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CARL SKUTSCH
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I've been looking over the reviews for Codex: Card-Time Strategy – Deluxe Set. Looks interesting, maybe (Tom Vasel raves over it). And I've also been reading the thread about Doomtown Reloaded getting unloaded (Riding off into the Sunset - AEG cancelling Doomtown.). During my reading the phrase "lifestyle game" keeps popping up. I've seen this phrase before but it seems to have become more common (probably I just haven't been that alert).

I think I get what the phrase means: A game that takes up so much of your time it become a part of your life(style). That's right, right? Collectible Card Games (CCGs) and Living Card Games (LCGs) clearly qualify. Both are monty sinks, especially CCGs, as well as time sinks.

Are there other games that fit this description? All consuming titles? I'd guess Warhammer and Warhammer 40k also qualify, yes? Any others?

And what do folks think of this label and idea? It seems so...all consuming. I like to play all sorts of different games. I wouldn't want to get chained down to a single gaming focus. Although back in the day I played Magic fairly often for a while. (I stopped once I realized I didn't like playing with super bendable cards that were worth $150. So I sold my collection and got out of Dodge.)
 
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Cris Whetstone
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Dating.
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Steve B
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Advanced Squad Leader is generally considered to be a "lifestyle" game. It's also the only appearance of the word "style" in a wargamer's lifespan.
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Brian M
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A game that many people play so heavily and extensively that they don't really play anything else. I think you pretty much hit it all on the head, including your examples.

CCGs, miniatures and some RPGs tend to be the big "lifestyle" games in niche hobby gaming.

Bridge, Chess and Poker are more "common" examples.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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bradelli wrote:
Advanced Squad Leader is generally considered to be a "lifestyle" game. It's also the only appearance of the word "style" in a wargamer's lifespan.

I never got into the ASL thing. And yet I still dress like a slob. Hmmm.

StormKnight wrote:
Bridge, Chess and Poker are more "common" examples.

I play more poker than any other game but I don't think of it as a "game." It's a revenue stream, a job. I can totally see it as a lifestyle too (mostly in a bad way). Hmmm again.
 
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jay
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Outside of Warhammer, many miniature wargames qualify. Outside of board game scope, darts and pool for the bar going crowds.
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Eddie Meister
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I've always thought of both Star Fleet Battles and it's strategic counterpart Federation & Empire as lifestyle games.
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Quantum Jack
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Every game with enough substance/depth to have someone obsess over it for a lifetime can be called a lifestyle game. I have 2.

Magic: the Gathering for all of the above-mentioned reasons. It is a great game (if a bit crazy expensive to stay tournament competitive). It has great versatility, playing excellently at any player count (above 1).

Magic Realm. My obsession of choice, and a game which, by itself, influences the way I think about the fantasy genre, games, and rpgs all at once.
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James Wahl
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18XX.
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Vita Est Certamine
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1. Any game that takes a lifetime to master - if that. Chess, Go, Billiards, etc.

2. Any game that has a financial upkeep that one's lifestyle is somewhat changed as a direct result. Warhammer, Magic, any CCG/LCG still being produced, any miniatures game that seems to have an endless supply of new minatures (X-Wing).

I have seen both of these definitions used even though they aren't really the same.

Oddly enough some people take offense to the moniker.

Frankly, "Lifestyle game" is another bogus term such as "Ameritrash" and "Eurogame" that is ambiguous at best and has no clear definition. That is to say there is no one universally accepted definition.

People love labels and struggle endlessly to categorize everything. Even if, in the end, it changes nothing.

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Michelle
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A big thing about a lifestyle game isn't only that it takes up time, it's that there's such a high barrier of entry to gather the ingredients needed to play the "real" game, including finding players who are well enough versed in the deeper intricacies of the game/metagame. You have to overcome that barrier before you're really playing the "full" version of the game as designed.

You can't just pick up a handful of MtG cards and have a quick game with a non-MtG-playing friend one evening. I mean, you can, (they sell duel decks to hook you on something simple like that), but that's not really the entire game as it is designed.

The full game involves acquiring more cards, building decks, adjusting decks to adapt to other players' decks, and maintaining a working knowledge of any new keywords/rules so new cards can constantly be added. A critical component of all of that is finding and keeping enough other knowledgeable players around you to make all of that feasible.

Once people have gone through the trouble to find a community like that, they tend to stick with them so they can continue to explore the "deeper" parts of the game that wouldn't be available to them if they just stuck with casual play. That usually leaves them without the time to play very many other games.
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Jeromie Rand
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Michelle makes a good point. In fact, I would say the defining characteristic of a "lifestyle game" is that it takes a significant amount of effort to attain competence, and once you're playing at that level you can't (really) play the game with newcomers. This means that you have to seek out people who have pursued the game with a similar level of dedication as opponents, so you tend to be drawn into a specific community of friends or acquaintances.

This stands in opposition to most of the games on BGG, where being familiar with gaming in general (or a certain family of mechanics) means that you can play most new games without any difficulty. Many titles can be played with some degree of competence on the first play, and others take just a few attempts. Dedication to a single game can certainly take you to a higher level, but it's not a prerequisite for entry.

There's a cultural aspect in all this, of course, in that lifestyle games have attracted a significant enough following to make working for mastery worth the effort. Perhaps there are other games that have enough depth to allow for a dedicated pursuit, but there aren't enough high level players to sustain a community.
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Alexandre P.
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I have always understood this formula as "games that require so much time/effort that when you play one of them you most likely play nothing else and devote almost all of your gaming time/budget on it".

Quote:
Are there other games that fit this description? All consuming titles? I'd guess Warhammer and Warhammer 40k also qualify, yes? Any others?


I think the "usual suspects" are pricey enough for any other game to need a lot of expansions to seem as expensive.
Maybe Dominion (10 boxes, right ?) and Legendary.
Plus, if you discover a game when it is released the expense is much more "diluted" for a boardgame than for a CCG/LCG/miniature game.
 
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Mike Jones
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In my 35 years of gaming, I have only ever heard the phrase in this thread.
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Carl Frodge
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LCGs
ECGs
CCGs
TCGs
Dice Masters
X-Wing

Pretty much anything that has a tournament or league scene, that releases regular expansion packs that change the meta of the game, that you need to keep up with to be competitive.

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Adam Hostetler
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Guantanamo wrote:
In my 35 years of gaming, I have only ever heard the phrase in this thread.


Odd, I've only been in the hobby since December and I've heard it a few times and knew what it meant.
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suPUR DUEper
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I would add World in Flames to the list and echo:

Magic
ASL
Chess
Go
18XX

At one time I would have said the Europa Series series but I think the guys who played it are all....gone.

Much like 18xx, there are series of wargames that might be termed lifestyle (e.g. MMP's OCS series, COA's La Bataille, etc.)
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James Wahl
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Oh, IIRC there are Speed Circuit freaks, too.

edit: Strat-O-Matic Baseball and Subbuteo?
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CARL SKUTSCH
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TedW wrote:

At one time I would have said the Europa Series series but I think the guys who played it are all....gone.

I owned one once. Lost it in some move or another. I think it was an invasion England game.
 
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Pete
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Example: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set

Nice game. My players like it. But they want to play ALL of it. And there are some 38 adventures in it, all of which are about an hour, and if you lose some you play them again. So we have been playing for weeks and weeks. And when we're done there's more core sets to play with! And there are people who play that in organized play too! The game can easily be played to the exclusion of other games for years on end.

Pete (likes the game OK but doesn't like the "lifestyle")
 
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Pete
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TedW wrote:

At one time I would have said the Europa Series series but I think the guys who played it are all....gone.
I still have several of mine.

Pete (is out of the lifestyle)
 
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A game with enough of a "meta-game" and depth to keep you busy while you're not playing it.

Typically CCGs fit easily into this category because buying new cards and constructing your deck is half the fun. This is the "meta-game" aspect.

A less straight-forward meta-game is playing something like Citadels with the same group. Your group develops nuances like never trust Steve and Emily is always the Architect.


An example of depth comes from games like Chess where you can research opening moves and strategies.

Lifestyle games are incredibly fulfilling and can be found in games that don't always fit into the strict concepts I just mentioned.
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Kathryn Dersch
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I'll add two more to consider as lifestyle games: Bingo and Bunco. While there isn't the same barrier to entry both tend to be the same people and require a significant monetary investment over time and have a long standing weekly component to them.
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Vita Est Certamine
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Guantanamo wrote:
In my 35 years of gaming, I have only ever heard the phrase in this thread.


Dang, sounds like you live under a rock. lol

I've seen it in quite a few threads here on BGG over the past couple years. Might just be the parts of BGG we frequent.

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daniel balik
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Magic the Gathering is my lifestyle game
 
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