Why I Game: 2020 in the Rear View

This blog is about games, usually Wargames but sometimes board games. I am excited to see all of the progress people have made in their traditional year in review posts. With any luck, 2021 will be a year of fully painted miniature games! I wanted to do something different for this article, so all of my usual end of the year stats and photos will be in the ‘credits’ of this post. The point of this article is to share what I have learned. After that I will do some end of the year lists of five, then a photo dump of everything that I have painted!

So what have I learned? Personally for one, that I am extremely lucky and blessed that my twins were born healthy in March and that my job is flexible enough for me to spend a ridiculous amount of time at home this year with my family.

In terms of gaming, this year made me reevaluate why I play games. I think I boiled it down to three core reasons:

  1. To interact with my family and friends but furthermore to make new friends and be apart of a community.
  2. To mentally unwind from the burdens of being a functioning adult.
  3. To test myself

Number 1 is pretty self-explanatory but it’s the biggest reason I play any game. It is as much about the people as it is about the game. Not going to bash any games, but we can all think of a game or community that we no longer wanted to be apart of because of how it made us feel, and I bet that game is different for everyone. Heck, my family has been playing 4th Edition Talisman (not revised! so warts and all) at get-togethers for years now, not because it is the best game but because it has become a tradition for us!

Number 2 I think is natural for everyone, and the activity might vary but it is important that what we are doing to destress doesn’t further stress us out!

Number 3 is why I find myself always leaning towards the competitive with every game I play. Over the years I think I have harnessed that a little better and try to focus on playing a ‘clean game’ rather than winning or losing, which by the nature of this hobby is up to random chance.

That’s it, that’s the core reason why I play games. While I might have had some intuition about the reason I have found it helpful over the last year to spell it out.

I encourage everyone to think about why they play games, above the base feeling of that dopamine dump in your brain when you learn new things. For me, it helps put a constructive perspective on what projects I undertake and how I manage my dwindling hobby time (because not every year is going to be 2020 where you can’t leave your house).

Lists of Five

I am going to keep it simple and short and just do two. Top 5 miniatures (or group of minis) I painted and the Top 5 games I played this year. Not what I played most often, but what games were most memorable or systems I am currently swooning over.

Top 5 Miniatures I Painted

5. Blackstone Fortress

Painting this box set changed the course of my year, and set me on a collision course to board games, which then led me finally to hex or square base games.

4. Kingdom Death: Monster Twilight Knight

One of the alternate minis, I know people have a lot of feelings about these minis, I like most of them.

3. Warmaster Chaos Dwarves

So much character in these guys! they were a breeze to paint and who doesn’t love a Dwarf riding a flying bull?

2. Warhammer Age of Sigmar Slannesh

I had way too much fun painting with pinks and purples! The Fane is the centerpiece and I love how it came out.
  1. Kingdom Death Monster: The Hand
Badass to look at, badass in the game. This is the way.

Top 5 Games I played

5. Memoir ’44 – When my twins were born I think my dad and I ripped through 20 some games of this. Very well laid out and a lower barrier to entry for nongamers, my only wish is that all of the expansions were more accessible.

4. Epic Armageddon – The scale that this game plays at combined with the ease of play, is a dream, I have only played this game on Tabletop Simulator but I am slowly building my forces for it.

3. Talisman – Only played a few times, but it’s emotional every time we play. Nothing like grabbing a newcomer to this family tradition and watching their face after they are transformed into a toad and the table starts chanting TOAD TOAD TOAD TOAD!!!!!!!

2. Kingdom Death: Monster – In the year 2020 this is the solo game I needed. If you don’t like the ‘riskay’ miniatures, you don’t have to buy them, they have zero impact on the game. The cards and game box work like a super computer and the entire game is a layered puzzle, I love it.

1.Monsterpoclypse – For all the reasons I listed in the first half of this post, this game has a great community on discord that is very active about organizing games on TableTop Simulator, fantastic miniatures to paint, and the most important reason, I can play a very dumb down version of the game with my daughter and we smash monsters and buildings while I sneakily teach her about addition and subtraction.

As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy the hobby, comment below, and check out my YT Channel@Decisive Operations Happy New Year!

2020 Painting in Photos

Gaming Goals

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