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Greg Pettit must enjoy talking about meta topics on my podcast as much as I do. After helping me on my shows about game themes (for grown-ups or otherwise!), he told me he'd been thinking about the value of a boardgame. Not boardgaming, the entire hobby, but an individual title. And not in a strictly dollars & cents way, but more of a holistic, personal value of an individual game. Ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? It might be good background for Greg's thoughts in this episode.
We start off with the usual--but false--comparison of the cost of a boardgame compared to "dinner & a movie." If you've been in the hobby for long, no doubt you've come across this one. However, that comparison breaks down quickly, to the point where it's only importance may be as a rationalization (to your spouse?) for buying more games! No, when thinking about the value of an individual game, our thoughts quickly converged on the time we spent playing the game, and the quality of that time. It's not simply a matter of multiplying game length x number of plays to get some total number of hours. It's not as mechanical or clinical as that. From there Greg is able to point out the value a game can have regardless of the number of plays you have of it...or that game has in it.
Just as much fun as the zen-like discussions about game values are every gamer's personal stories about games that mean something special to them. That's because we came to the conclusion that a game's value is multi-dimensional, sometimes difficult to describe, and very often personal to the gamer. Maybe it relates to a particular game experience playing it with friends, a theme that resonates so strongly, or even the effort it took to acquire the game in the first place.
My only regret about this episode are some of my opening words, where I praise Greg for helping me get these podcasts out with more regularity. Since I haven't really done that, it makes it sound like Greg bears some responsibility for that. Of course that isn't true! This episode was actually recorded three months ago, and it's for my own reasons that I didn't post it until now. Why I do this to myself and my friends is a podcast for another time.
Mark Johnson's occasional and opinionated podcast, Boardgames To Go, now has its own blog on Boardgamegeek.
- [+] Dice rolls