first steps toward finding extremely useful information. I'm pretty sure it was where I found my 90's gaming obsessions, including ACTS, AboveTheFields, and The Diplomatic Pouch. And I'm pretty sure that's where I first discovered that the World Boardgaming Championships exist (forgive me if I didn't understand yet that it was more con than sporting event - my first trip I expected to be a spectator!).

So, passes to a new webmaster. I have to admit that CSW and BGG take up almost all of my wargame surfing these days. But I just want to thank Alan Poulter for all of his hard work. I learned that other people played games, that they loved the hobby enough to obsess about it, and that I could read their obsessive collections, creations and writings.

So, Alan, thanks again...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013 (Gaming and otherwise)

If you really knew me -- you'd know that I am one of the many people who make New Year's resolutions. If you really really knew me, you'd know that I am one of the few who actually follow through on them. I went from someone who hated running to someone who runs 3-4 times a week (sometimes up to as much as ten miles) due to a resolution. I lost seventy pounds due to a resolution. I like to call this "being goal oriented." My wife calls it "being obsessive." Either way, I can do a resolution.

So here are my resolutions for 2013:

1. Enter all game sessions on BGG - In short, I just don't do this enough. I know some who will enter all of their sessions, including electronic games on their iPad. I'm not going to do that (yet). I plan on logging and correctly dating all of my face to face play sessions for 2013. I think it would be cool to look back at this point next year and see what I played and when. It might reveal a bit too much about my gaming tendencies (in short, I haven't been playing wargames as much recently), but, for a year, I'll try it.

2. Play 12 new (to me) games this year - This has been a resolution each of the past two years and it has been easily achieved. I love discovering new games, especially rich and original new games. Games discovered in 2012? Andean Abyss, Mage Knight, King of Tokyo, and God's Playground to name a few (probably should write more on this later, huh...). So an easily achievable one here.

3. Have 100 face to face plays this year - I've never kept track, but I think this is easily achievable. I log about one session a week with some lapses. Let's call that 40 sessions. Many of these end with more than one game played. Let's estimate that at 20 more sessions. There's Pseudocon, WBC, Micropseudocon, and possibly Prezcon. I'll estimate an average of 5 sessions at each for 25 more sessions. I'm up to 85 without counting playing with my son Owen or my family. I also have probably low-balled the convention estimates and the "second game in an evening" sessions. I think it will be close, but I think I'll get it done.

4. Play the following games:
a. Descent Campaign - Oh, I'm intrigued by this one. I've enjoyed the few sessions we've had and I can't wait to play the game in its true light, the campaign. And I'll almost certainly acquire the expansion.
b. Star Trek Fleet Captains - I love Mage Knight. And I tried to get this one played, but really was not ready for it. So while my first abortive plays seem to indicate that this is no Mage Knight, I am curious. I have to get over my irrational hatred of those damned stat-wheels at the bottom of the figures.
c. The War of the Ring expansion Lords of Middle Earth- obtained (and the obsessive side of me acquired the Treebeard figure), now must play it. It is my precious...
d. Mage Knight with the Lost Legion expansion - Did I mention how much fun I've had playing Mage Knight? Well, consider it mentioned. An expansion can only expand the fun, right (yes, I'm intentionally ignoring expansions such as King of Tokyo Power Up and the incredibly overrated Cities and Knights of Catan...)
e. Full ASL - Yes, I need to play this. This is the one resolution I keep failing on. I. must. get. my. son. trained. in. this.
f. Tide at Sunrise - obtained at the MMP end of year sale. Short rules. Nuff said.
g. Kingdom of Heaven - Played once at WBC. Interesting time period. My son is interested. I should be able to get this one on the table. When did 32 pages of rules become long?

5. Write twelve blog entries. I feel like I have things to say. I also feel like my need to say them right cripples me. Time to get over myself and find some time to write.

6. Design a second prototype game - "Second?" you ask. Yep. We'll see what happens. The first is kind of a fantasy roleplaying dungeon crawl game. Without the dungeon. Or the characters. Oh, hell, I'll just have to keep working on it. (One problem is that this market is getting decidedly glutted. I may have to re-theme.)

And, since  you're all my closest friends, here is a glimpse at the other resolutions:

7. I have a weight goal for the year. If you really really really knew me, this would be no surprise. The fact that I'm not going to share the number would also not surprise anyone.

8. I will read every day toward my goal of reading every book selected for inclusion on the AP Literature Free Response Prompt. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Right now, I'm reading All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. It's pretty damned good.

9. Finish a short story. I have one. It's pretty close to being finished as a draft. It will need a major rewrite.

Well, that's it. Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year!