For the hell I’ve it I’ve decided to put together a personal top 10 for 2008. This is cool stuff that happened to me, affected me, or that I just enjoyed.
10. Going to Game Cons for Fun: Most of the time when I go to a game convention, it’s for work. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy shows like GTS and GenCon, I do, but working the show is a lot different than going as a player. This year I had several opportunities to go to cons with no other agenda than playing games and having fun. In March I went to Trumpeter Salute in Vancouver, BC for a day and played some minis games. Then in May I spent the whole weekend in Olympia at Enfilade, a historical minis convention. Enjoyed playing everything from the Russian Civil War to Victorian Scifi. Lastly, in October I went to NYC for BillCon, which was a get-together with my college game group. OK, so that was a pretty informal con but we packed in a lot of gaming in three days and had a damn good time.
9. Getting Healthier: This year I made some great strides in getting myself healthier. The insurance I get from Flying Lab allowed me to see some specialists, like a sleep doctor, and identify some problem areas. Nicole and I started doing yoga at a great studio in Georgetown and we recently added strength training to that. I am now sleeping better, eating better, and exercising better than I was a year ago.
8. Return to the Herbfarm: A couple of years back Nicole took me to the Herbfarm, a legendary foodie destination in Woodinville. This year I returned the favor for her birthday. There had been a change of chefs since our last visit, but the food was just as wonderful. The blue cheese ice was mind-bogglingly good. If you’re interested, you can check out the photos of the full meal on my Facebook page. The Herbfarm is not cheap but it’s an experience I’d recommend to anyone who loves food.
7. Hobby Games: The 100 Best Now Award Winning: HG100 is one of my favorite titles Green Ronin has ever published. Basically, we got 100 designers and industry notables to each write about a great game they were not personally involved in. Jim Lowder did a great job putting the project together and it was terribly cool to publish a book with contributions from so many designers whose games I grew up playing. It was thus pretty pleasing to see the book win an Origins Award and a silver Ennie Award over the summer. Jim is currently put together a follow-up that should be out next summer too.
6. 13 on the 13th: My stepdaughter Kate turned 13 this month and she’s really grown up this year. The first time I met Kate she was crawling around a hotel room at GenCon when she was 6 months old. It’s hard to reconcile that with the poised and mature teenager I now see in front of me. Kate gets more awesome every year and I am proud to be the stepdad of the smart, funny, creative, and sweet girl she’s become.
5. Burma Performs Vs: Mission of Burma is one of favorite bands of all time and their best album is the mighty Vs. It was amazing when they got back together and didn’t suck. It was more amazing when they put out new albums that rocked. This year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Vs., they did a tour in which they played the album in its entirety from start to finish. This show made me so happy.
4. GDC Is Go: I’ve been wanting to go to the Game Developers Conference in San Fran for many years and this year I finally got the chance. I’ve come late in my career to the computer gaming side of things and there’s a lot I don’t know. GDC was a chance for me to learn more about the computer game industry and meet folks from other companies. It also turned out to be an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends from the tabletop gaming industry who made the jump years ago and who I hadn’t seen in some time. As a plus I had time on this trip to stop by Endgame in Oakland, one of the best game stores in the country, and hang out with Chris Hanrahan and crew. Too bad the podcast we recorded got corrupted.
3. Pirate Booty: Speaking of the computer game industry, my first title in that arena shipped this year. Pirates of the Burning Sea is a MMO RPG set in the Caribbean in 1720. If you like kickass naval combat and swashbuckling swordplay, Pirates is a lot of fun. I was one of the lead writers on the game and now I’m the Creative Director at FLS.
2. Throwing the Bastards Out: Eight years of the most criminal and corrupt administration in memory is finally coming to an end. I am so delighted that Bush and Cheney are almost gone and the party that put them there was soundly drubbed in November. What do I want for Xmas next year? Trials for the war criminals. Too bad Obama is almost certain to let them go scot-free.
1. Finland!: Without a doubt the best and most fun thing I did in 2008 was go to Finland for Ropecon. Nicole and I were able to spend a week in Finland, and our excellent hosts took such good care of us that I’m ruined for American cons now. We had time to see the sites in Helsinki, ate delicious food, and then spent the con making some great new friends while drinking ungodly amounts of alcohol (go long drink!). So thanks to Jukka, Katri, Mikko, Timo, Outi, Ville, and all the other crazy Finns who made this trip such a blast, as well as my fellow guests Peter and Greg. As General MacArthur once said, “I shall return!”