Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Lookback aka "Not in the Face!"

2012 was a year that put a lot of challenges to me.

For one, my job kicked into overtime. There were bits that I could have done better but I've tried to run the show as a guy who keeps things moving as opposed to smashing one particular group over another because the blow back for such deeds is usually not worth it.

I initially wanted to pull back and do less in terms of the amount of hours I worked. Turns out this year I've worked more hours than I ever did in the past. Working seven days a week was not an unusual thing. Wasn't necessarily a bad thing either but I did fool myself into thinking I was making more than I was. Damn you taxes! Anyway, that cut seriously into my 'me' time.

This meant less reading, less gaming, less painting, less watching movies, less going out, less socialization, and well, more being a sarcastic crab ass just when I thought I'd reached the pinnacle of my skills in that field.

I don't know what 2013 will bring in those regards but I'm going to try and achieve a finer balance in the home life and work life.

Another problem with the dreaded mom. She visited my sister for a few months and neither one of them is used to the other. This lead to some interesting situations and while I tried to give my sister some advice, it was too couched in my smart ass ways for her to take it as seriously as she could have.

And then there are other complications with my mother's health right know which I'm not going to delve too deeply into but suffice it to say it's been stressful for both my sister and I, and I'm sure much worse for my mother herself.

Thankfully, my boss has been very supportive in terms of allowing me to move my time around. Mind you, as it's only recently been an issue and I've been doing a LOT of overtime, we'll see how that scales in 2013. Hopefully things continue going well in the field at least.

Fiction wise, while I enjoyed several books, none really 'broke' out for me. I can name some characters and some bits, but for the most part, it's mostly a blur of 'grimdark' or pseudo grimdark where the author didn't really have the stones to push it to that next level.

Not that they necessarily need to. Even the most harsh of novels and deeds and characters can just get boring after a while. You have to wonder why not one just goes, "Really? Really?"

In terms of gaming it's been a bad year. I've hung out with my friends on numerous occassions and played in the Shackled City. One of my friends has had a few near TPKs and some interesting times with it but again, it's not his DMing style or skills that have kept me from the game, it's been work.

One of the things that's odd, is that the guys I play with went from 4e to Pathfinder without missing a beat. It was like returning to visit a really cool old friend. Turned out some interesting learning experiences for me with the cleric and wizard I played as they were different enough from their 3.5 versions that there were some, "Oh that's cool".

In terms of 5th edition or Dungeons and Dragons Next... no habla. I've thought WoTC has done a terrible job with the mantle of D&D for a while now and well, I figure I'll just let the new edition surprise me.

In terms of new games or games outside my range... didn't happen. There were a ton of games I wanted to check out and play like Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics. No time. I even have the Adventurer Conquror King first book and will soon have the companion. Again, no time.

Strangely enough, that hasn't stopped my supporting of the Kickstarter model. For me, it's a preorder system. I know some people have pointed to KS itself and their words of wisdom that it's not a preorder system despite the fact that KS itself says you HAVE to deliver the goods or pay the money back. So it's not a preorder system but you have to deliver something? Yeah, we'll see how that plays out.

I initially thought that RPGs were money went to die in terms of the KS model. Still do. Way too many projects absurdly late on these things. So late that if these were people you know, you'd be wondering why they're walking across the street pretending they don't hear you.

But now I'm starting to think most niche things, like miniatures as well, are going to have further problems. While Coominiornot has done some good things with Zombicide, their second project is late. Will their third and fourth be late? Reputation is going to start being a HUGE thing on KS, especially if you switch backers and partners to try and look like you're now 'professional' while still not delivering on the previous KS. It'll be interesting to observe while I can.

For miniature games, one of the people I know from my friend's old store, Black Sun Games, has been a machine. Me? I've gotten like two games of Song of Blades and Heroes in. Over the course of the year. Can you say pitiful? What's worse is the amount of money I keep spending on the hobby like I'm really going to delve into Warhammer with my Elves or Deepwars with the Dark Mariners or any of the other games I'm painting or backing.

For painting? Again, time not there. I bought an air brush and while I love using it to lay down base coats, I haven't had enough time to do anything else with it. No time to practice and no time to try out different techniques. I'm happy if I can do three layers and a wash or two.

In terms of buying locally from say, stores like Games Plus, man did that take a hit. I deliberately went then on their Thanksgiving Saturday bit to throw some money their way because I'd be spending so much on the whole KS model. Ouch. My wallet is still recovering.

I know I sound like I'm bitching a lot. On the other hand, I could afford to spend money on my hobbies. My mom is still kicking and while not doing well, is on the road to recovery. Her being sick has actually brought my sister and me a little closer. Work is busy but I'm glad to have a job where I can work overtime and still get paid for it. There are many good things about life and while I've had some challenges, I'm hoping to make life more to my liking in 2013. I hope everyone else has that opportunity as well.

Not onwards 2013 and remember, "Not in the face!"