So, what were some of my favorites? Following are my nominations for several categories. If my friends read this, I'd love to hear their nominations, as well. And if you, Dear Reader, are not one of my regular gaming friends, I'd love to hear your nominations within your own group!
1. Best Adventure: There have been a lot of great sessions this past year. My favorite overall, though, is probably the fourth adventure I ran in my Firefly campaign, Breakout. In this session, the players played two adventures simultaneously: an adventure in the present that involved breaking into a hidden research facility and rescuing one of their friends, and an adventure presented as flashbacks revolving around one of the player's pasts in which she escaped from that very facility. My friend Stephen ran the flashback adventure, and we played off of each other to inform each adventure as they unfolded. It was quite possibly the highlight of that entire campaign!
2. Best Character: This is a really hard one for me. My players have made a lot of really fascinating characters (and, I'll admit, I'm quite enamored with the few I've made for their games, as well). I think the one I keep coming back to, though, is Kit, my friend Leslie's character for that same Firefly campaign. Kit was tough but she had a soft side; cold but had her moments of warmth. She didn't have a fascinating backstory or any crazy gimmicks, but of all the characters I've had the pleasure of playing for (or alongside) this year, Kit seemed the most genuinely human.
3. Best Game (role-playing): I played quite a few RPGs this year, I am happy to report. Obviously, Firefly took up a huge amount of my year. But as much as I loved it, it wasn't my favorite game. My favorite game of the past year was actually a game I didn't play that much of, but I was crazy about it every time it hit the table. That game, and in my humble opinion a sorely underrated one, is tremulus. The little tweaks it makes to the Apocalypse World formula make it a tense, compelling feat of storygaming.
4. Best Game (boardgame): I have also played more than a few boardgames this year. When I think back on all of them, though, one bizarre little game sticks in my mind: Panic on Wall Street! This is not at all the deepest, most compelling, or even that fun of a game; but what it is, is pure, undistilled chaos in a box. Once "the markets open," the game is a shouting match as players are wheeling and dealing over and on top of one another. My absolute favorite boardgaming moment this year is when those dice hit the table after the trading round is up, the absolute cacophony of cries of anguish and screams of joy when stocks soar to sky-high rates...or plummet right into investment hell.
5. Best Tabletop Moment: Of all the crazy memories and cool stories that came out of gaming in 2014, the one I remember the most vividly and the most fondly is the second-to-last adventure of my Firefly campaign, "The Fourth Wall." In this meta-adventure, the players did not play their regular crew members but instead the actors who played their crew members in the TV show of our Firefly campaign. This wasn't my favorite adventure because there were a lot of things I could have done better, but it was my absolute most-fun session because of the crazy antics we had as the session unfolded. From a game of celebrity charades with the original Firefly cast, to creative meetings with a Hollywood-corrupted Joss Whedon, to a drunken Paul Giamatti's confession that he took a dump in the Rhino costume on the set of The Amazing Spiderman 2, "The Fourth Wall" was not a good roleplaying session; it was a good hanging out with friends session.
So please, let me know what your favorite gaming moments of 2014 were! You can use my categories, or make up your own!