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TOPIC: Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby

Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 09:17 #273331

What was your best year or years for boardgaming? Use any criteria that makes sense to you: quantity of play, quality of games played, people you played with, whatever. What were the games that you played at that time, and how has the hobby changed since then?

I had two peaks. The first one was 1981 to 1982. I was a teenager, and my friends and I were finally getting some access to vehicles, so we could meet up more easily. We had a pretty solid group due to various rpg campaigns, and most of my friends didn't have jobs yet. Also, my dad was always looking to play Acquire, so he encouraged my friends to come over in case he could get Acquire on the table. The quality of the games weren't as high as modern games, but we played the heck out of them. Favorites included: Car Wars, Illuminati, Divine Right, The Awful Green Things from Outer Space, Kung Fu 2100, Asteroid (Games Workshop), Intruder, and Vampyre.

My second peak was about ten years ago, maybe 2007 to 2010. My final apartment was very accessible by public transportation, and reasonably close to multiple universities, so player recruitment was easy. I was also running Call of Cthulhu at the time, so I had a solid base group of players. If a Cthulhu session bogged down or we were short players, we would break out the boardgames. I also hosted boardgames on nearly a monthly basis, and usually had 6 to 8 players. FFG was our favorite publisher at the time, and our favorite games were Arkham Horror, Fury of Dracula, and Battlestar Galactica.

The big changes in the hobby are obvious in hindsight. By the mid-'80s, role-playing games dominated gaming, and boardgames were more of a sideshow. Then CCGs game along in the early '90s and rpgs fell by the wayside. Boardgames made a big comeback in the early 2000s, but buying and collecting boardgames has gotten in the way of playing them. The people that I played boardgames with 10 years ago generally have higher incomes and less free time compared to then, so they are buying their own games instead of playing mine. Plus life stuff has happened to people in the group. In addition, there are now two open gaming rooms within a few miles of my house instead of just one, and the FFG event center sells food and alcohol.

Since I wrapped up my big D&D campaign two years ago, that group has drifted apart. It looks like I need to actively recruit a new board gaming group. The obvious starting place is the two nearby gaming venues.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 09:24 #273332


A few years earlier I had discovered Catan, but things started getting real serious after I started Puerto Rico and wanted more experiences like that. Eventually leading to War of the Ring and Twilight Struggle. Played tons of games (mostly 2-player) all the time, while enjoying a cup of Irish Breakfast tea. These were the best years for this hobby for me.

I'm trying to kickstart it now with Emily, starting with 3 games. We'll see if this blossoms into something.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 09:25 #273334

I suppose I'd say when I first got into it. This would have been roughly 2004, and I discovered Descent: Journeys in the Dark. It was the first hobby game I bought, and I quickly acquired all of it. One of my friends knew a couple of people from his work that he knew were into games, and we got started. I was almost always the Overlord, which was fine by me. We played a LOT of Descent. The most fun we had was Road to Legend, without a doubt.

Things were much simpler then, since my collection was at first literally just Descent, then Tomb, then Last Night on Earth. It was stuck there for quite some time. Kickstarter was not a thing, and it was pretty much always assumed that we would be playing Descent.

One night, someone showed up early and we played Guitar Hero Metallica. That's a strange memory.

Edit - eventually, we all got sick of Descent. It got more and more bloated, and just took forever to play. I still have it, but do not miss playing it even a little.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 09:43 #273338


I had discovered Catan and others a couple of years earlier, and had been constantly introducing new games to my local group. However, in 2002 I moved to Los Angeles and had to find a whole new group of friends, and games were the gateway to doing that. I made good friends that last to this day, and by 2003 I was in full stride. I had two regular game groups, plus my roommate and her friends were always up for trying something on the weekends. Plus, there was a SoCal Games Day about every other month. At this time in the industry, there wasn't nearly the volume of new releases every month, and it seemed (though I don't dare try to prove it) that the overall quality of games released was higher (due to proper editing and development, most likely).

I played so many games with so many different people and made so many new friends, that it will always be my golden year of gaming.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 10:04 #273339

One of my best years in the many, many years I've enjoyed in this hobby was the year, back in 2005/6, when, using the wonderful second edition published by Green Ronin under the Black Library imprint, I ran my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Ashes of Middenheim campaign. This was my first and only full-length RPG campaign as GM, and it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of hard work too- I'm not a 'seat-of-the-pants' type GM- but fortunately my computer was invaluable in helping me prepare my own GM's aids. The campaign wasn't perfect: I was a relative novice to GM'ing, and I made plenty of mistakes, but the players all enjoyed themselves, and I was able to build things to a satisfactory climax. I was planning to run the Spires of Altdorf sequel to Ashes of Middenheim, but unfortunately the group moved on from roleplaying to boardgaming and ultimately drifted apart.

I was blogging at the time that I ran this campaign and, for those who are interested, here's a link to the blog's index for the posts I made telling the story of the players' adventures.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 14:14 #273365


Lots of games played, lots of competitions, lots of Cons. Now I’m disillusioned and tired of chasing gaming time. Kids are older and time with them is more valuable.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 14:42 #273372

The best is yet to come!
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 18:22 #273391

I think 2008-2012. I have some games, but BattleLore and Descent 2.0 were the highlights. I had one dedicated player, my younger brother. We played BattleLore to death, and had 2 campaigns of the Descent 2.0. Great times.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 21:51 #273397

I'll define it as an era: the pre-competitive youth sports era. 6 years down, 6 or so to go.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 15 May 2018 22:28 #273399

I don't have a best year. They all seem good, for different reasons. So many fun times and happy memories in the past, so many to look forward to in the future. Heck, I'm looking forward to this Thursday.

I've been repairing the images that got screwed up database was corrupted. Started with most recent and have been working my way back. I'm on 2013 now. I can tell what games were "hot" by how many pictures we have of them. I'm like, oh yeah, I remember when we so excited about that game, and now ... not so much.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 16 May 2018 02:42 #273401

It's not a very interesting story, but it's all about kids.

1989-1992: I was a kid and playing the classic GW board games and the odd Avalon Hill title thrown in. They were wonderful years, partly because you know they'll never be recaptured. So much free time and liberated from a more "adult" culture where you're encouraged to take even the silliest games with a certain degree of seriousness. We played rules wrong, lost components, argued, used ridiculous strategies, didn't finish but we didn't care because we were kids.

The best example was Blood Royale. We'd played all-day games on a Saturday and we'd rarely get a winner even in all that time. All anyone was really interested in was building their family dynasty, filling in the sheets, giving them stupid names, watching them go out into the world and carve a name for themselves. Screw trading and tactics and all that crap.

2008-2010: Before we had our first kid, I mostly played Warhammer Fantasy. Afterwards, I played nothing, and the frustration was partly what lead me to start writing. Once she'd settled down I started a small local game club with a friend and a couple of people I found on the internet. It stayed small but it was great because it was the same regular group and we grew to know each other as people and as gamers. We played a lot of different stuff, mostly classic early German euros as I recall, as it seemed a sweet spot for everyone's taste. Then someone moved away and we had another baby and it all fell apart.

2016-now: The second child slept as badly as the first for about the same amount of time, and I played very little, mostly solitaire, for several years. When the second did settle down I still couldn't play much as two is just too much work. When the eldest reached about ten, though, she suddenly developed a bit of an interest - and some skill - in playing. So we did. And that's my life now: a couple of times a week I play a game with my eldest and/or wife, once a week I go out and play with friends. It's a good life.
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Your Best Year(s) in This Hobby 16 May 2018 12:22 #273431

There have been for me, too, multiple peak phases.

Early 80s up through 1989. My friends and I discover D&D, and I discover friends through D&D. We (especially I) tried to lure us into other RPGs, and we did a fair number of one-shots, but D&D, for better or worse, was at the core, along with a lot of Axis and Allies. First year of college (88-89) saw my horizons expand somewhat to include at least one genuine hex-and-counter wargame (Imperium Romanun II--which I still have!), included my most extensive non-D&D RPGing (MegaTraveller), and included also a semester of me running (mostly the first quarter of) Temple of Elemental Evil as a 2e D&D campaign with people at school. I largely dropped out of the scene after that first year, and while my high school friends and I played some in the summer of 89, that was about the end of it.

Mid-2000s to around 2016 or so. For a while, I played D&D 3.5 with a local group that fizzled out in part because--being honest here--I proved to be a sucky DM of 3.5. (In fairness to me, that system was a beast to DM, and it wasn't like I hadn't spent hours prepping.) The downward end of the D&Ding corresponded with my acquaintanceship with (then) modern board gaming. Oddly enough, Runebound 2e was my gateway game of sorts. I came across it from an FFG catalog that I'd gotten along with some RPG books. (It was either going to be Runebound or Descent, but I was persuaded, rightly or wrongly, that Descent was similar to 3.5.) TTR was the more logical entry point. After that, I lurked at a local game day and then started going regularly. When the sponsors moved, I switched over to a successor meeting, which I've liked less and pretty much stopped going to now because while I like the guy who runs it, his preferences dominate even in games that he's not playing (e.g., short games, mostly new games), and he's chased away "violators." 2p gaming with my (second) wife became more important, as did playing with a small group of people whom I met through her.

Hard to say exactly when the peak ended, but even though 2017 had the highest quantity of games played relative to several years before, I was also enjoying it less. The people we'd invited into playing increasingly (maybe unfairly) seemed to bring every game to a halt with painfully slow play. Kickstarter, which had seemed interesting and exciting, suddenly, maybe with Conan, started to seem burdensome, as did learning and re-learning rules sets. The "mainstreaming" of the hobby in general and the explosion in output has diminished things as well for me, to the point where I don't attend to the hotness and have very little idea what's new and what's coming out. But, hey, that's still a pretty big peak.
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