Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Year in Review/2020 Looking Forward

After five years of very little blogging, 2019 was a productive year for me. Or maybe that it wasn't so productive allowed me to blog more?

Actually, the secret is that my wife and sons spent most of the year in the USA. They're still there now. I'm flying to the US for a vacation in a little over 2 weeks. I'll be there for a month. So don't expect any posts here in the tail end of January and most of February.

Living by myself has given me more time to blog, but also just more time to think about game stuff. And more time to read others' blogs, which often spurs a topic in my mind.

Not counting the Flying Swordsmen page, my most popular posts this year were:
1. Man, Gygax could be Wordy [Two paragraphs? Not my most thrilling content. Was the title good clickbait? I didn't intend it as such.]
2. Roleplaying, Metagaming, and Differing Opinions [Now this one spawned a conversation both here and at at least two other blogs, so I'm not surprised it was popular.]
3. The Action Economy is a Bad Concept [This one was intentionally given a click-bait title, and it worked. Spawned a really good discussion, too.]
4. Traps, Are We Thinking About Them Wrong? [Another one that got some traction and discussion on other blogs, so again, not surprising that it was read often.]
5. The Secret Roll [One in which the idea was inspired by other bloggers, and initiated posts on the subject at other blogs as well as a lot of discussion here.]

Personally, I set a record of returning to the US on three different occasions last year. I'm going to repeat that, or if I can swing it, make four trips this year, to visit my wife and boys as much as possible. We video chat twice a day, so we're not completely separated, but even 21st century tech is no replacement for being there.

Gaming-wise, in 2019, I didn't produce much for all of you (other than blog posts), but Chanbara and paper minis sales continue to trickle in every month. My West Marches game (both face-to-face and online sessions) are going well. I did some play-testing of Caverns & Cowboys, which probably could be cleaned up and released relatively soon if I set my mind to it. And I've done a lot of tweaking of my Treasures, Serpents, and Ruins house rules for Classic D&D, including, as I've blogged about recently, TSR-East, which is more of a Pan-Asian fantasy game than Flying Swordsmen or Chanbara. TSR-East is about ready for play-testing. I think I'm going to just allow it in my West Marches games and see if anyone bites, and how the classes stack up.

I've also been putting in the ground work on a module for TSR-East/Chanbara/Flying Swordsmen (or Labyrinth Lord or BX/BECMI, or whatever) module East Marches. I made a map, and there are 120 keyed locations on there. A few will be simple interesting encounter locations, but most will be dungeons of various size. And the map is divided up into zones appropriate to characters from 1st through Name Level+, so thinking up all these dungeons and encounter sites will take some time and effort. I had foolishly blogged about releasing it in 2020, but I know that's not going to happen. It's gonna take me longer than that to write this thing up. It's ambitious. And this is for spare time, along with normal planning for my West Marches campaign, not to mention academic writing for work.

My plans for the new year are to keep blogging, for one. I may start in on the Mentzer Expert Set Cover to Cover. People liked the Basic CtC posts from a few years back.

I want to get as much done of East Marches as I can. I may release this thing in serial format.

And I should probably spend some time cleaning up a few issues in Caverns & Cowboys, and release it as well. The game mechanics are borrowed from a well-tested system. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but, well shoot, Pardner. Ain't ever'one gots t'like it. But if'n yer want t'take on dragons 'n' goblins 'n' such with Remingtons, Colts, 'n' sticks a' dynamite in a phoney 19th Century frontier, this-here game may well just scratch that itch.

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