2018 Year in Review

Wow! What a year it has been. I’m not sorry to see it go, but I’m also thankful for all the great games and memories made this year! The list of awesome that rained down upon me could fill a few articles, but here are the top Berlings Beard moments of 2018.

At the top has to be my private groups. The client games this year have been so spicy. My “Keys to Sigil” private campaign really went into overdrive. I had a number of one shots to introduce folx to the game / hobby and a LOT more interest than in years before. Here’s to more of that!

I also continued my tradition of attending some of the premiere gaming conventions (if not the tradition of blogging about it!) and was lucky enough to visit GenCon over the Summer and Pax Unplugged just last weekend. I was bummed to miss some of my local shows, Metatopia among them. I found out about InterCon this year and definitely want to check that out in 2019.

I can’t decide which I liked better between GenCon & Pax: both were so awesome in their own ways but one constant was the awesome game designers I got to meet, speak with, and learn a bit from. I’m hoping to feature the work of indie designers a lot more often in my own creative projects in the future.

The premiere project, of course, has been Bored Ghost the storytelling podcast I co-host with a talented producer, engineer, editor, and voice talent named John Holt (the original Bored Ghost). We’ve really upped our game (wakka wakka!) over the past two years and the podcast now has consistently been garnering amazingly talented game designers as guests as we use pre-release indie rpgs to scaffold the storytelling and feature the game. We also had our first secret live gaming event at a fun bar called Hinterlands in deep Brooklyn.

Bored Ghost has been a fabulously fulfilling project and I can’t wait to show you everything we have in store for 2019.

My cup runneth over with collaborations as this year I also was lucky enough to be one of a dozen artists who worked on the Adventure Mixtape: Music & Adventure Anthology for D&D 5th edition. I was one of the creators and co-writers of the project, which involved the Arcane Library, Sharang Biswas, and MiniTerrainDomain as well as illustrators and musicians. We developed the project over about 6 months and I was happy to soft launch it at the end of October (check it out now, on discounted sale!).

I entered an entirely new arena in terms of online TTRPG streaming this year. I stopped trying to be a streamer myself and instead try to be on a stream a least once a week. I tend to do better as a fill in DM or a player. I was lucky enough to be included in Grant Ellis‘ Invisible Sun game this year, as well as a Dungeon World Game by the MadSciDM, and not to forget the number of one shots I participated in, especially under DM Kienna. I also am just starting a new Saturday morning coffee campaign over on the Fantomrollbooth channel, so check that out.

My life as a WotC play tester continued, but I expanded my play testing to games created by academics, peers, and professional game designers. I was pretty pleased with Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage from WotC and I think those products will be fun. I also play tested a Mega-game about mining resources, plotting where to mine, and creating upgrades for the mining rig. The other game that stood out was Visigoths vs. Mall Goths, a sick RPG by an amazing designer named Lucian Kahn (lucky to call him friend!).

I feel like I didn’t do enough LARPing this year. I got a pretty good dose at GenCon, but Pax was a dud in that sense. I’m wondering how to figure this out as I don’t particularly want to travel on the regular or play in serialized games. One shot parlor LARP seems the way to go for the future. I was lucky enough to play a few such games this year and am especially excited for one called The Gift.

As we here in the Beard Mines turn our stout and sharp pick axes away from this year’s toils and towards the promise of future rich veins of fun I can’t help but ruminate on what I’m stoked for in 2019!

More of the same! But different! Right?

Seriously, I want to start a new private home game ( should I do┬áStar Wars or Middle Earth? ) and need to wind down some of my smaller projects while ramping up on Bored Ghost. We’ll have a lot more awesome there in the new year with contests, prizes, and more events. More conventions on the horizon as GaryCon begins in March and I plan to be there for the history of the age. The client games will continue and hopefully multiply. I hope to continue to be a part of a fun, engaging, and progressive community of gamers. So much fun ahead! Thanks for sticking with us, true believers!


RIP Stan Lee


About Berling

Ken Breese (he) Writer, Narrative Designer, and Game Master for hire focused on Inclusion, Table Top RPGs, Nerd Culture, Critical Thinking, and the Politics of Gaming.
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