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Subject: Mass gaming. Do you feel the experience, or are you filling in a queue? rss

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I find myself gaming less lately then I used to when I was single and kid-less. But I'm also finding out that my gaming while less frequent is becoming more quality then quantity. I think a few years ago I would approach game night in how many games I can fit into one night. That tended to leave me with an empty feeling with the experience. I would drone off game plays as a statistic.

Recently I've been trying to game for the single experience. On Wednesday, I am planning on playing Byzantium, and I have read through the rules, some session reports, rules questions, and some strategy guides. I have immersed myself into the experience of really absorbing the game rather than regurgitating it.

I feel lately that I'd rather play one really deep and satisfying game a week, then 10-20 fluffy fillers. I want to think about that game over the course of time between game nights.

Has anyone else gone through this, where you started off in the hobby just trying to get those "numbers" and have slowed to playing less but with more content?
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I've been gaming since I was 7. I go through cycles. Sometimes I want heavy, sometimes light; sometimes boardgames, sometimes computer games; sometimes hobby games, sometimes traditional games; sometimes more, sometimes less.

Last session, I came in thinking of Hansa Teutonica and Tichu, which were played, but not by me. I got in a couple very different games of Dominion: Intrigue (liking that more--bad initial impression) and a game of Thunderstone (meh, but I wanted to try it).
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I suppose I share your experience. I'd rather play one or two deep, immersing games than several fillers. To me, fillers are just that--something fun and light to cover the few minutes while you're waiting for another group to finish or other players to show up. If the game night consisted primarily of fillers, then I'd probably find another hobby (or at least limit it to gaming with family members/non-gamers). Then again, as my microbadge shows, I'm interested in the heavier games (at least for Euro standards--not talking wargames here) to begin with.

That said, I would feel equally unsatisfied if I got stuck in a long game that I wasn't enjoying much. This happened, for example, when I played Dune, and to a lesser extent, Magic Realm. Both games had way more downtime than I typically prefer, and are too long for one who isn't enjoying them, despite them being meaty. (These aren't bad games by any means, just not my cup o' tea.)

The ideal game night for me is one where we find a game we all enjoy somewhat equally, where each player is putting the same amount of effort into winning, and getting a large amount of enjoyment out of.
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I guess it doesn't even have to be a "long" or complex game. I was following the "aftertaste" thread a while back, and it could even be a short game. Just one that made you think about the game play and the strategies you played. I tend to agree that those type of game tend be to more on the longer side, but I've played sessions of Tichu that had me talking about for days after. But there are just a multitude of games that I ended up playing as an exercise in activity, but really not filling any afterthoughts.

I find it similar to watching movies. I just don't like watching more than one in a single day. Only because I just wasn't given enough time to absorb it before running into a second or third.
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Okay, I think I see what you mean. In that case, I prefer to play games rather quickly, not to see how many I can log, but so that I can experience more games (or more repeat plays). I usually end up absorbing them later, although I can immediately say whether or not I liked the game.

I'd prefer to start up the next game quickly after finishing the previous one. I don't mind some post-game discussion at all though. In fact, many of the games I enjoy almost require this type of analysis afterwards. I just wouldn't want this to get in the way of playing other games of this quality, as my gaming time is few and far between as it is.

Generally, if it's my first time playing a game, I try not to dwell too much on my decisions and use that first playing as an "experience" game. AP from other players is a pet peeve of mine when it becomes common, so I try to avoid that altogether on my part. I'll reflect on the game later, where I can spend the time to analyze and even read about it here on BGG.

And Tichu has run fairly long sometimes in my gaming groups, although since the end condition is triggered once a team reaches a certain amount of points, it tends to be shorter when the teams are lopsided.

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Dan
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I haven't really thought about the aftertaste, but I definitely changed from wishing lots of people would come to my game nights, to wishing the right people would come so I could play the heavier games.
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Jeff Forbes

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Count me in as a member of the club.

Playing fluffy little game after fluffy little game is OK on occasion, but I want to have stuff to think about, or, if it's a light game, have some silly fun (I do like the occasional party game).

But I do like to break big games up a bit and play something quick in between them. If not something silly, then something more intense, like RFTG.



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MWChapel wrote:
I feel lately that I'd rather play one really deep and satisfying game a week, then 10-20 fluffy fillers. I want to think about that game over the course of time between game nights.


I see where you're coming from, but don't confuse "short" with "fluffy", and "long" and "deep" aren't the same either. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Short & Fluffy: TransAmerica, Razzia!

Short & Deep: Hex, Scrabble

Long & Fluffy: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Runebound (Second Edition)

Long & Deep: Key Harvest, Java

Personally I prefer short and deep, but not everybody wants that sort of challenge. Many people are happy to devote a long time and think that it must have been deep since it took so long :-). Long and deep games are a serious mental drain. Short and fluffy is often a compromise.
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If something can make my brain tickle and I can scratch that tickle successfully then the games night is a success. I've found that this is often predicated on WHO I'm playing against, not necessarily WHAT I'm playing. Granted, I appreciate the more complex, deep, longer game than the short fluff... but every once in a while I'll hit a King of Siam (which is really not complex nor long) or a Quoridor.
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I agree with the other part of the orginal post. I don't try as hard to squeeze in many games in a row anymore. I never felt any compunction to complete a high number of games, just to get the numbers (note that I don't log game plays) but I did try to play as many as possible, just to try them out. I still wish I could fit in more game time without compromising other parts of my life, but these days I am happy to play a game or two with good friends, and play with some depth.

Of course, if I did log game plays, the numbers would be embarassingly low, but I pride myself on really understanding a game, so the few times I play are fully experienced. Also note that I have generally been the one to explain games.
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Friendless wrote:
I see where you're coming from, but don't confuse "short" with "fluffy", and "long" and "deep" aren't the same either. Here are some examples of what I mean:

A very good point! I used to do a lot of welcoming of non-gamers to the group, which meant I played a lot of light, fluffy games. We're attracting more hard core gamers and more people are around to do the welcoming, so I'm doing less of that.

Different games work for different people. Some of us got together to try Arkham Horror. We played several games, but the consensus was it was multi-hour whack-a-mole. Similarly we played six or seven games of The Scepter of Zavandor: an okay exponential growth economic game, but once you've played all the different tracks, every game starts looking the same. I know lots of people love these games, though: they get to a comfort level, and the game is an old friend.

For some games, it depends on how you play. Scrabble isn't a short game if you're trying to wring out every point and get multiple bonuses per game. My group tends to play Key Harvest pretty fast. OTOH, we've had some really long Tichu games,
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Tall_Walt wrote:
We played several games [of Arkham Horror], but the consensus was it was multi-hour whack-a-mole.

Hilarious!
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Frankly, some of the AT I cut my teeth on (and interests in general) precluded my playing of light filler games to begin with. It is inconsistent with my old idea of gaming in the first place.

However, also married with a child, my gaming has started to conform to my life as opposed to my life conforming to my gaming. I now want something which will take an evening or afternoon (with a satisfying conclusion if possible) and quantity has given way to quality.

But the idea of getting in as many games as possible? A foreign concept at any stage of my life. It has always been about immersion in thought/fun for whatever time is availble to expend....
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I got into boardgaming after the wife and kids were on the scene, so I never had the opportunity for marathon, stat-building game sessions. While I'd love to play more than I currently do, I think I'd burn out if I played more than a couple of games each session. Our 3-5 member group tends to take it's time--seems like we can never finish a game in under 2 hours, despite what it might say on the box. 5+ hours of in-depth gaming is about all my brain can take. When I do try the lighter games, it is usually in 2-player mode when a larger group can't be gathered. Time-fillers would be seen as time-wasters if three or more people were available.
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I enjoy gaming, so I'm happy to get in as much playtime as possible (alas, that's usually about 5-6 hours per week) but the number of games isn't all that important. I can have just as much, if not more, fun playing 2-3 meatier games than 6-8 lighter ones.

Last week I only played two games: Shipyard and Le Havre (plus a hand of Dutch Blitz while waiting for another game to finish). I call that a well-spent evening.
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MWChapel wrote:
I find myself gaming less lately then I used to when I was single and kid-less. But I'm also finding out that my gaming while less frequent is becoming more quality then quantity. I think a few years ago I would approach game night in how many games I can fit into one night. That tended to leave me with an empty feeling with the experience. I would drone off game plays as a statistic.

Recently I've been trying to game for the single experience. On Wednesday, I am planning on playing Byzantium, and I have read through the rules, some session reports, rules questions, and some strategy guides. I have immersed myself into the experience of really absorbing the game rather than regurgitating it.

I feel lately that I'd rather play one really deep and satisfying game a week, then 10-20 fluffy fillers. I want to think about that game over the course of time between game nights.

Has anyone else gone through this, where you started off in the hobby just trying to get those "numbers" and have slowed to playing less but with more content?


QFT.
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My gaming hasn't really slackened, but I've tried to balance quality against quantity from the start. The pressure from the group and setting is for mindless quantity. If I don't speak up for actual immersion and quality I won't get it.

What actually happens falls somewhere in the middle. I can't complain. If I had a wife and kids, I wouldn't compromise. We've seen that in our group, and generally people understand.
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J C Lawrence
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That progression, or one much like it, is part of what lead me first to Age of Steam and thence to the 18xx. Simply, other games weren't satisfying (or sufficiently interesting).
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The perfect weeknight session for me is one game I don't know and get to learn and a game that I already know and love. A perfect weekend day session is either all new games (fill in n here), a dexterity game, and one or two that I already know I love OR one long deep game (18xx, Advanced Civ, Dutch Revolution, Antiquity, etc) that takes all day.
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Currently my perfect weeknight session is playing an 18xx that I still have significant questions about playing well. Currently my perfect weekend or gamesday session is several 18xx that I still have significant questions about playing well. This will of course change as I work my head through the 18xx and move on to another set of interesting questions, but I'm some way away from that (seemingly years).

As a current example, on Monday evening of last week we played 18io, on Friday evening we played 1860, on Saturday (at DunDraCon) we played 18C2C, on Sunday at DunDraCon we played 1860 and several games of 1889, and on Monday evening (at or normal weekly gamesnight) we played 18Mex. On Tuesday we played Container. While I like Container, and think it an excellent game-design that verges on brilliance, the session was unsatisfying: it was a teaching game, the game was not to the new player's preferences, and I was able to use a nearly rotely unthinking pattern to secure the win.
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I've pretty much always preferred quality over quantity. The Dominion and RftG enthusiasts who claim those games are superior to (say) Through the Ages because you can play umpteen Dominion or RftG games in the time it takes to play one TtA leave me shaking my head.

Please note that I'm not arguing that length = quality, nor that Dominion and RftG are poor games. I'd just usually rather play a good long game than a good short one. I'm actually a strong Dominion fan, but I'd still rather play something longer if it's a genuinely good game.
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Wait till the kid gets old enough-you'll be back, loving short and fluffy again.
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nnf1 wrote:
Wait till the kid gets old enough-you'll be back, loving short and fluffy again.


Heh...I didn't like short and fluffy when I was single!
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clearclaw wrote:
On Tuesday we played Container. While I like Container, and think it an excellent game-design that verges on brilliance, the session was unsatisfying: it was a teaching game, the game was not to the new player's preferences, and I was able to use a nearly rotely unthinking pattern to secure the win.

Interestingly, a friend only likes playing Container with at least one new player. I think it's like watching a race to see a crash. We had an Economist play, and he totally cratered! In another game, a wargamer tried to get the other producer to raise prices by dropping his prices (huh???), and got really irate when it didn't work. He and the other producer had a long (and somewhat loud) argument strategy session about how to get their prices up, and the rest of us had to leave the table it was so funny. "You didn't raise your prices when I dropped mine! Why are you trying to screw me?!"
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As happens part of my success was through moving prices one step ahead of my counterpart. First up, getting key cash injections from early sales, then down as my position solidified and I could afford to squeeze him out with my positional liquidity (~+$70 on the island and ~+$20 in cash). Most of the rest was tempo management and keeping myself low cash at key junctures (often $0), sot that other player's cash feeds to me further pushed the tempo where I needed it.

The key to the game is setting up affairs so that the other players say things like (and I quote), I had to do X Y and Z to make you win, because otherwise I lost!.
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