At the beginning of 2011 I had just moved to a new house in a new state for a new job, having left behind a lot in the way of gaming groups, roleplaying game groups, and most of the gaming terrain I had ever made. I had managed to get a small RPG group together to play D&D every other week, first at the FLGS by my house, and then later at my own home. I had little success in finding people interested in doing wargaming, aside from a few historical wargaming guys who weren’t that interested in a new person and rarely got together.
So what happened? First, I set a painting goal of 150 for the year, less than what I painted last year, and then manage to not only surpass the goal but also what I painted in 2010. I began by mostly working on painting to Hordes of the Things armies (a dwarf one and a goblin one), neither of which have actually seen a battle yet. Then around the end of Spring I managed to get hooked into a 40K group at the FLGS and between painting Space Marines I already owned a few splurges on new figures I managed to get about 1750 points of marines painted. None of these were dipped, by the way.
But my 40K experience has not necessarily been all that great. I was used to being a pretty fair player of Warhammer Fantasy, and between shortcomings in my army list, my own unfamiliarity with the rules, and a pretty competitive group at the FLGS, I found myself consistently losing and losing badly. One evening after another bitter defeat Mrs. Q asked me what it would take to start winning and I said, “about two hundred more dollars and a lot of playing.”
While she would probably not have begrudged me that, I had to admit to myself that I just wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I had hoped. My attendance at the FLGS has dwindled off substantially.
All along the way I have been slowly building up my repertoire of miniatures and terrain for my All Things Zombie campaign, even to the point of starting a blog about it. I have long admired a lot of different people’s ATZ campaigns on the web, and thought (and still do think) it looks like fun. Solo wargaming also provides a possible outlet for me in the interim until I can establish a game with person or persons that I do enjoy. This project has picked up quite a bit of steam since finishing the painting goal, and through the holidays I bought a lot of O-Scale model train buildings to use in the game.
Speaking of trying to establish a game, I find myself struggling a bit to talk about my RPG gaming situation right now. At the beginning of the year, I was with a new group that seemed to be getting underway nicely. In the twelve months that followed I saw the group begin to constantly cycle players in and out for largely circumstantial reasons (players moving away, having job schedules change, etc.) The up-and-down attendance meant that play was often disrupted and much of the wind behind the game was sucked out.
At some point I was approached by one of the players who wanted to take of DMing for a bit to run an adventure he had purchased, and I ended up playing D&D for the first time in ages. Right now I’m looking forward to running again, but that player has been saying he may want to stay on. That will have to be a conversation between us, and fairly soon. At the moment, I’ve got a group back up to speed, but I wonder for how long. I’m also wondering how long I’ll be stuck with D&D 4E, which is starting to bore me a bit.
Finally, I’ve been slowly restocking my terrain. Some fieldstone terrain, some gothic terrain, and some sci-fi terrain. I purchased a metric ton of pre-made plastic terrain pieces--enough to fill a table. And oh yes, I got a Zuzzy battle mat for Christmas, so now my gaming table is all tricked out nicely.
I suppose, looking back, 2011 was a year of some rough transitions. I often think of it as being a little bit like a rebuilding year in collegiate athletics; what I had in years past is gone, and now I'm feeling my way through a new place and getting to know new people. I have a load of New Year's Resolutions, but above all thanks for hanging out here. I hope it is worth your time.