Wargamer and strategy gamer. Board and miniatures. It all began in 1978 with the buying of Napoleon's Last Battles from SPI which was translated in Dutch for the Belgian market.
Historical wargames have so much more to offer than normal boardgames. Ever wanted to read about economics after a game of Monopoly or Catan? Of course not. But no new wargame passes on my table without the urge to read about the battles being simulated.
Then came ... the Eurogames back in 1995... Games that were made on mechanics with mostly a theme attached to it as an after thought. The kind of Monopoly but with better and even more competitive tools.
Mostly I don't like them because I think life is too short to waste time on playing hollow win mechanics. What if you devoted all your free time to Poker or Agricola? Would it be great to look back on your death bed and see you committed your lost time to ... playing Catan or Diablo 3 ?
I think a game has to offer at least a kind of dream or a theme to get into where you experience something more than placing a cube to ... win or just get the next gear that last a few seconds ...
These days it is clear to me that THEME is more important than mechanics to win. And the best games have both: the dream and the challenge within the theme.
This goes in cycles really. I came (back) to board (war)gaming in 1978, 1987, 2004, and in 2014 again, although I never left completely I just didn't play boardgames in hardcore mode in between.
So the evolution was bright in the last couple of years. We have very good THEMATIC games, but they are no longer pure wargames. Fantasy Flight is an incredible games machinery. Love to play these "adventure" games too.
GMT actually surpassed the old SPI and Avalon Hill games of those earlier days. Sleeker, more polished, more varied, quality products.
Instead of wargames I call these games CONSIMS though. Games about Conflicts: whether that be historical military themes or geo political.
In this respect Card driven ConSims saved the dated hex/counter wargames of the past. It is odd but the number one game in ALL categories on BGG is still not known by MANY board gamers as it is produced outside of Hasbro or Asmodee mass market circuits. Twilight Struggle is a ConSim and a very simple one on mechanics but actually it beats up so called wargames like Memoir44 in realism many times.
It will take time. Perhaps even more than another decade before people will be fed up with planting vegetables in a themeless game, but in the end Con Sims are the bread and butter for the next generation of gamers who want to go beyond Goose Chase or Monopoly.
In the end my slogan is very simply: "I don't play games to win, I play games to dream away".
Whether that be the 30 year old Ambush or the brand new XCom, Eldritch Horror or Labyrinth the war on Terror kind of games and expansions.
THEME these days is the big buzz in board gaming and I love it.