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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Monday, June 05, 2006

All For Some, Some For All

I cannot do this Question of the Month justice in the height of allergy season, so I will post something brief and dull.

As for new games, I still like being exposed to them so that I can follow the related Internet discussions. However, something that Dave Bernazzani wrote on Nigglybits a couple of years ago resonated with me at the time, and has stuck with me since:

"It's been a couple of years now where I've really slowed down on new game purchases. There was a time when I would buy most of the Essen and/or Nuremberg releases based on blurbs only. Nowadays, Essen comes and Essen goes - the games eventually get brought to the various events I attend. Although I'm not pushing to get them played, I will, sooner or later, get my chance to try them. Most games end up falling squarely into the middle ground of "yes, I'd play but don't feel the need to own" these days. And I have a huge supply of games that I enjoy that don't see enough play time as-is. I'd rather play a hundred favorites than play a hundred new games looking for one more favorite."

As for choosing a set of games to master, the difficulty would be getting the group to agree to that common pool. Personally, it would be a big risk for me to commit to such a thing as I find that I frequently deviate from the group's collective opinion. It would be difficult for me to motivate myself to make the trek across town if I knew that, in every session, one or more of {Union Pacific, Wallenstein, Amun Re} would be played.

As I see it, the main benefit in playing the same game repeatedly is not having to work through rules explanations, clarifications, and misunderstandings. It is less frustrating for all involved, and it is much more satisfying to win in these settings, where your opponent has no excuse/reason other than his inferior intellect (heh-heh). Also, in multi-player games, it is important to have players become less absorbed in the game mechanisms themselves and more on the interactions between players. Given that, I would prefer a tighter rotation, but no so tight that I cannot get some of my own favorites into the mix.

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