Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 In Review and 2018 Resolutions

Happy New Year! Another year gone and a new year dawns, and with it I'm resolved to help lead a resurgence for the blog. We'll get into my resolutions further on, but there's no denying that 2017 was such as slow year for the blog that we barely deserve the name. Despite the lack of written content, we were generally a bit more regular with the podcast in the second half of the year, coinciding with the release of the new edition of 40k.

Shameless plug moment: we recently started a Patreon page to support the podcast. As you may know, it takes some degree of funding to produce and host a podcast. Thus far we've been covering the costs ourselves, Chandler in particular. Any support you can provide, as little as $1 a month, will help us immensely and mean a lot. Please check us out at https://www.patreon.com/FTGTPodcast and consider supporting. Thank you.

Now, onto the year in review and resolutions!

I didn't do one of these last year, and while the hobby as a whole may have been slower in 2017, I got a pretty decent boost with the release of 8th Edition, along with I think most of us in the community. In the first half of the year I attended an RTT and a GT, and hosted two gaming weekends, one in January and the other celebrating the release of 8th. Otherwise my hobby and gaming was pretty sparse January through June.

At the end of June we frantically finalized our plans for ATC in mid-July, which kicked off a pretty heavy stretch (for me at least) of events and gaming. At the end of August I made my yearly pilgrimage to NOVA, and then hit what will be a yearly event going forward of Warzone: Atlanta in November. In all, I've played 22 tournament games in 8th edition, all with my bugs.

In between the big events, I went back to full-time work in September. Combined with helping my wife to start her own business and normal obligations of adult and parent life, my hobby time outside of events has ground to a halt.

Going back two years, I want to revisit my resolutions from 2016 and see how I did since becoming a dad (and the notable decline in blog content that followed):

1. Have Fun: 
This is really the core of why we do this. I would attribute part of the decline of my participation on the blog to a lack of fun in the latter part of 7th Edition. Since June though, fun as been much easier to come by when going to events. Even while having my worst NOVA showing ever, I thoroughly enjoyed it, including the games, even more than the year before.

2. Work on the Grey Tide - a multi-parter
2.A. Continue trimming down the Grey Tide: 
A large part of this goal was to reduce the intake of new models, getting to the point of painting more than I buy. The specific metrics I set for myself (50% of 40k and 75% of Malifaux fully painted) were definitely not met in the last two years, and if anything, made a further stretch.

2.B. Try New Things:
For this goal, I mainly wanted to try out and practice new techniques for my painting. Thanks in no small part to the commissions I've worked on, I would say this has largely been achieved, with me getting a lot more comfortable in the use of washing and edge highlighting techniques.

2.C. Have a Third 2k+ Point Army Painted:
This is probably another fail here. While I technically have over 2k of Eldar painted, it is in no way a really fieldable, cohesive force, with probably half of the points coming in the form of two Wraithknights.

3. Better Store, Display, and Transport Models: 
Here I will give myself a pass. In 2016 we did a small renovation upstairs which included the creation of a hobby nook with shelving for painted models.   

Looking ahead to 2018, I think my goals will stick with a similar direction, but maybe a bit more focused:

1. Have Fun: 
This is sort of a cop-out staple, but this time I'm going to break it out a little and set some other goals that I think will contribute to my ability to have fun:

1.A. Play more games: 
A lot of what can bring down my experience at a tournament can be attributed to lack of playtime overall. Specifically, while 8th Edition is more fun to play, I've felt my tournament experiences have been more stressful and frustrating than they had been because of my own lack of familiarity and comfort with the new game. This leads to me feeling like I'm slow playing, that I make crucial mistakes either in mission selection or list design that cascade into my enjoyment of a game, and reduce my ability to relax between games, catch up with friends, and do all the things that make tournaments awesome.

1.B. Set realistic goals and expectations for events:
This is a bit of a corollary with 1.A., where I create a negative experience for myself because of a lack of familiarity leading to unrealistic expectations. While overall I've done fairly well, having a solid record at all but NOVA, I am left with feeling that I should have done better. Playing more games will help inform this goal and I think help me go into events with a more even keel.

2. Clear out the Backlog:
This comes in two parts, with both my personal and commission backlogs being taken into account. As I mentioned earlier, I have not had much time to paint since September, so to achieve this goal I will also need to work on making more time for myself to sit and paint. Clearing out the backlog, particularly where my commissions are concerned, will help with Resolution 1: Having fun. The outstanding commissions I have definitely weigh on me, and I owe it to my clients who have been waiting on models to deliver on what I promised them.

3. Place Highly at an Event:
This might be the biggest stretch of my goals, and also might be getting spurred by listening to Adam's The Best General podcast, but I want to come away from at least one event proud of my placing. Most events I have planned are on the larger side, and while I would love to win one, Resolution 1.A. needs to become a reality to even have a chance, and Resolution 1.B is to be more realistic with my goals; I don't think winning a 64+ player event is realistic in 2018.

4. Revitalize the Blog:
Over the last two years, the blog has really tapered off, and as the founder, I take responsibility for that. As I work toward getting more games in and clearing out the backlog, I also want to restore some regularity to posting here. We were much more regular on the podcast front, but that was a majority of our posts in 2017, and that needs to change.  

Those are the big goals, and really tie back to the idea of having fun and feeling like I'm getting more out of my hobby.  But now that you've gotten through my ramble, what are your Resolutions for 2018?