Tuesday 31 December 2019

Double Chuckers

I was so going to write November's blog post at the end of November, but things sort of got away from me again. (Ah, the social whirlwind that is the life of a games designer!)

This year really hasn't let up, which means I'm feeling a wee bit worn out. And, while I swore back when I started keeping (a bit more) up to date with this here blogging malarkey that I wouldn't combine posts, I'm going to combine November and December's ramblings or I suspect they'll never get done.

Anyway, it's New Year's Eve and a time for reflection. So, here goes:

Egyptian grammar continues to be pretty much a complete mystery to me. I'll swear the academics have made half the tenses up just for the hell of it, because I certainly don't remember them from French, German and Latin classes at school. (Granted, those are a very, very long time ago now, but even so...) As a result, my translations remain in baby talk for the moment, but I'm hoping that the penny will drop at some point. My tutor, bless him, has just accepted that I will rename hieroglyphs that have been badly carved (rave Godzilla being my favourite of the entire year). In spite of his continued bemusement as to why I ask him to do these things, he not only gave me the translation for "Do not read from the book!" but also helped us to have accurate Ancient Egyptian charms in a supplement (The Shadow Over Providence). Classes continue next year, and I look forward to the ongoing challenge.

There's been a fair few books released this year that had my dabs on them. After a while, you sort of forget what came out when, so I think, in the end, it was 10 books in either physical or pdf (or both), plus consultation on at least 3 more from licensees. And that's just the ones that made it onto people's real and virtual shelves - there's over half a dozen more that are still in the production pipeline that I also worked on either as a writer, editor, developer, or some combination of all three.

And then there were the award nominations: Origins and ENnies, for both my work at Green Ronin and Chaosium. And some awards as well (Call of Cthulhu for the actual win!). It is nice to receive recognition - a lot of people put a lot of work into making these books and that pat on the back means a lot, if for no other reason than it makes you stop for a moment and think "Yes, we have done something pretty cool, haven't we?" And then it's back to the grindstone to get the next thing out.

Conventions: phew, yes. There were more than a few of those this year. OrcaCon (US), CarcosaCon (Poland), DNI Fantastyki (Poland), UK Games Expo (UK), mini-Kraken (Germany), Ropecon (Finland), Necronomicon (US), Kraken (Germany), AetherCon (virtual), and Dragonmeet (UK). Sadly no Steampunks in Space this year due to illness, which was a real disappointment as it's always a fun one.

There were quite a lot of interviews as well this year: Bayt al Azif, AetherCon, The Rolistes, live on Finnish day-time TV (a distinctly surreal experience), several Scandinavian podcasts, and one for the Finnish equivalent of the BBC! I'm pretty certain there were others as well, so apologies if I've forgotten any. As I mentioned at the top, this year has been something of a monumental blur...

Running things: I continue to be allowed out to run games and workshops both in the local area and further afield. Things kicked off with the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set launch in January (in association with the lovely folks at Travelling Man Newcastle, Meeple Perk and the Boutique Beats Bakery) and it never really stopped. Somewhere along the way was Free RPG Day and running things at both stores, along with a workshop at Meeple Games in Durham and numerous games at Meeple Perk. And then there's the embroidery talks and workshops, as well. It's always great fun to escape the writing hovel and talk to actual people, and share my love of games and embroidery with others. 

Looking to the Future: as some of you may have noticed, Chaosium now has the licence to produce a Rivers of London RPG. I spoke to Ben (Aaronovitch) at a book signing in Newcastle a little over a year ago about the possibility and, after a lot of work behind the scenes by my colleagues James Lowder and MOB, and Ben's agent, John, the announcement was made at Dragonmeet. It's met with a lot of positive feedback, so now the job of developing the system begins in earnest. I'm line editor for the project, as well as remaining as associate editor on Call of Cthulhu, so next year is likely to prove even busier than this one. As a fan of the books, I'm very excited about the whole thing as it's something I've been wanting to do for a while. Daunting? Yes - but I'm putting together an excellent team, and I know they'll do a good job. And Ben knows his stuff when it comes to gaming, so collaborating with him is going to be very interesting.

On the Cthulhu front, there's a lot on its way. All I can say is watch this space (as well as official channels) as to exactly what, but there is much goodness in the pipeline: some old and refreshed, some brand spanking new.

As for conventions, I'm off to Bellevue again in just over a week for OrcaCon. I'm not expecting to do quite as many conventions as this year, but then I wasn't expecting to do quite so many this year either!

So, as the old year fades and the new one begins: be safe, be kind, and enjoy your games, and may the New Year bring you peace, happiness and contentment.

See you on the flipside!

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