Games I Played in 2020
a year in review
a year in review
Here are all the games I played in 2020.
My primary gaming group’s main game.
We kicked the campaign off at the end of March and played mostly every week, with weeks off for holidays, not having enough players, one-shots, sessions zero, etc.
So our “weekly” game met 25 times.
2020 saw our weekly game shift from remote friendly to fully remote. Both because of the pandemic, but also because of changes to the group composition and in the lives of our players. What started out in 2019 as a way for coworkers to hang out and enjoy each others company has since then morphed into something else.
Only a few of the original core group remains. And few of us remain at the original company where we met. Furthermore, we now have players who never worked at the original company at all. People drop in and drop out as their schedule allows. Players invite friends and significant others. In game, several players have retired characters in favor of new ones to keep things fresh.
Throughout these changes, the game has been able to continue because of trying to keep as much of an “open table” as possible. Anybody is welcome to join by invite. And everybody is free to come and go as they please.
So over the course of the year, to open things up, we had to shift from our company Slack to a Discord server for chatter and planning. We initially played theater of the mind on Zoom exclusively. But I realized I was having a hard time keeping the players engaged, so I bit the bullet and learned to use roll20.
Roll20 is more prep work for me since I need to make, upload, and prep maps, and make tokens and stuff. But the payoff is worth it. My players are infinitely more engaged. They doodle on the map and fiddle with the tokens. Way better.
We had been using dndbeyond.com to manage all of our character sheets, so that’s where they remain. Players have the option of using beyond20 to bridge dndbeyond to roll20, or just rolling on roll20, or rolling at home on the honor system and telling me what they rolled. (One of my players is a dice fiend and just can’t tolerate virtual dice rolling.)
Right at the very end of the year, I finally got sick of dealing with Zoom. People moved around a lot this year, job-wise, and it became annoying to keep track of who had a paid Zoom account and who didn’t. So we ditched Zoom and started using Discord, which we had already been using all year long, but had never used the voice/video channels. It seems great so far, and I’m happy to have one less thing to worry about.
Other random stuff:
I started a watch2gether channel that people can tune into if they want to hear ambient music and noises I pick out for scenes.
I moved a couple things, like the characters’ Quest Board for example, from a shared google doc into a #questboard channel in the campaign discord so it’s all in one place.
I still keep most of my notes in a project board on github, but I am liking that less and less.
I ran Harbor Games, part of my Blue Harbor homebrew setting, twice this summer. Once for my regular players, and once again because one of my players requested a one-shot for a couple friends of theirs who had never played before. One of whom joined our group and is now a regular at the table!
Ratcatchers was another Blue Harbor one-shot.
For Halloween, I ran The Haunting, the scenario included in the Call of Cthulhu quick start rules.
And finally our holiday one shot was Dire Yuletide.
I played two one-shots, one April and one in May, on D&D Friends, the one-shot discord server I like to play on.
Both times I played Archietuethis, who is actually a reboot of the character I played in my very first ever D&D campaign. I didn’t take notes on these games and I don’t really remember playing them.
I did not take nearly enough advantage of D&D Friends this year.
Oh, I also played a game of Wizard’s Grimorie with a couple of tilde friends! That was fun.
I started a couple play-by-post games this year, which is pretty much the only playing I’ve gotten to do.
Play-by-post is interesting. Its slow play style is kind of a blessing and a curse. Single encounters can take weeks to resolve. And if communication is hindered by online play because you can’t get the nuance or subtleties of body language, then forget about playing a text only game! It’s really hard to make a connection with your fellow players or with the DM.
I joined two different Troika! games, both of which are kind of stalled. In the first, the DM posted once in October, and then a couple times early December. In the second, the DM organized the game and promptly contracted coronavirus.
Even though I haven’t run it or really played it either for that matter, Troika! is perhaps my favorite rpg of 2020. I love nearly everything about it: the look and feel of the artwork, the trippy character backgrounds, instant character creation. The wonky initiative rules and the fussy inventory management. And the community is so creative. There’s a huge culture of creating custom backgrounds and advanced skills. I love it.
I’m also in a D&D play-by-post, which is the only pbp game that I’m in that is making progress. It’s going fine. I don’t know. Maybe pbp isn’t really my thing. It’s easy though. I just check it every day or two and see if anything has happened I need to react to.
I played Barbarian Prince twice, which was an interesting role play experience. It was neat because I could play it for 5 minutes or for over an hour. I started really enjoying it once I started keeping a play journal, and spending time reflecting on the in-game events from the perspective of Cal Arath, the titular barbarian prince.
I won’t get into that too much more here because I’m already working on a separate post about this game.
Well, that’s it!
I didn’t play very much. I DM-ed a lot. I experimented with play-by-post and solo play.
I would really like to play some more one-shots, and maybe join an ongoing campaign in 2021.