Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames
"Mark hates games."Mark JohnsonUnited States
CaliforniaThat's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!http://www.WargamesToGo.com
Is that true? No, but it's a comment I've heard secondhand more than once! Brian Murray is a great gamer I've met at SoCal Games Days, and through our shared friend Davebo. He's the one who hears me critique a game, or just be completely lukewarm on it, or pick it apart, and thinks that I just don't know how to relax and have a good time with boardgames. Or something like that. I'm probably putting words (the wrong words) in his mouth, but that quote above is 100% from Brian.
So it was time to have him on the podcast. Then his words can come out of his own mouth, and you all can decide what you think about it!
(We recorded this at Dave's house, sitting in his living room during a Sunday in July. Partway through the recording a raven squawks outside, and keeps going for a while. But he eventually stops. Nevermore! Perhaps a more serious concern about the audio is that all three of our voices sound pretty similar. Good luck with that.)
I've never been a Cult of the New guy, but Brian clearly is. Or, as he clarifies, he's a Cult of the New-to-Me guy. Lots of boardgamers are that way. Maybe that's you, too. Not me. I'd much rather play an old favorite. Despite that, I still play a lot of new games. And no matter what Brian says, I love some of them. Lots more are perfectly fine, just ok, but nothing more. I'd probably rate them a 6 on BGG and have no need to play them again. Brian is more likely to enjoy the experience of playing a new game just for its own sake. The excitement of seeing something new, how it's produced, the way it plays, new rules, and all the rest.
The conversation inevitably crosses over into Kickstarter. You can imagine why. If you're excited by the newness of a game, then Kickstarter is heaven. There are so many new games there! But if you're like me, and prefer to wait until a consensus emerges through the community (& marketplace) about the tiny subset of "keeper" games, then Kickstarter doesn't really offer much. Honestly, I'm looking forward to the first "modern classic" that comes out of Kickstarter that even I need to own. It just hasn't happened yet. Call me up in 2016.
On the air, Brian coins a phrase that should enter the standard lexicon of our hobby: Family Math. I love it! The mathematical rationalization a gamer-parent does in his head to justify the expense of a new game. I'll play it with my wife, or with my kids...
What fills our hobby isn't a bunch of people who enjoy playing games. Instead, we're a bunch of people (even old curmudgeons like me) who enjoy learning games. Part of that is the novelty alone, seeing something new. Another big part is the mental challenge/enjoyment of your first chance to figure out a strategy for the new rules & mechanisms of a game. However, sometimes even Cult of New gamers want a chance to dig deeper into a game that rewards repeated play. Exploring more avenues to victory, seeing more of what the game has to offer, or even just the pleasure of starting a game without having to teach the rules. On the subject of newness versus repeated play, Brian and Dave are in one of those groups that started the 10-by-10 challenge at the start of the year: pick 10 games that your group "commits" to playing 10 times each. Even though they didn't stick with it, they explain how it was a useful thing for their group to attempt.
By the way, the games we played together just before turning on the recorder were Timeline: Music & Cinema, Ave Caesar, Powerboats, and 7 Wonders.
Mark Johnson's occasional and opinionated podcast, Boardgames To Go, now has its own blog on Boardgamegeek.
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