02 January 2018

A New Year, a New Start, and introducing Flashback 365!

It's been several months since I've done any blogging, which is a shame. So I decided that I wanted to start blogging again, and I further decided that I wanted that restart to arbitrarily coincide with the start of the new year. I'm calling this concept a Fresh Annum Pledge. Who knows; maybe the idea will catch on!

I'd like to keep that "fresh and original" momentum going, so I came up with the idea of starting the new year by taking a look back at the old year. I'm calling this other new thing that I completely made up just now: "Flashback 365!" Maybe it will catch on too!

I started last year with a reading challenge and a board game challenge. Unfortunately, talking about these challenges became pretty much the only thing I blogged about after switching from Wordpress to Blogger last summer. I made the decision to switch platforms for various reasons, and ironically one of those reasons was because I thought a fresh start on a new platform would spur my creativity and result in more blogging output. In retrospect, switching platforms completely took the wind out of my sails and caused me to flounder even more than I already had. After the switch, I didn't have any of the momentum to continue for the sake of continuing that I previously had when updating my old site. The takeaway here is that sometimes making a drastic change isn't the shot in the arm that you hope it will be. Lesson learned!

Speaking of lessons, let's get back to those challenges I just mentioned. In one sense - the sense that I didn't complete either of them - these challenges turned out to be failures. But I learned some things so that's not a total failure, right? For starters, I learned from the book challenge that giving myself a challenge or an ultimatum wasn't enough by itself to effect much of a change in my reading habits. And even if I fell ridiculously short of my ridiculously lofty goals, I did read a non-zero number of books last year and I plan to continue that trend this year, so there is that.

I learned some much more interesting things from the board game challenge. For one, I learned just how little I play each individual game I own. I was very surprised that I failed to play even one of the ten games I challenged myself to play ten times. I stopped keeping track of what games I was playing shortly after this post, but I think I topped out at eight plays of Istanbul, which is the closest I got to playing any games ten times. Also, I found myself at times not playing a game that I really wanted to play so that I could play a game on my challenge list instead. At other times, I found myself feeling guilty for playing a game that wasn't on my challenge list. In short, I was having less fun than I should have been having for the sake of some silly list! I have some more thoughts related to board games, the number of times I play them, and acquiring new games, but I think I'll save those thoughts for another blog post. I will say that this year I'm not going to play a game because it's on a list, and I'm also not going to not play a game because it isn't on a list.

As for playing roleplaying games in 2017, I'm sad to say that I didn't get to play very many and I didn't get to play that often. The roleplaying game highlight of last year was probably the couple games of the new edition of Paranoia! that I ran. It was the most fun I'd had running a game in a longtime, and I plan to run some more games of it this year and also talk about why it's so much fun to run in a future blog post. I also got to play in a handful of 5E Dungeons & Dragons games. This was fun for what it was, but my idea of a great D&D game and this particular group's idea of a great D&D game are quite different things, so I find myself not playing with them very often and not really wanting to run anything. That's not entirely true. While they do have a different playing style (they're not wrong, just different) and that does impact my enthusiasm, the truth is that even if that weren't the case I don't have the time to commit to running or playing in a regular Dungeons & Dragons game right now. That makes things problematic for a person who has pigeon-holed himself into being an RPG advice blogger like I had previously done.

So, that's Flashback 365, and the takeaway is that, moving forward, I'm not going to challenge myself to do specific things that make my leisure time less fun and I'm also not going to limit the topics I blog about as much as I previously have. Sure I'll still talk about D&D and other roleplaying games and I might post some game or product reviews and maybe even some session notes, but I'm not going to feel like that's the only thing I can talk about just because I decided to call myself The Rambling Roleplayer. For instance, I do a lot more boardgaming than roleplaying these days, so I plan to talk about that more. I've got some miniatures I'd like to paint and I'll probably talk about that. Maybe I'll share unpopular opinions I have about movies with space wizards and laser swords or hell, maybe I'll even talk about the spice shelf I built for my wife and how I measured wrong and it doesn't fit in the damn cabinet. Whatever I talk about it will probably be geeky and it will hopefully be interesting and maybe even funny.

Happy New Year.

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