There were grand plans to attend Gen Con again this year, to really dig into my “To Be Read” and “To Be Played” piles, and to do more writing. Life had other plans. The pandemic finally got its grip on us with Angie and I both catching COVID in the late Spring which impacted us for a few months. I also spent much of the year getting used to my new role at SIL International, with both of us traveling quite a bit. Amidst those disruptions, I still snuck in some reading and gaming time whenever I could.
This is not a top 10 list of new books and games this year, nor my all-time favorite lists. These are books and games that impacted me personally in 2022, no matter when they were originally published. Why did these impact me and thus stand out for the year? As I share about my standouts, I hope you will gain some insights into my interests and passions.
Audible books of Harry Potter, The Expanse, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, and Jack Ryan
My wife and I have continued to enjoy Audible Books this year during our lunch and when traveling. We finished the Harry Potter series and moved on to The Expanse after completing the TV series first. The books, unsurprisingly, were so much better. We then enjoyed the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and look forward to that series coming soon to streaming. Currently we are in the second book, in chronological order, of the Jack Ryan series from Tom Clancy.
The God of the Garden by Andrew Peterson
We started reading The God of the Garden by Andrew Peterson as a couple then learned that it was available as an Audible book read by the author. It was wonderful to hear the book in his own words which includes songs and side discussions not in the book itself. This book made me ponder even more why sitting in my garden helps me relax and focus, why walking around our small town listening to birdsong and other animals brings me peace, and why I get edgy if I get stuck inside for a while because of weather, illness, or responsibilities. My inner being cries out at times to be closer to the Creation around me.
The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov
Over the years, I have read many Isaac Asimov novels and short stories, but had never stumbled upon this compilation of all his robot stories. I love having a book that I can leave beside my bed to read a quick short story then ponder for days what it means. I will read another book for a while then return to The Complete Robot to read another short story to have Isaac Asimov challenge my thoughts on what is it to be alive, what are morals, and what is humanity?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Last Ronin graphic novel
I was introduced to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles via the ttrpg before I even heard of the comic book or saw the cartoon. Loved playing that ttrpg all through high school and college. I enjoyed the cartoon, loved the first movie, and read a few of the comics over the years. And if you have been reading my blog or social media, you will know I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories. So, when I heard about The Last Ronin series being an end to the TMNT story set in a future post-apocalyptic world, I knew I had to read it. I waited for the graphic novel rather than chasing the individual comics. So glad that I did! It is a beautiful hardbound book with one of these best TMNT stories I have ever read.
Damage Control comic
I loved reading Damage Control comics back in the day, and eventually picked up the graphic novel for my library and have read it multiple times. Then I heard they were releasing a limited series again this year. For the first time since graduate school, I signed up for a pull list at my local comic shop for Damage Control. It has been so much fun to go visit the comic store, talk to the staff and owner, and pick up my monthly comics. And the story has been hilarious, which is what you want in a Damage Control comic.
D&D 5e and Pathfinder 2e
My twice monthly gaming group continued our D&D 5e campaign (homebrew set in Greyhawk) with me running and added a new 5e Spelljammer campaign that I get to play! It is wonderful finding some time to play again and not be the forever GM. My weekly gaming group decided to try out Pathfinder 2e and I am enjoying being a player in that game as well and trying out a new system. Tabletop rpgs continue to be great creative outlet to experience with friends and family.
For the King and Stellaris on the PS4
My two brothers-in-law continued our weekly PS4 game time that started during the Pandemic. We completed all the storylines in For The King and have now been enjoying Stellaris. These games give us a dedicated time each week for spending time together. While the games are fun, I just really enjoy spending time with my brothers-in-law.
7 Wonders Architects
I have enjoyed Dune since I first read the novel. I enjoy the 80s movie even with all of its cheesiness, but I was wowed by the new Dune movie that came out this year. Such an amazing movie that really brings the novel to life. When I had an opportunity to play the new Dune: Imperium game which uses some visuals from the movie, I was hooked by the theme and the gameplay. Such a masterful blend of many types of board game mechanics that pull together within the theme of Dune.
Have I mentioned before how much I love Scooby-Doo? I grew up watching the original cartoons, and being annoyed so much by Scrappy when he was introduced. I have a Mystery Machine lunch box, a Mystery Inc print on my Spare Oom wall, and Scooby-Doo figurines on my office bookshelf. Last year I discussed how much I enjoyed Betrayal at House on the Hill Legacy Edition. Well, now there is a Scooby-Doo-themed version of the game that is super thematic and family-friendly. So much fun to wander around the haunted mansion as the Mystery Inc gang solving the mystery then fighting the villain to save one of your friends. It feels like you are in an episode of the original cartoon!
What games and books stood out for you in 2022, and what made them stand out? I am curious what makes one special to you.