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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Regret is for Humans

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

Wow – good to be back.  Can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post here.  Hopefully I can get back in the swing of things with this post.

This question is the most difficult I’ve faced so far, and even as I type I’m struggling to answer it.  So I’ll just ramble for a while about the significant decisions I’ve made and see if I stumble upon anything.  While regret isn’t specifically mentioned in the question, I’m going to use that as a theme as I walk through choices I’ve made in the past 1–2 years.

Certainly the most significant gaming-related decision I’ve made is to help start Sunriver Games and get into the game publishing business.  This wasn’t entered into lightly, and it has been more work than we ever imagined it would, but clearly no regrets there.  It would be great if we had the time and resources to publish more games more frequently, but for now we’ll continue doing the 1–2 games a year routine and make sure we have fun doing it.  We did just ship an expansion for Havoc thanks to some good early planning by KC.  Maybe I regret deciding to hand-assemble the game, but in the end it was a bonding experience for all those involved and is a sort of badge of honor we can all wear.

I’ve missed the last 2 or 3 Sunriver events, and I’m missing the one happening this coming weekend.  I can’t say I regret the decision to not attend because in all cases there hasn’t been a choice to make.  This weekend, for example, Julie is in Kansas City with her twin brothers celebrating their birthdays and Cinco de Mayo.  I don’t think Doug is ready to have Jacob and Matthew at the retreat… maybe when they are 16 and 18.  Instead I’ll host some gaming at our house and maybe I’ll even get the motivation to write it up over on that other place that I’ve been neglecting lately.

I committed to playing through my unplayed games this year, including new games I purchase.  No regrets there – it has been a blast so far and I think I have a decent chance of getting through it.  Especially if I can get in a game of History of the World, Conquest of the Empire, or Diplomacy this weekend.  I knocked down a bunch while Jim and family were in town, but have slowed down since.  I’ll give a detailed update in a week or so.

Let’s see… conventions.  Went to Essen, went to GenCon, went to BGG.CON last year.  No regrets there.  Would have been fun to go to the Gathering this year and I probably could have managed an invitation, but I’m doubtful to attend that until the kids are a bit older and I feel less guilty ditching them in spring (and in the middle of baseball season).  Even then… I’m not sure that would be my gig.  I’d almost rather just hold something more intimate out here in the NW.  I won’t be going to GenCon or BGG.CON this year, but I’ll make up for it with another trip to Essen.

Game purchases – sure, there are some games I regret purchasing but I have a hard time getting too worried about those.  The games still find a good home eventually and I rarely dislike a game so much that I regret with any sort of vengeance.

As some of you know I enjoy role-playing games quite a bit, but my gaming over the past 2 years has been limited almost exclusively to the standard D20 staples like Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars RPG.  Fun stuff, easy to learn, and appropriate for the kids.  The problem is that I’ve missed out on some of the indie RPGs that have been widely received with acclaim – games like Dogs in the Vineyard, Polaris, Thirty, and probably a bunch more I haven’t heard of.  These are not necessarily kid-friendly RPGs, but that’s a regret as well – it would be very interesting to have an infrequent gathering of adults that would like to play some one-off RPGs like those I’ve mentioned.  So, conscious or not, the decision to not play any of these games is one I regret and hope to rectify.  If any of you RPG/boardgame crossovers have any suggestions on a good D20 alternative to consider for a light-weight RPG group, lemme know.


  • At 9:15 AM, Blogger Wes M said…

    I've been ruminating over this question all week. I really don't have any regrets within the last few years. And frankly, the lifetime regrets list is all of the "I wish I had bought a copy of Game X when it was available, rather than just assume I'd always get to play with so-and-so's copy," type.

    If I have to come up with something, it would be that I waited as long as I did to try and join the RCG'ers. I probably lost out on some weeknight gaming possiblities ..., yeah, that's the ticket!

  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger Paul Tevis said…

    As far as light and easy fantasy-type RPGs go, I'd recommend The Shadow of Yesterday. The setting is very much Robert E. Howard/Fritz Leiber wierd fantasy, and the ruleset is very easy to learn and use. It's also available free under a Creative Commons license.

  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger Chris Brooks said…

    Looks interesting Paul - I'll check it out. I did manage to run a game of Cat on Friday night and we had a blast. Very light game but folks were in the spirit and got into it. My 9 year old was especially enamored of the game.


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