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Life and Dice Masters - April 2016

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ďI finally know the difference between going back and going home.Ē Ė Butch Walker

Itís been a while. Letís recap. I was not happy with Dice Masters and stopped playing last summer. I even began selling off my collection. My best friend, JT, roped me back in a bit, as well as my kids; constantly asking when we were going back to the card shop. As long as he was already going to an event, Iíd tag along. I stopped buying product, except when necessary for rainbow drafts, and immediately gave the cards and dice I drafted to JT and my children. It looked as if WizKids began taking the quality of their product a bit more seriously, and we havenít had any printing issues like with Age of Ultron. Even the wording on cards has gotten better, (not perfect, but better). So I stuck true to the reason I quit, saw improvements, and started playing again. After all, the game is fun. I have no plans to be as heavily invested in the game as I once was. I was having fun playing in events and discussing the game with friends, while looking forward to D&D Faerun Under Seige.

Then January came.

Life is hard. My wife and I have four kids: Abigail (5), Randall (3), J-J (2), and Lazarus (<1). In the beginning of January we found out we were going to have another baby. We were excited. The kids were excited. Weíre not sure how many kids we will have, but I always make the joke that weíll stop when we realize weíve had one too many. Itís a dumb joke, but itís my go-to. Anyways, we already had planned out how we were going to announce our newest addition to the world: at an upcoming comic convention, we had already purchased tickets to meet Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who (heís not our favorite, but the 9th Doctor rarely makes appearances). We had our whole family of Doctor Who costumes planned. We were going to tell Matt Smith at the photo-op that my wife was pregnant and THIS would be our announcement photo, so he could be pointing at her belly or something. We were so stoked for this baby, as we had been every baby before it.

But like I saidÖ life is hard. We lost the baby. One of the hardest parts was that we hadnít announced it yet. We were waiting for our comic con photo-op, still weeks away. So, we lost the child that we hadnít even got a chance to celebrate yet. Itís a weird place to be in. My wife suspected something was wrong, and took another home pregnancy test, and it came back negative. This was the same day that D&D FUS was released, and we had a local rainbow draft to kick things off. I wanted to go play Dice Masters. I wanted to just put life on pause and go play, because Iíd never dealt with anything like this before. I was mad. Why did I have to give up my escape? Why couldnít my wife just let me have some time to process this? Why did I have to go home and be responsible? I donít know if Iíve ever been more wrong in my entire life, wanting to seek refuge and escape before putting my wifeís needs first. But it was just the way the emotions messed with me. I quickly realized how wrong I was, and did go home. The doctors soon confirmed what we anticipated. We told the other kids, and they were sad too. My wife and I picked out a few different names for the baby, and let our kids help choose the name. It wasnít just an idea or concept that we lost. We didnít want to refer to it as ďitĒ years from now if the conversation arises. The baby was Ravenel Phoenix. Like I said, I wanted to get lost and escape in the game when we found out, but I didnít. I focused on my family and what we needed. I had my moments of down time here and there. Eventually, life begin to return to normalcy.

So what does normalcy look like for me in Dice Masters terms? Thatís tricky because I was just starting to get more involved when all of that happened. I was able to go to a WKO event in February, where I got to meet some great people, and reconnect with some friends I made at a previous PDC. A local FLGS just opened last month about 2 miles from our house. JT and I are working at building a fun and engaging local DM scene. Dave reached out and asked if Iíd be interested in getting the band back together to relaunch The Attack Zone podcast. I was hesitant at first, but am now so glad I agreed. JT is looking to scale back his amount of article contribution on the website, so Iíve agreed to write an article every other non-TAZ Tuesday. Basically, youíll see me writing here about once a month.

I also have some other side projects in the works. I currently write a daily webcomic, Ringers ( I have a professional wrestling card and dice game that I am developing, and getting ready to custom order the cards to show off, demo, and submit to companies. Iíve also started getting ideas put together for a giant robot miniature board game where you spend the first half of the game upgrading, and literally building, your giant robot, preparing for when the giant monster arrives, then defeating said giant monster. We are waiting for a TON of work to be done to our house, so I can turn the basement in to my man cave/recording area so I can start posting videos of DM games between JT and I. We will also be looking to convert our garage in to a half barn so we can get a goat next year. Iím slightly moving up in my position and work, and will be asked to do some traveling here and there. Currently it just looks like day trips, but my boss did mention going to customers in Canada and Mexico in the future. AndÖ we are expecting another baby. We are excited. Itís bittersweet because we would not have gotten pregnant again so soon, if we hadnít lost Ravenel. But we are not in control of our lives. We just move forward, best we know how.

So, while Dice Masters is a blastÖ it nowhere near takes up the majority of my time like it once did. I will go to events during the event season, write an article once a month, and record a podcast every other week. Iím ďbackĒ in the sense that youíll hear my voice and see my little avatar more often. (Itís a red/black ďThiefĒ icon. I like to think that Iím the ďHuman Thief, Paragon PunkĒ). Iíve already been playing and talking DM with friends for a while. Iím not going back to filling my old role. Iím moving forward, accepting change, and making the best of my opportunities. I play Dice Masters and have a life outside of the game as well; just telling you guys a little about both.
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  1. agentj's Avatar
    Glad to have you back. Thank you for sharing some of life's trials. It helps to put my trials into perspective. Can't wait to listen to the podcast after work today! Bless you and your family.
  2. TheConductr's Avatar
    Balance. The hardest thing to ever achieve. Few even recognize its need, let alone strive to find it. Balance between work, wife, and this thing called "hobbies and fun time" was the #1 reason I left teaching HS Band and now am an adjunct at a university. I make half of what I once did, but our family dynamic and happiness quotient has more than doubled. Can't put a price on balance. Couldn't be happier for you @Randy . And congrats on the 5th child! =)