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Friday, May 06, 2005


Two playing styles and how they relate to my previous comments. Fearsome Floors, Formula De.

Missed my Monday night group due to plumbing problems. I hereby vow, with God as my witness, that I will play Twilight Imperium 3 tonight if we have 5 or 6 players. If there are only 4 of us, I will get McMulti to the table. Time to whittle down my unplayed games list.

Got to thinking about my unplayed games list. About a year and a half ago I met a guy who was as big a game fanatic as I am. Through him I met several more gamers in the community. Although this was a blessing it also had some unexpected effects.

He is more of a wargamer than I am. His group of friends tended to be wargamers also. I have read numerous commentators who state, and it is my experience, that wargamers tend to find a few games that they like and stick to them. They play those games until they have explored every strategy angle, then they lay the game aside and rarely play it again. Wargamers tend to treat German games the same way. They find a few they like and stick with them.

My friend plays quite a bit of Goa, for example. Goa is a game that gives you the feeling that it can be mastered. He has the feeling that if he plays it enough he will figure out the optimal order to advance in each category.

Like many German-game-gamers I enjoy playing lots of new games. The reward is in learning a new game, instead of mastering the game. I keep coming back to the good games, but exploring new games is what holds my interest in the hobby.

Anyhoooo, this all has to do with my plethora of unplayed games. Although I am playing more games now than a year and a half ago, I am playing a few games more often. Whereas before I was probably getting in two new games each month, that number has decreased to one or two every couple months.

I still play with my original group of friends, and we usually will learn a new game when we play, but the groups are usually mixed, or I am playing with my new acquaintances exclusively. All in all, I am glad to be playing more often, maybe if I could find a third group to play with...

Fearsome Floors

I guess I do have a third group: The kids at the Boys and Girls club. Went to the usual Thursday evening game extravaganza. Had one kid to start, we played Fearsome Floors. We then played again with two monsters in the game. It was brutal. We played that both monsters moved according to the same turned up tile, instead of drawing one tile for each monster. We drew the "Kill 1" tile right off the bat. That brought both monsters into the thick of the battle right away.

I have found that two or three player FF isn't very satisfying. Of course it is light fun to begin with, but with more players it does get more strategic. Two player FF with two monsters is the way to go. I highly recommend using this variation when playing with only two players. Turns a beer and pretzel game into a game that penalizes the drunkest person. Definitely more of a brain-burner.

Formula De

I usually bring Formula De to the Boys and Girls club, just in case there are more kids than usual. Formula De can support 10 players and more in a pinch. The one kid there wanted to play FD after our brutal FF outing. We played a two-lap, two-player game. The kid, who is usually one of the best gamers there, burned all his tires and brakes and crashed by the third corner on the first lap. I fudged the rules to allow the game to continue.

Just before he hit the pitstop, the weather turned to rain. I had long passed the pits and had to finish the game on my original tires. He put on his rain tires and promptly killed himself by the third corner, again.

About that time another kid joined us and we switched back to Fearsome Floors.

Good gaming,

I have read numerous commentators who state, and it is my experience, that wargamers tend to find a few games that they like and stick to them.

If think this can't possibly be true, just from looking at the market. There are tons of wargames published each year for a market that, by most people's admission, is pretty small. Whether that's because wargamers like collecting games and keeping them in shrink on the shelves, or because they like playing new stuff, is always somewhat unclear ... but they do buy it.

I think it's closer to the truth that wargames have a much broader range than euros - Europe Engulfed, Squad Leader, Axis & Allies, Breakout: Normandy, and Korea: The Forgotten War cover more ground in complexity and playing time at the very least than the entire eurogame genre, and those are all WWII(-ish) games. People know what area of that range they like, and that may not end up encompassing all that many games. But all the evidence seems to indicate that wargamers as a group like buying new stuff as much as other gamers.
LOL. I was actually thinking that you had said something to that effect on Geekspeak, Chris. I do remember you talking about wargamers, and how they will often try a tactic in a game that they know will lose, but are curious to see how the move would turn out. Guess I was mistaken, or I read more into your answer than you intended. Has it really been 6 months? Yes, it has been six months since you were on Geekspeak.

Other than that I definitely remember a couple threads on BGG where people were discussing this topic. If memory serves, and I am no longer sure I should trust my memory, Scribidinus was at the center of the discussions.

But, I am sure of one thing. I am sure that I have long held the notion that wargamers tend to stick to games until they tire of them, and then move on. I’m not saying that they play a certain game exclusively for a period of time, but that exploring various strategies is how they find enjoyment.

Look at the difference between ConSimWorld and BoardgameGeek. Threads on CSW are long and detailed with lots of strategy opinions and rules questions (on both minutia and big concepts) that frequently need the designer to provide answers. At least that is my impression of CSW, I don’t go there too often because it can be difficult for one to find information if one doesn’t go there every day.

Strategy articles are few and far between on BGG. Rules questions tend to be obvious if the person questioning would just look in the rule book. In fact there is a subcurrent of discontent, because many reviews are posted after only one or two plays.

And yes. I do realize I am painting with a broad brush.

And on a completely unrelated topic, Chris Farrell reads my blog??!!. (Tongue out) Neener, neener, neeeener. Granted, it’s just to slap me around, but I’ve been slapped around by lesser commentators.
Look at the difference between ConSimWorld and BoardgameGeek.

I would agree that there are differences between wargamers and eurogamers, obviously. For one thing, you can get a lot of enjoyment from wargames just by sitting in your study and pushing the counters around by yourself ... which I think does wonders for the traffic on CSW :) And wargames are certainly more highly replayable because you spend the first couple plays just figuring them out.

I guess I'm just saying I see the same cycle of buying new stuff, playing it a number of times, and discarding it in the wargame world as I do in euros, it's just slightly slower (but not much). I have a very hard tim finding opponents for 2-year old stuff on the wargame side, same as on the euro side, while marginal games will get played just because they're new. I already find the window of opportunity to play last year's games (like Downtown) closing in my local groups.

So I just don't think wargamers are any more obsessive about single games than you might expect, given that wargames have longer learning curves and higher complexity in general. And there certainly are wargamers who hop games as often as the euro players do, even given these factors.
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