Kevin L. KitchensUnited States
The annual webathon/auction for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund has kicked off and the auction items are already starting to flow. Bids on the first 100 or so items have already put the pledges over $7200.
Great start BGG!Quote:What is the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund?
One tragic event and two acts of generosity brought the BGG community together: the result was the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. In January 2011, Cate Pfeifer (Cate108) posted an auction for Tom Vasel and his family to help with the financial hardship related to the unfortunate loss of his son, Jack. The generosity of the BGG community was amazing. Tom was touched and wanted to pay the kindness forward so he created the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. He used some of the money that BGGers donated and spent to build this fund. The fund is a not-for-profit with a simple goal: raising and distributing funds to help gamers in their hour of need.
The Auction Geeklist is here along with all the rules and terms: The Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction - 2015 - CLOSED! Time to Pay and Ship!
This blog has already put one item in the mix and hope to add a few more before it's all said and done.
I'm offering counter clipping service for up to 1000 counters using the excellent Oregon Laminations 2.5mm Corner Rounder. If you're interested in placing a bid on this item for the JVMF or just following along, that item is #120 and can be found here: Ones Upon a Game Offers: Counter Clipping!
I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame
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Whoever the PR flack is for Pirates sure whitewashed history over the years for them to be so beloved these days. From Jack Sparrow to board games to deep fried batter dipped fish (mmmmmmmmmmmmm...fried fish!) pirates these days are depicted not as the murdering criminals they actually were but as wily little scoundrels with a heart of gold. They're only shown as truly treacherous if there are the aforementioned "good" pirates around to give them their comeuppance.
Which brings us to today... the International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Krispy Kreme (mmmmmmmmmmmm...donuts!) is even giving away free donuts to anyone who talks or dresses like a pirate (http://www.krispykreme.com/pirate).
So in honor of this day of revisionist history, this photo is about as close as I'll get to taking part.
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Despite all the benefits of solitaire gaming, it's certainly not without its problems. Problems that are unique to most solo gamers and especially those of us for which gaming alone is nearly 100% of the experience. Don't get me wrong, this is not a complaint in any way, shape, or form. Just an observation.
Inspired by this discussion on the 1 Player guild, "Fighting the funk", I decided to proceed with this post that I'd been "cooking" for some time.
First off, with respect the to the title. Gaming is social, games need not be. A lot of people malign the solo gamer because for them, games are "a social activity." But they have this wrong. Gaming is the social activity, playing the actual game doesn't have to be. It can be and certainly is for some party-type games that require a large number of people to even be played. But the game is just the catalyst to bring people together. The social interaction is the thing being sought after.
For the solo gamer, the social interaction is still there. We use BGG and other sites and social media platforms to establish a connection with other people, who, like us, normally play alone. This isn't in most cases some pathetic "40 year old guy still living in his parent's basement" stereotypical lifeline to humanity. It's just a venue to share and discuss. Through forums, guilds, Twitter, Reddit and more, we can "test for echo" and see that there are other people out there with the same aligned interests. We can share our plays, our wins, our losses, our questions, our opinions. And let's face it, for the most part all gamers use this same avenue for discussion. Game night is for playing not a Roman forum.
So while we will not or cannot get together with other people to play a game... most of the time it's by choice or lifestyle situation.
And that's fine.
But again, there are still problems that non-Solo gamers don't have.
1. To maintain that connection, we probably share a little more than others online. The 1-Player Guild has a monthly Solitaire Games on Your Table Geeklist (Subscribe here: Solitaire Games on Your Table Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD) where many share what they are currently playing along with mini reviews and results. It's a dangerous list to follow as it makes you want to acquire more games.
2. Acquiring more games. In a regular game group, only one member needs to own a game. Jane buys a copy of this one, Dick buys a copy of that one, Spot runs away with the dice, etc... When together they can share their copies and experience the game. If a solo player wants to play it, they have to buy a copy (unless you live in one of those rare places you can borrow a game). Take note game publishers. You sell more copies with a solo game, just by improving the ratio of games to buyers.
But we don't stop at games designed to be played solo. We will play two player games (mainly wargames in this regard) and play both sides. We'll also play co-op games, taking on multiple roles. And then unsated as we are, we seek out: solo variants (dum dum dah!) of which there are many great ones that keep to the spirit of the core game and some that take the components and make a whole new game -- is Patience Solitaire REALLY a variant of Poker???
Regardless, this can lead to an overwhelming collection of games. And I literally mean overwhelming. Doesn't matter the number of games, it can be small or large. But if it's more than you can possibly hope to play in a reasonable amount of time, it can be a problem. Studies have been done that show too many choices lead to difficulty making decisions (Survey Choices – How Much is Too Much?). We see it in many games with analysis paralysis. Fewer choices make the decision process easier and less guilt ridden.
3. Guilt. Why do I own so many games? I'll never play them all enough. I'm currently playing a great game called Stonewall's Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain and I'm just about finished the last turn. It's a chit-pull game, so while I am playing both sides, it's not hard to manage as a solo player (Designers take note: Chit pulls are AWESOME). However, it's going on two weeks now on my table. Three weekends. It's fun, but as I'm surrounded by the many other games I want to play/try. I feel this pressure to finish this one, box it up, and get to something else. And then I feel I'm betraying the current experience. But my time is limited and I want to give proper attention to all the other stuff I like too.
And then I get so frustrated. Insert head explosion here.
Fortunately for the "Funk" post above, I realize it's not just me. And it's cyclical in nature. Again the social aspect of solitaire gaming has paid off.
I'm not alone.
Neither are you.
The end result of all this though, for me, is going to be a dedicated attempt to not acquire anything new (or used, close THAT loophole!) for awhile. Some preorders are still on the way, so it's not like I won't be getting anything "new" per se. But really, when is enough enough?
A collection thinning is probably due as well. But I'll procrastinate about that later. Now I've got to choose: Churchill? Zombicide? Thunder Alley? Star Wars: Imperial Assault?
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I had not heard of Alien Uprising during the Kickstarter phase, but when it was released it immediately seemed like the kind of game that was up my alley. Sci-Fi, minis, combat... hurray! Then this Video Review by BoardGameBrawl totally put the fire out.
But there was still a smoldering ember and then this review: The Purge: # 411 Alien Uprising: Castle Panic mixed with Starship Troopers and more rules stoked it back into a flame...
So I managed to pick it up in a BGG Auction with all the Kickstarter bits and could not wait for it to come in and get on the table.
So it did and I did and then started to read the "rulebook". The book should be titled "Random Thoughts and Disjointed Bulletpoints Concerning the Alien Uprising Board Game". It's a mess.
A mess supposedly "fixed" by the "living FAQ". This FAQ is simply even more bulletpoints and notes about the game that one is expected to mentally intertwine with the rulebook in order to play the game correctly.
I'm a little shocked about the lack of love this game has been getting from the community. It's not really a bad game in and of itself (assuming of course that I'm actually playing it correctly). There is a lot of waste to the game though (the minis are superfluous and add nothing to the experience, more about that in a final review). But on the whole, it's about a ship and crew in distress, the incoming waves of alien critters and the balance between fighting them off and getting the ship repaired. Not a bad theme and not a bad implementation.
However how the player is to learn how they interact with the implementation needs a lot of work. I want to play games by the rules. If a rule is stupid or doesn't work, I'm not against house ruling some changes as needed. But in general I want to experience play as intended before I make those decisions. I've had this on the table about a week, been through several turns, but still don't have 100% confidence that I'm doing everything right. Buried in the FAQ and Rules are some unobvious rule exceptions worthy of Advanced Squad Leader.
Back to the love... normally a game at this stage would have many more file uploads from the community. Learning curve reductions, cheat sheets, etc. This one has three files (two from the designers, one from the community). Has the complexity of the rules just kept people away? The Kickstarter had 977 backers, 920 of which were for more than the token $1 support. Of those 920 are there so few on BGG?
Perhaps they are all just super smart and understand the game and how to play it far better than I do? Perhaps I'm just dense?
What Alien Uprising needs is to have the rulebook rewritten, including the clarifications from the FAQ. Yes, it's a time consuming process to create clear rules, but if this is a labor of love for the designers, you'd think they'd want their game to be more than a flash in the pan faded into obscurity. And that's where this one is headed it would seem.
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