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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Grets and Regrets

"What gaming-related decision have you made over the last year or two which you wish you had made differently? Why?"

You'd think I'd be able to answer my own question, but this is actually a hard one. It's not easy to think of gaming-related "decisions." Career or family related decisions, sure, but gaming? What exactly do you "decide" about gaming? Other than "yes, more please."

The timespan roughly covers the time since I moved to the Portland area, so that makes it easier to break things down. Over this span, I've:

Left one gaming group in Tacoma
Joined this group (Rip City Gamers) in Portland
Attempted to attend the Rainy Day Games boardgaming nights and never did see anyone.
Co-started a gaming group at work with Chris
Not joined two miniatures groups based in Portland
Started a semi-regular wargaming night with Keith
Joined this blog
Bought a lot of games
Sold a few games
Traded a handful of games away

In between all that, Jodie and I have managed to play games 2-3 nights a week, on average.

Along the way, there's been lots of choices to make about a lot of things. Most small, but a few larger ones have presented themselves, too. And as we all know, not doing something is a choice, right?

I'm having a hard time coming up with a decision to do something that I've made and regretted. Joining RCG has been a great thing – I've met a lot of good people and played lots of games I would likely never have been exposed to. The gaming group at work has been great fun, and Keith is a great host for wargaming. I just wish I still had a setup like his...

I did get into a couple online tiffs with a wargame-designer-who-shall-not-be-named and I no longer buy his games (and I've sold many of the ones he designed that I owned.) I don't regret that decision, either.

As I'm really not seeing any likely candidates for things I've done that I regret, there must be something I've decided NOT to do that I regret.

One big candidate is deciding to not join either of the miniatures groups in Portland. (Western Oregon Wargamers or Ordo Fanaticus) I miss playing miniatures games. I get to paint occasionally, but pretty much the only times I've been able to push lead since moving down here has been with my old group up north.

There's a lot of structural problems with joining those groups, though – they both meet in the same facility in Central Portland. That's not easy for me to get to on a weeknight. Also, time is precious – I'm already committing one night/week to boardgaming and I doubt committing to a second one to miniatures would be considered a good thing by my wife. Thirdly, there isn't a whole lot those two groups play that I'm interested in. I haven't seen a single game announced by WOW that caught my fancy, and pretty much only Flames of War and Blood Bowl are games OF players play that I like. That limits the appeal a tad. Of course, I could always evangelize my games within the group, but that's usually a lot of effort for very little return.

So, while I regret not playing much for miniatures since I've been down here, I can't say I would change the decision to not join those two groups.

That really only leaves one thing that's sort of been nagging at me for a while, and after some serious thought, it deserves its spot as the primary decision I've made that I regret.

Once you become sufficiently advanced or literate in a hobby/sport/pastime of any sort you end up with a number of decisions. Some are implicit, some are explicit: "Stay at this level, or advance?" "Travel?" "Move up a league?" In miniatures, I've definitely moved up a couple steps – I frequently travel for tournaments, and am listed in the national rankings for DBM. Back when I was a frequent bowler, I got my average up to the mid-190s, joined a scratch league and even joined an amateur tour in the Seattle area. That's where I stopped, though – I either had to devote a LOT of time to it, or scale back. I even played in the 1985 US Chess Junior Open in Berkeley. (Never got out of E class, though.)

For boardgaming, though, I haven't. The furthest I've ever traveled was driving from Seattle to Portland for Adventure Game Fest (Gamestorm's predecessor). I've had a couple opportunities to go to the Oasis of Fun down in Atlanta, and haven't pulled the trigger. I've certainly wanted to, though. It falls into the category of how there's 25 reasons to not do something.

You know you're noticed ("someone") in the gaming world when you get an invite to the Gathering of Friends. (or you're a friend of someone who's someone.) Let's call that "moving up a level." There have been a few things I've had a chance to do that likely would have gotten me an invite, but I've always stepped back and let the opportunity pass. In fact, I nearly let the opportunity to join this blog pass, as well – and some Tuesday mornings, I really wish I had. I've at least co-started two different gaming groups, but that's different than stepping out here and posting – that was definitely a major step for me.

This is something I regret. There are zillions of real reasons why those things weren't done or the trip not made, but every single time I've backed down. Whether those opportunities will come again remains to be seen, but I plan on jumping on at least one. It probably won't be WBC or BGG.CON, but it could be the Oasis next year.

This weekend, we're off to our Sunriver retreat as Doug's posted about a couple times already. This will be my first boardgaming weekend like this, so I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe I'll get to one of the bigger ones next year. We'll see how that goes. Either way, you'll be getting my report next week.

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