Am I the only one creeped out by the fact that it’s 2010?

For me, the winter holiday season is a time of reflection when it comes to RPGs. With the hustle and bustle of the various holidays (my household celebrates Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years’ Eve), I rarely have time to game in the latter half of December. With gaming in my blood, I usually do find time to reflect on my gaming over the past year and resolve to make my gaming experiences better in the coming year.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the past year:

Playtesting Mode is Awesome

This actually started in 2008, but over the course of 2009 I’ve really come to value my lessons learned by playtesting. It’s helped me focus my plots and trim the fat. On the flip side, it’s cautioned me not to run through scenes that my group would rather play out.

Don’t Just Listen to the Squeaky Wheel

I talk to one of my players about our weekly game much more than the other players and I’ve noticed that my plotting and surprises tend to revolve around that player’s character. I’ve resolved to spread the love around more in my future sessions.

Play More Games

Due to a hectic schedule, I found myself playing a large number of “mini-campaigns” using published adventures for other game systems. This helped alleviate my burnout and got me to use some of those adventures that had been sitting on my shelf. My group discovered that they actually enjoyed a couple of RPGs that they never would have considered playing had I not forced the issue.

See Things Through

The flip side of “play more games,” my frequent game-switching often meant that I ended campaigns before the rest of the group was ready to let them go. While this is common amongst my gaming groups, I really want to make a better effort at giving closure to my campaigns, even those that are forced to end quickly.

Running a Published Adventure is Tough

While I still feel that published adventures are great time-savers, I often fool myself into thinking that one or two readings is enough and end up stumbling over or omitting some material when I’m actually running it because I lack familiarity. I also tend to follow adventures as written rather than adapt on the fly for fear that I might muck up a future encounter (I usually figure this out five minutes too late). Going forward I need to do a better job absorbing and retaining information when preparing a published adventure.

Play More

Over the last couple of years, the only time I played rather than GM was at Gen Con. Being on the players’ side of the screen offers valuable insights and I really need to do it more often. I hope to play in more games in 2010.

So those are a few of my observations and resolutions from 2009. How about you? What have you learned from 2009 and what do you hope to improve during 2010?