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Subject: Why I play games, (and why do you?) rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Just reading a few different posts about games and gaming and I felt inspired to write a statement on my gaming, a proclamation on dice rolling pushing, a meeple manifesto.

I play games for pleasure. I enjoy the experience of gaming. Which begs the question: Why? And the answers are many.

I like the intellectual challenge. I like figuring out how to outmaneuver my opponents, or the game itself, and achieve victory. (Or fight the hard fought fight and then get smashed anyway.) I like the way it exercises my brain, blood churning past those old neurons (getting older all the time). After a real brain churner, I feel physically tired, in a good and satisfied way.

I like the social engagement. I play games mostly with friends and family. With my family I get to connect in ways that might be difficult otherwise. Anyone with a teenager knows what I'm talking about. My kid may be a surly grump sometimes, but when he's moving starships forward to destroy my marine bastions, well, he's having a good time, and so am I. Playing with my wife is also a thing that's grown over our marriage. She didn't used to be big into games, but I've brought her along, and now family trips are always prefaced with the question: "What games are you bringing?" Playing with strangers I do less often, but I like it as well. I get to meet new people and have my brain rocked by new strategies.

I like the story telling aspect. Many games tell a story for me. Maybe it's the story of galactic rise and triumph (or destruction). Or maybe it's the story of a struggling farm that finally manages to get those stone walls installed. When the game is over I like looking back on the little world we just created, the stories we just told, in a similar way to looking back on a book whose last page I just finished.

I like the aesthetic pleasures of gaming. A beautiful game like Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan or The Golden Ages just makes me smile. Most of why I like Dixit is the lovely surreal artwork on the cards (the game itself is so lightweight, although great for social engagement, see above).

I like my tradition of gaming. I've been playing serious games since I was 12 (a used copy of Tactics II, ah you seemed so cool back then). That's almost 40 years of gaming. I have history with games and I enjoy adding to and developing that history, as well as looking back on the games I've played as a way of charting my own personal history.

There are probably other reasons that I'm forgetting, but that seems a decent statement of why I game.

So now, why do you?
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Pete
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Quote:
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance


Pete (has always liked this stanza)
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Jeremy Mease
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I hated games for a long time. I played the usual: Sorry, Monopoly, Clue, and the like. But, like transformers, GI JOE, and Gummy Bears, I outgrew those games. I thought they were for kids. I played Candyland with my children, or Chutes and Ladder, and was bored to tears. I avoided it if I could, but they would beg me and I would give in, dreading the long slog of spinning a wheel and moving a piece. Or drawing a card, and moving a piece. Yawn.

My brother in law is into Catan. I should say, he is into Catan the Pope is "into" Catholicism. I played a number of times and got my butt handed to me in a neat hexagonal sack. I went online, read some strategies, and played again and actually won. I caught a bit of the bug right then. I moved away from my family, but was given a copy of Star Trek Catan for my birthday just before leaving. I tried it out with my kids. They loved it. I really enjoyed the complexity. They understood it, to my surprise, and even beat me most games. You mean, I don't have to play games like Candyland anymore? I can play games I like and the kids also love them??

I started to look for other games. I found BGG. I watched Dice Tower, Rahdo, TableTop, etc etc, I read rules, watched reviews, and countless videos on youtube looking for gems to bring home to my children as our passions grew.

Today:
Well, my collection is small, but growing. Just over 20 games in about 1 year. After watching GenCon footage, it looks to grow even more. I have a few pre orders set. The kids are excited when we pull out Lords of Waterdeep, Formula D, or Tobago and the like. I tested a few out on the wife and she loves them. We play Love Letter over and over, or Fresco, or Pandemic. It gives us something to do together (she hates video games) and something to look forward to when the kids move out and we have a lot of extra time. Each game gives you a different sensation, a thrill of beating the game with your loved ones, or the satisfaction of besting another player with flawless planning. And, you can set it up again, and you'll get a wildly different outcome.

TLDR: I like playing with my kids. It's something we all enjoy and can bond over. My oldest told me the other day, "I know what game I want when you die!" with a big smile. Well, you'll have to pry it out of my dead hands! cool
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Greg
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I thought that I knew why I played games, but a friend made the observation of me that I play games as a form of expression. In the same way that other people might paint a painting or write a book, I try to trace graceful curves to playspaces that are rarely, if ever, explored and somehow exploit them to win despite the bizaare nature of whatever strategy I'm playing.

He seemed pretty convinced, so maybe he's got a better idea than I do about why I play.
 
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Pretty much the same reasons as you (OP) pointed out. It's also fun to pit mind vs. wood, cardboard, paper, plastic, and ink, and who'll come out on top. If the mind wins, then we get some great games, not to mention some memorable games.



The reasons you mentioned are actually the same reasons I enjoy video gaming. In fact, I don't think I'd enjoy board gaming if I wasn't also a video gamer. Plus, he bonus with video games are you also have some great music and sound effects as well.

It's harder for me to game now (3 to 4 hours every 2 weeks, and sometimes not even that), but it's even harder to play "video games socially" (similar deal with bg, but you get together in person around a TV, or with handhelds and play that way).
skutsch wrote:
Just reading a few different posts about games and gaming and I felt inspired to write a statement on my gaming, a proclamation on dice rolling pushing, a meeple manifesto.

I play games for pleasure. I enjoy the experience of gaming. Which begs the question: Why? And the answers are many.

I like the intellectual challenge. I like figuring out how to outmaneuver my opponents, or the game itself, and achieve victory. (Or fight the hard fought fight and then get smashed anyway.) I like the way it exercises my brain, blood churning past those old neurons (getting older all the time). After a real brain churner, I feel physically tired, in a good and satisfied way.

I like the social engagement. I play games mostly with friends and family. With my family I get to connect in ways that might be difficult otherwise. Anyone with a teenager knows what I'm talking about. My kid may be a surly grump sometimes, but when he's moving starships forward to destroy my marine bastions, well, he's having a good time, and so am I. Playing with my wife is also a thing that's grown over our marriage. She didn't used to be big into games, but I've brought her along, and now family trips are always prefaced with the question: "What games are you bringing?" Playing with strangers I do less often, but I like it as well. I get to meet new people and have my brain rocked by new strategies.

I like the story telling aspect. Many games tell a story for me. Maybe it's the story of galactic rise and triumph (or destruction). Or maybe it's the story of a struggling farm that finally manages to get those stone walls installed. When the game is over I like looking back on the little world we just created, the stories we just told, in a similar way to looking back on a book whose last page I just finished.

I like the aesthetic pleasures of gaming. A beautiful game like Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan or The Golden Ages just makes me smile. Most of why I like Dixit is the lovely surreal artwork on the cards (the game itself is so lightweight, although great for social engagement, see above).

I like my tradition of gaming. I've been playing serious games since I was 12 (a used copy of Tactics II, ah you seemed so cool back then). That's almost 40 years of gaming. I have history with games and I enjoy adding to and developing that history, as well as looking back on the games I've played as a way of charting my own personal history.

There are probably other reasons that I'm forgetting, but that seems a decent statement of why I game.

So now, why do you?
 
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Jerry Schippa
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1. The challenge: Nothing is more rewarding than to finally outwit someone or a well design game. Typically I have never won my first game of any specific game (Onirim (second edition) and Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition being the exception this week) and when you finally have a mechanic or strategy click in your head and you are able to outwit or manipulate your opponent...it gives me an intellectual high that is on par with some of my career highlights!

2. Socializing: I enjoy meeting new people, hearing their stories and boardgaming is a great way to do that. When I go to the bar, I never strike up a conversation with strangers, but if I go to a meetup or other similar group I have no problem with sitting down and talking with all types of new people about boardgames and almost anything else. The best thing a boardgame can do is leave a story that all the players will remember, even if its just for a short period of time

3. Laughing: it may sound a bit cheesy, but I don't think I've ever played a game that didn't involve the group (friends or strangers) bursting out over a joke, a play, or a player playing the rest of us and laughing about it in humor or amazement. This is what it's all about for me and why I have (unsuccessfully) tried to pass the interest along to my friends and family who haven't played games beyond candyland with their kids.
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The Redheaded Pharmacist
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Television watching just seems like such a passive and unengaging leisure activity after playing a good board game solo or with a group. I like being more involved than simply watching a screen in front of me. But mainly, I play board games because it's fun!
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Gláucio Reis
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skutsch wrote:
I like the intellectual challenge.
(...)
I like the social engagement.
(...)
I like the story telling aspect.
(...)
I like the aesthetic pleasures of gaming.

That pretty much sums it up for me.
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Bryan Thunkd
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skutsch wrote:
I play games for pleasure.
Check

skutsch wrote:
I like the intellectual challenge.
Check

skutsch wrote:
I like the social engagement.
Check

skutsch wrote:
I like the story telling aspect.
Meh. My favorite game, Go, is hardly diminished by a lack of story.

skutsch wrote:
I like the aesthetic pleasures of gaming.
Sure... but if aesthetic appreciation is my goal, I'm probably going to start with something other than a board game.

skutsch wrote:
I like my tradition of gaming.
This doesn't really factor into why I game.

I enjoy competition.

I enjoy variety. Being able to play any of hundreds of different types of games offers a lot more variety than a hobby of fishing or golf for example.

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Under the paving stones, the beach
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To see my enemies fall before me like wheat.
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The Fire
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Definitely the intellectual challenge. Not only the game but also in that I have to manage the rules, that's exercising a part of my brain that video games doesn't touch. (This is also why I do not play digital versions of board games).

It also satisfies a tactile need I didn't know I had. I love the feel of a deck of cards and manipulating the pieces. I have been know to get a game out and just mess with the parts. (Again, anti digital )

Lastly, and the most detrimental to my financial agility, would be the discovery. Learning new rules and seeing new effects in games is so much fun. This is one aspect that drew me into MMOs; I loved the discovery.



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CARL SKUTSCH
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
To see my enemies fall before me like wheat.

Well, yeah, duh. I thought that one was just assumed for everyone.

"Feed little panda, feed upon my enemy's bamboo!"
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Redheaded Pharmacist wrote:
Television watching just seems like such a passive and unengaging leisure activity after playing a good board game solo or with a group. I like being more involved than simply watching a screen in front of me. But mainly, I play board games because it's fun!
I wouldn't want to do TV all the time, but it can tell a MUCH BETTER narrative, story, and action sequence better than most board games can.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
To see my enemies fall before me like wheat.
That's a surprisingly tame example for such a confrontational idea. Where's the blood? Where's the conflict? You've managed to use a farming example to express your desire to do battle? Come on!
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My mind is incredibly over-active. I have had sleeping issues for almost 20 years now, and I have found that board games calm me. The tougher the better.
It is weird, I am a project manager and estimator for commercial flooring. Each day I cycle through 10 - 15 jobs, some for quoting, some that are on going. I find at the end of the day my mind isn't tired, its more frustrated, and playing board games allows me to focus on one thing and deeply think about it. It is incredibly calming.

So with that here is my top six reasons for my gaming hobby:

1 Mentally calming

2 Social setting

3 Love collecting

4 Enjoy the whole game setting / experience

5 Wholesome entertainment

6 Love the challenge
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James Arias
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+1 to most of the previous comments for why do I game.

There's also the minis, oh the glorious piles of minis.

And I believe the correct expression is "...to crush yeh enemies, see dem driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of deh women..."

Not that I subscribe to that IRL mind you

 
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