Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Why Do I Need So Many Games?
~I would like to preface this week's blog by saying that when I started writing it, I had no idea what Jehuda's article this week was going to be about but by a strange coincidence my article seems to touch on his topic just a bit. ~
I discovered the BoardGameGeek about 2 years ago and became fascinated with the idea of games that allowed you meaningful choices during your turn and a level of control that is missing in the American games I'd always played. Since then I've bought over 100 games, most of which are very good or excellent games (thanks to the research I could do on BGG).
Like many gamers, I don't have a large game group--usually it's just my husband and me; sometimes our daughter will join us, and ocassionally Mike and Teresa will come down from Lead for a few hours. I don't have a weekly Game Night--I count myself lucky if I get to play a couple games a week. So why do I need so many games? An even better question is why do I keep looking for and buying more games? As it is, I could spend the rest of my life playing the games I own without becoming bored with most of them.
I would love to be able to play a game until I had it "figured out", or until I knew it well enough to offer useful strategy tips, but I can't really see that happening. Many of my games have been played only once or twice before I'm off pursuing the next prey. Yes, I'm one of those people who love the idea of trying something new, seeing what the designers have come up with that may be novel, dreaming of the next big hit with the family.
One reason I can think of is that I love variety. I have 100's of books to choose from so when I want something to read I can choose anything from sci-fi to Louis Lamour; there are 100's of movies on VHS and DVD so I always have a huge selection of what to watch; I have CDs and records (you youngsters, find someone over 35 to explain records to you) ranging from Johnny Cash to New Age so I never want for just the right music to fit my mood; I have dozens of cookbooks to browse when I feel like something different from the usual; and my game collection likewise shows variety, in mechanics, themes, number of players and general feel.
Maybe it's the exploration phase we go through when our eyes have been opened to something new and wonderful. There's a need to experience it all, to explore everything we've been missing. My game buying has slowed down very much lately. In fact, there isn't anything that's seriously calling to me at this time. Of course, with Essen coming up, I don't expect that to last long.
Why do I need so many games? I really don't know, and thankfully my husband has stopped asking, just like I don't ask why he has 5 working motorcycles in the garage and 2 in the shed that need CPR.
I just got Crusader Rex but haven't played with my husband yet and would love to but...
O.k., here's the 'but' and I don't want to hear any snickers from the audience: the thought of teaching it is intimidating. It's not a difficult game as war games go but the rules are more complex than any game I own except Euphrat & Tigris. It wouldn't be so scary if I had an interested, enthusiastic listener but Richard doesn't have the gamer drive to seek out new games, to explore new rules and new themes, to go where no man has gone...oops, Trekkie flashback.
So, how to teach a game with more complexities. I can't see a non-gamer sitting and listening to the rule book being read; it's too easy to space out (no Trekkie pun intended). You can't just hit the highlights, adding bits of rules as they occur as you can in some games because you need all that information to plan your move. Maybe a Reader's Digest Condensed version of the rules would work for a first play, going into the minute details as they occur such as exactly how seiges work in Crusader Rex.
For now, here's my plan: re-read the rules (for the 3rd time), then set up the game and play alone, checking rules as needed, trying to incorporate all the situations I can think of so that I'm familiar with the game BEFORE I have to teach it. And of course, re-read the rules one more time to catch anything I may have missed. Now I suppose I have to admit that I'm a list-maker, mainly because I tend to forget things easily, so I'll take notes of anything that's easy to over-look while teaching.
Unfortunately, it may be a while before I can test out my plan since we don't have 2-3 hours worth of brain power left at the end of the day. Any days off are now devoted to preparing the house, yard and vehicles for winter. If anyone has any suggestions, hints or first-hand stories about teaching Crusader Rex, or any war game, they'd be very welcome.
Until next time, talk nice to your dice.