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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

All I want for Christmas

"What are some games that you wish you owned, but do not own? Why do you not own them today?"

Well, I thought I'd start by going through my current 'To buy' list. However, I really couldn't find anything there that were games I really wished I owned. All games to be bought at some point, but none that are burning desires.

Digging back through all the games that I've played there are two, however, that stand out as games I'd really, really like to get hold of.

The first is Flutter, a simple dice game of shares and the stock market. I've chosen this one because it's one of my earliest, and strongest gaming memories. I remember playing this in the evenings with my brother and parents, which is one of my most cherished memories, especially now that my father is no longer with us. Now, would I still play this game today, with all the other options available? Probably not. Acquire is a similar sort of game with more control, but Flutter has a simplicity that makes it great for kids. Whilst the movement of the shares is controlled by dice, you still have decisions to make on which share to buy.

The other game is Maneater, a game that we played a lot in college. In this game your swimmer is trying to make it to the beach, avoiding the shark that is trying to eat the swimmers. The shark player writes down the location he's moving to (4 hex range), all the swimmers move (2 spaces), then the shark is placed on the location written down, eating whole any swimmer in the same location. Pretty simple so far, but what made the game a hoot was that if the shark ends up adjacent to a swimmer, then the swimmer loses a leg and can then only move 1 space. How did you remember this? Because the swimmers came with little detachable legs! After both legs had been lost the swimmer could only drift with the tide, and was easy meat for the shark. Play several rounds with each player being the shark and the person with most points wins. We played this after dinner pretty much every night for a long time at college, and enjoyed every single playing. Each round takes only 5-10 minutes, so with 5-6 you're looking at 30-45 minutes. I'd really, really like to get a copy of this one.

After our Saturday games session Dave and I were talking about Lost Valley. It's a decent game, which I picked up in Essen as it was only 10E. Dave said that he thought if it was worth getting for 10E it was worth getting for regular price. (Dave, please correct me if I'm mis-stating what you were trying to say.) Interesting point, but I basically disagree. There comes a point with anything where the cost surpasses the value of that thing, and games are no different. Even a great game will have the cut off point where people don't want to or, more likely, can't afford to make the purchase. Lost Valley is a decent game, and it was on my 'to buy' list list, although with a low priority. At 10E the value of the game was higher than the cost, so I purchased. Of course with some games it doesn't matter how low the price goes I still won't be buying.

However, this applies more to games I've played than to new games, where it can be hard (or impossible) to work out a cost/value. This is where I fall back on how well I know the publisher, designer, etc. or how much the subject, description, etc. catches my interest.

Enough for this week, go play some games.


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