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Subject: How does owning a game influence your play/impression of it? rss

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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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I own a lot of wargames and have lately begun to wonder why I own so many. And so many that I rarely play.

This is fairly standard, I think. Lots of wargamers are in this situation. They enjoy the games, but can't find opponents, for example. Part of "keeping your hand in" until you do is simply buying and reading the rules to new games.

But I play pretty often. Twice a week on average and spend way more time here on BGG than is good for me. So I like games! But still, I wonder.

Then it occurred to me that I'll sometimes buy a game that I've been introduced to but have only played once or twice. I might like it some, but often not a whole lot. Card driven games like Sword of Rome are an example. If I like it okay but am not overly excited by it, why did I buy it?

Looking back some recent games I played, I would remember a point where I thought I understood a given game, but then would get set back with a loophole or stated exception—or a plain misapplication—of a particular rule. My immediate thought was, "Really? Are we playing this right?" Even so, I saw the good in the game and bought it anyway.

Take it home, read the rules, see what folks here and on CSW have to say about it, and go back for another round. Sometimes I forget and get set back again, but...I feel better about it! And I know I wouldn't if I hadn't bought the game and read the rules!

Does anyone else ever feel that way about the games they play and buy???
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Enrico Viglino
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A lot of the games I pick up are because even though
the marginal utility is low, I have an acquisitive nature.
Too, I enjoy games more solo, so without owning, I probably
wouldn't play. AND, once playing solo, I often like a game
more (in a few cases I've liked them less - for example Rail
Baron - but I don't think that's happened with a wargame).
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Lucius Cornelius
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To me, it is mainly the fear of missing out! robot
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I work HARD to play the games I buy...and am mostly successful. If a game sees my table 3 or 4 times I figure it was worth the cost. More than that and I concider it a great buy.

To directly answer your question "How does owning a game influence my play/impression of the game?" Games I own are a project, I want to "get" what the designer was trying to do with the game. I want to be able to play the game with some degree of profiency.

I spend time reading reviews (even after buying!), reading FAQs, reading session reports but I try to avoid the strategy articles. I am less inclined to do all that for a game I do not own.

Peace



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Gerry Palmer
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Thunder wrote:
I work HARD to play the games I buy...and am mostly successful. If a game sees my table 3 or 4 times I figure it was worth the cost. More than that and I concider it a great buy.






I agree. However I would put the number down lower...maybe 1 or 2 plays. I figure with the time spent reading/studying rules, components prep time (cutting out and maybe clipping counters), game set up and game play--hell, the per hour ROI can get pretty low in a hurry. Lower than a night at the movies or the price of a good hardbound book.
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Enrico Viglino
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gap10 wrote:


I agree. However I would put the number down lower...maybe 1 or 2 plays. I figure with the time spent reading/studying rules, components prep time (cutting out and maybe clipping counters), game set up and game play--hell, the per hour ROI can get pretty low in a hurry. Lower than a night at the movies or the price of a good hardbound book.


I never 'get' this means of determining value.

See, it all really comes down to marginal gain.
I know for a fact that I have ENOUGH games to please
me sufficiently for the rest of my life. Each new one added
does not particularly improve my situation. Then again, I don't
buy new books nor do I attend movies - but there are transient
experiences which I'll pay for; trying to compare the value of a permanent
source of entertainment with some one-time event seems foolish.
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Adam Cirone
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I recently entered the wargaming hobby, though I have been playing other strategy games for a few years. Right now, I only have a few games, but I would like to expand my collection.

However, I do not have much disposable income right now. So each purchase must be carefully considered. A game added to my collection must be something I can imagine playing often, something that is highly regarded by the rest of the community and thus a dependable addition. Impulse purchases only happen when I find wargames at thrift stores.

So by default, the games that I own are games that I have already decided are some of the best offerings of the hobby. Already, my goal is to play them often and learn all their nuances and strategies. I am likely to defend them from criticism and highlight their strong points.
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I think I go through the same phases of ownership that you go through when first get married...

Honeymoon Heaven

You open the box and it's amazing. You read the rules and scour the map. You look at the player aid cards and charts. You drool over the counters (hopefully only figuratively!). You punch the counters and organize them into whatever storage solution fits your bill.

You forsake all other reading materials until you can sit down and play your new game. It's amazing. You soak in the glory of each phase and revel in looking up a new rule. You probably even discover some little trick that you think will hatch ultimate destruction for your opponent.

You then get your first live game in against an opponent who is thrilled to check out the new hotness. You play a while and enjoy it. This lasts a few games until a pattern starts to emerge.

Settling In & Settling Down

During this phase you begin to memorize the rules and charts. You play the game, but you also start to notice some of its warts. You begin to get broader acceptance for the game with your regular group or opponent. It becomes an easy one to just pull off the shelf and play.

You start to become a little unsettled and figure out how to "fix" some of the problems you start to see. Maybe a house rule pops up here or there. You have a gentleman's agreement regarding some of the finer points of the rules in lieu of the FAQ.

You become a frequent poster and reader in the forums for the game to get the impressions that others have and to clarify any rule questions that might come up. Your growth is series with the game, but you are comfortable with it and teaching it becomes second nature.

Family Central

This is the game that is your go to game. You play it all the time. You keep it set up to try out new strategies. You've become the forum expert about it. You know your way around the competitors at WBC perhaps. You even figure out why certain rules you previously didn't like are written in the way they were.

This is a stressful time though because new players are emerging and they're finding ways to challenge your perceived dominance of the game. They point out ways you've been misplaying. You even may find out your regular opponent(s) haven't prepared you for the real deal of competitive play.

The game gets to be a bit of yeoman's work in the early phases. You know the ideal opening and the things to look for and you wonder if the game has already spent its life with you and you should just hang it up on the shelf forever.

Back to You

You are finally the master of the game. You get it. You've seen it all. You understand the tricky nature of the rules. You are writing the FAQ. You have fostered a gaming community that now runs on its own without you.

When you walk into the WBC people know you are the master of this game. You can cite its warts but you also know that there's nothing better out there for you so you don't care. You're secure and happy playing this game.

You Did It!

You can put the game down and enjoy any other number of games, but you still have a loving affection for the game. You might pick it up and play when asked, but you're pretty much done with competition. You begin a love affair with other things. Sometimes this may mean hanging up that board gaming hat to move on to other pastures.
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calandale wrote:
.... trying to compare the value of a permanent
source of entertainment with some one-time event seems foolish.


It is not just the comparing of a permanent source of entertainment, indeed it has little to do with the actual physical game components; it is the comparing of an experience.

My friend and I both buy games, sometimes I play his, sometimes he plays mine. The comparison is the experience we both get when we play my game or his game, much like buying my friend a ticket to go see a movie with me. We both get the experience of playing the game, or the experience of watching a movie together.

When I earlier said I consider it money well spent after 3 or 4 plays of the game, I am really speaking of 3 or 4 shared experiences with my friend and not just the physical game components. Though of course that I will have the physical game components after the experience (for perhaps yet another experience!) is apart of the package. I completely understand his comparison.

Peace

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Enrico Viglino
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medlinke wrote:
I think I go through the same phases of ownership that you go through when first get married...


Not me man.

Hmm, then again, it takes me time to settle into
a woman too.

[
Quote:
b]Honeymoon Heaven
[/b]
You open the box and it's amazing. You read the rules and scour the map. You look at the player aid cards and charts. You drool over the counters (hopefully only figuratively!).


You wonder if you made a huge mistake buying this one.
Your first impression is filled with the flaws, and
how it does not meet your expectations.

Quote:
You punch the counters and organize them into whatever storage solution fits your bill.


Well yeah. Punching - forcing to conform to my order - and even
cutting away the rough edges, all THAT I do with my women.

Quote:
You forsake all other reading materials until you can sit down and play your new game. It's amazing. You soak in the glory of each phase and revel in looking up a new rule. You probably even discover some little trick that you think will hatch ultimate destruction for your opponent.


I briefly grab what I can from the new game,
all the while thinking about the line awaiting my
attentions - not sure how I'm going to get to each
and every one, and still give my old favorites the
love that they've earned.

Quote:
You then get your first live game in against an opponent who is thrilled to check out the new hotness. You play a while and enjoy it. This lasts a few games until a pattern starts to emerge.


I don't know about you, but I'm not much into sharing...games
or women. Well, except with one another. I've tried combining
a couple of times.

Quote:
Settling In & Settling Down

During this phase you begin to memorize the rules and charts. You play the game, but you also start to notice some of its warts. You begin to get broader acceptance for the game with your regular group or opponent. It becomes an easy one to just pull off the shelf and play.


I accept that I'm never going to really understand the damned
thing, and agree to just take my pleasure of it, and learn
to love it.


Quote:
You become a frequent poster and reader in the forums for the game to get the impressions that others have and to clarify any rule questions that might come up. Your growth is series with the game, but you are comfortable with it and teaching it becomes second nature.


I don't kiss and tell (though I might vid).

Quote:

Family Central

This is the game that is your go to game. You play it all the time. You keep it set up to try out new strategies. You've become the forum expert about it. You know your way around the competitors at WBC perhaps. You even figure out why certain rules you previously didn't like are written in the way they were.


One doesn't abandon love, so long as it's faithful.

My games don't abandon me.

Quote:
This is a stressful time though because new players are emerging and they're finding ways to challenge your perceived dominance of the game. They point out ways you've been misplaying. You even may find out your regular opponent(s) haven't prepared you for the real deal of competitive play.


See? You don't want someone telling you how to enjoy it.

Quote:
The game gets to be a bit of yeoman's work in the early phases. You know the ideal opening and the things to look for and you wonder if the game has already spent its life with you and you should just hang it up on the shelf forever.


Oh man - if you're playing 'by the book' you are a passionless
lover.

Quote:
Back to You

You are finally the master of the game. You get it. You've seen it all. You understand the tricky nature of the rules. You are writing the FAQ. You have fostered a gaming community that now runs on its own without you.


Never! No free being can be mastered.

Once they understand that, they are worthy.

Quote:
When you walk into the WBC people know you are the master of this game. You can cite its warts but you also know that there's nothing better out there for you so you don't care. You're secure and happy playing this game.


I don't have games as arm ornaments.

What there is between me and my games
has nothing to do with how others perceive us.

Quote:
You Did It!

You can put the game down and enjoy any other number of games, but you still have a loving affection for the game. You might pick it up and play when asked, but you're pretty much done with competition. You begin a love affair with other things. Sometimes this may mean hanging up that board gaming hat to move on to other pastures.


Callous! Games aren't conquests.

They are loving parts of my harem family.
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I don't know what to say other than....

That was disturbing....
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Thunder wrote:
I work HARD to play the games I buy...and am mostly successful. If a game sees my table 3 or 4 times I figure it was worth the cost. More than that and I concider it a great buy.

To directly answer your question "How does owning a game influence my play/impression of the game?" Games I own are a project, I want to "get" what the designer was trying to do with the game. I want to be able to play the game with some degree of profiency.

I spend time reading reviews (even after buying!), reading FAQs, reading session reports but I try to avoid the strategy articles. I am less inclined to do all that for a game I do not own.

Peace





Great post. Nice. When I started back I just bought things that sounded interesting. Then as the new world 20 yrs on has shown me as I returned to war gaming that their is so much more to a game. You captured that nicely here.
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Every time I buy more ASL shwag, the game gets better!
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Rindu wrote:
Every time I buy more ASL shwag, the game gets better!


I agree with this assessment. Owning and playing the game can be a kind of self-reinforcing feedback loop: the more you play the more you buy the more you play the better it gets.
 
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I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from a variant of Winchester Mystery House Syndrome...as long as there are games I own that I intend to play, I simply have to live long enough to play them....
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