User Profile for Laeidz87
Adam Frandsen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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I'm a 25-year-old guy who loves gaming with a slightly dangerous passion. I prefer games that are extremely deep and full of strategic consideration, regardless of how complex the rulesets are. The most fascinating type of game to me is the 2-player, little-to-no-luck competitive game (combinatorials). These games are the most "pure" to me, because they are just one mind pitted against another, with no third party to appeal to.

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I tend to disagree with the common understanding of what "theme" is in games. When people denigrate "pasted-on themes," they often miss the presence of many great thematic elements in those games. To me, "theme" is not flavor text, artwork, or mechanisms that are less abstract. A game with real theme is one that successfully captures the emotions and decision-making processes of a specific role. A perfect example is Reiner Knizia's "Beowulf." The game consists of a series of auctions - so most people would say that the theme is pasted on. But the game evokes real feelings of epic adventure: you must constantly take risks and make seat-of-the-pants judgement calls in a system where nothing is exact or calculable. The literature itself is strongly represented in an emotionally weighty game arc that perfectly mirrors the rise and fall of the heroes, the ebb and flow of intense action punctuated by stretches of pseudo-leisure. The story arc and its consequences and emotional impacts are carefully crafted into the events in the game. But this treatment of theme is too subtle for many people's tastes, so games of this type are often misunderstood and underrated.

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It surprised me when I realized that Chess has become my favorite game. A few years ago that seemed impossible, because even though I really enjoyed Chess, much of the gaming community made me feel biased against it (it's a "dry, boring abstract"). But this game has enriched my existence by unlocking new universes of thought and perception for me; it has made me a more aware and contextual person, and has helped me to gather some profound insights about many things that are (seemingly) altogether unrelated to Chess. Those statements might sound absurd, but they're nevertheless true: many games like Chess have phenomenal gifts to give, for anyone who takes the time to seek them out.

It bothers me that games with such amazing potential for personal enrichment are instantly cast aside by so many gamers who've been conditioned to thoughtlessly adhere to popular gamer opinions (e.g., abstracts are "themeless," and therefore mostly worthless; most abstracts are "bad" because they have no luck to assist the weaker player; abstracts are nothing but a "puzzle" to be solved turn by turn; etc). Those opinions are not wrong, of course, but they should be arrived at through thorough, first-hand experience. Yet it seems to me that far too many people arrive at those conclusions (and many similar ones) almost automatically, due in no small part to popular gamer bias. To me, the aforementioned generalizations are not only inaccurate, but they miss the point of abstract gaming, they preclude open-mindedness, and they guarantee a lot of missed opportunities. It's an easy trap to fall into: even when you try to approach a game with an open mind, community-taught biases often shine through anyway, often without you even being conscious of them. And many people end up giving up on a game before they ever perceive its true character, usually because they're consciously or unconsciously bent on confirming their preconceived biases against it. Meanwhile, it's easy to miss (or outright ignore) much of the beauty and fascination that stares them right in the face--they can essentially miss the entire game! I know this happens, because I've been guilty of that several times in the past. Yet roughly half of my favorite games are those that I took the plunge with and stuck to, in spite of popular gamer sensibilities nagging at me and attempting to pull me hard in the opposite direction.

I'm not just talking about Chess and other abstracts, but any type of game. Gamers should build their own compasses, piece by painstaking piece, when it comes to identifying the true value of game elements. Don't let your preferences be steered passively by some generic community compass that likely propagates counterproductive bias. Always ask yourself why you hold a particular opinion or preference in gaming, and then challenge it! This goes for everything in life, not just gaming. When you alter your fundamental frame of reference, it's often worth it and then some.

One more awesome thing about Chess: it has made me a much more formidable gamer, almost regardless of the game being played. Whenever I play a new game these days, I can usually see it through various filters of Chess-like thought; and suddenly many of the game's secret pathways and nuances become naked and obvious before me. It's amazingly cool and rewarding, and it lends great depth to tactics and strategy. Thinking outside the box becomes common, and that is singularly fun and fascinating to me. So thank you, Chess!

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I stopped keeping a Top 10 games, because I could never decide what belonged there. My Hot 10 games are some of the unplayed games I'm most eager to try/explore/evaluate.

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P.S.: All games are abstract!

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P.P.S.: Games in the abstract genre are often extremely intriguing, satisfying, rewarding . . . and fun! They should be played WAY more often, by WAY more people (the Deity of Awesome Gaming told me so). So broaden your mind, call your senator, and make a plan to play an abstract game today!
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User Details for Laeidz87
Registration Date: 2012-05-24
Last Profile Update: 2016-01-06
Last Login: 2016-02-14
Country: flag United States
State: UT
Town/City: Salt Lake City
Website:
GeekMail: mail Send Private Message to Laeidz87
Collection Summary for Laeidz87
Board Game
Owned   171
Previously Owned   40
For Trade   21
Want In Trade   560
Want To Buy   171
Want To Play   541
Preordered   3
Wishlist   285
Commented   107
Has Parts   1
Want Parts   6
All   1064
Board Game Expansion
Owned   81
Previously Owned   4
For Trade   10
Want In Trade   135
Want To Buy   63
Want To Play   21
Preordered   0
Wishlist   51
Commented   29
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   259
Board Game Accessory
Owned   0
Previously Owned   1
For Trade   0
Want In Trade   5
Want To Buy   5
Want To Play   0
Preordered   0
Wishlist   5
Commented   0
Has Parts   0
Want Parts   0
All   6
Fandom
Board Game 42
Board Game Designer 9
Board Game Artist 6
Board Game Publisher 1
Board Game Family 12
Board Game Expansion 4
Board Game Compilation 1
Board Game Implementation 8
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Rating 3
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Trade Rating (16) Propose A Trade With This User
Ratings
Board Game Ratings 125
Average Rating 5.41
10 10   (8.0%)
9 7   (5.6%)
8 28   (22.4%)
7 17   (13.6%)
6 13   (10.4%)
5 9   (7.2%)
4 9   (7.2%)
3 5   (4.0%)
2 15   (12.0%)
1 12   (9.6%)
Board Game Expansion Ratings 14
Average Rating 8.27
10 5   (35.7%)
9 1   (7.1%)
8 8   (57.1%)
7 0   (0.0%)
6 0   (0.0%)
5 0   (0.0%)
4 0   (0.0%)
3 0   (0.0%)
2 0   (0.0%)
1 0   (0.0%)
Board Game Accessory Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
10 0   (0.0%)
9 0   (0.0%)
8 0   (0.0%)
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Top 10
Hot 10
#1: Samurai
#2: 7 Wonders: Duel
#3: Targi
#4: War of the Ring (second edition)
#5: Middle-Earth Quest
#6: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
#7: Beowulf: The Legend
#8: Mansions of Madness
#9: Earth Reborn
#10: King of New York
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