Hi. I've taken a temporary hiatus from being a full-time hobbyist as obligation and opportunity have taken me to the beautiful, yet gamer-bereft, islands the West Indies. I will not be able to participate in trades or sell my own games except during those few months of the year when I am back in the US: July 2 through August 23, 2012; then again from December 15, 2012, through February 17, 2013.
Here are some things I like to think about:
Since Dec. 2010, I have been logging game-plays only
if they are played on my own copy of the game. I do this so that at the end of the year I can calculate roughly of how much play-per-dollar each game has afforded me and my friends and family.
I am an omnigamer. I enjoy playing (and thinking about) games of many types. Lately I find myself attracted to traditional card games (Tarot, Schnapsen, Zheng Fen), 90s-era euros, and contemporary wargames. However, my all-time favorites are hybrids which manage to stretch across categories. If a game conveys a strong sense of authentic history, all the better. Whether play is centered around a map, board, or cards, I find games that model real-world process, say from biology, anthropology, or economics, or ones in which I get to build something, to be highly appealing.
Though my 'druthers are to have them integrated, if forced to make a choice I will usually favor game over simulation.
What else? I have no problems playing games in public. At least not those that can fit comfortably on a pub table. My sense is that, like people, there are many games that would benefit from a more compact material footprint.
In terms of theme and setting, power fantasies are not my thing. Though I do have a soft spot for clever kitsch and a penchant for the absurd, so-called "thematic games" are hit or miss for me, at best. If a game's setting is designed to make me feel as if I were a protagonist in a blockbuster Jerry Bruckheimer movie, chances are I will not like it.
Ultimately, historically-evocative settings are probably the biggest plus for me, as are any themes that promise to mesh well with their game’s key mechanisms. Having said that, it is not uncommon in my experience for a game to feature such a compelling strategic space to explore that the notion of its "theme" recedes almost entirely into the background. And that's just fine. "Pasted-on" is not the kiss of death in my book. What matters more is how cleanly
it's pasted and whether or not it provides a logical supporting metaphor for the game's core dynamics.
Thanks for having a looksee.
The image currently used for my avatar is from 16th c. illuminated manuscript Splendor Solis
, taken from the alchemy web site www.levity.com/alchemy
which is owned and operated by the Scottish artist and scholar Adam McClean. I recommend you to his patronage.