Favourite Gaming Moments of 2022
There are loads of ‘best of’ lists going around at the moment. The community looks back on the flood of releases and everyone wants to know what the cream of the crop is.
Those are all fine, and it got me thinking about doing something similar for this site. I quickly realised I didn’t want to highlight specific games. I wanted to look at the experiences I really treasured over 2022. Experiences are what the hobby is all about and the core reason that I play games in the first place. I want to take a moment to highlight my favourites from last year across digital and tabletop games.
Experiencing the wonder of Tunic
If I had to name a game of the year it would be Tunic from publisher Finji. An isometric styled game of exploration and brutal combat it has shades of Zelda about it. What really makes it sing though is the sense of discovery and wonder that the game gives its players.
You awaken on a beach. Your fox avatar wanders around this new world. The controls are drip fed to you. The strange signs dotted around hint at new discoveries you don’t understand. Wait. Let’s go to the manual. Maybe that will help?
The manual for this game is something you can bring up while you play. It is in the style of the manuals you might have found with 80s and 90s computer games, full of information and secrets. It’s useless though as it’s not complete! You get enough to get going, but the missing pages imply there is more to now. Half pictures, cut off controls, torn maps.
The manual is at once an in-game artifact that you discover more of as you play, and an instruction manual on how to play the game. As you find new pages, you learn of new ways to interact with the game. Areas you were bemused by reveal their secrets. You will laugh out loud and curse the designers for how clever they’ve been.
Tunic is a game with wonder at its heart. How many games can you say that about?
The game of Agon that I played during 2021 is, and will always be, one of my favourite gaming memories. A game of Greek heroes, awesome action, and unavoidable tragedy. It’s designed by John Harper and Sean Nittner and published by Evil Hat publications.
Now I am running it. We are only a couple of islands in and I am delighted with how my group has taken to it. From the off they have lent into the tropes of those stories and surprised me at every turn.
Agon also represents my return to in person GMing since my last time in 2019. We’ve used Roll20 and had a good time and it is great that platforms like this exist. I couldn’t wait to get back to playing in person though. I was nervous about getting back into the performance that is being a GM, but it went great, Agon is easy to run, and my group are incredibly generous with their praise, time, and feedback.
You know my feelings on Blades in the Dark. If you don’t let me sum it up: modern masterpiece.
I’ve run a lot of Blades and a good amount of Scum & Villainy which is based on the same system. Until now though I’ve never gotten to play it.
Thanks to the other GM in my regular group (also called Iain) I am getting to play Blades in the Dark. It is great to get a feel for the game from the other side of the table. You have so much agency. So many tools are at your disposal to affect the narrative. Not only that, but the game encourages you to use those systems, and use them as you see fit.
Player or GM, Blades in the Dark is a game you should experience. I promise it will change the way you look at RPGs forever.
Attending Tabletop Scotland
I finally got back to conventions in 2022 and attended the return of Tabletop Scotland in Perth, Scotland. It was fantastic.
I wasn’t attending as press so I really relaxed and just took a moment to spend time with my fellow gamers. It was great to spend time with Jamie and former co-host Iain Chantler and play a bunch of games together. I caught up with lots of friends, played a wide variety of games, and just revelled in being back at a convention.
Great work from the entire team at Tabletop Scotland.
Interviewing fantastic people
I am so grateful to everyone who gave me their time. I’ve spoken to everyone from small publishers, indie rpg creators to heads of new distributors. It’s been incredibly informative and gives me a better feel for how the UK industry is doing.
This UK gaming industry is full of amazing people making fantastic games and it has been my privilege to talk to them. I’m aiming to do more this year and I can’t wait to talk to all the folk who volunteered.
Now we are done with my gaming moments of 2022, a little bit of anticipation is no bad thing. I am really looking forward to my year as I’ll be back to conventions in a bigger way. I’ll be attending:
Airecon, Harrogate, England, March
Gothcon, Gothenburg, Sweden, April
Tabletop Scotland, Perth, Scotland, August
I almost played 200 games last year and I hope to break that figure this year. I have some new groups to attend, review copies to play, and some unplayed games I bought to get to the table.
Do let us know what your own favourite experiences of last year were and what you are looking forward to this year. You can come and talk to our community about all those over on our Discord.