The year 2020 surprised all of us, as we scrambled to make life work under entirely different conditions. However, the viral impact on our web site was minimal, as although we slowed down a bit we continued providing what we hope are valuable quality articles on gaming and faith. Last December we published 2019 at the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, in which I attempted to index everything that had been posted to the site in the previous year and so maintaining a continuous index of sorts working back through the previous Thirteen Months in Review covering a bit more than all of 2018 and Overview of the Articles on the New Christian Gamers Guild Website covering 2016 and most of 2017. I am now attempting once again to summarize another a calendar year of material, for those who missed something or want to find something they remember.
Again January opened with a new Faith in Play article, and we got a full year from the series:
- #26: Fields to Harvest January 7, 2020, noting that Christian ministries to the “geek” community still have work to do.
- #27: Believing Balance February 4, 2020 continues the miniseries on Dungeons & Dragons alignment with a consideration of neutrality.
- #28: Vampires March 3, 2020 considers the metaphorical value of the undead.
- #29: Victims April 7, 2020, explores what it is to be a dependent character, and the importance of such characters not only in our games but in our lives.
- #30: Conflict May 5, 2020, looks at Dungeons & Dragons as a metaphor for spiritual warfare.
- #31: Magic Roads June 2, 2020 discusses the notion of roads that don’t go where you expect unless you go the right way, and connects it to divine guidance.
- #32: Zealots July 7, 2020 continues the alignment miniseries with a look at the side alignments.
- #33: Psionics August 4, 2020 reopens the issue of mind powers in fiction in response to questions and comments from a reader.
- #34: Guidance and the Machine September 1, 2020 looks at the show Person of Interest as instruction about how God guides us.
- #35: Seekers October 6, 2020 considers what to do about friends who are looking for “real” magic.
- #36: Thanks November 3, 2020 talks about thanksgiving celebration and thanks the readers for their ongoing support and encouragement.
- #37: Balancing on the Corner December 1, 2020, finishes the alignment series with a look at how those with corner alignments have to juggle two values.
Two weeks behind that the RPG-ology series also continued:
- #26: Monster Design January 21, 2020 reprints a Game Ideas Unlimited article about what makes a good monster.
- #27: Cures for Dropping Dice February 18, 2020 gives some practical suggestions for keeping the dice on the table.
- #28: Character Death March 17, 2020 talks about the death of the player character and how to handle it.
- #29: Political Correction April 21, 2020 argues that in fiction and games particularly we need to have freedom of speech.
- #30: Story-based Mapping May 19, 2020 suggests that the best way to start a map for a game is to begin where the characters are and work out as needed.
- #31: Screen Wrap June 16, 2020 reposts the Game Ideas Unlimited article about using teleportation to create confusing map sections.
- #32: Doing Something July 21, 2020 suggests how to use odd objects to enhance story by figuring out what they are later.
- #33: Flirting August 18, 2020 recalls a lost article about using role playing to learn about ourselves.
- #34: Invisible Coins September 15, 2020 reproduces a slightly edited version of the Game Ideas Unlimited article, about a valuable illusionist technique.
- #35: Believable Nonsense October 20, 2020 recalls the ideas from a Game Ideas Unlimited article about superstitions and how to work them into play.
- #36: Phionics November 17, 2020 suggesting a category of special abilities that are neither magical nor mental, but reflect the extraordinary body skills of the contortionist.
- #37: It’s Greek to Me December 15, 2020 talks about inscriptions and decorations on magic items.
Although it hardly counts as an article, I also posted Worship Service at Gen Con 2020 Game Fair, announcing the online virtual event which Dave Mattingly organized and hosted on our behalf.
Michael Garcia opened the year on January 14, 2020, with a wonderfully detailed study of Sewers and Such, everything you could need to know to run an adventure in these urban dungeons. COVID suspended his gaming, so we didn’t get tales of the adventures for a while. However, he did give us a four-part tutorial in how to design one-shot adventures:
- Designing Single-Session Adventures Part 1 on July 14, 2020, in which he explores the basic starting point for the task;
- Designing Single-Session Adventures Part 2 on August 11, 2020, in which he talks about detailing the adventure;
- Prep for Single-Session Adventures on September 8, 2020, in which he talks about final preparations;
- Running the Single-Session Adventure on September 22, 2020, in which he covers actual game play matters.
He followed this with Tough Choices Make for a Good Game, on October 13, with a holiday-themed adventure, Spreading Yuletide Fear: A Dark Holiday-themed Adventure, on November 24, and some adventure design advice to finish the year in Designing Deeper Adventures.
We were honored to be permitted to reprint “Geek Preacher” Derek White‘s article from Knights of the Dinner Table, Quiet in the Convention Center, about gaming conventions providing facilities and services for handicapped and autistic attendees.
Grade school religion teacher Nikolaj Bourguignon brings his experience using games in the classroom to a new series, Roll for Teaching, beginning with:
- Hi class. Nice to meet you all! on July 28, 2020, in which he introduces himself and a few of the games he finds best for use with grade school students.
- Goals on December 8, 2020, in which he discusses why we are playing, and how to keep that in focus.
Lance McClintock approached us to introduce a Christian game he was designing, and we invited him to explain to us what makes a game Christian. He gave us Christian Game-ism in response, published November 10.
Over a decade ago Scott Bennie drafted an article for us entitled Christianity and Role-Playing Games: Toward Reconciliation, which slipped through the cracks until late this year when our webmaster found it and published it as Christianity and Role-Playing Games, on December 29.
We expect to follow at least some of these authors into the new year. In fact, already we have Faith and Gaming and RPG-ology articles standing by.
—M. J. Young
Chaplain, Christian Gamers Guild