Mid-March Update

As part of an ongoing process I have started to collate my list of useful game links.

While looking for some other photos, I found a bunch from the special one-day events that I help to organize back in 2012. A a tease here is a montage for our first FATDOG event. The full article can be found here.

FATDOG 2012
FATDOG 2012 Montage

As part of my ongoing goal of increasing the number of gamers, and game groups, who log their game plays. I had added a thread to BGG with a few polls.  From that feedback it looks like lots of people are logging their games played. There are many detractors, yet so far I have only convinced 1 (one) gamer to start logging. Success!

Tim – 14th March 2017

 

Game play logging

My involvement with board gaming began in my early teens. That was a log time ago in the early computer and pre-BoardGameGeek era.

BoardGameGeek ( aka BGG) started in the year 2000 and I was not aware of this amazing site about board games site until a few years later . Despite the early start with gaming I only began to log the games that I played in 2007. I have now logged almost 3500 board game plays.

To log a game play is to record the game name, where and when the game was played, and other associated details like who played, who won and so forth.

The specific reason why I originally began to log my game plays is lost. Since then I found the information to be useful in a variety of unexpected ways.

During a lull in the second game of Battlestar Galactica (aka BSG) of thst Tuesday evening one of the relative newcomers to the group came to have a look at the game I was playing. Having done so many times before I gave a well polished blurb about BSG along the lines of “It’s a co-operative game, with hidden traitors called cylons. The game is driven by Crisis cards, you must identify which side people are on blah blah blah“. As I often do when BSG is being discussed, I proudly exclaimed that I had played BSG over 500 times.
A look of amazement and confusion filled the newcomer face. This is not the first time that I have seen that look, so I knew how to respond. Experience had taught me to not declare that I log all the games that I play. This usually results in a greater look of amazement that is now tinged with pity. The conversation was quickly steered back to which game they were planning to play next. 
It is slightly disheartening to have to repeatedly explain my reasons for logging the games played.  This is a large part of the reason why I wrote an article on the subject.
To be honest, remembering that I have played BSG over 500 times is easy for me. Five hundred is a nice round number. And being a man who is better at technical things I have a great memory for certain “important” details. If you are in a quiz and you desperately need to know the caliber in millimeters, in ascending order, of the main armament of every German tank and tank destroyer of WW2. I am your man. This very male skill has it’s downsides, I am bad at remembering dates or anniversaries, unless that date was that of D-Day. By the way, D-Day was the 6th of June 1944.

Tim aka I play too many games
10th March 2017

On an associated note, I believe that game groups should publicize the list of game played. There are many advantages of doing this and I detail them in this article.

 

Game play frequency and go-to games

Eminent Domain

Last night I played some games for the first time in over 5 years.

After playing the new game Clank!. I agreed to play Eminent Domain, a space theme civilization deck building game. After that time was running short so we needed something quick and easy. Jon suggested the bluffing party game called Skull. I soon realized that although I own all of these games. It had been years since I I had not played the latter two games.

Eminent Domain, with two expansions, is an evolved game. With so long having elapsed since I last played I knew I needed help with both the rules and the strategy. Ted and Jon were past-masters at the game so they helped answer questions once we got going. It did not matter to me that I was not going to win. Just trying to get some synergy in my strategy was enough for me. While mostly ignoring what Ted and Jon were doing; Alan, John and myself competed in our own 2nd tier contest. Even before the game had ended I was itching to drag out my copy of the game, read the rules and play it again. Perhaps I should not wait 5 years before I play it again. Luckily, that will not be a problem as Eminent Domain is one of the regular games in my local gaming group.

The game called Skull was fast light and fun. This was a good game to round out the evening. Despite the long time since I had last played I still sort-of remembered the rules, and (more importantly) I had a grasp of the fundamentals of the bluffing strategy required. The 5 people playing were all long time gaming opponents which meant the table talk was rather lively. Some of the other gamers gathered around to watch the game and listen to our banter.

There is little in common between these two games. To master Eminent Domain it would need many plays to develop effective strategies. Regular plays are required to learn all the possibilities within the many cards within the game. On the other hand, Skull is quick to teach and relies more on reading people than understanding detailed game mechanics.

This made me reflect on my own game replay habits, and that of my local gaming groups.

My local gaming group, the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup  have been holding a game night on Tuesday nights since early 2010. From a few people meeting in a Borders Books the group has flourished into a large and active group that has held over 1100 meetups. Currently 2-3 meetups per week are being held across different locations. Many gamers attend more than one of these weekly meetups, yet each meetup location seems to have developed their own game preferences.
For a many years the most regular game on Tuesday nights has been Battlestar Galactica (BSG) by Fantasy Flight Games  It is no surprise to have 2-3 games of BSG being played during an evening session. Almost by accident, BSG had evolved into one of the go-to games for the Tuesday night group. This go me thinking about some of the other go-to games in my gaming circles
The current go-to games across a number of game groups that I frequent include:
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Stone Age
  • Wizard
  • The Game
  • Codenames
  • Vegas (dice game)
  • Eminent Domain
  • Star Wars Rebellion
  • Love Letter (various versions)
  • Eclipse
  • Napoleonic Wars
  • Sword of Rome

That is quite a variety of games.

Having a number of go-to games has proven to be useful in all of the groups. Having variety in your go-to games allow the players some choice in what to play. The available time, and number of players are major factors in choosing which games to play.

Advantages of go-to games

Here are some advantages of having go-to games in your gaming circles. These are  especially advantages for the more evolved, longer games.
  • There is no need to teach the game. Teaching a game takes time and effort.
  • Players have evolved past just simply playing the game – they know different strategies and can play the game competently.
  • The game is setup and running quickly.
  • The time it takes to play the game is shorter.
  • Not everyone always wants to put the time and effort into learning a new game. This is especially advantages on a weekday evening.

Repetition is good for newcomers

It is hard to remember what it is like to be a new gamer. Gazing with wonder at stacks of snazzy game boxes filled with counters, cards, and meeples. Old hands introduce you to a game about something where you need to earn some fancy mechanic called worker placement, and there are cards and cubes everywhere. Just when you get the hang of it, the game is over. And may never see that game again.
Compared to experienced gamers, newcomers to gaming need more repeat plays for the game to sink in. Newcomers have to learn a myriad of new game terminology and game concepts. Simply playing the game well takes practice. Experienced gamers are quicker to look past the game mechanics and see strategies. Put yourself
Please take that into account when suggesting games to newcomers. It is more satisfying for all the gamers in a group that the newcomers find their feet quickly. I believe this helped by regular, repeat play of go-to games.

Going forward

My resolution is this: I will add more go-to games to my own game choices. This may mean I play BSG a little less often. I will ensure that newcomers are exposed to more go-to games.
Tim
8th March 2017
Eminent Domain is pictured top.