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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Cult of the New

A few weeks ago, I lamented on how I really wasn't all that enthused about the new crop of Essen games. I just wasn't feeling the anticipation or buzz that I'd felt in the past, coupled with a focus on playing the remaining "owned but unplayed" games left Essen a bit off the radar.

Then Jodie comes back from her trip to Germany.

In her suitcase, which arrived about 14 hours after her, among other games I had asked for was a surprise - Carcassonne: Neues Land. I didn't know this was out (heck, I didn't even know it was coming) so it was a nice feeling in this day and age of information overload to get blindsided like that.

Then, there was all the talk from everyone connected with Sunriver Games and the soon-to-be-coming Havoc release at Essen.

And, the buzz kicked in. I started looking over the release list. (Rick - if you're reading this, thank you very, very much for the contributions you've made via Gamewire. You will be sorely missed.) I had Mike pick up a couple games for me while he was over there. I read some of the convention reports. All the usual stuff that a board gamer does when he's never been to Essen.

A couple days ago, though, I thought to myself "why?" I own over 380 games/expansions, yet only 16 of them have been played at least 10 times in the last 2.5 years. (I've been faithfully logging my games played on the geek since they introduced that feature.)

Why do I want more games? Obviously, I've got a lot of play left in what I have. Many of them are very underplayed gems that deserve more table time. (Stephenson's Rocket, anyone?)

I've tried thinning out the collection and rotating in new games. I've tried focusing on the games we own that I haven't played. I've sold off probably fifteen to twenty games in the last year. I'll grab a game, thinking "I'm not going to play this" and it's on the sale pile. Since it usually takes me a while to get around to actually put the eBay listing together, I usually end up taking the game off the sale pile thinking "well, maybe I want to keep this after all." And then it doesn't get played. Of course, the available shelf space to store the games isn't growing very quickly. And yet, I'm eager to get more. Makes no sense.

I'm really beginning to believe I'm a drunk-the-koolaid-full-fledged-member of the Cult of the New. Maybe it's time to stop fighting it and just acknowledge it. I should just accept that I'll be buying Elasund because Candamir seems to be relatively good (after one playing), and I need to get everything Catan. (Yes, Jodie and I have eyed the 3d Settlers edition, and no we haven't pulled the trigger on it.) I'll likely end up buying every Martin Wallace game that came out at Essen.

Sigh. Sometimes, being an addict is hard.

All that being said, the same behavior does not translate to miniatures. (much to Jodie's gratitude, I'm sure.) There's been a number of high-quality miniatures games to come out in the last couple years. Warmachine and Flames of War are the leaders of that pack. I've resisted them all except Warmaster Ancients and Flames of War. It's at least possible to play FoW in an historical manner, even if it's the History Channel version of history. And I really like the Warmaster system - combine it with Ancients, and I'm a happy camper. Of course, the fact that I have absolutely zero appropriate figures didn't stop me from buying the rulebook. Nosiree.

It's probably the combination of cost (most miniatures games cost around $150-200 for your first army) and painting time that's slowed me down. Not to mention having to find opponents, as Jodie's generally not interested in miniatures games. Wild West Skirmish sometimes captures her interest, however.

One new game that has caught my eye, though, is Infinity. The Anime/Sci-fi game coming out soon from Corvus Belli. Never been big on sci-fi gaming, but this one looks good. I've been very pleased with Corvus Belli's 15mm historical lines, so if they put the same quality into their 28mm figs, they should look very nice. I'm going to wait for reviews on the rules, though. If they're even close to as good as Warmachine, I'll probably get into it.

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