I many ways 2022 was an improvement on 2021 (see my 2021 Review). I started a new job which I quite like, I’ve spent lots of time with my family and friends and also got in a load of gaming, although quite a bit less that 2021 – I guess a sign of life returning to normal.
For the first time since I came out of the deep freeze I’ve felt some RPG fatigue… over the last couple of months I feel like I’ve lost my way a bit with gaming. I’m still really enjoying the gaming but the buzz comes and goes, and in some ways I’m finding it all a bit overwhelming. Just too many games, constantly new material to check out, read up on, watch videos about. I pan to focus GM activities on what I have and try not to be distracted too much by the new shiny (this may be futile, but I’m going to try).
What happened to my 2022 Gaming Plan?
- Night’s Dark Terror was finished the first week in January. It was a game that had been running for nearly 2 years with two different groups. What a cracking adventure, more a mini-campaign. I’d like to run it again sometime, it’s that good!
- The game I ran through most of 2022 was a series of adventures set in Yoon-Suin using Whitehack 3e rules. More on this later.
- The One Ring 2e was a big game for 2022 and I managed to run quite a few sessions.
- Forbidden Lands and Vaesen stayed on my shelves. With so many other games to run these took a back seat in 2022.
- I’d planned to kickstart my stalled Barbarians of Lemuria campaign, but it only made an appearance as a one shot at UK Games Expo.
- I ran Cairn at a couple of cons, using the Demon Driven to the Maw adventure. It’s a perfect con game.
- The regular online gaming continued, and I managed to get to all of the cons I’d hoped to (although sadly Convergence didn’t run and from speaking to the organiser it looks like it won’t be making a return), and with work and life commitments I didn’t find time to organise a BurritoCon. Maybe it’ll return in 2023 (it’s a big maybe)
I continued to keep the gaming records I’d started in 2021, recording the date, system, adventure, GM, approximate hours and the event (if any) I played it at. My gaming activity has certainly been less this year, but I’m happy with it, particularly the increased number of face to face events:
- 454 hours played (614.5 hours in 2021)
- 176 sessions (224 in 2021)
- An average session length of 2 hours 35 minutes (vs 2 hours 45 minutes in 2021)
- Number of systems played: 33 (same as in 2021)
- Number of systems GMd: 7 (one more than in 2021)
- Most sessions as GM: 29 of Whitehack (compared to 41 of Old School Essentials in 2021)
- Most sessions as player: 30 of Call of Cthulhu (compared to 21 of RuneQuest in 2021)
- Game played the most (player and GM): The One Ring with 33 sessions
The Games of 2022
Barbarians of Lemuria
A game I’ve wanted to try for ages, I jumped at the chance at Virtual Grogmeet. In the adventure 757 CE: The Flight of Beornred, GMd by @smh_worlds, we played Carls of King Beornred as we tried to clear a path for the king to flee from his enemy King Offa.
Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures
I played nine sessions of this ace pulp game from July to October with @TonyLayter as GM
One of my UK Games Expo choices, this was an interesting diversion for me. The Gradual End of a King was a very story heavy game that I wasn’t sure about before playing, but thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve rarely met such a stern GM, in this case he directed the adventure as though in a theatre and it worked. There was an intensity to it I found exhausting, I couldn’t play in that way on a regular basis, but for a one shot it was great. I’m not sure I’ll ever get my head around the Burning Wheel system.
Ran this as a one-shot in August in preparation for Owlbear and Wizards Staff.
Call of Cthulhu
Set in WW2, we are playing Polish soldiers in the 10th Motorised Cavalry Brigade resisting the German invasion of Poland. @poutsma our GM has done a bucketload of research and it shows. So far it’s delivered on all fronts, with a bit of war gaming right through to weird, trippy cosmic horror. So far we’ve had six sessions from August to December and will continue on in to the new year.
Masks of Nyarlathotep
What can I say, the classic Call of Cthulhu campaign run by @davepaters, we picked up from our brief start at UK Games Expo in 2021 in January and will be running into 2023 (and beyond I suspect). The hard part is avoiding spoilers on Twitter, why does everyone have to talk about it…
Children of Fear
Another @theGROGNARDfile classic wrapped up with six sessions to finish off the campaign. It was an interesting one, while it was a great adventure it didn’t feel that Cthulhuish to me. @theGROGNARDfile also ran a two session adventure as a playtest of @PaulFricker‘s upcoming adventure, don’t know what it’s called, but it was very good.
Castles and Crusades
We had just the one session of this, started the adventure The Secret of Ronan Skerry back in July with @KiernanEd as GM. It’d be great to finish this one off.
Two sessions in January completed the home-brew written by @davepaters based on a remote mining colony with strange alien weirdness.
@TonyLayter ran SCP Overlord a weird as all hell that creeped us out and saw the unpleasant death of my agent. I’m hoping he will start Impossible Landscapes for us in 2023.
Due to a drop out I was given a chance to play the quick-start adventure of this new Free League system GM’d by @HailOrcusdorkus. It hit all the right fantasy notes and looks a promising system.
Fall of Delta Green
Another game that came to a close after many months of game time, with the last session in February. Started in November 2019 @mcookie123‘s fantastic investigative horror campaign took us from the relative safety of Birmingham, Alabama to the depths of the Vietnamese jungles via Las Vegas. It was creepy, brilliant and hugely engaging… I was sorry to see it reach an end.
I remember so well the advertisements for Legacy of Eagles, the Golden Heroes adventure from back in the 80’s. I had the original game back in the day, although I don’t think I ever ran it. I was made up to to play it again at Grogten, GMd by @davepaters, even though I had the lamest superhero ever.
A one shot of the adventure The Seven Knaves with @chrisesharp at the helm. I really enjoyed this 17th Century historical fantasy OSR RPG, it’s right up my street.
A game I picked up at UK Games Expo in 2021 but never did get to run. In theory the rules and adventures should have been a good fit for me, but there was something that just didn’t click – I couldn’t see myself running it and sold the rule book and Cult: Feretory later in the year.
Suggested by @Sam0Vail as the system to use for Grogmania at Grogmeet, the traditional Friday afternoon multi-table game. It’s a decent system and worked really well for our purposes proving to be fast and deadly.
Never Going Home
A horror game set in the trenches of WW1 with a simple system and bags of atmosphere. GMd by @TonyLayter.
Night’s Black Agents
Old School Essentials
@chrisesharp ran an excellent couple of sessions of The Lichway, the old White Dwarf adventure, making great use of audio and visuals in FoundryVTT to create a fantastic atmosphere for this game.
Fifteen sessions across 2022 brought the four year campaign GMd by @OrlanthR to an epic close.
I was lucky enough to play in one of the @DailyDwarf‘s Savage Worlds 2000AD specials, this time a Strontium Dog tale where we were stitched up and sent on a wild goose chase across the system. Brillliant stuff.
Another game by super powered GM @OrlanthR. We’ve just had a session zero for this game, looking forward to kicking this off in earnest in 2023
Swords of the Serpentine
@mcookie123 ran us through this interesting S&S game… I couldn’t imagine how Gumshoe would work in a fantasy setting, but it did, although @mcookie123 used the Mythic Constantinople setting rather than the default setting for the game.
A great example of an RPG that accurately emulates the fiction of the TV show (in this case, I’ve not read the books to compare). Using the Age System from Green Ronin publishing which we’re really starting to enjoy. We’ve had 10 sessions with GM @OrlanthR.
The One Ring
The game I’ve played the most this year at 33 sessions, 24 of which were GMd by @OrlanthR and 9 sessions by me.
Trail of Cthulhu
I reluctantly dropped out of Eternal Lies with @Jwmuk@dice.camp as GM, but I had to cut back. I was really enjoying this, it had all the marks of a great Lovecraftian adventure.
Under Hill, By Water
A one shot game at The One Ring Roadtrip back in March, GMd by @Lintillaz. A charming game about the trivialities of Hobbit life.
This has been my main game of 2022 with 29 sessions for two different groups. I set the game in Yoon-Suin and it has been a great fit. While there’s a lot to like about Whitehack I’ve come to the realisation that it’s not really the game for me… the story game elements add a lot to the game, but I struggle with them as GM.
Worlds Without Number
I’m just three sessions into the Freeport Trilogy with one group and due to start it with another group in the new year. I like the WWN system quite a bit, it’s like an OSR+ game with skills, foci and a tweaked spell system.
The Cons of 2022
A proper long weekend at the lovely seaside resort of Tenby. It’s one event where I don’t GM (there is a historical reason) and I quite enjoy that – just getting stuck in to each game as a player. All of the games were ace, all of the GMs were ace, everyone there was ace!
The One Ring Roadtrip (March)
I love these low key weekends with just a few friends in a nice location. Brings together the best of gaming (we take advantage of the time to play longer games), good food and beer.
Virtual Grogmeet (April)
A reminder of the online only cons of 2020-21, it is no less of a great gaming experience and from the comfort of your own home.
UK Games Expo (June)
A highlight of the gaming calendar, just because of the scale of the event (and the cost!) It’s lovely having access to so much gaming stuff, food, drink and good company. Just wish the Hilton bar was a bit cheaper…
Owlbear and Wizards Staff (September)
This wonderful event takes place in Leamington Spa every year and without doubt this year was the best. With the traditional Friday afternoon beers followed by a curry through to the fantastic gaming, and this year extended to the Sunday!
Grogmeet and Go Play Manchester (November)
The annual pilgrimage to Manchester didn’t disappoint, quite possibly the biggest gathering of Grognards anywhere.
Although not cons, I’ve had quite a few fantastic gaming days at @TonyLayter‘s when @Corsair1973 came back to the UK for a couple of visits. Although we played board games, they were fantastic days, took me right back to good old days.
The 2023 Gaming Plan
I’ve been giving this some thought and decided to focus on three categories of games, with one primary game and one secondary game in each category. These are:
- World Without Number
- Old School Essentials
- Other Fantasy
- The One Ring 2e
- Talisman Adventures
- Space 1889
With those games in mind, here’s the plan (I’m nothing if agile, so this may well change)
- Run the Freeport Trilogy using Worlds Without Number with both fortnightly Monday and Tuesday groups.
- Continue Tales from Wilderland for The One Ring. I have two groups and they both have a long way to go to finish the full campaign. I suspect we’ll do one adventure at a time and go from there.
- I’m also quite taken with Talisman Adventures right now, I really like the system but haven’t been inspired by any of the published adventures I’ve read. Probably will run a one-shot at a con.
- Other games I’d like to run at cons are Cairn and Old School Essentials. I have a ton of adventures for OSE that I’d love to run and with the Dolmenwood kickstarter coming out in 2023 it may grab more of my attention.
- Space 1889 has fascinated me for quite a while – I have the GDW original and the more recent Ubiquity system version. While I did run it back in the day it’s not made it into play recently. It’ll be a struggle to fit it in…
- Although I’ve only played it once I keep hearing such great things about Vaesen, and I have quite a bit of stuff for it. But that and Forbidden Lands haven’t made it to the table yet.
- Barbarians of Lemuria will take a backseat again this year, perhaps making an appearance at a con.
- Get to all the face to face gaming events… Grogten, Tolkien vs Moorcock weekend, UK Games Expo, Owlbear and Wizards Staff, Grogmeet and one or two Go Play Manchester sessions. BurritoCon isn’t particularly likely right now, I’d only commit to it if I knew I had time to do it justice.
Finally, thanks to all the GMs who run regular games I’m in and the fantastic players in my games, it’s been a blast.
I wasn’t sure where to put this, 2022 is the year we lost our good friend Dave; a great guy who was one of my first GMs and became such a good friend of 40 years through gaming and then through many many visits to the pub. I hold Dave responsible for getting me back into gaming back in 2015/6, his infectious enthusiasm around the gaming table has a lot to answer for! Rest in peace my friend.
To all my gaming pals and anyone who reads this, Happy New Year, I hope you have an ace 2023!