PERSONAL DIARY (Dec 2022): Are We Still Having Fun?

2022: Where Did All The Time Go?

It’s been a very long time since I compiled anything for this blog (almost 2 years, actually), mainly because a lot of my boardgaming focus these last few years has been fairly and squarely on Tabletop SPIRIT Magazine (hereafter just SPIRIT) — not only does it remain a huge responsibility, but it also pulls a lot of my attention away from other things which rather ironically includes boardgame matters (both playing and designing them), and sadly, recreational reading as well… The latter is something I will definitely be addressing in 2023!

If you’re not already aware, I took over the mantle of editor for SPIRIT a few years back, shortly after the previous editor passed away (Kendall Johns, 1941-2020) – you can find out more and read all about it in a previous post on this site: PERSONAL DIARY (Aug/Sept 2020)

Alternatively, you could also just visit the SPIRIT website ( and check out every issue for yourself – the magazine is FREE to download as a PDF, and each issue generally comes in at around 80-100 A4 pages, and is packed to the rafters with reviews, features, articles, and yes, there are a couple of puzzle pages as well!

Anyway, 2022 has also seen the rise in importance —and by no means inconsiderable matter— of trying to create a decent work / life balance in my everyday comings and goings, and this has proved particularly challenging these last few years given the state of the economy, the cost of living crisis, COVID-19, personal family matters, and just basic survival from one month to the next.

Here’s To Survival, Then…

That all said, one can be forgiven for feeling the last few years could somehow be magically ‘written off’ as just bad karma — shit happens, we live, we learn, and for most of us we also try to move onwards and upwards, however difficult it might seem… Certainly, that’s what it feels like the current government are trying to do, and that’s clearly not going to rub with the general public, especially those working in the public sector and trying to hold down / keep their generally low-paid, high-pressure, public-facing job roles.

It’s not a merry state of affairs for a lot of people (incl. me), howsoever you choose to look at these things!

So is there going to be much in the way of positivity in this post? Possibly, but then again, possibly not…

Well… we do have big plans for SPIRIT this year (which is something to look forward to at least), albeit there will probably be more work to deal with at my end if everything goes to plan, but that’s something I am looking forward to –as bizarre as that may sound– because that’s a job role I genuinely enjoy. Alas, it does mean something else might have to give, and at the moment that’s my main job and source of income: I’ve been working extremely hard these last six months, trying to achieve a 4-day working week and believe I’m on the cusp of grasping this long sought-after state of affairs, although given the current economic climate, I obviously have to maintain several reservations and a sense of realism, too. Time will tell, as they say!

Top Five Games… erm… ‘Moments’ ?

I’ve previously said I’m not generally a fan of putting together Top 5 lists, and daresay would probably struggle to do so anyway if I were limited to only listing games released in 2022 — as it happens, given the scarcity of my gaming time this last year or so (which admittedly has picked up in the last few months!), I’d be quite hard-pressed to pick just five, so instead I have a couple of things worth appreciating…

1). Le Pas Opton, France (Boardgaming Week) — including a whole day at the amazing Puy Du Fou historical theme park (near Vendée, France): possibly my favourite day of the whole year!

2). YorCon 2022 — a relatively private gathering of friends which was quite the experience for all!

3). Merry Madness (2022) — this is almost certainly one of my single, most favourite games of the year by a country mile: so much fun from such unassuming, simple mechanics!

4). Papillon (2020) — possibly one of the prettiest games I have in my collection, and something that’s gone down extremely well with everyone I have introduced it to!

5). Dark Souls: Painted World of Ariamis (2022) — playing this with my partner took up half a day, but it was nonetheless a game and experience I will not forget in a hurry!

Here’s hoping 2023 proves to be a better one for all of us…

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