Since December was yet again not another banner month of activity here at the Society and another year draws to a close, I want to take a moment to gaze back upon the last twelve months and summarize the accomplishments, both personal and professional, that occurred.
Amongst the OSR community, I believe 2012 will forever be known as the year Goggle+ achieved supremacy over the previous “go to” venues of the blogosphere and message forums for disseminating gaming-related information, material, and most importantly, avenues of play. The blogosphere and forums still have their place, but this year belonged to Google+, thanks to FLAILSNAILS, Meetup pickup games, and the ability to customize and control readership to fine tune your personal “signal to noise” reception quality. Obviously, Facebook isn’t trembling in its boots for fear of usurpation of its status as King of Social Media, but Google+ definitely found a place in the hearts of the old school role-playing community. Whether this is a flash in the pan development or not remains to be seen.
Speaking of flashes in the pan, Kickstarter got a big boost this year from the gaming crowd. Certain projects like Reaper Miniatures’ crowd-funding of their new line of plastic minis demonstrated that when a Kickstarter campaign works, it can work really, really well. But for ever success story, there are literally hundreds of projects that either failed to fund or proposed deadlines they couldn’t meet. And with these failures and delays, the backlash against Kickstarter projects seems to be building. Other bloggers than myself have been keeping a keen eye on Kickstarted RPG projects, so I won’t go into depth about this subject, but even a cursory glance at recent developments seems to indicate 2013 will see gamers being a smarter with their wallets and RPG publishers, especially established ones, are going to have to get wise to this trend and develop their goals and funding plans accordingly.
What were the big releases in the OSR community this year? To be honest, I have no clue. Professional responsibilities and personal developments meant I wasn’t keeping tabs on everything pumped out by gamers and publishers over the last year. DCC RPG hit the stores and demonstrated that it’s not another retro-clone, but a beast unto itself (and one well-received enough to hit the Top Five RPG Sellers’ List). Rappan Athuk made some waves with its Kickstarter campaign. Adventurer, Conqueror, King debuted. We saw the megadungeon trend continue in Barrowmaze and the next installment of Anomalous Subsurface Environment. Others were undoubtedly embraced by the community upon release, but it’s hard for a single person to keep track on what’s going on these days—even when you have the free time to do so.
On the personal front, I can’t complain about 2012. I’ve been busier than ever with projects and, as much as I occasionally gripe about the workload, I remain grateful to be able to continue doing what I do and get paid for it. This year saw my name show up in the DCC RPG rulebook, Goodman Games’ Free RPG Day release, and Emirikol Was Framed! I wrote a new game system for Goblinoid Games and finished up revisions for a new supplement to be released by Goodman in the coming year. I also had the opportunity to create my own 1920s’ historical horror setting (“Wildwyck County”) for Fight On! magazine, and I have plenty more in store for that series as publication allows.
This was also the year that I hit the convention trail in earnest, travelling to the gaming motherland of Lake Geneva, WI and moseying down to Texas for NTRPG Con. At those events, idols became colleagues, colleagues became friends, and people I’ve only known through online correspondence joined the ranks of my valued fellow gamers. I’m looking forward to 2013 when I get to do more new conventions and return to old favorites.
I’ve got a few announcements coming in the days ahead, but I’ll close things down for now as I’m battling an end of the year illness and need to get more rest. I’d like to wish you all a very happy, healthy, and productive 2013. May Chance favor the bold in the year ahead!