The New Year means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For college football teams, it’s a way to crow about winning a meaningless game. For parents of young children, it’s a reason to stay up until exactly 12:15 and then go straight to bed. For me personally, it actually means a birthday. (Thanks to my Facebook friends for the well wishes, by the way. For someone who never gives birthday greetings on Facebook, I sure got a lot of them.) And of course, it means resolutions.
Resolutions don’t work, really. Most big decisions in life are made incrementally and intentionally, not with a sudden and arbitrary proclamation. But there’s no denying that the New Year is a time to look back and see how we can improve ourselves. The Rumpus Room frankly had a banner year in 2013. I nearly doubled my total number of views over the last year, owing in no small part to the good folks at Fortress: Ameritrash and /r/boardgames on Reddit. But the biggest change was transitioning from a board game blog to one covering a larger variety of topics, and also one that updates more than once a week. I went at a pretty furious pace their for a while, posting as many as 4-5 times a week at one point. I’ve settled into two or three times a week, but it’s been good to make this a more frequent pursuit. So hey, 2013 was good to me.
Any major 2014 resolutions to make? I have a couple of personal goals this year that are probably too personal to share right here, but they aren’t really resolutions in the first place. I do have some resolutions I’d like to make regarding my relationship to the board gaming hobby though. Consider the below all non-binding…
- Play more stuff I like: This seems obvious, but the constant churn of feeling like I must review new games and play new additions to my collection has pushed to the side several games that I don’t ever want to leave the rotation. The biggest games in this category are Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, Wiz-War, and Duel of Ages II. Wiz-War and Cosmic Encounter are short enough that pick-up games can happen at any old game night, but they often end up getting pushed aside for new games. Talisman and Duel of Ages take a little more planning to get to the table, but they have been a great enough experience for me that I’m willing to play other things less to make that time. Speaking of making time for games…
- Play one game of Dune each month: I haven’t yet caught Dune at its best, because I still haven’t played a game where a nexus has happened and allowed alliances to be formed. The big hurdle here is sweeping together different players who don’t mind possibly being there for two hours or five. Once again, I’ll have to sacrifice time with other games, but I think it’ll be worth it. Some games are worth the experience they demand, and this looks to be one of them.
- Finish and play my Magic cube: As I’ve written, I had the pleasure of discovering Magic this year. But it’s started to become a little bit of a drag on my time and resources, and it’s becoming harder to scare people up for our league nights. However, I do have most of a cube set of cards, and I’d like to finish that set up this year. For those who don’t know, a cube is a fixed set of cards that can be divided up and drafted over and over again. It’s a cost-effective way to play the game, especially when your cube is a Pauper cube. That’s one composed entirely of commons, and thanks to a benefactor I already have most of one made. Now it’s just a matter of finishing it up and playing it, something that isn’t actually hard but I haven’t gotten around to yet.
- Don’t get on any treadmills: Let me clarify this: a treadmill is a game that requires some kind of repeated regular purpose. This is not the same thing as a game with a lot of expansions, but rather something like an LCG, CCG, or miniatures game. It’s the big reason why I didn’t get into the Pathfinder card game this year, because that game literally has a subscription service. I don’t really have the money to get into stuff like this anyway, and it’s a good way to end up with $200 worth of stuff you don’t play.
- Write a book: Every writer’s resolution, right? We’ll see if I even get around to this, but let me share my idea. We have a hobby with lots of history and major influences, but since board gaming largely exists on the internet it has a short memory. I’d like to see a book with a series of essays about the big touchstones of the hobby, similar to what the late great Roger Ebert did with his Great Movies series. It would probably require a lot of skills that I haven’t really honed yet, like interviewing, and a lot of stuff that isn’t really out there as far as I know, like research materials. This is a very daunting prospect with two young kids, but it’s something I’d want to read, and it doesn’t look like anyone else is going to write it.