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Subject: Higher purpose of gaming rss

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Victor L
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I've been stressed out lately in my work and personal life, and I started wondering whether boardgaming could be contributing to my stress. Do I need it or can I cut it out? How important is gaming to my life? What higher purpose does it serve? So far, my answers don't satisfy me:

1. Networking -- strengthening connections and spending time with others through game nights and other gaming encounters.

2. Brain exercise.

3. Something to do with my wife -- a good alternative to watching TV.

4. Simply something fun (similar to sex, drinking, or many other short-term "fun" activities).

Any other ideas? What does boardgaming mean to you?

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm relatively new to boardgames and a couple years ago my hobby was Poker. To me, the higher purpose of Poker was making money. I made some money and I could have made a lot more if I stayed with it. However, I got burned out and I felt unpleasant "taking" money from all those old lonely men in Casinos and illegal home games.
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Einmal ist keinmal
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Is this a serious post? I can't imagine gaming being anything other than a stress relief.

I guess it all depends on what you replace the time you would have spent boardgaming with.
 
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Matt Musselman
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I don't know about you, but I tend to be sort of shy and awkward in meeting people and making new friendships. Gaming gives me a great excuse to hang out with some cool people, whereas it would seem weird to just invite them over to watch a DVD or something.

The game also provides a default topic of conversation, so even if I'm terrible at smalltalk (which I often am) I've got plenty of filler material.

I've made several pretty solid friendships this way I think, that I wouldn't have if I weren't into it.

Other hobbies probably could have helped in the same way, but I'm not into other hobbies so much at the moment.
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Tom Hancock
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If gaming is causing you stress, you are playing the wrong types of games. Play more experience games and less optimize the points type of games. I like both but one is a better stress reliever than the other.
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Jeff Hinrickson
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Desiderata wrote:
Is this a serious post? I can't imagine gaming being anything other than a stress relief.

I guess it all depends on what you replace the time you would have spent boardgaming with.


I have had a game make me feel physically drained, for example Wealth of Nations the first time I played it. Although I do agree mostly with you, but during play games can be quite stressful - then the sense of relief when it is over (only with the brain burner type though - which happen to be the ones I like most).

But typically I look at games as just another form of entertainment.
When I lived in my home town, I would go out with friends at least once a week (bowling, movie, club, etc...). Now that I am older and have moved away from those friends, I have filled that void with a new group of associates that I play games with. (I didn't use the term friends because it is my firm belief that with a family it is hard to keep up with friends and their needs so I keep everyone but my spouse and kids at arms length).
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Jason Sadler
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It is time to quit gaming. It might be time to start again, a little down the road.
 
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Matt Musselman
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BeatPosse wrote:
It is time to quit gaming. It might be time to start again, a little down the road.


I can't say as surely as Jason does that you should quit for a while, but like any purely entertainment sort of hobby, if gaming is not giving you pleasure, then there's no reason to spend time on it.

Maybe that will change later, but maybe not.

The tougher question: if you do decide to give gaming a break, how long do you wait until you're sure you're permanently done with it, and donate your game collection to someone else.
 
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Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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Isn't it to pick up chicks...
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Stefan Daniels
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I'd say gaming provides a level of connectedness rarely found in today's entertainment. What I find really interesting is that it first appears to be a very introverted activity; something that a 'geek' does. But what is most interesting, and something that I've had numberous first hand experiences with, is that gaming often leads to broader topics of discussion.

Sure, film can do this to, but film is widely understood, or at least accessed by the public, whereas boardgames, are not. The common experience of Monopoly and Risk et al doesn't really qualify as I find a strange distaste that lingers in the mind of those who bring them up (either as something to do or "Yeah, I've played boardgames"). Boardgames allow for a uniquely direct interaction. Once I've peaked someone 'newbs' interest with a REAL boardgame, over the course of a game or two it is fairly easy to capture a person's personality type(s) and really get to what makes them tick as a person; it allows you to connect to people on a deeper level than just the superficial video-gaming level (this has been my experience and others may have a more varied reaction). Sports can also provide this but I find that it takes a bit longer to really understand someone through sport.

Interesting topic.
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Matt Musselman
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lindelos wrote:
I'd say gaming provides a level of connectedness rarely found in today's entertainment. What I find really interesting is that it first appears to be a very introverted activity; something that a 'geek' does. But what is most interesting, and something that I've had numberous first hand experiences with, is that gaming often leads to broader topics of discussion.


I definitely agree.

Boardgaming enables and generates more personal conversation and interaction than almost any other social activity.

What's even better, it's one of very few high-interaction activities which are still have plenty of stuff happening to keep you busy even if you don't end up having much to talk about after all.

If only most traditional dating activities had that combination. And/or if inviting someone to a boardgame group/meetup weren't typically viewed by society at large as the geekiest idea on the planet, because for all practical purposes it would make a great first date format.
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p55carroll
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vxl119 wrote:

Any other ideas? What does boardgaming mean to you?


I've got an endless supply of other ideas. Many of them are discussed in my Google group "Thinking about Games":
http://groups.google.com/group/thinking-about-games


 
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Bruce Padget
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mussels wrote:
... for all practical purposes it would make a great first date format.


It does cool
 
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Bruce Padget
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I was very heavily into hobby gaming, took about 15 years off, and now I'm back into it. But in completely different ways! Back then my favorite games were hardcore miniatures games. Now I'm a poofy Eurogamer.

In my grognard days, if you'd told me my highest-rated game would be Zendo and one of my favorite books (The Courtier) would have gaming as the one place where mediocrity is preferable to excellence, I'd have laughed at you.

I won't go into What Play Means, mainly because most of what needs saying on the subject is said in Homo Ludens. But I've been thinking about my history in gaming, and a major turning point was at a little con in Boise, ID. We had a table of Clay-O-Rama going, and the players there (all of us among the oldest at the con) were laughing so hard and constantly that the kids at the neighboring D&D and Paranoia tables were shushing us. Not long after that, I got out of the hobby. It was only recently, along with dealing with some middle-age health issues (with which I won't bore you, you're welcome) that I saw a connection between that wonderful night and the hiatus that started shortly after it.

During that hiatus, I got very deeply involved in a highly immersive LARP called the Society for Creative Anachronism. I was still gaming, but in a different way. Instead of connecting with people over a game, I was connecting with people in a game.

I was one of those "prematurely old" kids -- I often say that if I live to be 100, I'll never be as old as I was when I was 18. I'm still evaluating, but I think it was that I needed to change my approach to play.

I certainly don't advocate my specific approach for everyone, especially since almost none of it was thought through in advance. But I can say this much with confidence:

Play is essential. Keep trying fresh approaches to play, to make sure it continues to be play.
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Barton Campbell
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If you have to ask or if you think you can ... CUT IT OUT!!!
 
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Joseph
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vxl119 wrote:
I've been stressed out lately in my work and personal life, and I started wondering whether boardgaming could be contributing to my stress. Do I need it or can I cut it out? How important is gaming to my life? What higher purpose does it serve? So far, my answers don't satisfy me....


I know you're serious - 'cause I was there. With both board games and video games. Gaming CAN be stressful, especially if you and your playmates have conflicting desires, or the rest of your life is chaotic.

What happened to me:

1. I had a gaming room mate who was very competitive. Winning was the most important thing to him. The pride of accomplishment. He was niether a good loser nor a good winner.

2. The competition thing got so pronounced, that I lost my joy of gaming. I gave most of what I had away and moved out.

3. Got involved with an RPG group years later. We also played lots of board games. Beautiful people. The joy returned. Group broke up, as key members moved or drifted away.

4. Took a long break. Started an RPG group. Awful experience for everybody. Broke it up.

5. Met and married my best friend - Gaming returned.

6. Met a couple of lovely people through BGG and we now do board games together.

My suggestion: If you have to think up reasons why you should play games, it's time to take a break. Don't give or throw anything away, just put it somewhere safe. When things are less freaky IRL (In real Life) maybe the urge will return. Right now, it sounds like you need to "down shift" and simplify your life. Do whatever you have to do to survive right now - even if that means 6 months of sitting front of the tube watching cheesy movies. (I've done that)

Wishing you the best - hope life gets less complicated real soon!






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Marc Gibson
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As with any other competitive endeavor, playing boardgames helps someone learn how to deal with failure. Hopefully this isn't an issue for most adults but for children and teens it's a pretty good lesson to learn.

Games encourage critical thinking. You have to make plans, anticipate what your opponents will do, and then change your plans based on what happens in the game (see my comment about failure).

Boardgames are a great way to socialize. I'm not really all that interested in online board games (I play Carcassonne on my Xbox) because I miss out on the human contact a face to face game provides.

Marc
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Bruce Padget
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falloutfan wrote:
Don't give or throw anything away, just put it somewhere safe.


I'm 100% with you until here (where I'm about 80-90% with you).

I don't know if this is part of the OP's issue, but gathering too much stuff is a problem for some people in our hobby. I want to make clear, I'm not down on collectors. But games are expensive enough and big enough that having too much can be a serious problem.

That said, as I've mentioned on some lists recently, there are games I've seen that really set the wayback machine for me. Sometimes my reaction was, "What the *^%@ was I thinking buying that?" (Subway Vigilante) A couple of times it was, "What the @%!^ was I thinking, giving that away?" (Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series, Deep Space Navigator)
 
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Laura Appelbaum
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How about: developing physical dexterity; visual stimulation;learning fair play
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Stefan Daniels
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AKARed wrote:
How about: developing physical dexterity; visual stimulation;learning fair play


The 'fair play' factor is often underestimated both in gaming and in life. Gaming, and especially boardgaming because of its face-to-face nature requires a careful attention to gamesmanship. This is interesting because I'm currently trying to instill and impress this aspect of losing graciously, winning even more graciously, drawing a good time out of losing, and so forth on my young children. Our society seems so predicated on the winner and how only that is something that we must attain. I think this does children, who are taught that this is the penultiment experience, a disservice. Life is full of hardship and downward turns and I think that gaming, of all types, provides them with this somewhat realistic and more even tempered outlook on life. Gaming, potentially (I'm not certain of this yet as I have yet to experience any later stages in my children's life beyond 5 years), could give them some rather necessary tools that could be applied in all walks of life. I also think that gaming, in its truest sense in which opponents meet, respect each other and each others varied abilities, duel it out, and leave with further admiration for each other, if inprinted properly, develops a keen and true sense of self and how that extends to others.

Or maybe I'm just talkin' outta my @$$. Discuss (just leave my @$$ out of it).
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Chee Kiam Lim
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Gaming allows me to find an activity to spend time, have fun and bond with people, in particular those that are important to me such as my family and friends.

Of course you are other activities that you can find to fulfill that as well but this is an activity that I like to do.

When you are feeling too stressed out in other areas of your life, you should look at why that is happening. Personally I think the stress from your other issues is the root of the problem and when you manage to resolve or handle them appropriately, your joy/interest in gaming will return as well.

There is no need to force yourself to play now or not to play now. Rather what is important is to face the actual issues and see what needs to be done. All the best.

cheers!

chee kiam.
 
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R A
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I don't think there is any particularly high purpose to gaming... It is just that, a game. If you take it too seriously, it can become an obsession, which is not healthy for anyone - though I suppose if you got obsessive about a game that can make you money, like poker could then maybe there would be some other purpose.

I play boardgames with two fairly distinct groups of people. A few of my closest friends and I play boardgames together. In this case it is as much an excuse to hang out with my closest friends and gather us all together as a chance to play games. At these occasions it's very casual, I often joke about it, but it's not uncommon for someone to go walk their dog on their move, or prepare a meal. It doesn't matter because we're all happy in each other's company. It's not very competitive.

Then there is boardgaming which is with other boardgamers and that's a bit different. In this case it really isn't that social at all to me. I focus on enjoying the games. It's a bit like a pub quiz - sure you're spending time with people but it's not such sociable time. I've got to know a few people a little through gaming, but they're 'gaming friends' and they're a bit different to people who I have more in common with. The socialization process is far less rapid, but also less daunting.

I think there is mileage to seeing why people enjoy games. I think one of the reasons I enjoy games is that it is a rare area where you can control your situation, where you can see the reasons for things happening, you can get the satisfaction of getting results (even if only within a game) based on your decisions. I've been trying to translate lessons from boardgames into real life a bit - like budgeting. I can budget fairly well in a game like Race for the Galaxy or Le Havrebut in real life, I'm terrible!
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J. Green
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I hear what you're saying. In my experience, anything that takes up too much time causes stress because I think life is supposed to be balanced. A little of this, a little of that, plenty of sleep, good nutrition, helping others, taking care of yourself, etc.

If you're feeling stress, it could be because you're feeling internal pressure to play games because you've spent a lot of money on it, or because you've made commitments to a game group. You might try just taking a break from it for a couple of weeks, or maybe just playing some simple games, nothing too complicated, like maybe just some dice games or card games. Fun stuff that makes you laugh.

Too much of anything tends to make it less enjoyable; games are best when they are recreational and not something you feel like you have to do to live up to your own or others' expectations.
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Nick
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vxl119 wrote:
3. Something to do with my wife -- a good alternative to watching TV.

This answer has satisfied me to no end. If my wife and I can sit down at the table and enjoy a game together, I am ultimately pleased. If this is not a satisfactory reason to enjoy board games, then I don't know what is.
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Professor of Pain
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Entertainment, first and foremost. The rest are just additional benefits. If you are not entertained, then find something else to do...
 
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Carlos O.
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Apart from having fun with some friends, I don't need any other reason to play boardgames. It's something I do to enjoy myself and it should always be.

Besides, higher purposes tend to be ways to justify doing something we are not really convinced about doing but we must keep going on doing (like going to family dinners when there is a relative we really hate).
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