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May 2015 - My month in gaming

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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May turned out to be a good month for gaming in all sorts of respects. Not only did we play many games, always good, but we also played some new games and managed to filter a few redundant titles out of the collection. I really do feel as though I have reached a stage where a new game has to have something immediate and clearly new and different in order to force its way into the collection, rather than just a tweak here and a rehash there. Over the month a couple of very good games indeed were tried and rejected, mainly because we already own titles that do similar things similarly and which we already know and would probably prefer. Also, we have got to June and my expenditure on gaming the year remains at zero - a little out on postage for Maths Trades, a little in on games sales - while the size of my collection has reduced, both targets I had set myself for 2015.

The most played game of the month was Puzzle Strike (Third Edition), a game we acquired last year and which we continue to play and enjoy. It is way ahead of the metrics I impose upon a game for it to stay ahead of any cull, but is such a hit with my other half that I doubt I would ever be allowed to get rid of it, not that I want to. It appears that I enjoy games that set the players up ever so slightly differently at the start of the game. Here it's the character chips, whereas in something like Core Worlds it is your starting hero (and the draft, if you are playing with it, as you probably should).

Next up was Seasons, introduced to the table at the very end of the month and proving to be a huge hit, especially with my other half. The combination of dice, cards, enough randomness to keep things interesting, enough choices to keep things under control, and all that wonderful art and colour, make this a visual as well as a gaming feast. I am already eyeing the expansion packs, and, of the new games we have played this year, it has placed itself some way clear of the pack. The other two keepers at the moment are Targi and Imperial Settlers. Anyway, Seasons plays both more simply and quickly than one might expect, while the emerging interactions between cards mean that it should have some decent longevity.

Forbidden Island received 6 plays over the month, all of them solo as the difficulty of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game finally got to me and I decided to play a solitaire game I enjoyed rather than one I felt was beating me about the head with a Hobbit's foot. I started to use the variant layouts and had a really fun time. I know it's on the simple end of the scale and probably lacks the ultimate level of nail-bitiness that LOTR has, but at least I know I can win this on a good day and that I can mitigate some of the luck. Slowly, inevitably, I feel that the end of my love affair with LOTR is sneaking up on me and I'd probably rather double-hand other cooperatives instead.

One of our favourites, Race for the Galaxy, also made it back to the table, played with Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts but without The Orb. This is a game that continues to engage and excite after 100+ games as we discover new ways of winning (and losing, of course) and it has been interesting to note how we come to rely less and less on the Production->Consume relationship as we play more. In this month's games I won by mining, going down the Genes route and also by taking a purely Military aspect. Kudos, as always, to Tom Lehmann for designing such a stunning game, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new expansion arc gives us.

Blue Moon Legends was, I am sad to say, a terribly damp squib. I was hugely excited about this when it was announced, and then thrilled finally to get it to the table, but, my oh my, did it ever fall flat. After five games and four decks we eventually gave up the ghost. I know I need to play this more to understand all the intricacies it has to offer, but we both found it emotionally unengaging and dry as a bone to boot. It's not as if we don't like Knizia, either, for we own and enjoy many of his games, just not this one. I really want to be convinced to keep this, but, well, gaming time is limited.

Played some more The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and, as usual, lost every single round. I just don't have the time to build my deck for each individual scenario, and don't want to go to sleep thinking about where it can be tweaked. If I were younger, with time and few responsibilities such as when I spent hours attached to a PlayStation, then maybe, but not any more. I am keeping it for now, especially as I have some unopened Saga Expansions, but this may well be on its way out sooner rather than later, unless I have some massive epiphany about it. There's a hefty investment required to getting the most out of this game, which is something I admire, but the rewards are just so intermittent.

Capo Dei Capi was a pleasant diversion, a push-your-luck game with more choices than most, tightly designed, from what we could see, but it didn't tickle either of us enough to warrant keeping. It could well hit the spot for gamers looking for this kind of thing, though, so I'd suggest taking a look if interested. We'll stick with Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age for now, though. Again, it's a case of already having something we know that fills a similar niche.

Likewise Omen: A Reign of War, which didn't even make it to the end of the first game. I know that there's a great game here, but, again, too much time seems to be involved in order to get there. I knew that Blue Moon Legends and Omen was probably one card game too many, but didn't expect both of them to go and for Revolver to stay as the asymmetrical quick play of choice. Need to get that one back to the table soon.

So, for June, I really would like to get some more new games played, as well as revisiting some that have been gathering dust for a while. I have some decent unplayed ones on the shelf, strongly suspect that some of them just won't do it for us, but have high hopes for others. Having, at least, begun to understand what goes on in Android: Netrunner, I'm keen for us to get this to the table and played. I suspect that my other half will find it very complicated at the start, but I hope that it will become clear what's going on, especially as most of the toughness seems to be in the terminology. I feel genuinely excited about this game, and that's always a good sign. As it happened, the last game whose rules gave me that feeling was Seasons, and look what happened to that.

Happy gaming!
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Fri Jun 5, 2015 9:44 am
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And so the purge begins

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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It has been a great week for gaming in our house, really fabulous. We have got in several plays of several games, all of which have been new to us, and have filtered out in earnest, keeping one and jettisoning three. My lovely SO has been totally dedicated to the cause, putting aside possible new-game-fatigue to explore potential new recruits to our collection.

Thing is, my collection is better smaller, as previous readers will know, and what has become apparent this week is that a game needs to be seriously impressive to make headway against what we already have, also that I am happier and more serene with the chaff filtered away.

So, from the To Play pile to the To Trade pile go the following - Capo Dei Capi, Omen: A Reign of War and Blue Moon Legends. Ok, breathe out, for I admit that these are all good games, some of them potentially great, and we might have loved them earlier in our gaming lives, but Capo Dei Capi was just too light, Omen too massive and Blue Moon Legends just too...underwhelming. Critically, I'd rather play Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, Revolver or Battle Line in each case, and I'm looking to replace existing games rather than add new ones. Out they go.

So which game survived the cut? Well, it was the one I introduced (correctly, as it happens) to my SO as "potentially a massive hit", the one she rates a 10, alongside Dominion and Race for the Galaxy, and the one she wants to play again immediately after we've finished the previous play. Welcome to Seasons.

A massive hit with my SO when we first played it, it is one I have also grown to enjoy a lot, because, for all the complexity on the surface (symbols! cards! gnarly choices!), it really does play easily and quickly and has some great decisions to boot. A player is involved in the nitty-gritty right from the start, drafting, sorting and then choosing actions and so on. The mix of dice and cards ensures also that no two games will be the same and there's some quirky thematic stuff going on as well as some lovely and charming imagery.

Thumbs down for the useless player boards and markers, though, all too easy to destroy with an enthusiastic dice roll, so much so that we now keep them at our sides rather than in the field of play. For everything else, though, a big thumbs up. It takes something to gain a permanent place in our bijou collection, as any previous reader of this blog will know, and that's just what Seasons has done.

So, four unplayed games played and three to be jettisoned makes progress toward the lean and intensively played collection I desire. Sharing quality time with my SO, though, discussing what we love to play and why certain games do or do not work for us, has been totally worthwhile, and have made this week thoroughly enjoyable...

...despite losing almost every single game.

Happy gaming!
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Sat May 30, 2015 12:46 am
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Going on a gaming diet

Nick
United Kingdom
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Since I moved house towards the end of last year, and made a few lifestyle changes to match, I spend less time working but much more time driving. Without going into too much boring detail, it's a trade-off I am happy to make, but it also means that I have a great deal more thinking time, and you would probably not be surprised to know that I spend most of my time thinking about games.

In the last few weeks and over my last few posts, though, I have trying to come to some way of reconciling my desire to collect and acquire with my love for learning a game in real depth and understanding the layers beneath the surface. Given that my gaming group consists of the same two people almost exclusively, we have a real opportunity to grow into games together, gain experience at the same rate, and develop plans and views of the game to suit our personalities.

Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) is a case in point. Played nearly thirty times in twelve months, and currently pushing all else off the table, it is a game that shines with repeated play. In this game, a kind-of-deckbuilder, but with chips (a chipbuilder) each character comes with three character chips and, like the heroes in something like Core Worlds, they are enough to point you in a certain direction and dictate or hint at the route you might take through the game. Play this once a year and you might as well be playing close to randomly; get in several games in close succession and you start to realise how differently Lum the Panda plays from Jaina, let's say, and how, if you're lucky enough, you might take those character traits and apply them to Yomi and Flash Duel: Second Edition.

So where is this all going? Well, even though I have a long list of unplayed games and potential purchases, I think I am a depth gamer at heart. Every time I see Glen More on only six plays it hurts me a little, and I know that I'll need to explore something like Blue Moon Legends in real depth once it finally hits the table. So I have decided to take a radical solution and act as I should have done in the first place, growing my collection slowly and incrementally, filtering out the redundant along the way, rather than splurging and playing many games a little.

I have set a target play time for each game, which, if achieved, earns it a place in the collection. It is not massively high, but significant enough, I think, and means that longer games need fewer plays, while shorter games need significant replayability to gain a permanent place. Rather than cull the collection now, taking out those games under the target, I have decided to do it slowly and surely, reducing the games in the rotation to those that have hit the target, plus one extra game which then needs to earn its place. My hope is that in however many months time I'll have slowly filtered my collection to leave only the genuine hits, the games we really want to play. So many games, like Glen More or Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, haven't even had the chance to prove themselves in a crowded collection, and I want at least to give them the opportunity. The weak point in this whole plan, as always, is that I can't buy anything new. So far this year I have done well, trading for three games but buying nothing, but I have spent the past week trying desperately hard not to click the 'buy' button on some lovely new bits and pieces. Frankly, I doubt I'll have the willpower, but it has to be worth trying, right?

Starting today I have reduced my game rotation (and thus, effectively, my collection) to 20 games, probably enough for most normal humans, I would think, among which are the likes of Agricola, Carcassonne, The Castles of Burgundy, Imperial Settlers, Dominion, Race for the Galaxy and The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, more than enough to keep me busy. Part of the purpose of writing this blog is to make my commitment in public, to acknowledge, in a way, that I have been addicted to buying but want to be addicted to playing. The games I have named are all games I want to explore a lot more, so they are a good place to start, and even Guildhall, the interloper on the edge of the current rotation, is one that I desperately want to play as much as it deserves, which is a lot.

More fundamentally, though, I do hope that this approach will help my brain to relax a little, as I am concerned that I worry about my collection more than enjoy it, and that can't be right. In - what? - twelve or eighteen months I hope to have a great collection that I love to play, know that I enjoy, but crucially always with space for one more game.
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Fri May 15, 2015 12:07 am
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One step further

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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I had some really great comments on my last post, in which I put forward my feeling that I had pretty much reached saturation point in terms of new games. It was interesting to hear different points of view from others who have experienced something similar, also to explore their collections and their playing styles, which often overlapped significantly with my own.

Since my last post my copy of Babel arrived, looking pretty much unplayed and in great condition. Although I suspect that this game might not stay in our collection forever, especially as we have some similarly confrontational games already, I am pretty sure that we'll get a good few games out of it, possibly even more than that. There is always the feeling that it might replace Tigris & Euphrates, as it covers a similar area of theme and idea, even though the mechanics are different. I adore Tigris - in fact, it's my favourite game - but my other half simply doesn't get it, even though she's won every game we've played. Hopefully I can find something which will scratch that itch for me and which she enjoys.

So now I have a collection of 50 games again, 12 of which are unplayed and it's time to think a little more about that whole saturation point thing, how to make sure that Tigris gets the (several) chance(s) it deserves to convert my SO, but also that something like Seasons gets a proper crack at earning its place in the rotation. I've adhered totally to my self-imposed restriction on buying anything in 2015, and made it as far as May, which is further than I thought I would get, to be honest, but I have allowed trades, and ended up with three new games this year and four going out, which means that size-wise I'm pretty much where I started the year. At the rate I've been playing new games, well, I've ended up in the same place with unplayed games as well.

Maybe, then, it's time to put a halt to the trades as a further step. My other half, keen to game, found the massive influx of new games in 2012 and 2013 especially sapped her desire to play, constantly coming up against new rules and new wrinkles, and, as I've written before, we've rediscovered the pleasure of the known this year, the joy of exploring what we really enjoy rather than striking out for some - any - new experience.

Over the past couple of days, despite a lingering illness for my SO which just doesn't seem to want to shift, we've been playing Puzzle Strike (Third Edition), which I bought round about this time last year. We played it twice on Friday and six times today, using a random character and chip bank selection for each game. Not only was it great fun, but it was a classic example of going swiftly from flailing around (game one) to intense to-and-fro on the brink of disaster (game five), good to begin to understand the various characters as well. I'm delighted that Yomi is also now in the house, as it means that this kind of Sirlin goodness can come with us pretty much everywhere. That's the kind of depth in a game I really enjoy, especially when it is played multiple times with the same opponent.

Of course, those of us who are active on the Geek tend to be regular and questing gamers, and there is an intense focus on the new - some great designers have accounts on the site, as well as players, of course - but I think I'll be stepping back from that feeding frenzy even more consciously, and savouring the new, tasting it and enjoying the flavours before deciding whether it should go or stay. I think I'll be experiencing it over longer time spans too, as a result. Heavens, if I play (let's say) a new game every three months or so (I know, heresy), leave it on the table for that period and allow it to mature, I've got enough stuff unplayed to see me through until 2018! It'll never happen, but it's fun and slightly sobering to think it might.

Whether you adore the old or the new game, the compact or the extensive collection, it's all about making the hobby yours and making it work for you. I think it is important to keep that in mind, and that's why I always try to sign off with...

Happy gaming!
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Sat May 2, 2015 11:53 pm
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Saturation point

Nick
United Kingdom
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Something very curious happened to me over the weekend. I received a gift voucher for a certain online store, and my first (instinctive) reaction was to buy a new game for my collection. There are certainly several within my sights that interest me and that I would be happy to have, although some of them have recently fallen into the gaps between printings. The curious thing was that, despite browsing many pages of games, using various filters on BGG's search page and checking out awards and nominations for the Golden Geeks, I was unable to find a single game about which I felt excited enough to pull the trigger, not even in a "I'll play it one day so I have to grab it now" kind of way. Maybe not having bought any games in 2015 has recalibrated that way I view gaming, that I need to think about what will work better in terms of trading, and that only money raised from sales can be put towards new purchases. Even something I have been interested in and which has reappeared online, such as Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small now merely makes me think "I really must get Agricola back to the table!"

I have also been thinking of the games I own in a new light. Games that I like but are not played enough, which would previously have been kept for the sake of having, for that I-might-want-to-play-it-in-2018 moment, are now candidates for the trade pile, the intention being that they go for games that will be played and enjoyed. Playing Pandemic the other day for the first time in nearly two years, and realising that not only did we thoroughly enjoy it, but also that we would always rather play it than Forbidden Island was, I think, a significant moment. We could argue that Forbidden Island takes up less space and therefore fills a useful niche, but then we'd probably be playing something like Star Realms instead.

I've applied a new metric to my lovely game spreadsheets recently, one which works out the average time spent playing the game per year over its time in the collection, and the lean collection which emerges above the cut is, I have to admit, one I'd be very happy to live with for a long time to come. Some of those below the cut, such as Glen More, for example, definitely need more attention, and clearing out games which steal plays from other more deserving ones is a bit of a priority, and it also recognises that our tastes change and also that some games, once shiny and new, simply get overtaken by better ideas.

In the recent UK Maths Trade the magic computer decided to send me Babel and Yomi, and I have to say that I am delighted with both of these. The former is something I had thought about buying because I think it is just possible that we will play it a lot, and I am happy to give it that chance. Jaipur has gone in the other direction, a game we both enjoyed (I think I liked it more than my partner did), but just didn't play. In that genre we already have several card games and, although it's different in style, Targi has become our exotic trading game of choice.

As for Yomi, well, we loved Puzzle Strike (Third Edition), so this seems like a natural progression. It appears to play quickly and easily and looks like the kind of game we will be able to play pretty much anywhere. If we enjoy it as well, as I suspect we will, it could prove to be serious value. It's the first edition, rather than the second, but those characters will keep us going for a long time if it clicks. It takes the place of YINSH, a thing of real and genuine beauty, but long unplayed and unlikely to get back to the table, especially as my other half likes her abstracts to be hidden behind some kind of theme (as in Hive).

So again my collection has a significant proportion of unplayed games. Some will, I am sure, be direct hits, others I am less sure about, but it is all part of the journey towards getting a regularly played and enjoyed collection together. This week Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) will be on the table for the first time this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it push all other comers aside for a little while, but then I want to crack open something new. Slowly but surely I am getting better at selecting the right games for us, and that moment when a game clicks, my SO's eyes light up and she says something like "I'm really enjoying this" is certainly worth a big pile of VPs to me.
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Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:48 am
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The games we enjoy and the games we play

Nick
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Over the course of Sunday and today (Tuesday) we have played four games of Carcassonne, together with Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders, our favourite combination. Unplayed since May last year, this game has been a beneficiary of my recent policy of trying to play through my collection in 2015 and weed out those games which we do not really enjoy.

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper has been a casualty of this. We played it today, but, for some reason, it is a game whose rules have simply not entered into our consciousness, even after twenty plays. The rather confusing rule book, although clearly well meant, does not help, and we both abandoned our game of this today, agreed that we just were not engaged with the experience, even though we have been in the past. I had bought it for my SO as a kind of deduction game, but we have many others now that are much closer to what I wanted this to be. Onto the trade pile it goes.

Carcassonne, though, for all it is a grizzled veteran of the gaming scene, goes from strength to strength, still a joy to play in two and still full of twist and turn. Once upon a time, in the days before I bought eighteen games in a single go, we had a small and concise collection of games we really enjoyed playing, but at some point we felt duty bound to expand and keep on expanding, and to play those we had.

A real benefit of slimming out the collection is that my partner is much more keen to get to the table. She loves playing only slightly less than I do, but wants to have fun doing it, even if the brain is taxed in the process. Something like Dungeon Petz, for example, works nicely for us, but Dungeon Lords felt like information overload.

I can also feel my play getting better at the games I have as I explore them in more detail. It will sound like beginner's stuff, but using the farmers properly in Carc is something I have never really done, but to beat my other half I really do need to grasp every point. It makes our games so much more fun, even when I lose.

Sometimes the games we play are not necessarily the games we enjoy. For the two of us there are some games we both enjoy, Carc among them, some that she prefers, such as Dominion, and some that do it for me (hello Tigris & Euphrates!). When we both feel that we are going through the motions, well, that means that we could and probably should be playing something else, and that game becomes a candidate for trade.
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Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:10 pm
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Something old, something new...

Nick
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Into the middle of April still with no purchases in 2015 means more exploration of the previously unplayed and the dusty.

On Thursday we sat down for our second game of Targi, correcting a couple of wrinkles in the rules and getting into the game in that much more detail. Second time through it felt quite brain-burny, a little dry...but still good fun, especially as the niceties of blocking your opponent began to emerge in greater detail. I got off to a good early start, but was hauled in slowly but surely by my other half. We both made serious mistakes, but in the last round it turned out that my saving-VPs-wherever-possible strategy had worked out well as I sneaked the victory by a couple of points, 35 to 33.

Targi is hard work, I think, rather than out and out fun, and I can't imagine ever wanting to play two games of it in a row, but I think it fills a heavier niche that we will come back to, and so it is secure for now.

After Targi the tension was high, so I suggested a co-operative game and we blew the dust off Pandemic. Half way through the first game, on Introductory level (it had been a while!), I realised that leaving it unplayed for so long had been a mistake. We had both been sidetracked by Forbidden Island, which we had bought after Pandemic, but I think the big brother is by far the better game. We saved the world, then went back to Normal difficulty and managed to save the world again.

On Friday, after visit to the doctor and a day of rest for my SO, we took out Pandemic once more, and played with Pandemic: On the Brink for the first time. I have the old edition of the game and had managed to find the expansion at a reasonable price, thank heavens, so we went with the Virulent Strain variant at Introductory level. Although we managed to save the world for the third time in a row, the added difficulty certainly made things more challenging, and we both enjoyed the new roles and event cards very much.

Sometimes I know that my collection, even at only 50ish games, is too large. I suggested to my SO that we clear out Forbidden Island and maybe look at something like Flash Point: Fire Rescue, and she pointed out that FI in its lovely tin does not take up much space. However, it's the time it takes up that troubles me. As things stand I think I would always prefer to play Pandemic, as I just find the whole experience (with my SO, of course) that much more engrossing and involving. I realised too that my rating of it as a 7 was wholly wrong, and have upped it to a tentative 9, while my other half has it an 8. Now I can't wait to explore the other games at the back of the shelf...
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Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:17 am
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As and when

Nick
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I've decided not to buy any games in 2015, and have got as far as April (nearly) doing pretty well. The only shift in my collection has been a single trade, bringing Capo Dei Capi into the fold, but otherwise all has been quiet.

There are a couple of reasons for this, but in the main I would like to explore my owned games in depth. I was doing pretty well on the purchases last year until (a) Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game came out, which was an autobuy, and (b) I discovered some great deals on Android: Netrunner, Star Wars: The Card Game, Blue Moon Legends and Letters from Whitechapel. Add in trades for games like The Duke, and Seasons and Summoner Wars: Master Set for presents and hopefully you'll see why the imperative to play has become so strong.

And yet the temptation to buy is still there, so, in an effort to exorcise those demons, here's a list of what I might buy in 2016:

BattleCON: Devastation of Indines
For: Everything. The variety of modes and the array of characters means that this will have huge longevity. My other half, sweet as can be in everyday life, nevertheless thoroughly enjoys the destruction she can wreak on my gaming dreams, especially in fighting form.
Against: Have Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) and doubt I'll ever get further than scratching BattleCON's surface.

Patchwork
For: Everything (again). This has had fantastic reviews, and would probably play very well in our house, especially with the quilting theme.
Against: Haven't even played other quick two players (such as Targi) yet, and wonder whether yet another abstract is a good idea when I have so many relatively unexplored.

Paperback
For: Deckbuilding meets Scrabble. Could be right up our street.
Against: Deckbuilding. Again. Somehow, although I feel this could work, it is not quite hitting the "buy me" button, and I suspect that the more confrontational nature of Star Realms suits us better in this genre.

For now, though, I'm really enjoying revisiting some games I've not played for a while - Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, Rallyman and The Castles of Burgundy in the past few days only, and having fun racking up the plays of those. Hopefully it won't be long before we can get back to my favourite of all, unplayed since 2012 - the mighty Tigris & Euphrates. How I wish we could play this at least every week! I know that I could just buy the app and be done with it, but somehow I can't let this masterpiece leave my collection. If I had a 10x10 challenge this would definitely be on it, but for now the challenge is just to get it played...especially as I've yet to win a game!
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Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:43 am
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Is it still too big?

Nick
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Thanks for the replies and comments to my previous post. I wrote a reply, but it has kind of expanded into another post.

I've recently moved to a smaller house and have a little less time with my partner than I used to, so our gaming opportunites have become less frequent, although we do still play as often as we can. Maybe it is the combination of less time and less space that has made me think about categorising my collection, and I don't worry so much about my games sitting idle, more that I am not exploring them in the depth they might deserve (does that make any sense?).

Perhaps it comes down to the classic breadth versus depth thing, whether one would prefer to play a single game 100 times or 100 games once. I am in the former camp and many of the games I own but haven't played are ones I fully expect to explore in the future - Blue Moon Legends and Android: Netrunner spring immediately to mind.

To give a specific example, we own and enjoy Puzzle Strike (Third Edition) and, although we've only played it 15 times thus far, I expect it to earn well over 100 plays. I've also been looking at Yomi and BattleCON: Devastation of Indines, but, although I would love to have them in my collection, I know that I have barely scratched the surface of the characters in Puzzle Strike, especially since I own the expansion box as well. Yomi could well serve a purpose, however, as a game to play on a plane (which we sorely need), in which case it fills a gap in the collection...and I know this just sounds like an excuse to get it

As for BattleCON - well, I doubt I'll ever explore it in the depth it deserves, especially as the instructions point out that it is a game to be played repeatedly in order to shine, so something else, probably Puzzle Strike, would have to go instead.

I know it's not for everyone, and certainly not needed by everybody, but it has stopped me from doing the aimless browing over the past few days, the lustful clicking on shiny new games. Also, over the past days we have returned to games unplayed for some time and really enjoyed them - heavens, we've yet to play Rallyman with the tyre and weather rules, and only digging it out the other day reminded me how much I enjoyed it and why I should play it more.

I'm not really a Jones Theory person - I like ice-cream, but why should I only have my favourite flavour? - so I'd like to have a selection within each category, and this seems to be working well for me, knowing that my games are fulfilling some kind of purpose.

As somebody who tends to ignore the Cult Of The New, I also enjoy that the shiny, shiny stuff gets road-testing by others, the dross filtered out before I get to decide whether I want to buy it or not. If I'm really lucky, a new edition fixes the problems of the first and maybe even gets cheaper (drum roll....Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends!). It's all about being happy in the hobby, and I accept that there are as many approaches as there are players (and games, probably). This is just my current way of doing things.
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Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:57 pm
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Is it too big?

Nick
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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I read an interesting thread recently which set me thinking about my own collection, given that I have many similar and conflicting thoughts. Is my collection too big? Is it too small? Will I ever get it played? Why on earth hasn't Tigris got to the table since 2012? Those kinds of thoughts.

As my brain was going round in circles, just for a change, I decided to set myself some kind of exercise, putting all my owned games into groups and then sorting them by genre or subset of that genre. I'll be the first to admit that I got creative and that some games were shifted around to fit in others (Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game could have been in "Solo" or "Deckbuilders", but eventually went under "Co-op"). I tried to get down to 15 or 16 categories with three games in each.

It was an interesting exercise, realising, for example, that I have many, many head to head card games, but that they do perhaps fill different niches. I did find out, though, that five abstracts were not about to go hiding in any other categories, so something is going to have to give. Also, Lost Cities looks to have been usurped by Jaipur in the "Light 2P Card Game" category, something I'd felt deep down anyway.

Once I had chosen the 48 games I was keeping, I sorted them in columns, most played on the left and least played on the right. In the interests of curbing spending, any new game is going to have to replace something in the rightmost (i.e. least played) column. So, for example, any new worker placement game would have to replace Dungeon Petz, and that's never going to happen, although if I could find one with a decent single player option it could tuck in as a "Solo" game and replace Murder in Greenrock Village Theatre.

Seeing my collection from this kind of perspective has been instructional, showing me just where it is bloated and where it is merely overweight. I was thinking of buying Paperback, for example, but am I really willing to let go of Core Worlds, or should that become a solo play with one of the BGG variants..? In terms of one-in-one-out it has been very useful to see it all laid out in front of me.

In terms of stopping me buying things it has also been good, although I have in any case stuck (nearly) like glue to my "no gaming purchases in 2015" resolution. I traded Harry Potter Trading Card Game for Capo Dei Capi ("Dice", rightmost column, since you ask), which isn't really a purchase, and that has been it for this year. I really do want to play what I have in depth...

...and I still have over 10 games unplayed. It is probably a small amount by some standard, but there are some potential crackers in there, and buying more while they languish unopened is not good financially and possibly worse mentally. I know that organising the collection is a kind of game for me anyway, but if this stops me looking at other games for the time being and playing what I have, then I view it as a good thing.
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Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:30 am
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