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A Year of Writing for Nerdarchy

To Game or Not to Game?
Frostgrave - Joseph A Mccullough’s Fantasy Wargaming Masterpiece

Because I keep track of such things, this is my 52nd weekly article for Nerdarchy. That’s a year. Nerdarchy Star frontiers  Actually, my first Nerdarchy article appeared on the site on August 19, 2015, so it won’t quite be a complete year by the time this is published, but close enough.

It’s been an interesting year for me here at Nerdarchy. Some articles have proven more popular than others, and some have been more fun to write than others. Hey, they can’t all be winners, but you do the best you can each week. I just hope I’ve given Nerdarchy readers a few thinks to think about, maybe a little news, and the occasional chuckle.

I’ve had a handful of interviews, a few news articles, some opinion pieces about D&D, and then there’s the series I started called Blast from the Past, which looks back at Nerdy things, mostly from the ’80s because that was my teen years, sort of my heyday of being a young nerd. While the Nerdarchy site as a whole focuses upon tabletop role playing games with the occasional foray into other nerdy material, I’ve been trying to stretch those boundaries a little to include other games and movies, etc. Sometimes I’ve succeeded and maybe sometimes I haven’t, but ultimately that’s for the reader to decide. Regardless, I’ve had a good time and hope to continue on here at Nerdarchy as long as they’ll have me.

In the spirit of looking back on the year of my articles, I thought I’d post links to some of my favorites and provide perhaps a few words about each of them. If you missed these, then you’ve got something new to read, and if you’ve already seen them, feel free to take a look back. I’ll post them in order from oldest to most recent.

How Gaming (and Nerdarchy) Helped Save Me

This was my second article for Nerdarchy, and it is the most personal piece I’ve written to date. I talk about some personal issues I was dealing with a couple of years ago, how I discovered online gaming and Nerdarchy, and how that helped me get through some tough times. A year later, I still stand by what I wrote. Who knows what would have happened to me if I hadn’t discovered the world of online tabletop gaming?

Gaming, RPG, Comics Collection House at Duke U. Library

I hadn’t realized that more and more universities across the U.S. are beginning to store gaming material and comic books in special pop culture collections, not until one day I was checking the events at Duke University (which is about an hour away from me) and discovered that such a collection was on display for a limited time and afterward would be stored permanently though available for perusing with special permission. The Duke collection is quite large, though only parts of it are displayed at a time. Not only was I glad to learn of these collections, but I was happy to know there was one just down the road from me.

Stairway to Heaven: Fantasy, D&D and rock music

Music and tabletop gaming go hand in hand in my experience, so I wanted to take a look back at some music over the decades that has been related to the fantasy genre and D&D in particular. Most of the songs here were familiar to me, though a little research turned up a few new ones. This was a fun article to write, and I got to listen to some good music while penning it.

Brrp! Getting your beer on with tabletop RPGs

Being something of a beer aficionado, I had heard of all these beers, though I have not had the fortune to taste all of them. Basically, this article was a way to combine two of my loves, beer and RPGs, and once I started thinking about it, it seemed a natural. Experience has taught me that more than a brew or two during a gaming session isn’t such a good idea, because all kinds of sloppiness can occur, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a quality beer while rolling some dice.

Now you can learn German Longsword through online classes

For some while now I’ve been studying in and training with the longsword, though in the Italian tradition. Still, more and more people are finding interest in historical martial arts though schools and training centers are not always easy to find. When I first heard about online classes for the longsword, I thought others needed to know about this, so that’s why I wrote this article.

Blast from the Past: Revolt on Antares, a TSR minigame

This wasn’t my first Blast from the Past article, but it was one of my favorites. Minigames were somewhat popular in the early 1980s, and Revolt on Antares from TSR was my favorite. You got to control armies, secret weapons and powerful heroes all while taking on alien invaders, evil empires and uppity rebels. And the games usually lasted less than a half hour. Minigames were great for those nights when not everyone showed up at the gaming table, and I kind of wish they’d make something of a comeback.

In gaming as in literature, villains make the heroesEvilGroup

This has proven to be one of my more popular articles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fiction writer in my day job and here I pulled in not only Nerdarchy readers but some who are familiar with my fantasy writings. Regardless, I do think what I wrote here is true, that interesting villains can help to build stronger heroes, whatever the genre.

Gaming like a box of chocolates: D&Dizing Forrest Gump

Hands downs, this was the most fun I’ve had writing a Nerdarchy article. The idea came to me during a long road trip. I almost didn’t write this one, thinking the idea was too crazy, but I think it turned into something really cool and maybe provided a fresh way to look at characters and character generation. In the end, yeah, I’m really glad I wrote this onestarfrontierscover

Blast from the Past: Star Frontiers

This is my favorite of my Blast from the Past articles. I was a Star Frontiers fan boy back in the day and still am to some extent, so it was great to break out my old box set with all its maps and rules books, dice and cardboard cutouts. I’ve not played Star Frontiers in decades, and I kind of miss it, so maybe I’ll have to run my own game at some point.

So, there you have it, some of my favorite Nerdarchy articles I’ve written during the last year. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them, and I hope you’ll check out some of material in the future.

Until then, Stay Nerdy!

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Ty Johnston

A former newspaper editor for two decades in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ty now earns his lunch money as a fiction writer, mostly in the fantasy and horror genres. He is vice president of Rogue Blades Foundation, a non-profit focused upon publishing heroic literature. In his free time he enjoys tabletop and video gaming, long swording, target shooting, reading, and bourbon. Find City of Rogues and other books and e-books by Ty Johnston at Amazon.

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