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Subject: Fighting the funk rss

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Kurt R
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In the comments section of the Solitaire Games on Your Table - August 2015 geeklist, Shack22 posted a comment on his current gaming funk. The post resonated with me as did the replies. I wanted a better place to discuss the subject so I created this thread.

I invite people to copy and paste their replies from the GL (or add a new one).

Shacky22 wrote:
So, I've read the threads about how some of you get in gaming funks and have no desire to play... I'm kinda there too, but not really, and it's really confusing. I've not been posting games on these lists for about 2 months now, but that's because I'm hardly playing anything. I think I got one play this month? Maybe another.
Thing is... I have the desire to play. I want to play something. I really liked my plays of Hostage Negotiator and want to do more. I want to get onto the expansions for Mage Knight... Fortune and Glory... Space Empires... Viticulture... there's many I want to play.

But... for some reason... I just... don't.

I actually got as far the other day as setting up Andean Abyss for my first play, but after getting through the entire set up, I admired the way the game looked, then put it all away.

*Sigh*

.... this is so weird. Anyone else go through something like this?
Yes, I have... There were some great replies, and for me, this one stood out the most:

eastwoodk wrote:
I'm not sure how many games you have, but I'm also finding that the more I reduce the collection to keep the games I really love the better off I am, and I play more frequently.
It's easy to get caught up in the purchasing of games and imagining all the amazing sessions I'm going to have but then they show up and I have to learn them (or clip them or cut the figures off sprues - bah!) and suddenly it feels like work and not play.

Once I get going on a game, I'm in my happy place and things are good, but I'm observing the barriers that I put into place to get there. Namely, too many heavy and rulesy games. And too many games to learn before the previous too many games have been learned.

I know this and that I need to chill out. I'm telling myself this year is my year of bringing new solitaire games in but then I need to sit back and actually play them. It's one thing to learn DDaTarawa or EA: Ardennes but if I don't play them a LOT, then I'm just going to burn myself out. It's hard to maintain a discipline of 'less is more' in this hobby, but time and again I'm reminded how true it is.

I'm still battling to get something new and shiny because the promise of something new is always more exciting than playing something I actually have. The mind envisions how awesome this new game is such that I can't imagine needing another X type game once I get this one. It's certainly more fun to sit on BGG and search new games than it is to learn (or relearn as the case frequently is) a game that's 20 feet away from me.

I don't like admitting that, but I recognize it within myself. I mean, I picked up Mistfall when I have both Mage Knight and LOTR:TCG. Why not just ... play more of those? Now I've introduced yet another complex card game -- and one with a ton of errata at that! -- into my life. A part of me wants to sell it off unplayed (but I'm not, some friends and I are playing this weekend only because a friend learned the rules for me).

There have been way too many nights when I realize the rich abundance of entertainment just a few feet away from me but the idea of actually doing it feels onerous. I'm nothing if not self-aware, so I thought about the barriers and how to work around them. I'm currently working with these principles:

==> I have a dedicated solitaire table so I can leave a game set up and play as long as I want. I have no pressure to "complete" a game so I can clear off the table. No pressure means no feeling of play becoming work.

==> I can use my dining table for shorter, one-night games that I don't expect to leave out long-term. This also gives me the chance to bounce from a long and involved beast of a game to something shorter without affecting anything. I can set up EA: Ardennes or Eldritch Horror and leave it set up for weeks with no consequences.

==> I started making videos which helps me focus. It's great to start a video series and realize I have people expecting the next installment and I need to keep going. It's also been great to create a dialogue with fellow gamers that otherwise wouldn't exist. We solitaire games (especially heavy, wargamers) don't have a way of someone checking our play for accuracy. Making videos gives me a way to interact with other solitaire players, make sure I'm playing correctly, and feel like I'm doing a service for my fellow hobbyists.

==> I am challenging myself to get through this period of work learning the rules of these heavy games but then playing. If I make this hobby all about getting more heavy, rulesy games and suffering through the learning period, I'm going to burn myself out. I consider 2015 my getting into solitaire gaming and the "Investment" part of the ROI but if I don't give myself the "Return", well, I know what the consequences will be.

I hope at least part of this is helpful and/or resonates with some people. It's late and I'm too tired to edit my thoughts into more coherent paragraphs, but I enjoy these types of "psychology of the hobby" discussions and look forward to others posting their thoughts and experiences.
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Suzy Vitale
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enzo622 wrote:
I'm still battling to get something new and shiny because the promise of something new is always more exciting than playing something I actually have. The mind envisions how awesome this new game is such that I can't imagine needing another X type game once I get this one. It's certainly more fun to sit on BGG and search new games than it is to learn (or relearn as the case frequently is) a game that's 20 feet away from me.

I don't like admitting that, but I recognize it within myself. I mean, I picked up Mistfall when I have both Mage Knight and LOTR:TCG. Why not just ... play more of those? Now I've introduced yet another complex card game -- and one with a ton of errata at that! -- into my life.

This in particular resonates with me. Learning to be satisfied with what I already have can sometimes be a challenge. I'll get good at it in one part of my life, and fail miserably at it in another.

This is a big reason why I created my [geeklist=195355][/geeklist] list. I joke about the motivation of public shame (which can be effective!), but in reality I wanted a visual record of what I have but haven't enjoyed. When I ordered each game on this list, I was *so* excited to play it. Then the game arrived, and I was too tired/lazy to put in the effort to learn right away. It's been very satisfying to actually get some of these games played, and I'm having a great time actually playing the games. It seems I have pretty good taste in games.

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Shaun Austin
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This trick seems to work for me.

Look through your collection for a small footprint game where you already know the rules and play time is 30 minutes or less.
(It should also be a game you enjoy).

Set it up somewhere handy, so it is ready to play.

Eventually you won't be able to help yourself. devil



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Chris
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Been through this many, many times; it's pretty cyclical for me, and I've noticed that I tend to game a LOT in the spring and fall, while winter and summer are dry (HAR!) spells.

Part of it is family, life, work, school activities, holidays... the usual.

Part of it is that I find other draws on my leisure time - whether it's reading, TV, writing, or video games.

And part of it, let's face it, is that to some degree playing boardgames is work. You've got to (re)learn rules. Set up a tablespace. Set up the game. Recheck rules. Play the game. Clean up the game. Put it away. That's a lot more effort than just hitting the 'on' switch on a PS4 and firing up Arkham Knight.

It took a few funks to realize that A) ain't nobody cares if I play boardgames or not, and if not playing boardgames is what I decide to do, there's no problem with that, and B) every single time I've re-engaged with the SGoYT/1PG they've welcomed me back with open arms, even if a few of the faces have changed.

One other thing I'll put here; last time I went through the funk, the ever-wise
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nailed precisely something that was contributing to it, that I hadn't even realized - I'll quote him here from a blog post I made at the time:

Quote:
Anyway, I’ve been doing some pondering myself about the funk. While I truly love the solo gamer community that has sprung up over the past year and a half – it is my only gaming outlet besides the dude in the mirror – it is also part of the problem, isn’t it?

I mean between SGoYT and the 1-Player Guild, we, as solo gamers, are part of a game group that meets 24/7. Without fail. Without hesitation. Without relief. All day, every day. It’s non-stop. For “normal” gamers, you may have a monthly meetup, a weekly one even. But that’s it. You go there; you play; you move on.

Sure they can be BGG junkies like the rest of us. But there is something different about being able to play a game at any moment and go to SGoYT or the Guild and share/discuss/converse with others of our kind. Always. And they are doing it back at us. Wow, look what Ryan played tonight. Shaun is back, awesome! What is that game, that looks sweet!

It never stops.

That can be a lot of pressure. A lot time. A lot of effort. It’s consuming, really….if you let it. And the result, may or may not be related to, the funk.

So I made some changes. Dropped the blog. Stopped tracking all my plays. Stopped making entries on SGoYT every time I played something, only doing so when I had an experience I thought was really worth sharing. My interactions lessened, but became more significant. And man, did I have fun playing again; it might not be the source of all funks, but it sure helped me with some perspective.

I don't look at my game shelf anymore as a to-do list, or make mental calculations about dollars-to-play time value comparisons. It's a quiver of arrows, some of which get used a lot, some which get used rarely, but all of them ready and waiting for me when I need them.
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Ingmar Hauge
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eastwoodk wrote:
I'm not sure how many games you have, but I'm also finding that the more I reduce the collection to keep the games I really love the better off I am, and I play more frequently.

This answer is absolutely spot on for me.

The last few years I've been on pretty much a shopping spree buying every new game, and a few old ones, because they looked good without even tearing of the shrinkwrap of my previous puchases. When I added them to my shelf it really got somewhat depressing seeing all those games unopened, rules unread and game unplayed.

Earlier this year I ralized I didn't need to own every frickin game on the geek and I've now been on a 5 month "no shopping diet" which has given me a lot more motivation for reading rules and playing games. I've even looked at the Essen preview and there is not a single game there I'm interested in currently.

Will I be aable to fulfill my plan of not buying games until I've gotten my unplayed list well down to double digits, which I'm keeping track of in a geeklist? I doubt it, it will depend on how fast I go through LotR expansions among other things. At least I've found a new joy for playing games again (both solo and with people)
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suzyvitale wrote:
[q="enzo622"]

This is a big reason why I created my [geeklist=195355][/geeklist] list. I joke about the motivation of public shame (which can be effective!), but in reality I wanted a visual record of what I have but haven't enjoyed. When I ordered each game on this list, I was *so* excited to play it. Then the game arrived, and I was too tired/lazy to put in the effort to learn right away. It's been very satisfying to actually get some of these games played, and I'm having a great time actually playing the games. It seems I have pretty good taste in games.



That's a great idea actually. I'm more or less in the same situation and too few time to play. So I buy... Maybe I do a similiar list of my own.

blush
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Lorenzo Strambi
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Marlowespade wrote:

Part of it is family, life, work, holidays... the usual.

Part of it is that I find other draws on my leisure time - whether it's reading, TV, writing, or video games.

And part of it, let's face it, is that to some degree playing boardgames is work. You've got to (re)learn rules. Set up a tablespace. Set up the game. Recheck rules. Play the game. Clean up the game. Put it away. That's a lot more effort than just hitting the 'on' switch on a PS4 and firing up Arkham Knight.


Same to me. The little spare time I had is usually after dinner (fortunately my baby goes to bed early and bedtime is not too long) and often I'm too tired to setup, learn or relearn the rules and so on.

enzo622 wrote:


==> I have a dedicated solitaire table so I can leave a game set up and play as long as I want. I have no pressure to "complete" a game so I can clear off the table. No pressure means no feeling of play becoming work.


in addition to the above I don't have a dedicated table so it can happen that I've to stop playing and put everything away in two days.

I'm thinking that I will play more at 65 old when I'll be retired
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Artur Baginski
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Kurt, thank you for the topic, and by the way, thank you for your series on DDoT, it helped me a lot

Your words resonate strongly with me and I try to be more and more self-aware of this behavior leaning towards the things with less 'entry fee'. especially learning of new games and getting them, even play them once, but then exploring new games is so much more exciting than exploring the remaining 99% of Depth and play time still left in the other game. I think it is a very general and surrounding topic in our 'consumer world', we are more and more trained for running after the newest shiny things, and in the end it leaves me with a feeling of emptiness.


I am following the 1PG since two months, since I decided to try out solo gaming for me as a very constructive alternative to other leisure time activities like watching films, playing computer games, since I already spent so much time at work/studies already in front of a computer screen. Also I think it is a very valuable activity in itself, because of several reasons:
-it trains the mind
-it is a very good break to our faster and faster going world, which even don't stops in many other leisure activities, solo gaming is slow, very slow in comparison to many other things, and we can and have to take our time

So I personally try to make now a habit from it, which is difficult for me at the time, because I am in Dublin now for 4 months and still don't have my own room. But good thing is a had to leave 99% of my collection home and had to decide for a hand full of games only. And buying is no option in Ireland, since games are just WAAAAAY to expensive here, like more than two times the prices like in germany sauron
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For me, I relate this topic to a couple other areas of my life. The first is another hobby of mine- writing. I haven't written a whole lot lately and I LOVE to write. So what's the problem? It was the subject matter. I was mostly writing about my job. And that was after going to work all day. My profession was dominating my life on and off the clock.

The other parallel I've noticed in my life relates to this idea of having too large of a gaming collection. It is the age old question "what do you want for dinner?" I'm sure you can relate to those nights when you just aren't excited about eating anything even when there is an abundance of choices in front of you.

"How about Chinese food?"

"Nah."

"You feel like a sub?"

"I ate that on Tuesday."

And this can go on an on with a significant other, family member, or friend. It's almost better to be in the middle of nowhere with very limited choices in food to force a decision.

I think sometimes gamers might need that middle of nowhere with little to play idea. The choices in our hobby, just as it is in types of food to eat, is vast. And lots of choices is a blessing and a curse.

And finally, I don't have a dedicated gaming table or space. I don't even have a dedicated bookshelf to keep my games organized. This means I have to find a game I want to play by digging it out of a box and setting it up every time I want to play. One day I want some space to be able to keep a game set up and play as I have time. It would help a lot.

I guess my interest in our hobby goes in cycles. But I've learned that just when I think I'm really losing interest, something new and exciting or an old favorite game of mine will suck me back in. That's the way it goes I guess.

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Kurt R
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suzyvitale wrote:
enzo622 wrote:
I'm still battling to get something new and shiny because the promise of something new is always more exciting than playing something I actually have. The mind envisions how awesome this new game is such that I can't imagine needing another X type game once I get this one. It's certainly more fun to sit on BGG and search new games than it is to learn (or relearn as the case frequently is) a game that's 20 feet away from me.

I don't like admitting that, but I recognize it within myself. I mean, I picked up Mistfall when I have both Mage Knight and LOTR:TCG. Why not just ... play more of those? Now I've introduced yet another complex card game -- and one with a ton of errata at that! -- into my life.

This in particular resonates with me. Learning to be satisfied with what I already have can sometimes be a challenge. I'll get good at it in one part of my life, and fail miserably at it in another.

This is a big reason why I created my [geeklist=195355][/geeklist] list. I joke about the motivation of public shame (which can be effective!), but in reality I wanted a visual record of what I have but haven't enjoyed. When I ordered each game on this list, I was *so* excited to play it. Then the game arrived, and I was too tired/lazy to put in the effort to learn right away. It's been very satisfying to actually get some of these games played, and I'm having a great time actually playing the games. It seems I have pretty good taste in games.

Yeah, that's a great idea. You found out how you tick and came up with a way to manage it.

That reminds me to complete a draft of a GL I have called, "In an ideal world, yeah, but who am I friggin' kidding?" The idea is to make a list of games that I'd ideally want to have as a way of "possessing" them without actually getting them because I know I just don't have the room for them in my gaming life (at least at the moment).
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Here's what I've learned from myself and others:

There's no reason for guilt of buying and cost, guilt is self inflicted.
Play when it feels right and when it feels like fun and not a job.
A collection gives you options and nothing more.
Interests are cyclical and interests ebb and flow...eventually the desire to pull out a game will hit me and I have realize that's okay.
I am not other gamers, we all have different speeds and different amounts of leisure time.
It's okay to post or not to post.
Enthusiastic playing or gaming burnout are all part of the process of evolving and learning.
I value the time I've spent and will spend gaming.
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Kurt R
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Marlowespade wrote:
So I made some changes. Dropped the blog. Stopped tracking all my plays. Stopped making entries on SGoYT every time I played something, only doing so when I had an experience I thought was really worth sharing. My interactions lessened, but became more significant. And man, did I have fun playing again; it might not be the source of all funks, but it sure helped me with some perspective.

I don't look at my game shelf anymore as a to-do list, or make mental calculations about dollars-to-play time value comparisons. It's a quiver of arrows, some of which get used a lot, some which get used rarely, but all of them ready and waiting for me when I need them.
I also stopped blogging weekly (and who really cares about my weekly plays anyway?). I would rather blog occasionally on something I feel really worth sharing, and I think I'll apply that to posting on SGoYT as well.

Thanks; good stuff!
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Kurt R
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Johnny_Bravo wrote:
Kurt, thank you for the topic, and by the way, thank you for your series on DDoT, it helped me a lot
You're very welcome. I'm pleased as punch there's an audience for playthroughs of the games I like.

Quote:
Your words resonate strongly with me and I try to be more and more self-aware of this behavior leaning towards the things with less 'entry fee'. especially learning of new games and getting them, even play them once, but then exploring new games is so much more exciting than exploring the remaining 99% of Depth and play time still left in the other game. I think it is a very general and surrounding topic in our 'consumer world', we are more and more trained for running after the newest shiny things, and in the end it leaves me with a feeling of emptiness.


I am following the 1PG since two months, since I decided to try out solo gaming for me as a very constructive alternative to other leisure time activities like watching films, playing computer games, since I already spent so much time at work/studies already in front of a computer screen. Also I think it is a very valuable activity in itself, because of several reasons:
-it trains the mind
-it is a very good break to our faster and faster going world, which even don't stops in many other leisure activities, solo gaming is slow, very slow in comparison to many other things, and we can and have to take our time

So I personally try to make now a habit from it, which is difficult for me at the time, because I am in Dublin now for 4 months and still don't have my own room. But good thing is a had to leave 99% of my collection home and had to decide for a hand full of games only. And buying is no option in Ireland, since games are just WAAAAAY to expensive here, like more than two times the prices like in germany sauron
Sounds very familiar to my situation. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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enzo622 wrote:
Johnny_Bravo wrote:
Kurt, thank you for the topic, and by the way, thank you for your series on DDoT, it helped me a lot
You're very welcome. I'm pleased as punch there's an audience for playthroughs of the games I like.

Watching your video of Enemy Action: Ardennes actually talked me down from the ledge, so thanks. Video was great... just the game seemed like it would annoy me more than I liked. I also don't like being forced to buy three games when I only want one.

"It costs a lot and the counters are thin"
"Yeah, but you're getting three games"
"But I only will play one of the three, ever."
"But you're getting three games and three rulebooks!"
End Scene.

I have been trying to back off getting new stuff and this thread has inspired me to do so even more. If I played everything I own, once per week, I'd play everything maybe once per year. I'd neglect the ones I really like in order to play something lower on my interest list.

We could probably all get by with 20 games total I bet.
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My post from the SGOYT comments:

Moe45673 wrote:
I went through a funk last winter. Had no energy to game. I thought i was done.

Well guess what? I'm enjoying gaming more now than i ever did (except for the initial honeymoon phase). I've learned to just love playing rather than rusn my games to the table. One thing that's helped has beem waking up early to get a game in before the workday. Took me until i was 30 to realize it but i am most definitely a morning person

Starting off the day with a nice session of Loyang or some other skill based mathy game (that only takes an hour) is awesome for my brain. If, however, you're more into narrative driven games, you might find what you need is a game like Hpstage Negotiator. By the time your day gets started, you already feel calmer

I think the posts about keeping this from becoming work are excellent.

I DO like recording my plays, I feel that data is valuable to me. I find, though, that I sometimes don't do it for a few days and I get around to it later on. This way, it doesn't feel like work but it does run the risk of me forgetting stuff.

The Reverend brings a pad and pen to every gaming session and records whatever he feels is important. He then later on posts his stuff in his Geeklist. While I don't keep a Geeklist, I think jotting down the date and game and whatever else I desire would keep the pressure off as I can enter my plays at my leisure.

I have backed away from posting every game in the SGOYT, though. I still do it for the vast majority but not every single one.
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I know this isn't an option for everyone, but picking a game and leaving it set up took me out of my own funk earlier this year. It did away with many of the negatives I was feeling:

- chronic indecision on which game to play;
- setup and cleanup taking up a major portion of my board game time;
- relearning or half-learning rulesets; and
- missing out on many of the nuances the better games have to offer.

So I guess even if you can't leave a game set up, you could commit to only playing one game for a week or so. Granted, setup time might limit your choices, but I think the approach would still be rewarding for games with tolerable setup time.

Look for strategies that you might have missed previously. If you've always thought performing action X seemed pointless, try to figure out why the designer included it, for example. You might just add a new strategy or tactic to your bag of tricks!

As a result of taking this approach, I've grown to love some games that I was only lukewarm on previously, including Legends of Andor, Agricola, and Gears of War. Instead of spending too much time staring at a wall of games each night, I'm sitting down and getting right to the fun part. And, at least for me, I can always tell when I'm "done" with a game for the time being.

Thank you again to kerskine for suggesting this approach, by the way!
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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This, combined with some other things I was ruminating on, led to this: Gaming is Social, Games Need Not Be - The Cons of Solitaire Gaming
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lSweetJusticel wrote:
I know this isn't an option for everyone, but picking a game and leaving it set up took me out of my own funk earlier this year. It did away with many of the negatives I was feeling:

- chronic indecision on which game to play;
- setup and cleanup taking up a major portion of my board game time;
- relearning or half-learning rulesets; and
- missing out on many of the nuances the better games have to offer.
I started doing this early in the year as well. For new game or longer (60+ mins) games I will keep it on the table until I get at least 3 plays of it. Sometimes that takes a day or two and sometimes a few weeks. I find that even in my "funks" I'm willing to take a quick turn or two which then feeds my desire to play more. When I want to play a different game, I'll choose a 30-45min game and play it on my folding table. This has helped me a lot.

I also keep in mind that this is a hobby. There are many hobbies where collecting is the main purpose. As much as I wanted to disbelieve this, I am a board game collector. But, I also get to play with my collection as I wish. Try doing that with your coins, stamps, baseball cards, etc. I suppose you can flip coins...
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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uniconfis wrote:

I also keep in mind that this is a hobby. There are many hobbies where collecting is the main purpose. As much as I wanted to disbelieve this, I am a board game collector. But, I also get to play with my collection as I wish. Try doing that with your coins, stamps, baseball cards, etc. I suppose you can flip coins...

We used to take our "doubles" baseball cards, fold them several times into a "taco" we called it, and shoot each other with them using a rubber band.
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Jonathan
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klkitchens wrote:
uniconfis wrote:

I also keep in mind that this is a hobby. There are many hobbies where collecting is the main purpose. As much as I wanted to disbelieve this, I am a board game collector. But, I also get to play with my collection as I wish. Try doing that with your coins, stamps, baseball cards, etc. I suppose you can flip coins...

We used to take our "doubles" baseball cards, fold them several times into a "taco" we called it, and shoot each other with them using a rubber band.
I stand corrected I suppose I can't forget about the baseball card and clothes pin on my bike.
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Suzy Vitale
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klkitchens wrote:
If I played everything I own, once per week, I'd play everything maybe once per year. I'd neglect the ones I really like in order to play something lower on my interest list.

We could probably all get by with 20 games total I bet.

This. I've been seriously considering weaning my collection down, much like a deck builder...need to get rid of those coppers.
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MoonSylver
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I can relate. I stay funky most of the time. Depression sucks. But, you deal with it. I think & write about playing games more than I actually play them at the moment. But, such is life.
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Kuhns, party of four!
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I've had similar swings, and I have really tried to trim down the collection to just those I really enjoy. I've been a little ruthless. But it helps. I don't feel guilty about not playing games that don't click for me. Also, I have learned not to feel guilty about totally ignoring the new hotness on SGOYT just because it's not my style.
Also, I have a lot of reading I have to do for work, and am actually behind due to procrastinating with games! I've started my "catch up" by reading a little and then finishing my evening with a game. That really motivates me to play, because then it's a reward!

"OK, enough of this, it's game time!"
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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GIVE
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THE
FUNK


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fortheloveofdice
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I get the spoiled for choice thing.

I entered the 10x10 challenge this year so when I don't know what to play, I can go look at a shortlist and pick one from there. Playing the same games repeatedly also lightens the rule-learning burden.

I have some games I was so excited to get but haven't been up for learning how to play. But there are some games that are simple enough and I have played enough that I can just pick them up and play them, and I turn to those when other games feel like work.
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