A bit about me and boardgames
I discovered real
boardgames in autumn of 2008. We were going away for a weekend with friends (3 couples in total) and I was charged with buying a game. I did some research on Amazon and found a game called Bohnanza that seemed to have universally positive comments. It proved to be a hit and later that week I stumbled on BGG when trying to found out more about the game.
Over the next couple of years my collection grew steadily. My beautiful girlfriend (now wife) proved to be a willing accomplice and so a large proportion of my acquisitions have been exclusively two-player fare. These include a lot of smaller card games (Battle Line, Jambo, Haggis etc...) that have seen a lot of table time. Much as I love these games, I will seize any chance to get "bigger" games to the table. My mum and dad are brilliant and they are usually up for a game of something.
In July 2012 we moved to Macclesfield and almost immediately found ourselves celebrating the arrival of our daughter, Jemima. As this also coincided with a new job I quickly found that my gaming time had all but disappeared.
In early 2013 I was contacted by local BGGer Chris
and we've since become great friends. We try to make time to play games as often as we can (once a week if we are doing well) and occasionally we manage to make up a three (with one of Chris' mates, Phil). Every now and then we get the girls involved too and enjoy some bigger game nights.My gaming tastes
I love brain-burners - agonising over tough decisions is really what I enjoy. In my opinion the best games are those in which I do that a lot. When choices seem obvious or the game requires me to do other stuff (like reading lots of text) I find myself losing interest.
I'm not too fussed about an engaging theme, although I recognise the value of this in "hooking" new players. For me gameplay is paramount and I can get a lot of enjoyment out of games that others might find a bit dry.
I like a good dose of randomness in my games. Quite apart from the fact that rolling dice is fun, a random element helps to mix things up and forces me to rethink my strategies (that is what I enjoy, after all). I also welcome the fact that randomness can help to negate some of the advantage that a more experienced player might benefit from. When I've played games with my family I have always been far more familiar with the rules and so I have won far more than my fair share which isn't very healthy.
I like games that have a narrative (which might seem to contradict my assertion that theme isn't so important, but what the heck). When a game has a sense of progress or the game state develops in such a way that the player is rewarded with a sense of achievement (irrespective of win/defeat) those are the games that I enjoy the most and that live longest in the memory.My favourite game
My favourite game is Commands & Colors: Ancients
. I have often sat down and asked myself whether it really is
that good (or whether I am just perpetuating this belief without this being the case) and I keep coming back to the conclusion that, yes, it is
I love the hand management. I spent a lot of time playing cards in my childhood and so that side of the game holds a great appeal.
I love the dice and praying for a good roll. I love the joy of a massive hit and, although its always agonising at the time, I also love the frustration of a total miss. Those swings of fortune are what help to create those moments that get remembered long after the game is back in the box.
I love the narrative (see comments above). I can clearly remember the events and actions in games that took place years ago and I really don't think I can say the same for any other game in my collection.
I love the history. This game has prompted me to buy books and find out more about the scenarios that I have enjoyed. I find it far easier to get immersed in a game that is based on actual events and this perhaps traces back to the fact that I have always tended to read a lot of non-fiction.
I love the pace. The action is just so fast and I always think it is incredible that the game can pack so much into just one hour of play. The only reason I tend to prefer longer games is that shorter games never seem able to offer the same depth of decision-making, but Ancients always seems to deliver that in spades.Solitaire boardgaming
I became hooked on solitaire boardgaming in Autumn 2013. I was developing an interest in wargames but my enthusiasm was being tempered by the realisation that I would never be able to play most of the games that were piquing my interest. They were just too long and too complicated so it would be unrealistic to expect anyone else to invest the time and energy required to learn them. It was then that I found D-Day at Omaha Beach
. The number 5 ranked wargame of all-time was exclusively solitaire? I had to check it out.
I have since found great enjoyment in solitaire gaming. It will never replace face-to-face gaming but, by the same token, I now think that the reverse is also true. I like being able to play what I want, when I want and I find it liberating to be able to spend as long as I like thinking through my turn. I'm lucky that I can leave games setup on our dining room table so I will often have one game on-the-go for several weeks. This is mainly down to the fact that my job is extremely demanding of my time.
I only have a small collection of solitaire games but they are on constant rotation as I feel that they all have plenty of depth to explore. My favourites include Thunderbolt Apache Leader
, Navajo Wars
I have got to the stage where I am starting to feel that my collection is too big. I have too many boxes of cardboard that are lying in a cupboard doing nothing and I dislike the fact that they sit there unloved (and taking up valuable space!).
As a consequence I am buying new games with less regularity and am trying to focus plays on games that I already own and love. In the coming months/years I expect to sell off more of my games in order to bring my collection down to a sensible size (which I think is probably around 50).My avatar
My avatar reflects one of my other great passions - and that is Maths! I will quite happily sit and solve maths problems on the beach, or on a plane (and have attracted quite a lot of funny looks as a result).
A couple of years ago I found a brilliant way to focus this interest and that is Project Euler (http://projecteuler.net
). According to the website itself:"Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve."
At the time of writing there are over 450 problems awaiting a solution of which I have solved just over 200. This makes me a Level 8 solver (25 problems must be solved in order to attain the next grade) and this puts me in the top 0.3% of participants. My avatar is the graphic that denotes the Level 8 award and I plan to update it when I eventually get to Level 9. These days new problems are being released faster than I can solve them and so my progress has slowed quite dramatically. Even so, every single problem has brought such a great sense of achievement that I know I'll always go back for more. Just as soon as I get the chance!My Top 10
A list of my all-time favourite games, selected from those that I own.My Hot 10
A list of games in my collection that I am currently keen to play (in no particular order).