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Subject: Expectant father ... is gaming doomed? rss

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C L
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Hey,

We're expecting our first child in a few weeks here. Already, I have seen gameplaying trickle to a halt during my wife's pregnancy (half of the gaming group of 4 is pregnant), and I find myself staring at my shelves of games, adjusting the positions of each game slightly, and then turning off the lights (pretty sad, eh?)

Anyway, I'm really excited about the baby. Question is: is there any hope of gaming in the afterlife? Some of you must have figured out some tips and tricks. I have decided to refrain from buying new games until I see how this goes, but I know I'm gonna miss out on some good ones...

Appreciate any thoughts,
Charles
 
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John Elbl
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If most of your gaming group is starting families, why not transition into large family gaming events?

Invite everyone over for some games / chatting. Eventually, the kids will want to 'play games' too. If they are of similar ages, then Gulo Gulo, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Formula De mini, and Hi-Ho Cherio will hit the table while the 'grown-ups' play other games...
 
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Aaron Potter
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Immediately: yes, gaming is over. You're going to be too busy re-arranging your schedule, trying to find a chance to sleep, and appreciating teeny-tiny-toesy-woesies to possibly think about gaming. This will last for about two months.
In the short term: it depends. Brand new babies, even the shrieky ones (and our second was pretty noisy) sleep a lot during prime gaming hours anyway (after 7:00 p.m.). Between two months and one year, we got some of our best gaming time in but that is *only* because our house was our little group's regular meeting spot for games. If we'd had to travel, that would have been impossible.
In the middle-term: yes, gaming is largely over. Between one-year and three years, my eldest son was into everything, and his brother, currently fourteen months, is following suit. Other than small, hand-held games and such, there's no real opportunity to break out even a game of Monopoly, much less Twilight Imperium.
In the long-term: Congratulations, you just hit boardgaming's hidden jackpot: you're going to have a permanent, in-house gaming buddy. As of age five, my son's been getting more and more into complex games, including my childhood faves which ooze theme, but he's more appreciative of abstracts than I am too. Current tops include Feudal, Dark World, Pente, and Make Seven. I fully expect he'll surpass both his mother and I...well, me anyway.
 
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Tim Moore
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Our game group has gone through a few new fathers and mothers, and there is certainly a lull -- which none of the parents seemed to mind at the time. But, we often make an effort to play at the home of the new parents wheneever we (and they) can manage.

I know from experience, after the intense time after having the baby the spouse usually gets sick of having you (or anyone else) around and you each get occasional nights out.

The main thing is to stay in touch with the game group(s) and take advantage of when you can hook up with them.

Finally, I agree with the previous poster - my 6 year old is starting to play board games with me. In the long run that might prove fruitful.
 
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John Mowat
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Hi there. I've got a 10-month old. I used to have the guys drop by several nights a week for quick games of Magic or Settlers, but now I push it all into one big blowout on the weekend (Twilight Imperium.) This way, I can ship the wife and kid off to the mall/mother-in-law's on Saturday while I have the guys over, then make it up to them with a family outing on Sunday...
I can't remember anything from the first couple months after the baby arrived, though - not enough sleep


PS: If you think you're familiar with sleep deprivation, you're wrong...I did Basic Training + University Exams in a 5-month block of madness, and even that didn't prepare me...
 
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Brian Nelson
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Father of a six month old girl here, and I have to agree with potterama. Approaching birth and for several months after you should forget it. Your brain will be hosed from sleep deprivationrobot After two-three months you should have a handle on things enough to get some gaming in.

However, as soon as our daughter got into daycare I thought I could get things started again, maybe just every other week, but two days into it she brought home a cold/flu which wiped out the whole family for a month or more. Frankly I'm only just now planning on having some people over for the first time in well over a month. You just have to roll with the punches.

My wife enjoys gaming, but not so much that she's unwilling to take care of the baby once in a while so I can have some people over. Of course, I give her some nights off in exchange. Once you feel like you've got a handle on things I think the most important thing is to just do it. Despite being tired, etc. because you're always going to be tired, and you just get used to that at a certain point.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the discipline to keep myself from buying some new games as it's the closest thing to a fix I can get

 
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Robert Zurfluh
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My now 6-year old enjoys TtR, Attika, Ra, Metro, LotR-TC, etc.

When he was 5, we played Fist of Dragonstones, Queens Necklace

When he was 3 and 4, he put together Carcassonne boards, and we played McGregor

When he was 2,1,0....let's not think bout these times shake


Anyway. It works out great now! He's having sleepovers @ our friends house, and we play into the wee hours of the morning (sometimes) and then we are completely disfunctional the next day.

So, I think you'll be in decent shape again by 2010

 
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I have a two and a half year old daughter. Best thing that ever happened to me.

Our daughter sleeps from about 7 pm to 7 am. So we have several hours at night to play games after she goes down. I can't remember exactly how it was with a newborn. But expect possibly less time for gaming, for the short term, as others have said.
 
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The Real and Only
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I am in the same boat that you are going to be in. My child was born 1 month ago. Short term you are going to be very busy with your new baby and will not have much time for anything. Mom is going to want to sleep when the baby sleeps as this is going to be the only time she is going to get any sleep. Until the baby is on a better night time sleeping schedule.

It is very important however that you and your wife make time for fun things during this period also. Be it gaming with some freinds or going out to the movies for a quick two hour break. If instead you decide to plan to get togehter with some friends for a few hours to play games, this would be even easier since you would not need a baby sitter, or a breast pump. Assuming you are breastfeeding.

Even though you are not going to have as much flexability on when you get to relax and do fun things, It is still important to take some time out to do something fun for yourself.

Taking care of a newborn is hard work. I used to think it was something that new parents say to other soon to be parents just to freak them out. Its not.
That being said it is quite manageable and though you will not be able to play as much in the early days, you will be able to play, and should even put some effort into making it happen for your mental well being.

Also keep in mind, that in a few years you will have a captive gaming group when the little one is old enough.
 
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Stephen Tavener
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Clementine is now 26 months old.

The first year was the worst for us; very few games got played
Since I started tracking games on BGG last summer, I've clocked up around 500 plays, mostly with Rosie, so I guess our gaming life is back to normal - for some definition of normal.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Gaming is not all that is doomed.

Take your life. Put it in a box. Now put that box in a closet.

Get a new box. This will be filled with things you cannot conceive of until you have a child. Like staying awake because the child is loud. Waking up because the child is too quiet. Wondering who you vote for in the next election due to how it will affect them. Learning to open a milk carton with only 2 fingers free. Having hot drool run down your neck and not want to move to wipe it off since it may wake them. Finances gone berserk. Feelings you swore you would never have.

Your life is a new box. You have to decide whether or not gaming fits into it. You may simply decide it no longer belongs, and you will not miss it. Or, every few months, you can take something from your old box and put it in the new one. Maybe.

Its the most incredible thing there is. But who you are now will not exist once the child is born. You, too, will be born.
 
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Eric Landes
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If you want to see a typical pattern - just look at the games played in my profile, and realize that our daughter was born in late March last year. It wouldn't surprise me if you show a similar pattern.

Historically, 75% of my gaming has been at home with my wife after work. That hasn't really changed much, even after the baby.
 
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Randy Cox
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Congratulations!

First, let me say that every arrangement is different (and some of that has already been seen here--some people divide the childrearing task so that one person "does their thing" while the other is "shipped off elsewhere"; others do the coparenting thing 24/7; and then there are folks with grandparents living next door to take some of the burden). Who knows how your situation will work out?

But I can speak to my situation...

My wife is a gamer, at least as much as I am. So, before our first child was born (5/5/03), we gamed any time we could. Living in SC, that wasn't as often as we'd like, but we did have a weekly group we met with and we also played at home many weekends with another couple or two.

When Sophie was born, the gaming didn't really drop off, but it did change (I keep stats on this). We stopped going to the weekly Wednesday gamefest (45 minutes drive each way and just doesn't work well with a baby in tow). But except for the first month (when gaming dropped from 15-20 games per month to 2), we actually started to play more games (evenings and weekends and more 2-player), but they were shorter games (avg game length pre-birth: almost 80 minutes; average after: around 40 minutes). We had to start the "pass the baby between turns" tandem approach to gaming or we had to secure her in the BabyTrekker (tip: get one) while gaming or she had to nurse during gaming. The nonsense about babies sleeping while you game just doesn't hold true.

That pattern continued pretty well (dropping to about 14 gamer per month) until baby #2 (Toby: 11/4/04). That's the true gaming-hiatus trigger, a second child. Since his birth four months ago, we've played 11 games. Total. He doesn't even go to sleep until between 9 and 11 p.m., so there's no chance to invite folks over, unless they want to watch a Nurse-a-thon and three or four false "put-downs."

All in all, though, it's a good trade. You will play fewer games (for now), but you should get a payoff in the future (my 24-year-old was conditioned to be a gamer).

Caveats: of course, if you are of a mind to use the TV (we don't--many studies linking ADD to children who watch TV before age 2; but take all parenting advice, even mine, with a grain of salt), you may find a way to squeeze in more gaming. Likewise, if your baby is bottle-fed, you'll probably get a little more sleep and longer stretches for playing a game. In short, it all depends.

Enjoy the ride.
 
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Robert Zurfluh
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Quote:
Its the most incredible thing there is. But who you are now will not exist once the child is born. You, too, will be born.



You're sooooo deep. Come on, tell him how it is....You will be doommed for @ least 2 years. You will not sleep. You will be tired. You will have no money.
You will put on weight ('cause you are spending a lot of time @ home, reading mind-numbing books and watching tele-tubbies).

I don't help, I guess. So, I better shut up.

No, seriously. Enjoy the time, because now time will start to fly, and in a few years when you look back, you wonder how that kid grew up so fast.
 
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Randy Cox
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Noaceyet wrote:
Come on, tell him how it is....You will be doommed for @ least 2 years. You will not sleep. You will be tired. You will have no money.
You will put on weight ('cause you are spending a lot of time @ home, reading mind-numbing books and watching tele-tubbies).


Aww, it's nowhere near that bad (though I detected a cheekful of tongue). Doomed is such a strong term.

Of course, I guess our situation is different. Other than a weekly drive to Greenville for gaming, we never went out before our babies were born (so the concept of spending a lot of time at home was already normal). As stated earlier, that whole tele-tubby thing is lost on me, as we didn't watch TV pre-baby, so we don't now, either. And I've noticed no financial suffering (hell, with two kids, we get a nice tax refund this year).

Sure, you'll have a night here and there where you wish you had more sleep, especially your wife if she's breastfeeding. But it was never Zombie-land...just a little tired (and we have not been blessed with good sleepers; I can relate to that spit-up running down your shoulder and not moving for fear that the creaking floor or simple movement may wake the baby). Biggest thing to remember (my opinion, of course) is that pretty much nothing else matters. So what if the dishes sit in the sink all day or you don't mop this week? There are only so many hours in the day, and the baby gets first dibs.
 
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MK
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potterama wrote:
In the long-term: Congratulations, you just hit boardgaming's hidden jackpot: you're going to have a permanent, in-house gaming buddy. As of age five, my son's been getting more and more into complex games, including my childhood faves which ooze theme, but he's more appreciative of abstracts than I am too. Current tops include Feudal, Dark World, Pente, and Make Seven. I fully expect he'll surpass both his mother and I...well, me anyway.


Aaron beat me to it. And it doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl - I have two little girls who enjoy Lord of the Rings and Carcassonne H&G. Best of luck to you - be patient, children are the best thing that can happen to a gamer!
 
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Chris Shaffer
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People are right - for the first few months, forget it. After that, things will pick up. For the first two years, you'll do best if your gaming group meets at your own house. For the next two years, you'll play more Go Fish and War and other mindless games than you ever thought possible. After that, you'll start getting to play more and more and more... My daughter is six and a half and we've finally made it to games I really enjoy playing with her - Ticket to Ride, Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers, Pitchcar, Africa, Midnight Party, etc.

One thing to consider is, after the first year, giving you and the mother a night per week away from the kid. If you regularly get to go play games on Fridays, and the mom regularly gets to go do whatever it is she does on Thursdays, life will be much less stressful for you both.

Gaming definitely isn't dead - you just have to adjust to new patterns. I met some of my best gaming friends when I was wheeling around a stroller at GenCon, playing Advanced Civilization and praying my daughter would nap just an hour longer... Look for new gaming friends who also have children.
 
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Ken
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Father of two and a half year old duaghter piping up:

As everyone says: say goodbye to games for at least a few months. But after the initial adjustment, my wife and I have done a good job of protecting our "adult time" together and with our friends. I have a night/afternoon for gaming/shooting pool with the fellas -she has girl's night and book club.

Games actually have helped us with our time together as well. Our daughter goes down at 8:30-9. After an exhausting day of work and running after our daughter, a little game time after my daughter goes to bed allow us to reconnect in a way vegitating in front of the tv or burying our noses in books don't. Lost Cities, Citadels, Guillotine, Caesar and Cleopatra, Kahuna and Odin's Ravens have been great fun for us. And as my daughter gets older, I'm able to spend mort time with the game group on meatier stuff.
 
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Paul Kidd
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No, gaming's not doomed - it will just never be the same again.

About a month before my eldest was born I went with four mates to the beach for a long weekend and, amongst other things, played a game of "History of the World" into the small hours.

That was the last time I played that game.

Everyone's experience is different, but ours is that the first few months are a blur and then you gradually develop a normal life again. Our kids are now 6, 4 and 1 (very nearly 7, 5 and 2) and we definitely feel that we are coming out the other side. Games, sleep, sex...everything seems to have disappeared into the abyss, but it really has just gone away for a little while.

You will hear horror stories aplenty, and they are all true, but the real truth is that those are what is easy to describe. The joy you get can not be described and really, truly, honestly is the greatest thing you will ever know, so long as you enter this new part of your life with an open mind and an open heart.

One piece of advice I will give you - as soon as your baby is old enough, you need to institute "time off". My wife and I changed everything with the simple application of this principle. It goes like this - once a week at a regular time you get a morning, afternoon or evening to have completely to yourself. You can do whatever you like with no responsibility to the family. Your partner likewise.

My wife usually takes Saturday or Sunday morning to go the shops, sometimes with a friend or her mother, to shop, sit in a coffee shop and read or whatever it takes to feel like a sane, adult woman again. I can see the change in her when she returns - from a frazzled wreck to an energized person looking forward to seeing her family again.

I take Wednesday nights and - surprise, surprise - play games, although sometimes we will see a movie instead. This way I keep up with my old friends and have an interest outside work and family.

Do it, trust me - it will make you both better parents and partners. Without it you can sometimes feel like a pack horse shuffling from one set of chores to the next. You need a break and some distance to appreciate what is great about your life.

And yes, once your kids get a bit older you have as your hobby the best social family activity there is.

This has turned into a long post, so I'll leave it there, just to say that you'll need to experience this journey yourself to understand it, but you will have the best time of your life - enjoy every minute.
 
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J Jacy
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I recommend shipping the kid off to military school early, after 1 month I'd say is about right.

Then you can have a real life full of board gaming, and be assured that the kid is going to be all right. devil
 
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Kelly Bass
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Doomed? No. Backburner? Yes!
Pregnancy: I strongly advise you to play games, go out to a movie, and an adult restaurant now, because it will be difficult to do those things for a while.

First 6 months: I'd be surprised if you have any real chances for serious gaming.

6 months - 3 years: I'd put gaming on the backburner, but then somehow you might get a 3 hour block of time where you don't have any immediate responsibilities and your gaming buddies are hosting.

3 - 5 years: Your gaming will be split into playing games with your kid, and games with your normal gaming buddies. If you are hosting, or bringing your kid, be prepared to let him/her check out & play with the pieces. Not all adult gamers are kid-friendly, but you'll soon find out who is.

5 - 8: Still 2 gaming groups (kids & adults, but starting to get some crossover), but you'll be able to furnish interesting games for the kids. Your house will become the place the neighborhood kids go to for gaming. You will become the pied piper of games. When mature enough, the kid(s) can start checking out the games the adults play and join in with simple enough games (Carc, Settlers, TtR).

9+: Your kid is better than the 50 year-olds you play with. Worse yet, your kid is better than you!

Hang in there! Good luck!!
 
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This is something I am dreading in the future. The first one of our circle of friends is now pregnant. My brother has 2 kids. My wife's brother is pregnant with their 2nd. My wife wants to have one too.

Once a baby enters the picture, I can imagine I will not be able to do anything that I do now, at least not for several years. I definately will push for the "night off" idea at the very minimum.

Does anyone have any clues for how to manage a "night off" when you are at home? What if you want to use your night off to watch a DVD or play videogames for example? It seems like it would't work unless you sent away the other person + child, which doesn't seem practical either. Not to mention that you probably can't enjoy whatever it is you are trying to do on your night off with whatever crying or shrieking is going on in the background.

I am hoping that once my wife is denied HER usual activities she will be more interested in gaming than she is now...
 
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Chris Hawks
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Everything Geosphere said is true.

However, our gaming group generally meets at our place anyway, usually on weekends. When Elizabeth was born, it didn't mean the end of gaming. Generally, it just meant someone had to hold the baby while we play. In the beginning, that was generally Mommy, but as she got older, the game of pass-the-baby caught on. (Gaming time also often coincided with cranky-baby time, so she'd get put into her swing for a nap.)

The best thing we did was buy her her own deck of Winnie-the-Pooh playing cards (so she'd stop grabbing for our cards) and now she sits in someone's lap and plays with her cards while the rest of us play whatever. Or she'll walk around the table and play with juggling balls or juggling rings or other toys. My daughter's almost a year old, by the way. In fact, now we're getting her to bed a little earlier (10:30-11:00 pm -- totally atypical, btw) which gives us usually an hour or so to play without a baby around.

In summary, a baby does not necessarily mean the end of your gaming life -- but I think it does depend on your group and (especially) your baby.
 
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Gaming is not doomed, but it will take more planning, organization and effort. My beautiful and delightful daughter was born November 2003.

The first couple of months were lighter than normal on games, but we still got them in. It helps a great deal that my wife likes to play games.

In January, I began having a monthly game night at my house so that I could get more gaming in and visit with my gaming friends after our child went to bed. This works fairly well.

We also have couple friends come over occasionally to play games.

So I'd say NO -- gaming will only die if you let it.

Game on,
Bert

www.dreifuss.org
 
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potterama wrote:
Immediately: yes, gaming is over. You're going to be too busy re-arranging your schedule, trying to find a chance to sleep, and appreciating teeny-tiny-toesy-woesies to possibly think about gaming. This will last for about two months.
In the short term: it depends. Brand new babies, even the shrieky ones (and our second was pretty noisy) sleep a lot during prime gaming hours anyway (after 7:00 p.m.). Between two months and one year, we got some of our best gaming time in but that is *only* because our house was our little group's regular meeting spot for games. If we'd had to travel, that would have been impossible.
In the middle-term: yes, gaming is largely over. Between one-year and three years, my eldest son was into everything, and his brother, currently fourteen months, is following suit. Other than small, hand-held games and such, there's no real opportunity to break out even a game of Monopoly, much less Twilight Imperium.
In the long-term: Congratulations, you just hit boardgaming's hidden jackpot: you're going to have a permanent, in-house gaming buddy. As of age five, my son's been getting more and more into complex games, including my childhood faves which ooze theme, but he's more appreciative of abstracts than I am too. Current tops include Feudal, Dark World, Pente, and Make Seven. I fully expect he'll surpass both his mother and I...well, me anyway.

ADD:
In the REALLY long-term: Nope, it's dead for good. As soon as he becomes a teenager, he'll lose any interest in anything you ever showed him (it's "uncool" now), but manage to consume even more amounts of time and concern from you. And let's not forget that what money you USED to have as 'discretionary' to buy games with is going to see a large chunk of (or, rather, "all of" plus some) going to a college fund.

Seriously, there is a CHANCE he'd stay into gaming - but it's a ridiculously small one. There were no PC games in the 70s, it was boardgaming or sports for entertainment, and how many 20-30 year olds today are still into boardgaming? Maybe 1/2 of 1% of those introduced to it?

Don't get your hopes up!
 
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