2020 was a dumpster fire of a year for the planet, especially here in the United States. The Pandemic peeled back the layers of our society an held it up to a mirror and there was a lot of ugliness. As if it were not enough it was a leap year with a bonus day added in for our enjoyment. I am writing this days after there was an insurrection at our nations capital as the nonsense of 2020 bleeds into 2021. Hopefully 2021 will offer healing and the prevailing of smarter heads.
The year for me was rough not seeing the family as much as I would have liked. My daughter has not gotten enough time with her cousin, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. I only saw my close friends in person a few times this year in very carefully orchestrated, socially distant outdoor get-togethers. My gaming group got to one convention this year before the pandemic landed here, Polar Vortex. After Lockdown hit we went virtual and Adam took us on a roll20.net D&D adventure for six months and then Chris took us on a new adventure after Adam's first child was born and he had to step back to care for his newly expanded family! Now our group is mostly fathers with small children to care for, Rick's kids are old enough to make some late night appearances on zoom during our games. Our daughter turned one this year and she had a zoom birthday party, it truly has been a weird year.
Three words to sum up 2020 "Shit Got Real" - Adam
I put out a goal at the beginning of the year to play through all the games in my collection. I did not foresee the pandemic coming and came up short on that goal the pandemic may have slowed me down a bit but out of it came the blog your reading today coming into full swing and as we do me and my gaming group adapted. We utilized online platforms like Tabletop Simulator and Vassal Engine to get together virtually. These are both great for a lot of things they do however slow down game play. You cant just reach across the table and draw a card or move a piece, sometimes you have to flip through several windows to find what your looking for. Leaving us with less time on the (typically Friday) nights we had. Unfortunately I did not hit my goal. Its been a fun effort and I plan on continuing to play through the collection and writing about it.
"D&D, Barking and Videos" -Chris
Another venture I had this year was dipping my toe into game design pool. I have prototyped 2 games and I will be writing more on that soon. The first game I have been noodling on since the summer of 2020 and its a euro worker placement game based on my work as a Sr Wide Area Network Engineer at a Fortune 100 company. The second went from idea to prototype faster than my wife could cook a lasagna. We actually played a rudimentary version(I scrawled on note cards) right before dinner was ready. I polished it up and changed some of the mechanisms so that we could play on Christmas at our small family gathering. To my surprise the in-laws (not known to be gamers) enjoyed playing my Christmas tree themed cat game. I am working on getting my game on to Tabletop Simulator so that I can play test with the guys. I already have another idea for a game floating around in my head. I have defiantly been bitten by the design bug.
"Fireworks, Babies, Therapy" -Rick
With everyone being stuck at home it has been a boon for the board game industry. For example Games Workshop online sales were up 90% and up 33% in profits for May to November. Puzzles have been flying off the shelves at our local game store. And on a cultural front the most watched Netflix program of 2020 was The Queen's Gambit which also spurred a big uptick in purchases of chess sets.
Despite all that has happened I am extremely thankful that my family and friends have been spared illness and misfortunes that have come to so many in 2020. Thanks for being a reader of this blog and I look forward to writing more this year.