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Solitary Soundings

Musings of a solitary gamer. "The advantage of conversation is such that, for want of company, a man had better talk to a post than let his thoughts lie smoking and smothering." (Jeremy Collier) Comments welcome.

Archive for Patrick Carroll

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Why My Big Interest in Games?

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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Many times, in this blog and elsewhere, I've pondered on why I play games solitaire or why I play certain kinds of games. But let's step back a bit further: Why do I play games at all?
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Thu Jun 2, 2016 6:11 pm
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What Actually Gets Played

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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Unless this is the first of my posts you've ever read, you know I ruminate about games a lot more than I play them. Because of that, I get stuck in a loop where I'm always asking myself what my favorite games are. My hope is that I'll come to a firm conclusion in my mind, and then I'll start playing what I've decided are my favorites.

Originally that was supposed to have been a big time saver: it'd keep me from having to sample lots of games, discarding 80 percent of them. If I could simply identify the top 20 percent by mulling over my preferences, I could avoid all that trial and error. But of course it was a misguided notion. Without much actual experience to draw upon, my mind was always busy with something mostly insubstantial. Then, if I did get around to playing a game, I'd think, Whoa! This isn't much like what I what I'd imagined. That would set me back to square one, where I'd begin revising my list of potential favorites.

So, today I'm going to blog about what games I've actually played and am actually playing.
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Thu May 26, 2016 9:04 pm
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A Big (if Potentially Short-Lived) Change of Pace

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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Over in my VGG blog, I got this insightful reply to one of my posts:
Luke's Comment

As far as I can tell, Luke is right on the money, and he clued me in on one of my blind spots. For most of my life I've claimed to be very noncompetitive. Even in my 1985 article for the Avalon Hill General, I wrote that I'm much more a Dreamer than a Competitor. But actually, it would seem I'm a competitor who's just not that sharp, who's shy about contacting opponents, and who's easily distracted from the game's objective by the story, by table talk, or even by a stray thought.
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Fri May 20, 2016 9:56 pm
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Board-Game Irritations

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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I've been trying to get a board game back on the table lately, just to play solo. Seems it's been too long, and video games have become my default. I want to find out if board games still have something of value for me.

However, every time I set up a game--or just pull one off the shelf and think about setting it up--some irritating little stumbling block pops up.
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Wed May 18, 2016 5:04 pm
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A persona che mai tornasse al mondo

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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Looks like I drafted the following blog post last November but never published it. It probably would've been my shortest, and it reflects some of my gloomy feelings about this lifelong hobby. Now it seems like a good springboard for what I want to say today.

Quote:
And All Turn to Dust Again

Wish I hadn't spent so much of my life on board games. I could have done so much more.

Yet, every time I see a picture of a favorite old game, or hear the name of one, my heart leaps for joy.

If you offered to play one, though, I'd politely decline. Too much bother for too little payoff.

I have a wargame set up now, but I need to dust it off and put it away. I haven't touched it in months.

I've been too busy playing computer games--mindlessly, just fiddling around with them until I'm too tired and need to go to bed.

But a few minutes ago I saw some pictures of old Avalon Hill games, and I wanted to buy them all. Guess I really just want to go back to when they were new and I was too.

I need to clean out my closet and sell all the games I'm storing there.


Well, it's true that I don't play games nearly as often as I did in my youth, and that I've turned mainly to solitaire. I also own more games than I'm likely to ever play. And computer games are a constant distraction from board games, if only because the former are so much more convenient (especially solo). Yet, my enthusiasm for gaming seems to still be more a flame than just a dying ember.
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Fri May 13, 2016 10:20 pm
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When Even BGG Dries Up

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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I seem to have passed through a gateway into a whole new phase of life. Maybe it was partly the result of my "Turning-Point Project" (mentioned a few times earlier in this blog). For at least several months now, my enthusiasm for gaming--and even BGG and blogging here--has been dry as a bone.

I was waiting for a spring shower to revive me, but spring has given way to summer, and the drought goes on.
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Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:58 pm
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Learning Games versus Playing Them

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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I just replied to yet another thread about how to play wargames by oneself. The OP said he was new to it and asked how veteran wargamers do it. And of course the difference between playing both sides and playing against an AI came up. Fans of each method have so far expressed their views.
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Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:29 pm
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The Confederate Flag

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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This will probably devolve into an editorial, but really I'm just trying to put my thoughts together as usual. What prompts these particular thoughts is the recent shooting in Charleston, SC, and the current to-do over the Confederate flag flying there. A vague tie-in to gaming is that sitting on the table next to me is A House Divided, in which half of the control markers show the Confederate flag.
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Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:26 pm
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I'd Better Watch My Six!

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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In this old blog post, I tried to tie gaming preferences in with the enneagram. At the time I wrote it, I had recently "realized" that my enneagram type might be One rather than Nine. Now I'm beginning to be pretty sure it's actually Six.

I won't repeat the enneagram primer I included in that other blog post, so if you want that, click one of the links above. This time I'm just going to explore what it might mean to be a type Six gamer.
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Thu Jun 4, 2015 10:56 pm
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I Need to Stop Worshipping the Critics and Rein Myself In

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” (Vince Lombardi)
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Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a BGG thread where grognards were recommending wargames to a tenderfoot. And I caught myself reacting to a notice that something wonderful is about to happen with Band of Brothers on Kickstarter. I thought, Oh, man--I gotta get in on that!
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Sun May 24, 2015 10:16 pm
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