Thursday, January 16, 2014
Vacation: On Trying New Things and How Time Off Can Be a Huge Boon!
So I recently had some vacation time ... both from work and also away from the hobby/ game that is 40k and all the modelling and painting which goes with it. Time away from work is always fantastic - as anyone knows, but time away from the hobby (as I face 8 months away from it starting in February) was something I felt a little odd about at first. Basically, I just didn't want to get halfway through projects before going away ... little did I know I also needed a vacation away from the hobby to really open my eyes.
So, the trip began by spending the holidays in New Hampshire - no gamer buddies, no close FLGS and nobody to talk gaming with. This isolation was great for family time, sledding ect and also set me up to be a little more open minded about trying new things.
Those new things of course started with a little Fallout 3, which I got with a gift certificate and I cannot believe that I have missed out on this series ... so with a little video game fix and the actual holidays behind me, I stepped off to Michigan (honestly where DFG really grew and maintains its roots) on the 4th to see my friends!
The day after I arrived, Evolution Games (my old stomping grounds) held the "TJ MUST DIE OPEN" an event held to welcome me back and conveniently place me in a room filled with all my 40k friends and aquaintences from the Lansing area!
I played three games against folks that I really wanted to play against, which was great. I got to perform the obligitory trouncing of SeerK, a close friend and owner of Craftworld Lansing. I then got my obligitory beatdown from Paul Steiner, a super tenatious and skilled Eldar player, stand-up guy and owner of Aspects of the Void. Finally, I got to meet and have a great game with SpellDuckWrong, the rising star writer of Craftworld Lansing. I had a great time and really have to say that I appreciated the good times and all the folks who came out!
After that tourney though, the malaise that has settled over the greater 40k online community took over and I was back to "try new games" mode. The night of the tourney, I actually settled in with Chris Vinton and Jesse for a few games of Settlers of Cataan. For years, I have walked past the board games at FLGS's and haven't given board games a second glance. Shame on me. Settlers is a fantastic game and I had a ton of fun screwing over my friends, hoarding resources and attempting to build the greatest civilization!
The next game I tried was King of Tokyo, a monster based game themed on Godzilla, Cthulu, King Kong and even a giant robot Bunny trying to take over Tokyo by either winning the most victory points OR (and most likely) killing all the other monsters! The game is better with more players and we maxed out the original six slots. We had a drunk, rowdy time and laughed for hours on end playing the game. I am putting this on my must buy list and also teaching my kids to play with me!
Dipping back into the GW gene-pool, Dreadbeard of Games, Beer and Bullshit organized a huge night of Kill Team. The game was fun in that we could play some of our models we never get to use at 1850 ... but other than that, we all decided that Special Operation Kill Zone was infinately better and that is a huge credit to people like Big Jim and Brian, who made that game possible. If you have never play KZ but enjoyed Kill Team, google KZ and get a free copy of the rules to play with! You will enjoy it!
Finally, somewhere near the end of the week, Chris Vinton talked me into playing Magic: the Gathering. I fought it at first but agreed. Now something you should know is that I have not only been a "One Game System" man out of necessity, but I have also been guilty of perpetuating the "Magic vs 40k players" rivalry in the FLGS ... and so has my wife (lol). That being said, I played Magic from 1994-1998 when I was in junior high and high school (officially dated myself, whoops) and really enjoyed it back then, but girls and cars came along and everything (including my budding interest in miniatures went on hold for 10 years or so).
I never picked Magic up again, but Chris Vinton put a tuned up Red Devotion deck in my hands and we threw down. I picked up the rules incredibly quick and before you knew it an hour had gone by, we had played seven games, there was not a single rules issue (discussion, complaint, gripe arguement ect). I had a blast and couldn't believe that I forgot how much fun I used to have playing this game! Even when Jesse later smacked me around with his White Weeny (yeah, it's hilarious to say outloud too), I had tons of fun.
All in all, the time off was great and really lent me a sense of perspective that I have been too close and too close-minded to see. I really enjoyed gaming and gaming culture in general. Not only that, but I found some ways to share that fun with my family and, as my kids age, that is very important to me.
The board games are something I really want to keep trying as they really have been a ton of fun so far and (even though some of you will lose your minds on me) I am going to dive into Magic when I return from my deployment. It really scratched an itch for competitive fun that has needed to serious satisfaction for a long time now!
In any case, this is like a huge diary entry and you all are likely already done reading about my vacation ... but for those of you who stuck around, what other games do you play outside of wargamming? Have you recently tried something new? Do you guys have a board game recommendation or a Magic Online handle to share (so you can beat my newb a**, haha)?
I'm always open to new things and would love to hear what you have to offer!