Truth be told, I haven't had enough down time to dig into any of my Christmas gifts yet. Yes, I unwrapped them on Christmas Eve. And low and behold, most of them were games! How cool is that? The Christmas Elf.... err... my wife... well she rocks! I eyeballed these new games longingly, but have yet to tear off the shrink-wrap and open any boxes of gaming goodness.
So which games did Santa Anna (my loving wife) bring me for Christmas? Well, here's what I scored:
- Wizard Kings (fantasy wargame, Columbia Games)
- Lord of the Rings: Confrontation (fantasy strategy, FFG)
- Prophecy (fantasy adventure, Z-Man)
- Through the Desert (arabian theme, abstract strategy, FFG)
- Condottiere (renaissance Italy, card strategy/wargame, FFG)
- Wings of War: Miniatures (5 different WWI airplanes, FFG)
- Battlelore: Call to Arms (game expansion, Days of Wonder)
Cool stuff eh?
Out of the top 10 games/expansions that I had written on my hobby games wishlist, I received 7 of them. Now that, my friends, is a killer Christmas haul in just about anyone's book! And that's especially true when you're a guy over 40 years old; a time when most men are getting the standard gifts of ties, shirts, cologne, and liquor under their tree. My wife told me, "I felt like I was buying presents for a 12-year old." Well good for you dear; you were doing it right. I've always believed that Christmas presents are supposed to be FUN, not serious or practical. You've got 364 other days of the year to be practical.
Looking forward to 2008, I hope that I'll be able to play a slew of these new games with my friends and family. Board games are not only great for exercising your mental muscles, but they provide great social interaction and often yield lasting memories. The best games are those where you can interact with real people, rather than solely with a cold, calculating computer opponent. Board games, card games, and miniatures games enable us to do that, and it's something that I plan to latch onto more strongly in 2008.
As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that most people talk about doing fun things way more often than they actually get to do them. Work, home ownership, and other day-to-day activities get in the way of our leisure pursuits. In order to avoid the "all work and no play" syndrome that affects so many Americans, you've got to plan out your fun ahead of time. That may seem like a sad commentary on today's society. It is. But the sad truth is that unless you formally make time for fun and build it into your schedule, you won't have nearly enough of it.
Although I haven't created any formal "gaming plan" for 2008 yet, there are several things kicking around in my head that I would like to include in my Master Fun Plan:
- HeroScape Campaign = I'm hoping to start a 4 or 5 player wargame campaign using rules that I've created. Tabletop battles that occur as a result of campaign map movement will be fought and resolved by playing games of HeroScape.
- Wargame Wednesdays = I'd like to set Wednesday evenings aside this year for 2-player wargames and strategy games with my friends. Between Battlelore, Battle Cry, HeroScape, AT-43, Wings of War, Hammer of the Scots, Wizard Kings, Tide of Iron, Feudal, Dungeon Twister, LOTR Confrontation, Starship Catan, Lionheart, and Battleball, I've got plenty of fun head-to-head games to play.
- Monday Night Family Games = Many months ago, we started a new routine where my Mom comes over to our house on Monday night and eats dinner with Anna and I. Typically, I cook dinner and then we watch TV or a Netflix movie. Recently, we started adding board games to the mix, having played Mystery of the Abbey and Ticket to Ride during the month of December. I'm hoping that trend will continue. I'm planning on mixing Carcassonne, Saboteur, Through the Desert, Acquire, Mystery Rummy, Monkeys On the Moon, Guillotine, Win Place & Show, and Scrabble into the rotation as well. I've also got my eye on acquiring Manhattan, Niagara, and Fairy Tale just to suit these Monday Night gaming sessions. I'll see how the other games go over before proceeding.
- Weekend Gaming = As part of my new SWABI initiative (Sevy's Wargames And Boardgames Invitational), I'm going to be scheduling weekend games to be held at my house. My hope is for these weekend sessions to occur on a regular basis, although I'm expecting this to happen very slowly. Last year showed me that building a regular gaming group is a lengthy process. Hopefully, I'll be able to break out multi-player games on the weekends. I've got plenty of good ones to play including Citadels, Cash N Guns, Shadows Over Camelot, Arkham Horror, Domaine, Acquire, Talisman, Prophecy, Pirate's Cove, Nexus Ops, Cosmic Encounter, Slapshot, Condottiere, Carcassonne, Through the Desert, Attack!, Monsters Menace America, and many more.
- Sword of Severnia = With rigorous playtesting soon to get underway in earnest on the miniatures wargame that I'm developing, I suspect I'll be playing Sword of Severnia more than anything else in 2008. Since setup and breakdown time is always a real factor with miniatures games, big sessions of SoS will inevitably be held during the weekends.
- HARL = Within the next 2 weeks, I'll see where things stand with the Harrisburg Area Rotisserie League. The 2008 season would be our 22nd consecutive year of fantasy baseball. I'm hoping that it continues and that we don't lose any old team owners. I'm going to enjoy January, because once FEB rolls around I'll probably be swamped with baseball stuff like I always am.
We'll see how well I can formulate and execute my 2008 Master Fun Plan. I'm sure it will be a challenge juggling everything, but I'll try because anything FUN is worth doing!
Here's wishing everyone a fun New Year's Eve. Don't get too sloshed.