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Subject: BSW Break #2 rss

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Greg Jones
United States
Washington
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BSW Break #2: New in Town

New gamers on BSW wonder what's the deal with this meta-game. I think it's actually official advice that when you first go on to BSW, you should ignore it. If it's not official, it's at least from a respected authority.

I heeded that advice, and for a long time played on BSW without joining a town. You still participate in the meta-game whether you realize it or not. You earn "talers", which are like experience points or money, depending how you look at it. You also earn talers for towns when you play in their game rooms. The talers you earn cause you to rise in "rank".

Rank is probably the first reason you should care about the meta-game. It comes with an impressive title, but also, it gives you access to more commands. You can look up these commands on the BSW help, but I just learned them by asking more senior players, "How'd you do that?" when they use them during your games. Few of these commands are essential to play games, but some are useful.

I didn't really pursue joining a city, but at some point, somebody invited me. I won't name the city, but it's one of the big ones. The person who invited me was someone I had played a few games with, but I wouldn't say someone I had any kind of personal relationship with.

I joined the city, and built my house, which I thought was kind of cool. You get to put a game in it, and it becomes a game room available for people to use. I chose San Juan because that's what I played the most. I got in trouble right away, because apparently I didn't do the proper commands or whatever to "finish" my house. As a result, the city lost some "clothes" - I guess because I was cold at night without a roof over my head. That's okay, somebody brought it to my attention and explained what to do the next day when I signed on.

I proceeded to basically ignore what was going on in my town for a long time. Messages came up from the city chat channel, but I just considered it annoying and closed it so it wouldn't bother me any more. I "milled" about one time. Milling is like the game "Simon". Cities need to do it to produce the aforementioned clothes. I'm not really sure why. It's generally done in groups, and someone from the town will call for milling. I rarely joined. I was usually in the middle of a game. A city doesn't really mind if you don't do your share of milling if you are an active player. You earn talers for the city by playing games, and they can actually buy clothes if they don't mill enough.

I didn't really know who were the citizens of my town, and I didn't preferentially play with them.

Fast forward a while. I started playing Pandemic a lot, and I noticed a lot of the people I was playing with belonged to a certain city. So I inquired about joining that city. I was allowed into the city chat as a guest, and a couple days later I officially joined the city. At first I just thought it would be good if I earned talers for my friends who played Pandemic.

What I got was more than that. This was a smaller, closer-knit city. Besides the fact that I got a nicer, more secluded building spot for my house, people there know each other's first names, and where they're from. We play games together. Since joining the town, I have learned to play 15 new games on BSW, many of these in the Archive, which means they're normally hard to find opponents for.

Being a member of a town like this is a lot different than my first town. It's like going to a small local game group. A lot of times, people just shout out on the city channel, "What do people want to play?" Now the first thing I do when I log on to BSW is usually check who from my town is online. It's a bit nicer playing with people you know. You get less of the occasional BSW rudeness of people telling you to play faster or complaining if you make a bad move. Also, when you sit down at a random table on BSW, chances are good your opponents are sharks at the game. If you play in your town, you have a chance to play games with people who are just average at them. Occasionally too, I can get people from my town to play the games I really love that no one else seem to like out of charity. Of course I return the favor.

It can be hard to see the point of the BSW meta-game, but I think the towns system is helpful for forming small sub-communities. I'm still not sure what the point of milling is, but I do it a lot more these days, if only because we often do it after a bunch of us town members have just finished playing a game together.
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David Hadden
United States
Washington
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Everything Greg says about the advantages of a small city are spot-on!
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Alexander Zbiek
Germany
Olching
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Hi there...
morningstar wrote:

It can be hard to see the point of the BSW meta-game, but I think the towns system is helpful for forming small sub-communities.


...Thanks Greg .. thats it!!
.. finding good friends .. playing with them in a different way ! (perhaps the community is in the first place than... not especially the game)

btw: Milling and smithing .. the good old "senso" game. is for producing clothes from wool and tools from ore. It is more valueable than and the clothes are good for you to keep you warm and coosey

Greetings
alex
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Chris Weeks
United States
Clifton Park
New York
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I agree the meta-game is something that many may want to ignore at first and maybe completely over the long haul. I didn't follow either of these paths. I was a new user and went looking to people to help teach me the interface. I found out these towns existed and many of them are centered around a theme. The town I joined, which happens to be the same as Greg and Dave, consists of people from all around the world who speak english. This was big for me because I don't speak/read german and much of the interface is in german. I think converting some of the game into english is great but if they didn't then I wouldn't play or I'd find a way around it. For me joining a small town was a way around to get to know some people and learn the interface. I too have been taught some 15+ games by the folks from this town. A couple I really enjoy and some I could care less to play. There are many more games I'd like to learn, SJ and PR being a couple.

I think the important thing is to find a good group of people you can not only play a game with but have a good conversation with. After all, I'm not here just to play a game.
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