I am currently riding the Amtrack between Philidelphia and Lancaster. The ride is pleasant enough but each time I travel to the WBC I am reminded how much of a pain it is to get there and this time is no different; I suspect it will be another few years before I visit the convention again. This is not to say the convention is not enjoyable. It is. But the travel annoyances are such that I would generally prefer to visit conventions that do not require as much for my attendance. I suspect that the next US-based convention I visit besides BGG.Con will be Gen Con, to see if the board gaming situation has improved since I last visited.
On the bright side I will be seeing friends both old and new very soon. In addition to Kurt and John, both of whom I have gamed with at least a handful of times before, I will also spend a few days enjoying the company of Geof Gambill, host of the Long View podcast. There has been some discussion of us recording an episode on site, but we will see what happens.
Speaking of The Long View, a previously recorded episode on which I was present as a guest, for the game Brass, was released this week. You can check it out over at www.2d6.org. It was definitely fun recording the episode and between this and my recent guest stint on Wooden Cubes. I am starting to both feel comfortable with the format and appreciate it. In addition to these two podcasts I also have been listening to the Dice Tower (due to its reach) and Ludology (because I enjoy some of their topics). The Long View is definitely my favorite though. If you like podcasts at all I highly recommend checking it out.
I still do not see myself changing my opinion about the general utility of video reviews. While I admit that they are useful for those who want a rules explanation that is not something that generally interests me. As you may have guessed, I prefer slightly more in-depth fare that is difficult to get across in video regardless of the commentators intent. The fact that I do most of my Internet consumption in situations where video is not appropriate only deepens my disinterest. For those of you out there who do appreciate the commentary that video supplies, what is the appeal? Is there something I am missing?
Anyway, my train is getting close to the station so I must bid you farewell. As you might imagine there will be no article this week. Hopefully I will be able to return with a fun convention report. Have a good week!
Wherein I Discuss Those Games Described As Gamer's Games
Archive for The Long View
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As promised, the first of what will hopefully be many “the Long View” spots where I am a guest has been posted over at www.2d6.org. It is a three person episode on Mage Knight the Board Game with the main host, Geof Gambill, and CGE friend Paul Grogan. There is also a little bit of a scoop about the Mage Knight the Board Game expansion, which was fun and that I found to be quite promising. I am quite looking forward to seeing what Vlaada and the rest of the team have waiting for us. It was also interesting to hear my recorded voice for the first time, as I am used to only really hearing it emerge from my mouth, where it is too easy for me to ignore “how” I actually say things. We should be recording an episode on Brass next week, and I will be sure to let everyone know when that one is up as well.
Talking about Mage Knight got me into the mood to play again so Wednesday before the others showed up for Hegemonic, Mike and I played a two player game of Mage Knight. It did not disappoint, and this continued play of it has done nothing but further my esteem for the game. Most of my plays of it end up being two player these days; it is my most frequent two player game when we have to wait a couple of hours for everyone else to arrive, but I am okay with that. It provides far more fulfilling of an experience than playing a bunch of shorter games would, and I think I actually prefer it as a two-player game to some of the card-driven war games I enjoy, though I admit that preference is not overwhelming.
With 36 current plays, it is on a fairly varied list of longer games that I have played extensively, joining Agricola (107 plays), Arkham Horror (62 plays), Twilight Struggle (46 plays), Age of Steam (44 plays), Brass (41 plays), Le Havre (41 plays), Tigris & Euphrates (34 plays), Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (33 plays), Ora et Labora (28 plays), Caylus (25 plays), Puerto Rico (25 plays), Troyes (24 plays), Dominant Species (23 plays), Indonesia (21 plays), and Merchant of Venus (20 plays).
Mage Knight and Ora et Labora have both been played extensively during the last year, but they have only been out during this time period, so my concentration of plays is understandable. Beyond this, Troyes has received the most plays in the last year (with 10). Caylus (8 plays), Agricola (7 plays), Merchant of Venus (6 plays), Dominant Species (5 plays), and Indonesia (4 plays) have both received a reasonable amount of play, but Arkham Horror, Twilight Struggle, Age of Steam, Brass, Le Havre, Tigris & Euphrates, Through the Ages, Puerto Rico, have all received much less. Why is that?
Some of these games were no longer played due to my girlfriend losing interest in board games. Even with all of its expansions I did not feel that I had that much more to learn or explore with Arkham Horror, and with Minerva’s declining interest in board games (this had been her favorite game at various points), I was just not that interested in playing it anymore. Twilight Struggle suffered a similar fate, due to Minerva having been my most frequent opponent previously, but I ended up keeping it because I had not reached the point where I felt where I was “done” with the game, so it has remained. We will see if it ends up surviving the arrival of 1989, however, as these two games have a definite level of similarity.
Others suffered due to me reaching the point where I felt I no longer had much left to explore. Brass, Tigris & Euphrates, Through the Ages, and Puerto Rico all reached this point. Brass, T&E, and Puerto Rico were all aided in this finality due to digital versions of the game; I played a lot of on-line games of Brass and T&E, and I played the Excel version of Puerto Rico at least a hundred times. My experience with these games is one of the main reasons I am no longer interested in on-line board gaming. I do not want to wear out interest in a board game before the locals do, and similarly I do not want to get so far ahead on the learning curve that it is no longer enjoyable for any of those involved to play the game.
Le Havre passed out of my collection for two reasons. The first was simply that nobody beyond me really liked the game all that much. I had one final hope that that would change in the Fall with some new players in my group, but their dislike of the game, and the emergence of Ora et Labora as a superior alternative, was enough to seal its fate.
Age of Steam remains a favorite and yet also remains infrequently played. I don’t have a good reason why this is the case. It may partially be simply due to my shifting tastes. My interest in train games has declined, after a period of intense interest, and I think it may also be partially be an organizational issue. I do not have a strong interest in playing on the regular Age of Steam map anymore, but it is such a pain to bring the game with me to the weekly game night at Coolstuff Games, that I frequently end up leaving it at home. It may also be simply due to changes in group composition. Only one of the people that I frequently played Age of Steam with still comes to games nights, so we tend to play games that are more familiar to the newer people.
I hope that there will not be a similar decline will happen with Mage Knight the Boardgame, but I admit that there is a strong potential. The learning curve for this game, while quite delicious, is also steep, and I would not be surprised if new regulars or semi-regulars are disinterested in climbing the hill. Similarly, experience differentials may be a problem. I am lucky in that most of the other players are fine with playing the game with me even though I win the vast majority of the time (though recently games have been getting tighter, and thus a lot more fun), but that is not necessarily going to be true forever or with everybody. I do think its success in that area has been in part due to how enjoyable the game can be even if you are not able to win. The challenges available are quite entertaining even if you lose.
The Voice of Experience Contest
The Voice of Experience contest is over and for the sake of disclosure, and the fact that I want to encourage you to check them out, I put together a list of what I personally rated as my Top 10 reviews:
1. archivists – [Voice of Experience] Uwe Rosenberg's Agricola: A game of strife and violence?
2. Alex Brown – [Voice of Experience] Yomi
3. leroy43 – [Roger's Reviews] 1989: Looking for Freedom
4. ludovicomartinengo – [Voice of Experience] Here I Strategize
5. sgosaric - [Voice of Experience] Performative Co-op VS. Immersive Co-op, Comparison review of Pandemic and Arkham Horror
6. MrShep – [Voice of Experience] You always remember your first time...
7. huber – [Voice of Experience] 5538 Words About 1846
8. thepackrat – Age of Steam: what, where from, and why you should try it!
9. MisterG - MisterG's Review of Judge Dredd
10. touchstonethefool – [Voice of Experience] Sufficiently Different: Musings on Eminent Domain
I would also like to note my #11:
[Voice of Experience] Space Hulk: The Game, The Legend, The Legacy
I do not consider it to be an extremely strong review of the game, more of an overview, but it is such a comprehensive overview of a genre that I think that people who are looking for an excellent article, even if you are only a little bit interested in said genre, should check it out. I definitely felt that it was extremely informative, and learned quite a bit from it.
In hindsight I should have given better ratings to reviews in the US, in order to reduce the shipping costs for the prizes I am distributing.
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G. Gambill(ggambill)United States
Shawnee on Delaware
PennsylvaniaQuote:I was not involved in the first episode, which is on Thunderstone, but Geoff has kindly asked me to co-host future episodes, and I have every intention of being actively involved in the podcast. The current plan is to have the next episode be on Mage Knight the Board Game, which I have played an obscene number of times, but future episodes are currently being discussed.
The Long View is a podcast that is designed to provide a critical and in depth look at a specific game each episode. The games we feature in our discussions will be more than just a few months old! Many will have been released in the past one to three years. New enough to not be old, but not old enough to have already been designated as classic or clunker.
There are a myriad of fine podcasts and reviewers that do an admirable job of giving a first look at new games that arrive on the scene. It is the hope of the host and guests that this podcast will answer the call for more critical and long term analysis of the games we all love to play. Therefore, the contributors to the podcast will be people who have a considerable amount of time and experience with the game being discussed in each episode. Through a question and answer format, and an open, unscripted dialogue, it is our hope that this podcast will offer something new and unique for listeners.
Our plan is to release one to two episodes per month. We hope you enjoy the podcast! Please post your questions, comments or feedback here on 2d6.org, our generous hosts, or join our guild on BoardGameGeek.com. Thanks for listening to The Long View!
I am pretty excited about this project and I think it has a lot of potential. Hopefully some of you will tune in!
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