It Beats Watching The TV

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Every Man Needs A Little Light Relief

Stuart Burnham
United Kingdom
Abingdon
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I’ve just gotten home from the weekly Games for a Laugh group, something that you haven’t read about for quite some time on this blog. Things have changed a bit, the attendees have changed a bit; several long time gamers no longer come, or only drop in infrequently (I myself have missed more game nights this year than in all the years I’ve been going along). However, there have been quite a number of newcomers as well. Some are sporadic in their showing up, others have quickly gotten into the swing and are around most weeks. All in all, there’s been quite a bit of churn. The group has always been a bit amorphous, with attendance ranging from 8 to 20 usually, but this year has been very variable indeed.

What all this means, practically, is that it isn’t really any longer the place where you can count on getting your latest mid weight euro or your recently fulfilled Kickstarter game to the table. There might be enough regulars who are adept at dropping straight into a 2 hour game with a quick rules bash, but then again they might need to do a little hand holding and teaching with newer members. And these newer gamers certainly aren’t going to be able to recall the rules to that dice mitigation point salad that they played weeks ago for the first and only time, and they’re also not the sort to go researching the faqs here or play throughs on You Tube.

And so, in something that’ll be a theme in my end of gaming year round up is just how many lighter games I’ve been playing. Something clicked, or maybe snapped, with me over a year ago; I was teaching a table to play something chunky, something that I’d spent a few hours learning and setting up and trying myself - it was a head scratcher, good, but hard work - and whilst we all kind of liked it, we didn’t really sense any great enthusiasm to play it again any time soon. So I’d spent 6 or so hours (and about £40) for this “ok” experience. It just didn’t seem like a valuable use of my time, the payoff was not commensurate with the effort. And so I retreated, gaming wise.



This evening I played games with two ladies who are fairly new to gaming (as in, Carcassonne a couple of weeks ago was a first play).
I taught them one of my favourite light games, Splendor. It took a few minutes to teach, half an hour to play and we could all chat whilst we did so. And obviously it went down well because they wanted to play it again straight away (not in 4 weeks time when you next remember to stick it in your bag!). Of course being a simple title they already had a good grasp of the type of tactics needed on a second go and it was a very competitive game, including some “hate reserving” of cards. Great stuff.
And then I taught them (along with a regular, who’d somehow never played it) one of my favourite light games, Azul. It took a few minutes to teach, half an hour to play and we could all chat whilst we did so. And obviously it went down well because they wanted to play it again straight away (not in 4 weeks time when you next remember to stick it in your bag!). Of course being a simple title they already had a good grasp of the type of tactics needed on a second go and it was a very competitive game, including some “hate seeding” of the pool. Great stuff.

The group was called Games for a Laugh for a reason. In this environment light games work, really well, and it’s a real relief to be able to just play them, more than once!



“Free the banned blogger”
Day 8: Remember to light your commemorative Tony candle and pray for his safe return.

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