2021 Yearly Review
(I also briefly jumped in as an adjunct professor for a web dev course in the game design program at RIT, but had to make an abrupt early exit for Reasons. An unfortunate burned bridge, probably, but for the best.)
Games (and stuff) published:
- Orion—a collaborative storytelling game about a crew of desperate bounty hunters exploring the outer rim of known space. Still in progress, but playable and actually fun.
- My Dearest Colleague and The Phenomenal Apparatus—an epistolary role-playing game, with the first playset ready to go.
- Starfighter Cygnus—early version of a space shooter RPG based on the Lumen system/SRD. Think, like, Battlestar Galactica meets Galaga.
- Lineage—a larp based on the HBO show Succession, written for a friend’s surprise birthday party.
- Venom—a quick little story game I wrote a while back about telling stories after an adventure, and poisoning your friends.
- Serpens Malum—possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever made, a short RPG about citizens of Troy just before the war, but the mechanics are based on the Snake game.
- A character keeper for my Phil K. Dick RPG, The Empire Never Ended.
- A bunch of tea stained texture images
Not really? Because the plague is still terrible, and I’m staying inside pretty much all the time, and there are enough people scooting around here germing the whole place up already. We had a couple of things planned, but we wound up canceling them, because we’re not monsters.
Nichole and I did wind up driving out to Marfa for a few days in June. (It’s a loooong drive.) We scheduled it for the middle of the week, to avoid most of the tourist traffic, and mostly just alternated holing up in our little airbnb and driving out to see the desert and whatnot. Made it up to the McDonald observatory, which was a bit of a drive, and mostly closed, but neat to be in the mountains some. I don’t know if I’d repeat the trip, but it was nice to get out of town a bit. Or, get out of the house, at least.
We did wind up doing some park/camping time. Took Paidia out to a couple of day trips to McKinney Falls and Palmetto State Park, and did a brutal hike up and down the Hill of Life near Sculpture Falls here. We also did a field trip down to the Japanese tea garden built into an old quarry in San Antonio, which was way too crowded for my comfort level.
Nic and I did some overnight camping trips, once at Pedernales Falls, and once at Colorado Bend, and those were very nice. No people around, for the most part, and low-key enough to be actually relaxing. Did almost die of exhaustion walking out to Gorman Falls, but that’s my dumb ass. (My breathing, not so good these days.)
Did wind up going to BGG.Con for a few days in Dallas, which was alternately stressful and really good. Their covid policies are pretty good, and we mostly stuck with a small group of friends who were all masked and vaxxed, in a large ventilated room far away from everyone else. It was my first time really being around a bunch of people since All This started, which triggered a bunch of anxieties, but overall I’m glad we made the trip.
- Anyone Can Wear the Mask
- Bluebeard’s Bride
- Boy Problems
- Brindlewood Bay
- Coils of Chaos
- For the Queen
- Hearts of Wulin
- Knights of the House of Mars
- Lasers and Feelings
- Metal Queens ov Skull Mountain
- Mörk Borg
- Naked City Blues
- Paris Gondo and the Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying
- Pasión de las Pasiones
- Stars in the Dark
- Tales of Xadia
- The Empire Never Ended
- The Quiet Year
- Thirsty Sword Lesbians
- this discord has ghosts in it
- Trophy Dark
- Trophy Gold
- Uncle Gordo’s House
- Under Hill By Water
Board Games Played
- Bad Company
- Bristol 1350
- Cat in the Box
- Dice Miner
- Dune Imperium
- Escape the Dark Castle
- Five Minute Dungeon
- Inhuman Conditions
- Isle of Cats
- Micro Macro Crime City
- Moon Adventure
- Omega Virus Prologue
- Paranormal Detectives
- Sleeping Gods
- So Clover
- Sticky Cthulhu
- The Cipher Initiative
- The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
- Tortuga 1767
- Unsolved Case Files (Harmony Ashcroft)
(I’m sure there were more—these are the only ones I recorded. Board games bought and unplayed, however, is another story.)
I wound up finally getting to play a couple more megagames this year, but online, because. (I’d previously played Aegon’s Conquest and some pirate one irl before.) Nichole and I played a corporation in Running Hot, a pre-cyberpunk game, and I jumped into Red Planet Rising a month or two later. For the uninitiated, megagames are half larp/rpg, half monster board games, usually played by 20–60 people over the course of four to eight hours. The online games are a much different experience—there’s a lot to wrangle both as runners and players, and I think folks are still getting the hang of it. Still, not mad I went.
Played a bunch of stuff on Steam this year, including:
- Griftlands (amazing shufflebuilder, in the style of Slay the Spire)
- Gloomhaven (super disappointing)
- Babble Royale (neat, but not my speed)
- Cultist Simulator (I don’t have the patience for this)
- Agent A (a stylish little puzzle game, straightforward but satisfying)
- Boyfriend Dungeon (a delightful combination dating sim and dungeon diver where you get to date swords)
- Caves of Qud (a deep and inscrutable sci-fi roguelike, very well crafted)
- Thomas Was Alone (classic little abstract platformer)
- Hades (the first video game to win a well-deserved Hugo award)
- Islanders (a relatively chill little city builder)
Dove into some clicky-waity incremental games, too, partly for “research”, but the Kitten Game held my interest for a minute, and Evolve for a good long while. (Also went back and ran through the classics, Candy Box, A Dark Room, Universal Paperclips, and the like, but those weren’t a huge time sink.)
Stuff I watched
The least interesting category, because. Just the highlights.
- Stephen King’s It (both versions, for dramaturgy purposes)
- Society (oooof)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (finally)
- A Scanner Darkly (again, for dramaturgy purposes)
- V.H.S. 94 (fun and gross)
- ALL the Matrixes, including the Animatrix and video game cutscenes, leading up to Matrix: Resurrections (all great)
- WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Shang Chi, Black Widow, Spider-Man: No Way Home, What If, all the Marvel stuff
- Star Wars Visions, Mandalorian season 2, start of the Book of Boba Fett, all the Star Wars stuff
- Netflix Cowboy Bebop (ooof)
- The Green Knight (loved it, expected to)
- The Suicide Squad (yes, it’s actually good)
- Dune (the new and the old, the old is still way better)
- All of the Office, I don’t remember why, but I did.
- Only Murders in the Building (delightful)
- Legion (finally)
- All of Succession (only for dramaturgy, because otherwise, eh)
- Witcher season 2 (not as strong as s1, but still good)
- Love Death & Robots season 2 (same)
- Don’t Look Up (ooooof)
- Arcane (holy crap, so good, and I knew nothing going in)
- Midnight Mass (super great creepy stuff)
- Space Sweepers (everything CB could have been)
- Squid Game (of course)
- Bo Burnham Inside (of course)
- Jupiter’s Legacy (godawful)
- Invincible (everything JL could have been and much much more)
- All of Better Call Saul (finally)
- Alice in Borderland (another fun, gory weird Battle Royale series)
- Marianne (technically mostly in 2020, but super worth mentioning)
Finally sat down and (re?)read Jodorowsky’s The Incal. It’s A LOT.
Fell off the woodworking train some after I choked out my workshop with salvaged wood. Last big project was a commission for a sweet set of stacking drawers in walnut, which came out amazing. Finally built a wood shed on the front porch to start moving stuff in to, so I can start back up before too long.
Built a chicken coop (mostly out of reclaimed wood from the Hideout), and started raising four chickies—Didi, Gogo, Lucky, and Pozzo. They have finally started laying, and they all have sweet fuzzy butts.
Made friends with Fortunato, the raccoon who used to live in out walls. He comes and waits by the door for us, and then comes in and eats treats out of our hands. Still won’t let us hug him for some reason.
Health and Miscellaneous
Turned 51. Oof. Yay?
We had a huge winter storm down here that killed power across for like a week, which is a big deal here in Texas. Survived that, but had a wicked bout of vertigo that kept me on the floor for about a week after that, so February kind of sucked.
Had to venture out to the dentist a few times to get root canals and crowns and stuff put in, because my teeth are still garbage. Got a haircut in May, when stuff seemed like it might be settling down, and that was that. Went to the eye doctor for the first time in a few years, too, and my eyes still suck, but they’re not getting worse.
Doctor got concerned about high glucose, we did a whole bunch of tests, and hey, it looks like I might have type 2 diabetes now. So, that’s cool. Also pretty sure I’m asthmatic now, which might be allergies, might be long covid, might be just my body falling apart, who knows? Still taking a bunch of allergy medicine and depression pills every day, and have some inhalers now, so I’ll get some statins or whatever else to add to the stack, I reckon. Got some CT scoring and other tests for my heart and whatnot, though, and I’m 100% good on that front, so that’s cool. Haven’t gotten around to scheduling my obligatory colonoscopy, but I’ll get to it someday.
Took a Leave of Absence from BIPAC, because live theater is still not super a thing because *everything*, and the online stuff just isn’t doing it for me. Similarly, zero performing from me, which is still weird.
Went to a séance at a pole dance studio around Halloween, which was something.
Still living in the same house, still with Nichole (who is awesome), Paidia is still good (in high school and taking driving lessons now, sheesh), and still puttering along doing all the things.
Plans for the coming year? Nah. Just keep breathing, and keeping myself busy.