T S Vallender

Jumping back into tabletop gaming

I love tabletop games. Roleplaying games, wargames, board games, card games, anything. I’ve never really had the opportunity to devote the time I want to to the hobby though, and being rather introverted I’ve generally struggled to find communities of gamers to join. Over the last couple of years hobby time has also reduced to near-zero as my time has been devoted to beginning a new career as a software engineer, moving house, dealing with poor health (I’ve suffered with chronic fatigue which I’m hopeful I’m now managing rather more successfully) and other big life events.

But now that has all settled down somewhat, I’ve been missing it all something rotten. The dice are calling. Some of my favourite memories are running my partner’s family through a 5e campaign of Tyranny of Dragons (both the system and campaign are deeply flawed in my opinion, but honestly that often matters little), working through the ingenious app-powered board game Journeys in Middle-Earth, or laughing along with any of Grant Howitt’s fantastic one page RPGs such as Goblin Quest or the infamous Honey Heist.

So I’m diving back in. I want to be immersed in this stuff. The two big things I’m passionate about (outside of the family life that goes without saying) are tabletop gaming and software engineering, and I need to make time for both in my life. So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • Use this blog to track the hobby stuff I’m doing. I like having some structure and getting my thoughts down.
  • Find some real life gamers to play with in the real world.
  • Get through the backlog of miniatures I have to paint.
  • Organise some games with my partner’s family.
  • Continue with a web service I began writing some time ago which will serve as a tool to assist in playing tabletop games online over a video chat.
  • Try out some solo games.

So that’s the plan. I’m about a week into starting all this up again, so here’s what I’ve been up to this week!

The first thing I did was try and organise a game with my partner’s family. I have a copy of Troika! I’ve never gotten to the table, so suggested that, and last Saturday I ran the introductory adventure Blancmange & Thistle. We had a blast! Particularly memorable moments were one character casting a random spell while suffocating in a cloud of noxious gas and just happening to roll Cone of Air, and another character transforming themselves into a set of stairs to allow the rest of the party to clamber over them and avoid falling forever into the abyss. Troika! is a great little system I look forward to running again.

I have a whole bunch of Frostgrave miniatures I never finished painting, so I’ve been cracking on with those. I’m a very average painter and honestly have no aspirations to become a great one. Painting for me is a part of the hobby that’s just a way to relax and make cool looking things. Part of the reason I enjoy it is not having overly high expectations of the output—it just needs to look good on a table. I considered buying an airbrush previously, but the extra effort involve would likely detract from my enjoyment (as well as reduce the time I can devote to painting). Looking forward to getting these guys done and into the snowy ruins of the frozen city to battle!

Made a few purchases too. I’m a big fan of Wyrd Science magazine, and there have been three new issues since I was last spending time in the hobby, so I grabbed those. Almost done reading the horror issue, which was a great read and tempting me to pick up the current Delta Green Humble Bundle. I also picked up the Dragonbane boxed set, in part because it has a good looking solo mode and I’d like to try my hand at some solo roleplaying (it makes it more likely to get played if nothing else!). To round off the order cost and get a free mini from the fine folk at Dungeonland (which turned out to be a halfling monk). I also picked up Treasures of the Troll King, because I possess an unplayed copy of Mörk Borg and am a fan of Chris Bissette’s work.

I’ve resorted to joining Facebook to find some gamers, which I’m hopeful will yield results but can’t speak to yet as I’m waiting for a group post or two to be approved.

Making good progress on the software project also, though I won’t speak about that too much here until there’s something to announce.

And finally I’ve been catching up with some of the podcasts and YouTube channels I loved. I’m particularly fond of the fantastic Me Myself & Die (and host Trevor is working on his own RPG which I’m now excited about), Party of One, Map Crow and newer channel Quinn’s Quest.

So a very exciting first week. The sound of the dice is music to my ears.

Updated at 2024-06-10 10:27 | 2024-06-10 10:27