2019: A Review

D

Dave McAlister

Guest
#1
It’s almost the end of the year, some say the decade, so this month’s post is a 2019 review!

2019 was the first year in at least a decade (maybe even since I started going to conventions in 1999!) that I didn’t attend a residential convention! This was a hard decision in some ways but, in others, it was for the best. I love attending conventions, especially residential ones, as you get to play in a variety of different games. Unfortunately, following the closure of UK Role Players in 2018 (and without going into too much detail), I kind of fell out of love with them. The UK convention circuit is quite small really and it would be hard not to bump into the people I’d prefer to avoid. It’s also the reason I haven’t signed up to any of the forums that sprang up following UK Role Players’ closure. Anyway, onto the review…

HomeCon


My regular sessions are on Friday nights (hence our group’s Twitter handle of @FridayKnightsRP) for around 3-4 hours. So, in lieu of a residential convention, we decided to run HomeCon one Saturday. I pulled out an old favourite in the shape of Marvel Super Heroes in the morning “slot” while a fellow DM ran Adventures in Middle Earth.

Marvel Super Heroes


It had been a while since I’d even looked at the rules for Marvel (maybe even as far back in the ’80s) and three others in the group had never played it at all. For this reason, we went with pre-generated heroes (Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Widow, and Valkyrie) while I picked the introductory adventure from the Basic Rules set, Day of the Octopus. I had originally thought about setting the game in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but we decided against that to avoid extra work. As you would expect from an introductory adventure, Day of the Octopus worked very well. It opened with an explanation, through play, of the basic mechanics, before heading directly into the main plot.

The Marvel rules are very simple in nature and allow the players to come up with some clever ways of dealing with things. Which they did. I don’t want to give anything away in case a reader ever plays the adventure, but I was very impressed with the way the final encounter played out.

Adventures in Middle Earth


This was the continuation of an ongoing campaign. I love how AiME captures the feel of Middle Earth while still be recognisably 5th Edition D&D. It’s a shame that Cubicle 7 have lost/decided not to continue with the Middle Earth licence but we still have a bundle of books that can be used. In fact, as I type this, there is a Humble Bundle running where you can get 12 PDFs for $15! Highly recommended in my opinion.

HomeCon was such a success that we’re already planning HomeCon 2 for March (and maybe even HomeCon 3 later in the year!)

Weekly Sessions


During our regular sessions we managed to get a respectable 36 weekly games in over the year, including our annual Halloween game of Ghostbusters. The majority of these games used the D&D system in one form or another (11 sessions of 5th Edition, 8 sessions of Advanced Labyrinth Lord (an OSR clone) and 12 sessions of 3.5). Our current game is the 3.5 one as we run through City of the Spider Queen. It’s a great campaign and we’ve been quite lucky on occasion—although we rode that luck in last night’s session and lost 40% of our number in one fight! Still, as I keep saying, where there’s no risk there’s no reward (and yes, my PC was one of the deaths).

Other games I’ve played this year include The Savage World of Solomon Kane, Star Wars (d6) and Angel.

Board Games


Away from roleplaying, and when there have been times when we were down on players, we brought out the board games. We played 15 different board games this year (some a couple of times). Personal favourites include Ticket to Ride, Lords of Waterdeep, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate and Deadwood 1876.

Next Year


Well, that’s my 2019 review. 2020 promises to bring more great games. I’ve been planning and prepping my 5th Edition powered fantasy pirates campaign along with a 1930s pulp mini-campaign using B/X Gangbusters. I’m even thinking about dusting off an old favourite, Top Secret/S.I. for a run through of an ’80s espionage campaign on a Caribbean island.

Too many games and not enough time…

I hope you had a great 2019. What are your plans for 2020?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links” so if you make a purchase, I will receive some affiliate credit.

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