Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016 Year In Review

My partner, Rocky, (L) and me (R) in our Zsazsa Zaturnnah t-shirts!
2016 seems to have been a tremendously active year for TAG sessions.  Thankfully, the personal ups far outnumber the downs.  This year saw the first releases of games I've made which I wanted to contribute to the game options the world can enjoy, which include the thankfully successfully received A Single Moment, as well as the quirky romantic comedy Fiasco playset, Bad Timing.  Then there's the Halloween release, That Night Out and the Gamechef entry, Sunlight and a better laid out Sunlight:Second Edition.  Even more awesome, the last few years leading all the way to 2016 have been spectacular.  Let me try to list them out here:

All in all, the reception to my games has been wonderfully generous and kind, with lots of good praise and open arms from the international arena.  Locally, things aren't moving forward as much, but I guess that's expected given the direction most local blogs go.  But I still will thank everyone who has been truly supportive and I want to someday creatively repay all the encouragement and support I've received from you all.

This year also saw the birth of a lot of projects, including an upcoming contribution to two John Wick projects, Fragments of the King for his Curse of the Yellow Sign lovecraftian horror game, as well as my work for 7th Sea Second Edition's upcoming Pirate Nations book.  Then there's the incredible opportunity I've been given to write for the upcoming Alan Bahr's Cold Shadows where I explore two-player games, and Elizabeth Chaipraditkul's dark modern fantasy game, Witch:Fated Souls where I get to expand on the setting to add in different facets of Asia!   There's also the upcoming Itras By: The Menagerie work I got to send in, which adds Imperia Manila to the incredible setting, two works for Kotodama Heavy Industries, one being an upcoming Shinobigami scenario and the other being an incredible chance to come up with a scenario for Tenra Bansho Zero, both being extremely cool games!

Recently released this year was Third Act Publishing's Reflections, which drew great inspiration from A Single Moment and took it to a new story-focused level.  The Kickstarter was quite successful, and allowed my humble game a chance to reach a wider audience.   Even more amazing, the game has inspired Five Single Playsets with Riverhouse Games coming up with new ways to play A Single Moment, and there's an upcoming Rome inspired playset, as well as an upcoming Italian Release of the game!

Sneak Peek on a POSSIBLE Italian cover of A Single Moment
There was also the well received work I submitted for a host of other games, such as Ginger Goat's Doll Advanced, Girl's Elsewhere, and the fiction anthology, Trust Me.  Even more awesome, both Doll and Doll Advanced have been re-released in Italian.  Then there's my Asian Horror contribution to Woerner's Wunderwerkz's A World of Dew, which can be found in Sound of Water.  There were the smaller contributions to help release works for Vas Quas Editrice including Imprisoned, Cartooner RPG, Witness Protection Program, Truel, and My Fantasy RPG. I had a contribution called Songs to the Indie Mixtape Megamix, a small game for Queer Gaymers which talks about , fictional contributions to the Talecraft Master Story Creator's Anthologies 1 and 3 (Horror).  I even submitted to the 2016 Golden Cobra challenge, and though I didn't win or anything, I'm just happy to have contributed a LARP game for the community to enjoy!

Sneak Peek of the upcoming Sickening Queens!
Art by Ivan F.
There are loads of personal projects ongoing too, from my companion book to A Single Moment, which is to be called A Second Moment.  The book expands on how to enjoy A Single Moment, including alternate rules for using different dice, cards, and even playing with multiple players.  Then, there's Sickening Queens, my Fiasco playset which celebrates the drama and insanity of drag, and is greatly inspired by RuPaul's Drag Race and our drag friends known as the Oh Divas! at O Bar. I was originally hoping to release it with the All Stars show, but I guess it just wasn't ready yet at that time (and I really wanted Kayta to win instead.)

I've also been working on a larger game, most likely to use the Apocalypse World Engine.  Called Dreamscrapers, the game is all about kids who find themselves becoming heroes in a world where every living thing dreams.  In this place, the dreamscrapers fight against nightmares and visit exciting landscapes, and possibly meeting wonderful people.  The game draws inspiration from Steven Universe, Adventure Time and more. The game is even being designed to be run GM-less, so kids can play whether or not someone can run the game for them.

Finally, there's a new dream project I have in the works which I plan to write with my partner.  Pieces are moving and I've sent out an email with high hopes of being permitted to use a certain game system we love for it.  The game shall draw inspiration from Dune, Battletech and other cool science fiction titles.  But it all depends on whether or not we get the approval to move forward with it.  But we're hoping to be able to work on the game, focus on the scope of influences we are drawing from and perhaps add a whole new science fiction universe for people to enjoy exploring, adventuring and creating their own tales in.

There's just something about giant robots at war, space fleets in battle, and alien vistas with strange massive creatures that calls to us.  Who knows, maybe like space, this game shall flow?

Games I've worked on have been played, if not featured on a variety of podcasts, youtube and twitch shows, and it still amazes me how much love and support the community is always willing to give.  Thank you so much!

On the lows, we lost our wonderful and loving dog, Yoshi, who was able to give us six more months of happiness before moving on to run the endless dry grass (he hates wet grass) and enjoy endless bananas.  Yoshi's passing was a immense loss in our lives which even now we are still learning to live with. He brought us happiness and changed us in so many ways.    He was a part of our family and we were blessed to have six more months with him despite his medical prognosis a year ago.   

We will always love you, Yoshi.
We've also left an organization which we helped form during its earliest incarnations and keeping it short, the reasons were far from "creative differences".  We remain close friends with many of the original members of the organization, but some times you just have to leave when certain people do what they can to destroy your passion for gaming and insult you whenever you aren't looking.

But thankfully, opportunities to share our love for gaming and to pass on knowledge remains present.  For one, I've been accepted to be a part of the Indie Game Developer Network, which has given be a chance to learn from a lot of industry greats as well as share whatever knowledge I can as well.  I was recently asked to be a guest speaker for the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit 2016, where I talked about the importance of being exposed to a larger number of games.  We have what we jokingly call our Finer Gamer Things Club (It's very exclusive) which is a play on the Finer Things Club book club from the show The Office.  There, my partner and I hang out with some friends, and at times get to meet new faces and explore different kinds of board games and the occasional role-playing game.  And then there's the GM Mentoring Fellowship I have established with a small group of GMs whom I share routinely ideas, chat with to give advice and share insight, and at times supply music and needed books to help them gain the confidence and the know how to run games with their own groups.   Having seen firsthand how some people try to insinuate or poison anything related to me, I've asked them to remain mum on their connection to me so they don't become targets themselves.  But I'm very happy to know most of them have fully progressed to running for their own friends as well as for people they haven't really met yet. I've been trying to get this idea up and running for months, back when we were part of that org, but some people just kept blocking the idea (and I guess given how they've forced us to leave, its clearer now why it happened).  But yeah, very proud of them!  And there's a possible guest speaker coming up for a game jam next year, but I haven't really confirmed anything yet.

All in all, TAG Sessions has gone through a lot of bumps, and yet has leapt through hurdles and, despite opposition, has emerged productive and stronger.  This all started out as a joke, with the name TAG Sessions being a joke about friends boasting they've had a "Tobie Abad Gaming Session" but now it has become a tiny brand that's making a space for itself in the gaming industry.

I remain extremely grateful to my Pateron Tag Team Supporters, whom have been with me through this journey and helping me finance the art and layout needs of my upcoming books.  I'm most likely updating the pateron thing completely given now that I'm trying to release more work, than blog.  I realize having the games out there is far more effective a means of giving back to the community than just blogging.  

I'm very thankful for my parents whom have always been nurturing my creativity and reminding me to stay responsible with how I do my work.

I love dearly Rocky, my partner, who is my constant source of support, my anchor to keep me grounded, and completes me.  Thank you for always reminding me to be myself in my work and to ignore all the other voices. I love you.

We still got a few days left for 2016!  But yeah, let's see if we can make 2017 even more awesome!  Thank you every one!

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