Vanir’s 2013 Gaming Resolutions

It’s that time again. The year is new, and the resolutions are flying. Let’s see how my Will save goes this year:

1. Play Games With People I Don’t Usually Get To Play With

One of my very favorite things about conventions is the chance to meet up with all the people I see on my Twitter and Faceboook feeds, to hang out, and especially to play games. The past several years have brought us the means to play tabletop roleplaying games almost as well as doing so in person. I intend to capitalize on this.

2. Get in Shape Again

Gen Con this year was a lot of fun, but I found myself completely exhausted and listless by the end of the second day — to the point where it was affecting my ability to interact with other humans. On Sunday night, after most people had left, I found myself sitting in the JW lounge finally able to sit and hang out with people I’d been trying to catch up with the whole convention, and I remember somebody asking me what my favorite part of the convention was, and I remember my brain just returning a dull buzzing noise. Although I’d made it a point to get enough sleep each night, I’d walked more in those four days than I’d probably done in the last six months. I don’t remember feeling anywhere near this tired at Gen Con a few years ago, when I was exercising regularly. I think it’s time to get back on the horse. That and long-term health benefits and all that, but for some reason “having a better Gen Con” seems to be a better motivator for me. I’ll stick with what works.

3. Try a New Game Every Month

We try new board games every now and then in our group, and it’s usually a crapshoot. That being said, we have found a few that are good to fall back on when we can’t think of anything else. I’d like to find some more of those. I don’t have any candidates in the queue yet, so it might be time for a visit to the FLGS. I’d really like to try some other RPG systems, but sometimes it’s hard to get my group to bite. It is a significant investment of free time to get into one of these (especially with a perfectly serviceable D&D waiting for us), so it’s understandable. That’s why I’m glad I’m doing #1 above, since I know lots of people who get rabid about these things too.If nothing else, trying new things tends to unclog the neural pathways necessary for me to be creative, and I always feel better when all my brain-plumbing is in working order.

4. Play Everything Possible With My Family

My son will be 5 in a couple months, and his ability to grok what is happening in a game has been growing by leaps and bounds this past year. He can finally pick up a controller and know what he’s doing, so we’ve been playing a lot of Lego Star Wars lately since the penalty for dying is pretty negligible and he loves AT-ATs. I’ve been so proud of him over our holiday break — he’s started to work more with me as a team so we can solve puzzles (which is a nice change from him repeatedly jumping off a cliff and laughing maniacally). It’s all very simple stuff, but it does my heart good to see how happy he gets when he knows we beat something together. Like, genuine high-fives and stuff. It’s not such a bad feeling when my wife and I clear a level of Lego Lord of the Rings, either. One of my favorite parts of cooperative gaming, both at the table and in videogames, has always been the camaraderie that results from your adventures. Any day I can get that with my family is a good day.

5. Step Out of My DM Comfort Zone

2012 was such a bizarre year for me as a DM, but in a good way. We started out playtesting D&D Next, and then somewhere along the way we just started freeform roleplaying with very little combat. It was great, but I feel like I need to get back to basics a little. When I first started, keeping track of combat along with everything else used to stress me out. Now that I’ve got a couple years under my belt, and I can handle the unexpected, I think it’s time to give a more classic style of game another shot.I have no idea what this actually means, but I’m sure that last sentence will be sufficient to scare my players. That, and I’ve already purchased supplies to this end…..

6. Let/Make Someone Else DM

It feels insane that this is on my list. Years ago, I can remember several previous DMs saying these exact words. I love DMing, but I do miss playing in someone else’s game. Maybe it’s that as a DM, if I go completely off the rails, I have to deal with it. It’s going to happen regardless. I just miss it being someone else’s problem. We have a few in our group that I think could be convinced to do a short run, and I have the aforementioned Internets Friends that might do it too. Either way, I think I’m in good shape here.

7. Remote Gaming With Long-Lost Friends

This one’s simple. People have moved away, and the Internet says I don’t have to give up playing with them anymore. So I’m not going to not do that anymore. I sense a theme here.

8. Work on a Project for a Few Minutes Every Day

One of the larger disappointments for me in 2012 was my ability to come up with awesome ideas and not following up on them. I found myself wanting to block off several hours of time and being either too tired or too busy to make it happen. I think I need to go smaller and to work a little every day to get some momentum going. If I can get myself to obsess about something during my brain’s idle cycles, I find myself coming back to it to work on it. In September, I started blogging every day (either here or in my personal blog), and it made writing everything so much easier. Then, life happened and I got busy and stressed and skipped a day or two here and there and before I knew it I was off the horse. It seems I have several horses that I need to get back on this year. Maybe what I really need is more butts. The founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi, had a saying: “Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.” I think I’ve been going about this wrong. I don’t need to keep the fire raging or burn myself out trying. I just need to keep it on — in several aspects of my life, including my creative pursuits.

I still have a lot of awesome ideas that I want to do this year. I’ll be happy if I can get a few of them off the ground. Maybe when I retire, I can just work on random crap all day. That sounds awesome.

9. More Stories

I got a Nexus 7 earlier this year, and it’s enabled me to do a lot of things I used to at my desktop machine while watching TV on the couch with my wife. That being said, it gets used primarily for three things: browsing Facebook and Reddit and playing Shadow Era. While shallow diversions are nice (and sometimes that’s all I have the time or energy for), I need to read more books, play some really good single-player videogames, and catch up on those TV series I’ve always been meaning to watch. Again, inspiration is what I need. Brain-pipes and all that.

10. Never Lose Sight Of Why I’m Doing All This

With all the people and everything going on in my life and all the games and projects I want to do, I frequently get analysis paralysis trying to figure out how to spend the few precious free hours I have. It’s hard to know what to do with so many things to play and so many things to work on. It’s also easy to chase several rabbits and to catch none.What I want the most are things that will produce a good time with my family and/or my friends. I feel best when I’ve had a good time with other people, when I’ve been successful in a creative endeavor, and especially when both happen. This year, I’m going to try to steer towards things likely to lead to these ends. I feel like this year is going to be about cleaning out the crap and the fluff and trying to do what works.

Or maybe I’ll win the lottery and sail around the world gaming remotely from a blimp. One of those.


  1. About #4- I recommend checking out the board game Castle Panic if you haven’t already. Seems like a good fit for you and your family.

  2. Lots of great things on this list.

    I love the bit about getting in shape specifically because it’ll make GenCon a better experience. And yeah, it’ll help with that whole rest of the life thing too, but better con, yeah! And it’s so true. One of my personal goals for this year involves my health and achieving something by the time Origins rolls up. 🙂

  3. I’d second the comment about Castle Panic. Got it for Christmas this year and have been playing it with my 5 year old to much success.