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Lamentations of the Folk Poseur

I've written about folk games. Traditional games, whatever. How I long for an active tradition, a living, organic culture of play, with everyone knowing and playing the same games. I like the idea of Whist drives. I don't think that's crazy. And why is it that only the senior centers around here have shuffle boards?

I've also made clear my increasing disgust with Big Ludo (Big Ludo doesn't sound menacing enough, does it?). How can a thousand new games be released every year and so very few of them matter at all?

Wouldn't we all be better off figuring out how to have fun with a plank of wood and a ball of twine?

I've expressed my desire for deeper repeated plays of the same games.

I already have games that I love, that I'd be happy to play repeatedly.

Yet, in my own home, I'm constantly introducing new games instead of playing the old ones. I'm the source of the churn. I'm the reason that the same games don't get played repeatedly.

Outside of my home, there is no folk gaming community.

There is the public game group that I created a few years ago.

They have resumed meeting in public without me, which has my blessing. I haven't gone back to the group. Not because I'm overly cautious about small public activities. It's because I've lost all interest and motivation to play the compromise game. I no longer feel compelled to be the one holding a community together by playing the least offensive euro game that we can all agree on. I'm glad that the community continues to exist without me. Seriously, that's the best thing I could have hoped for.

I've been satisfied with gaming at home.

I was satisfied with the (not-quite-)weekly Wednesday night 3p gaming.

2p gaming with Ben should resume, but we've had some scheduling conflicts.

It's not even that I don't want public gaming any longer.

It's that I want public gaming that is centered on repeated play of the same game. Or maybe the same handful of games.

I'm still tempted to start a local chapter of the U.S. Go Association. It has been too long since I've played Go, which means that it has been too long since I've lost at Go, which is something I greatly enjoy.

I wouldn't mind going to a local Sheepshead night. Of course nothing like that exists around here for a thousand miles.

Surprisingly, there is a local Bridge club. I respect Bridge, but it doesn't appeal to me at all.

There used to be a Chess club in the area. I knew a couple of people in the club, but never made it out to any meetings because it conflicted with my work schedule at the time. They don't meet any more. I do know that there are scattered pockets of Chess players around.

I've been invited to poker nights in the past and declined. I'm at the point now where a regular poker game with a small handful of friends sounds much better to me than it ever did.

Really, I want limits imposed on me from outside of myself. We are all spoiled for choice. Then again...

When I'm faced with a poker night, the game of choice for real people I know and like in my community, my response is, "nah, I'd rather play coiffeur-jass", a game that even if there were two Swiss people anywhere in my county, would still be shrugged off as an idiosyncratic choice when the Swiss want to be playing Schieber.

I've played and rated 850+ games since being on BGG. Isn't that weird?

I know that others here have played that many and much more. Again, isn't that weird?

Maybe it's not weird. I've read hundreds of new books and countless essays/articles/blog posts in the same time while only re-reading a handful of favorites.

I say I want to re-read more. I say I should re-read more. With a few exceptions, I rarely do it.

Maybe I think it's normal to want to experience everything. What is abnormal about our current situation is that "everything" is available to be experienced all the time, everything pressing in on everyone. Or at least the promise of everything.

This is the internet. Everything now.

I'm deliberately not on Facebook. I don't check news sites. I try to stay away from the Cult of the Now (very much related to our hobby's Cult of the New).

Yet.

BGG notifications give us a hit of "news", that update that something new exists in the world that requires our attention. Requires? I don't know. Why else do I click on that red circle so many times each day?

I'm here on BGG. I'm not so sure that BGG is good for me or anyone. I'm very much aware that I'm using BGG to broadcast this message to the handful of friendly fellow-users that I enjoy interacting with here. Is my discontent with BGG unusual? Have you all found the balance in use that I just can't find? Is it not a thing that bothers you at all?

I submit this post to the world, causing the notifications of a few others to increase. Instead of doing something better, I'll refresh BGG throughout the day, looking for my own notifications to increase, feeling a little bit sick about it. I'll read something new, then move on to the next something new. Dis-eased.

This rambling post was inspired by reading a paragraph in Wes Jackson's Becoming Native to This Place.

"A necessary part of our intelligence is on the line as the oral tradition becomes less and less important. There was a time throughout our land when it was common for stories to be told and retold, a most valuable exercise, for the story retold is the story reexamined over and over again at different levels of intellectual and emotional growth. Huck Finn read at the fifth-grade level is different from Huck Finn read in high school or college or as a young parent or grandparent. That is true with almost any story. But "news" as displayed on television appears once only, unlike the story in the oral tradition with its many levels of meaning."

I started writing something else, deleted it, and the above is what spewed forth. This post originally started with the following sentence:
It was probably when I got rid of Buddel-Wuddel.

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Thu Oct 21, 2021 12:14 pm
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In the Year 2121 - What Survives?

BGG Top Ten June 2006
1 Puerto Rico ($54.95)
2 Caylus (currently out of print)
3 Euphrat & Tigris (currently out of print)
4 Power Grid ($49.95)
5 Princes of Florence (currently out of print)
6 El Grande (currently out of print)
7 Ra (currently out of print)
8 Die Macher (currently out of print)
9 Age of Steam ($89.99)
10 Wallenstein (currently out of print)

7 out of those 10 are currently out of print. AoS is available from Eagle, but probably only because they printed too many copies and there wasn’t enough demand, otherwise it would be out of print right now as well. Puerto Rico and Power Grid have been surprisingly popular, proving their longevity even if I personally don’t love either one of them. From this list, I think that they are the only ones that have been in print with no lapses for nearly a couple decades now. The rest have received occasional reprints, but have not stayed in print (I think that El Grande has maybe been in print throughout the years in Germany, but it’s been off and on in the States).

Let’s remember that hobby culture is ephemeral. No one outside our hobby cares about these games, which isn’t too surprising considering that relatively few within the hobby care about these games. And even if you care about these games from 15 years ago, do you care about the ‘hot’ games from 15 years before that, 1991? How about 1976? 1961? How much do you know about the gaming cultures of 1921?

15 years from now, will Gloomhaven, Pandemic Legacy, Brass: Birmingham, Terraforming Mars, etc still be the darlings of hobby gamers? We know that they will not. And even if I’d rather play any of the 2006 games over any of the 2021 Top Ten games, I don’t think that it’s a terrible thing that these 2006 games are mostly forgotten. The popular games that appeal to a broad audience will continue to be played. The ‘hobby’ games that this site champions will continue to be cycled through, mostly disposable. What games from the past 30 years will really survive and be played 100 years from now? I don’t expect to be around to find out, but chances are very good that most of the games that you and I love from the past 30 years will be forgotten. Just like you and I will likely be forgotten. So it goes.

I didn’t mean to write about any of this. This post was supposed to be about how much it would cost to buy every game in the BGG Top 10 right now at retail prices.

BGG Top 10 March 2021
1 Gloomhaven $140.00
2 Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 $69.99
3 Brass: Birmingham $69.99
4 Terraforming Mars $69.95
5 Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition $149.95
6 Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization $69.99
7 Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion $49.99
8 Gaia Project $99.99
9 Star Wars: Rebellion $99.95
10 Twilight Struggle $65

I was talking to a friend about the world of hobby gaming. He couldn’t believe that these were the most popular games among self-described gamers (it probably didn’t help that he was forming his opinions off of my descriptions of these games, and I’m hardly unbiased in my disgust at the bloat that my fellow gamers seem to love). Anyhow, to purchase all of these games, to get your ‘starter kit’ of the 10 most popular games according to those who ought to know, you’d be spending $884.80. That’s not to mention the Hotness. Our new-to-hobby-gaming enthusiast may want to also pick up whatever the Top 10 Hot games are to join in on the conversation of what is happening Right Now. That’s another $500+. Sure, sure, online discounts. Let’s say an even $1000.00 to get up-to-date with the “best” of what’s happening right now.

These are all fine games, sure, as good as the best of 1991 or 1976.

They will be forgotten.

You know what will still be played in 100 years? Haggis and Plus-Minus Jass and Hearts. Because my grandkids will have a cheap deck of cards and some freely available rules.

And so begins the campaign for Haggis and Plus-Minus Jass and Hearts to be included in the 2121 BGG Top 10. This is the long game, folks. Join me and we can change the future.
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Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:10 pm
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Oh, Boxes.

Queen Games seems to be one of the worst offenders when it comes to oversized board game boxes.

Here's the Res Publica box:
From gallery of trawlerman


Here it is open with the entirety of its contents minus the insert:
From gallery of trawlerman


Here it is housing 5 other Knizia games:
From gallery of trawlerman


Desperados
Gold Digger
Loot
Schotten Totten
Age of War

There's still room to spare!
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Fri Jun 7, 2019 2:03 pm
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