What old is new

An interesting thing has been happening lately with my game collection. I’ve had a few games that previously left the collection make their way back into the house. It’s odd since I’m always reevaluating my collection and removing those that aren’t getting played. Two games have been added to the collection while a third is just on loan. Each have been added back for a different reason.

Takenoko (BGG link) is the one of the games that came back to the collection recently. This was a case of the right game at the wrong time. Like many people who enter the board game hobby, I went through an early buying spree. This was 3-4 years ago and I was always seeking out games that would appeal to my family. Takenoko kept popping up on the best games for families. As a result, I dutifully tracked down this game during a math trade.  At that time,  my kids were 6 and 9 years old. We played it a couple times but found that they got bored with the game after the 20 minute mark and didn’t quite grasp what they needed to do. As for my wife, gaming is not something she enjoys doing. Due to these circumstances Takenoko sat on my shelf until it was traded away during one of my seasonal purges.

Late in 2018, I took the kids to a demo day at the local game store. The demo day left much to be desired since it was comprised of demo copies of games sitting on tables. The employees were more interested in talking Magic than teaching or answering questions about the board games. As we looked through the stack of games I noticed Takenoko. Side bar, my daughter has become enamored with panda bears. (I assume you see where this is going.) The moment she saw the panda on the Takenoko box she asked to play it. I rarely turn down the kids when they show an interest in a game. We popped open the box and she quickly dug out the panda miniature while I refreshed myself on the rules. From my prior experience with the game, we decided to play to a lower number of completed objectives. At the end of the game, my daughter was ready to play again, but my son wanted to moved on to something else. After that day, every time we went to a game store my daughter would if they had the “panda” game. Needless to say, when I saw a copy of Takenoko show up at the local con flea market, I snapped it up to the excitement of my daughter. We’ve played it a handful of times so it was a good addition to bring back to the collection. Gaming still isn’t something that the kids will suggest often but if I suggest it I’ll usually get one to take me up on it.

Takenoko has proven to be a great game for the kids. We continue to play with the end game trigger being the lower completed objectives which limits the length of the game to something manageable for them. Recently, my daughter has mentioned how quickly the game ends. This is due to the kids focusing mainly on the plot objective cards and hoping to draw into an already completed objective. In the near future, I see a case where my daughter will ask to play to more objectives so she has more opportunities to complete other style of objective cards. I’m glad to have Takenoko back in the collection now that the kids are older and one kid has a connection with the theme.

Nemo’s War  (BGG link) is the next game that left my collection only to be reacquired. This all occurred in less than 6 months. I sold the game in November 2018 and repurchased it in April 2019. I had heard rumblings via BoardGameGeek of a new edition of Nemo’s War coming to Kickstarter late in 2018. The details on this “new edition” were scarce but I went out on a limb and sold my copy. I expected to be pledging the moment the campaign launched. The timing of the sale was great because the game was out of stock at most retailers which let me break even on the sale. The Kickstarter launched a week after I sold my copy so I finally got the details I was looking forward to. Turns out the campaign was for two more expansions to for the game and it included a new printing of the base game. This was far from the new edition I had in my head. From what I could glean from the Kickstarter, no major changes were being made to the game. The only significant change I could surmise was a bigger box to accommodate the expansions. I’m still a novice at this game and have yet to get a positive outcome to the game. Nemo’s War is similar to another game from Victory Point Games, Renegade, where surviving to the end of the game is considered a win, but then you tally up points to see how well you did. With Nemo’s War, I’ve made it to the end of the game a few times, but my scores have been abysmal. Needless to say, I’m not yet experienced enough with the game to entertain the idea of adding any expansions, so I wasn’t interested in what the Kickstarter was offering. The pricing on the campaign was retail pricing so there was no benefit to purchase it new during the Kickstarter. I added this to the list of games to keep an eye out for on the second hand market. I was surprised to see a few month’s later that someone selling a copy for a reasonable price. This copy included some Kickstarter bonuses from the first campaign which was a plus in my book. Nemo’s War was a case of runaway expectations of an upgraded and  new edition that didn’t pan out. I’ve since played it and have confirmed I still suck at the game.

Mice and Mystics (BGG link) is the most recent game to come back to me. This is not a true addition since I’m borrowing it from someone. With Mice and Mystics, it was a case of burnout which led it to leave the collection. I was fairly active with a demo program that would send me games as long as I demoed them with game groups and conventions. I received Mice and Mystics free of charge and jumped into teaching the game. Easy enough, right? Mice and Mystics is story driven with a dedicate book to tell the story. The game unfolds through a set of chapters. Teaching this to new players meant running through the first chapter or two over and over. I quickly became bored of the game and lost interest in playing the game. During this time, I tried to play the game with my kids so see if the story caught them, but it didn’t grab their attention. I was so burnt out on the first two chapters that I didn’t have motivation to explore any further story. I sold it off once I had completed all my required plays and didn’t think I’d ever reconsider it.

Well, I guess time does heal some wounds. My co-worker and I  were discussing the collection of games he bought and he mentioned Mice and Mystics. I got a pang of guilt for never delving deeper into the story. He offered to lend me the copy he had purchased to see if my feelings on the game had changed. I accepted and was surprised to have him hand me a new in shrink copy of Mice and Mystics a couple days later. I’ve since opened the game and perused the rules waiting for a night to start the adventure. My goal is to get through more of the story than I had previously and see how the story unfolds. We’ll see if the story changes the game enough to avoid the burn out I experienced before. Since this is on loan, I feel some urgency to get it played and back to my co-worker in a timely manner. I’ll follow up with another post to let you know my feelings after giving Mice and Mystics another go.

I’d like to think that my purchases of games has slowed down in the past year, but it seems like I’m treading water at around 30 games (excluding expansions). I do feel I am more thoughtful about my purchases and try to ensure that the games I’m buying will hit the table. This means that if it is a meatier game, it will probably have a strong solo rule set. I’m still a sucker for games that I think may be a hit with my family so those seem to show up at the house when there is a sale. Usually these games are lower price points, so I’m content with playing them a couple times and then selling them if they aren’t a hit. I still expect to take a critical look at what is considered a keeper, but with each purge these decisions are harder to make.

Welcome to Just Another Play

I’m just jumping in without a real idea of what the destination will be.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and as a kid I wanted to be a writer. I have always been intimidated by starting with a blank slate. Throughout school and even work, I will procrastinate until the last moment to start writing. Once I get started though, I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing.

My outlet for writing in college and early post-college life was with a personal blog that is now defunct. It was the typical personal blog where I would complain about how tough life was being a student and living with limited responsibilities. I think my parents were the only ones who ever read it so it wasn’t a big loss to the population of Earth when is faded into the darkness.  It faded away as a wedding was planned, children were born, and a master’s degree was earned.

But now the urge to write has reared its head again.

Just Another Play was born through my interest (or obsession, if you ask my wife) in the board gaming hobby. I bought the domain a year or two ago with the intention of starting a blog that focused on all the games I was playing. Yet again, overwhelmed by the blank slate, the pages stayed blank until today.

This change is as a result of Chevee Dodd. I’ve amassed quite a collection of board game related content that I follow on YouTube and Twitter. Chevee is one of those individuals I follow, but his Youtube channel, The Daily Shed, does not focus on board gaming. Chevee makes daily videos documenting what is going on in his life. He just happens to work for Portal Games and works conventions for them. Board gaming rarely is the focus of his videos.  As some point, I recall him mentioning that if you want to do something, just start. Don’t put it off or wait for the stars align. Just start doing it and see where it takes you.

That’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

Just Another Play will achieve the following:

  1. Document my 2018 10×10 Challenge. Like many over at BoardGameGeek, I’ve taken a look at my collection and see games that I love but they don’t hit the table often. I’ve created a list of 10 games I want to play a minimum of 10 times throughout 2018.
  2. Provide initial thoughts on “new to me” games. My game group tends to be on the “cult of the new” side of the spectrum so we play many games one time only. I’ll provide my first thoughts on these games.
  3. General commentary on  gaming related topics (i.e. gaming group dynamics, industry observations, gaming habits, other topics as identified)
  4. Give me a website to tinker with. I’ve always enjoyed learning how to do new stuff so this website is one of them. I already have a project that is close to finishing but I’ll post more about that when it’s published

Welcome to the bumpy ride of Just Another Play!