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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Monday, May 08, 2006

Nor Egrets

Among the small handful of mottos that make up my creed is "Don't regret the things you do, only the things you don't do". While I have remained faithful to that adage throughout all aspects of my life, my gaming hobby is the one area where I have giving myself free reign without boundaries. Given that, I put an asterisk on my answer to May's Question of the Month - "What gaming-related decision have you made over the last year or two which you wish you had made differently?" - as no trigger has gone unpulled in recent years, so I can only list items of which I am truly comfortable with the outcome. The runners-up:

  • I have been very conservative with my purchases in the past two years, so there are few candidates in this front. I wish I hadn't given FFG my money for the first edition of Runebound; I should have waited longer to see how the promised expansion line would pan out. I knew all along that Pirates of the Spanish Main would not be the game for me, but my fondness for the pirate theming compelled me to buy two boxes of the first release. Finally, I wish I had first played the Franks before buying my own copy of Crusader Rex.
  • I do not recall when I first knew that Rainy Day Games was going to coordinate a used game auction, but perhaps I was desperate for the closet space when I gave my big box of many Eagle Games products to charity.
  • When I decided to reengage on BoardGameGeek, I did not account for the growth of the community, nor did I get a feel for what was now considered the range of acceptable discourse. I wish I had been more tentative; in any case, I am for now back to doing little more other than asking and answering rules questions straight-up.

My primary answer for this question is my decision to attend Oasis of Fun 2005. Making a trip like that is a big money investment, and it meant additional time away from my family on top of all the local gaming gigs I attend, so I need to get a lot of return out of it to make it worthwhile. One of the primary benefits of going in previous years was to find out which new games would be worth introducing to my local gaming group. However, since that time, other folks in the group have been buying new games at a rapid rate, and, due to my own personal tastes diverging from the group's tastes, my recommendations and anti-recommendations get ignored (example - the play Tower of Babel this past weekend at the group's retreat). With this aspect of the investment all but vanished, it ends up being more of a pure getaway vacation.

I do not want to burn any bridges here, so I will say up front that OoF '05 was really well organized, I had much fun most of the time - the Ron Howard incident will be a fond lifetime memory - and the organizers and attendees are very pleasant. When OoF was first created, it was largely intended to be an invitational event "for the rest of us" on the nigglybits yahoogroup. However, since that time, several of the OoF crowd have received invitations to the Gathering of Friends (as well as Greg Schloesser's Gulf Games), and, as a result, new additions to the OoF roster seemed to primarily come from the GoF/GG crowd. Again, all of these folks are very nice people, they do a good job at creating an atmosphere of inclusion, and I have no issues with the criteria used for this social selection. However, it dampens the experience somewhat. First, these persons do not have - or at least do not exude - the same level of excitement for being at this type of event as that of others who get fewer and more modest opportunities, particularly when it comes to the playing of releases that received first exposure at GoF (although they frequently display enthusiasm for exposing and teaching new games to others). Second, throughout the entire con, it is hard for someone on the outside to overlook the shimmering presence of an inner circle. While this is largely a non-factor in my online communications, things change considerably when you have to deal with face-to-face social interaction, and it seems masochistic to subject oneself to such an environment within the premise of a "vacation". Some may think I am being overly sensitive or paranoid or insecure or whatever, but I suspect it is a common, natural sensation (perhaps even a social truism); I am just sharing my feelings as I understand them to be.

In any case, I will not be able to attend OoF '06 due to childcare issues. While I am still considering attending again the more bourgeois BGG.CON this November - I grabbed a reservation, but am waiting for more event info before arranging travel and boarding - starting next year I will likely use my summertime travel allowance for GenCon.

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