Reclaiming My Hobby

Following on from my State of Play post the other day, I’d like to ramble for a bit about hobbies. Specifically, the gaming hobby I used to have and don’t quite any more. Essentially, I’d like it back.

I’ve been pondering this, and what I think I need to do is fairly simple in principle. It comes in two parts: Separation of time and separation of game.

 

Time

Whilst I am very lucky to be able to earn a living in the world of gaming, it does have a habit of taking over every waking moment. If I want to have a hobby where I can relax away from deadlines and other such worldly tribulations, I need to be stricter with myself about allocating time for a hobby and keeping it sacrosanct. All too often I pilfer time I’ve allocated to play a game for fun and make it a playtest session instead.

 

So, set time aside and make sure it stays set aside. Like I said, it’s easy in principle.

 

Game

Whilst I do enjoy playing games I design, after several months with my nose in the details I usually need a break from it to clear my head. Even after months or years, if I designed the game I’m playing it’s hard to step away from an analytical mindset. How is the balance, are these rules really as clear as they could be, what if I rewrote that bit, etc? That makes it all rather less relaxing. For the moment, let’s assume that I’ll be playing my own designs anyway, but they don’t qualify for being my hobby. At the end of the day, if I wrote it then it’s always at least partly work.

I also realise that I’ve not mentioned the type of game I’m thinking about. This is really just about finding a figure game. Board games tend to be much more self-contained, and though I play a lot of them they don’t really need planning in the same way as a figure game. Board games will happen as and when the gaming group feels like playing one. It’ll get opened, played and put away without any more fuss. Figure games, on the other hand, need planning, collecting, building, painting and so on as well as playing. As you all know, an army is seldom if ever truly finished. There’s nearly always something else you could add.

I don’t expect to be able to deal with a lot of different games and do any of them justice. I need more focus. This means I need to be very picky, and with the wide array of high quality games and figures these days it’s a real luxury to be able to pick and choose. I have, in fact, been doing this for a while now, searching for probably one main game and a few smaller ones. The main game needs to have enough grit to it to get my teeth into (well, my brain actually), and I’ve tried several over the years. Confrontation and Warmachine both fit into this category. I was hoping that Dropzone Commander would too, but that’s not worked out quite as I wanted. I’ll do a final piece on that soon to wrap up my thoughts on why not.

In the end it was a happy confluence of circumstances that helped me decide. While I was at the UK Game Expo I shared a stand with the Prodos guys and had a good look at their new version of Warzone. It seemed to have all the requisite elements I was looking for and they were kind enough to give me a copy to review. Since then I’ve read it in some depth and played a game or two, and it has become my game of choice for the moment. At least (to misquote Lieutenant Rasczak from Starship Troopers) till it dies or I find something better.

Exactly why, I will cover in more detail in a proper review, or series of reviews that I’m working on. For the moment, let’s just say it’s got my attention.

So now I have a game and a plan of attack, let’s I can see if I can make any headway on reclaiming this hobby

Stay tuned for updates cos you know I’ll be back :)

Posted in Random Thoughts | 1 Comment

Rules At Half Price

For a short while (and I have no idea how long) Foundry are selling my God of Battles fantasy tabletop rules at half price. I’d tell you that they are a splendid and hugely entertaining set of rules with oddles of charm and character and that every real gamer should own a copy, but I suspect you might imagine I was biased  ;)

(Which I am).

If you’ve not heard of it before, there are several articles on it if you click the black God of Battles tab above.

Posted in God of Battles | 8 Comments

Gaming Daze

dungeon-saga-boxSpent part of yesterday’s gaming session playing Dungeon Sagas and all morning running through it again with some new victims at Mantic HQ. We played¹ one of the training missions about ten times, and they were all still cheery at the end of it, which is a good sign.

By the end, after many small tweaks, replaying and replaying again, it’s coming along nicely. I’m sure there’s a bit more we can do though, but you’ll see for yourselves soon enough. The Kickstarter isn’t far away and there will be a set of Beta rules for you to try your hand at the introductory scenarios. Quite possibly more by the time we’re done. Got to start somewhere though, and the beginning is always a favourite.

And just so you don’t think it was all work yesterday, we also played Odin’s Ravens again, and had a particularly closely fought and exciting race. It’s a cracking little game and well worth adding to your collection if you haven’t got it already. I’ve no idea if it’s still in print or not. I’ll leave you to explore that one :)

 

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1: Well, they played and I watched.

Posted in Board Gaming, Dwarf King's Hold | 4 Comments

State Of Play

I don’t really like mixing lots of topics in one post, but a round up of where I’m at and what’s planned for the future seemed like a sensible thing to do at this point.

Firstly, let me say thank you for your patience and your good wishes. The support is very much appreciated :)

Secondly, as things seem to be settling down a bit here you can expect to see some more posts. Actually, I’ve quite a lot planned. This tsunami of content breaks down into several main themes:

  • Dungeon Sagas. DKH4 with a new name. The Kickstarter goes live on the 4th of August, so from that point I can talk a lot more about the design and the game in general.
  • Reviews. I’ve got loads of things I’d like to talk about, some donated and many more purchased. Some very cool stuff in the mix.
  • Separating my hobby from my work. I’ve said many times that most of my gaming time gets hijacked for playtesting, and it’s still true. In fact, a session I’d arranged for later today is now going to be at least partly a DS test. However, I am having a bit more success overall in actually making some gaming time for myself, so I’m hoping to be able to post some more from that viewpoint.
  • All the usual guff. I’ve got a few design theory articles in the works, plus the usual commentary on things that catch my eye, interesting KS campaigns and whatnot. I’m also thinking of broadening my self-imposed remit to include the wider world of making games, including IP generation, art, layout, etc. It’s all part of the whole, and ignoring bits of it just diminished the end result.

This has all sort of built up in my head while I’ve been dealing with everything else, without an outlet. It’s got to go somewhere, and Quirkworthy is the place ;)

Do feel free to subscribe if you don’t want to miss out. The button’s up there. No, the other side…

Posted in Random Thoughts | 6 Comments

DKH Mini-Update

As most of you will know already, the next Mantic Kickstarter starts soon and is the latest in the Dwarf King’s Hold series – or is it? After considerable debate and many, many suggestions, we’ve decided to change the series name for this and future products. Despite Ronnie’s abiding love of all things Dwarf, it’s just possible that a future product might not be set in a Dwarf Hold. So, we’ve decided to call the series Dungeon Sagas instead.

Like previous games each box/book/whatever will have an individual title as well. In the case of the first of the Dungeon Sagas, it will be The Dwarf King’s Quest, so it ties in nicely with what went before. Plus, the main Bad Guy¹ is Mortibris again, who regular readers will remember from the very first DKH game. Yes, he’s back.

I took the current version along to Mantic HQ on friday and we had a five player co-op game. All told, it worked very well (even if I do say so myself). Clearly there are still some rules to iron out, details to add, and balance to refine, but the broad strokes are there. It was nice to see the various players debating tactics and actually co-operating, even to the point of the Elf saving the Dwarf’s bacon at one point². Honour was restored though, because although the Heroes lost the game in the end it was the Elf getting badly hurt that caused it, so the Dwarf could lay the blame squarely on him. At least, that’s how the Dwarf’s going to tell the tale while the Elf heals up…

If you’re interested in knowing more, Mantic have just started their teaser campaign.

Enjoy!

 

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1: Of course, Mortibris wouldn’t see it like that.

2: Ronnie (who naturally played the Dwarf) may remember this slightly differently.

Posted in Dwarf King's Hold | 20 Comments

Still Alive

Hi folks. I’m still here.

It’s been a long time since I last posted, and some of you are rightly wondering what’s going on. Well, it’s nothing to do with any problems with the games. Let’s get that straight to start with. In fact, I was wondering quite what to post here as I like to try and keep Q focussed on gaming. However, as my personal life has impinged so much, I feel like it’s only fair to give you the thruppenny tour.

Executive summary: normal(ish) service should be resumed over the next week.

Detail: as a few of you will know, my wife is very ill and I am, among other things, her carer. Over the last few years she has been diagnosed with two separate conditions, either of which would class her as disabled. Unfortunately, the synergy between them makes both even worse.

I often say I’m busy because I’m balancing a full time job with looking after her, and most of the time this works out OK. It’s been the case while I designed GoB, DKH, PP, DB, MA, DZ, and so on, so it doesn’t normally stop me getting things done.

Unfortunately, about a month ago, she took a turn for the much worse. Now while she is not expected to get better overall, she wasn’t expected to get worse like this, and so it was an unpleasant surprise all round. It has taken this long to get things back under any sort of control. I’ve put off mentioning this as this will be the third time I think we’ve got a handle on it, though this time I think it’s actually going to stick.

Assuming I’m right (and I think I am), this means that I’ll be back to what passes for normal over the next week or so. However, while I’ve been quiet things have been ticking along in the background. We’ve got some more logistical support sorted and I’ve been working on some experimental rules for DB and tentatively for DZ too. I saw a printed box and most of the final components for Mars Attacks yesterday, and it’s looking very shiny indeed. There’re one or two bits still to come, but it can’t be far off now. The models for DKH4 are also looking great. I saw them all ranked up as a set and they look fab en masse. I’ve also been buying new toys as a form of retail therapy, and have a lot of articles and reviews written in my head. So expect an outpouring of words and pictures over the next few weeks/months.

I’m sorry to leave you guys hanging for so long. I’ve been so busy dealing with what was in front of me and trying to keep up with work that I’ve not really had the mental space to work out what to say here. Even now I’m not sure you want to know all this. It’s stressful and unpleasant for me, but you came here to chill and read about games. So I’ll shut up now and just get on with it ;)

All the best

Jake

Posted in Random Thoughts | 36 Comments

For Your DreadBall Convenience

DB ref cardsJust so you know, this chap has come up with some sets of reference cards for DB. I haven’t got any myself yet, so I can’t comment more than to say that they’re available.

If you’ve got some I’d like to know what you think of them. Useful? Essential? Frivolous?

Posted in DreadBall - The Futuristic Sports Game | 14 Comments