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Why am I on BGG all day !!?

I've been hooked on to games for a couple of years now and have a gathered a small collection in the process. However, like a lot of people here (I'm sure), I spend loads of time lurking around on BGG looking at any game that looks interesting. So I just thought it would be fun (for me!) to jot down what games catch my attention from time to time - either from my own collection which I play or just games from the geek. Also, it would be interesting to see if there is any pattern to my game cravings.

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The Quarrior Rollercoaster

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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So the ride started about a month and a half ago..
Just hanging out at BGG, minding my own business, watching reviews, voting on geeklists, looking up games... you know the drill.

And then, through the corner of my eye, I see this weird "Quarriors" thing, pretty high up on the hotness list.
I was like: Meh... just another random game I've never heard of that's either

A) One of the countless new games coming out that I can't keep up with
OR
B) Some older game Tanga had on sale, which made everyone view the game page

Anyway, I didn't bother looking it up and just moved along. So my first reaction with Quarriors!:

Current State: INDIFFERENT

Fast forward a few more days and what do you know, Quarriors! is still right up there lingering at the top of the Hotness!
"Hmmm, maybe I'll just take a peek and see what the deal is"...

wowwow
Designer
Mike Elliott
Eric M. Lang
wowwow

Holy Qow!!! Eric Lang. He designed "Chaos in the Old World", the BEST game I've played in my relatively short gaming career. We might be on to something here.
Plus Mike Elliott, the Thunderstone guy.. that was a decent game too. Note to self - "Definitely need to find out more about this game"

Current State: EXCITED

Next thing I know, Drakkenstrike's video review of Quarriors! is on the front page and obviously, I'm all over it!
Drakkenstrike: "Fantastic Game","One of the biggest hits of 2011"
Me: "Hey, isn't it about that time where I buy myself some new games"

Current State: CANT'WAIT

There are 3 games I'd bought without really knowing a lot about the game. Something about these games just jumped out at me and I thought I would enjoy them.
- Chaos in the Old World (Watched DowntimeTown's review and bought immediately)
- Cyclades (Happened to be casually reading a Wikipedia article on Greek Mythology around the time I found this game and thought it was a "sign" for me to get the game!!)
- Dominant Species (Watched Tom Vasel's review and bought immediately)

Yes, yes... I'm easily influenced!! Don't judge me! Well, thankfully my instincts turned out to be good and I love all the above games. Probably my top 3 games.

Would Quarriors! be my next impluse buy that turned out to be a favorite?..
Unfortunately, this game wasn't out yet, so I couldn't just go and buy it. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. Part of me thinks that the reason I enjoyed Chaos or Cyclades or DS, was the fact that I didn't have any expectations. If I already knew all the rules and mechanics, I might have formed an image of the game in my head which could have been way different from the actual game.
So anyway, I look up a couple of online retailers and it seems like it will ship on August 10. I've got some time to think about it, find out more about the gameplay, see if it's something I'd really enjoy. This kind of took away the initial excitement a bit, since I knew it would be several weeks before I could actually play it. However, I was still definitely interested in the game and decided to check out the rules or more reviews later

Current State: HAVE TO WAIT, BUT STILL EXCITED

This is when the game started to get more exposure. Many more people had played it and more opinions are starting to come out. And along with that, there were the inevitable comparisons to Dominion, Thunderstone and other deck builders. "Dice building" is the new buzz word surrounding this game. I quite liked Dominion when I first played it... and I still do. I ended up buying the game and played it quite a bit. I even introduced the game to few friends/cousins and they all liked it. And then I started playing it on the computer (online and/or vs. AI). I was enjoying that too. There was no setup or cleanup (which is the only thing I didn't like about Dominion). There was no shuffling and the games were really quick. But this online play kind of made me shy away from playing the actual game (which I now feel is much better than online). But at the time, I kind of gave up on Dominion and didn't play it much at all.

Around that time, I got a chance to play Thunderstone and I quite liked it. I figured I would replace Dominion with Thunderstone as my go-to deck builder. So I bought Thunderstone: Dragonspire and played it a few times. I'm not really sure why, but I didnt enjoy Thunderstone as much as I thought I would. I can see that it's a good deck-building game, but for some reason it sits on my shelf way more than I would like it to.

So all this Dominion/Thunderstone back-and-forth had been going on for a few months before I discovered Quarriors. Once I really started to read up on Quarriors, I started to see how similar it was to Thunderstone and my heart sank a bit. Maybe it wasn't going to be all that great after all. But there was still some hope. It seemed like adding dice to the mix might freshen it up a bit and still make it appealing. I realized that I really wouldn't be able to decide whether it was a good game for me, until I saw and played it for the first time.

Current State: CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

In addition to all of this, I had some unexpected expenses around the time and decided to hold off on any game purchases. So here is where I stood at the time.. (about 3 weeks ago)

Current State: OFF MY RADAR

But wait...as it turns out, I wasnt done with Quarriors just as yet. I'm quite an avid table tennis player and I had a chance to play in a TT tournament the following weekend, with some prize money at stake. I decided that if I did end up winning any prize money at the tournament, it would go towards buying some new games. SO..after an extremely awesome Saturday.. I came away $150 richer!! Lady luck was definitely on my side!! And with that, Quarriors began beckoning me again. Now that I knew I was definitely going to be buying some games, I didn't mind taking a chance with Quarriors. So it was back to the Quarriors page on BGG once again...

This was now GenCon season and there was a lot of buzz surrounding this game. The more I heard about Quarrious, there more it seemed to creep back on to my wishlist. There were mostly positive opinions (and some negative) about the game coming out now. And like I mentioned before, I am easily influenced. Everytime I read a positive review, I would want it more. But then I would read a negative review and start to re-consider. Finally, I got tired of thinking so much about a single game purchase and decided that I had to make a choice NOW! So I went back one last time, watched a video, read a review and decided to take the plunge and buy it!!

SO...On the 8th of August, I placed my pre-order (along with a couple of other games)

Current State: ORDERD & ANXIOUSLY WAITING

A few days later, I decided to attend a game night at the FLGS. And what do you know, someone received their copy of Quarriors! and was starting a game as soon as I walked in!
"Can I play too? Can I play too?"
This was excellent. My copy was arriving the next day. And now I have a chance to learn and play it before I get mine. NO rules-reading for me this time! Yay!! (Though I must admit, I do enjoy sitting down with a good rule book!! Who wouldn't??)

So we began our first game. There were 4 players. Took about 15 minutes to learn the rules and we were off.. fingers crossed , hoping it would be a good game!
We got off to a decent start.. nice components, monsters, spells.. so far so good. Players were scoring quickly and it looked like a short, fun game. I was kinda pleased.
Then I started comparing the game to Dominion and Thunderstone. That's when things started to go downhill a bit. The good thing about buying cards vs. buying dice is that, when you draw cards into your hand, you can read the abilities/powers right there. When you draw and roll these dice, if you arent familiar with all the creatures/spells (which you won't be in the first few games), you need to keep reaching into the common area to pick up the card and see what it does. This was a bit annoying and slowed things down a bit.
Plus, the game is advertised as "Deck building without the shuffling". Sure, shuffling may not be ideal, but neither is grabbing a bunch of dice, putting them in a bag (you inevitably drop one on the floor), then drawing exactly 6 (I always counted wrong! - but that's probably just me). But hey, this is just a minor quibble. It didn't bother me that much at all. But then again, neither did shuffling!!
To top it off, we had one player who wasn't very enthused with the mechanics, who kept pointing out the things he didn't like. With all this going on, I was starting to doubt my decision to purchase the game. Overall, my first play wasn't exactly the greatest

Current State: SLIGHTLY DISAPPOINTED

But I still wanted to give it a fair chance. So I waited until I got my own copy and tried it out a few times. Once we got more and more familiar with the game, it was going much more smoothly. I was actually starting to enjoy the flow of the game. There's something about rolling a handful of dice that's just plain FUN! We played a couple of games and it was a blast.

I realized that I shouldn't be comparing this game to Dominion or Thunderstone. Yes, they might share some similarities, but they feel very different. There is an additional layer of strategy in Dominion that just doesn't exist in Quarriors and that's absolutely fine! If you treat Quarriors as a light, fun, dice rolling game, you will get a lot out of it. There are definitely some additions that I would personally like, but overall this seems like a really fun game.
I think that Quarriors is more accessible than Dominion/Thunderstone and I'm pretty sure I will have success introducing it to friends/families. I'm looking forward to many more plays of this game.

INDIFFERENT -> EXCITED -> CAN'T WAIT -> HAVE TO WAIT, BUT STILL EXCITED -> CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC -> OFF MY RADAR -> ORDERD & ANXIOUSLY WAITING -> SLIGHTLY DISAPPOINTED -> PLEASED WITH PURCHASE AND HAVING FUN


So this is where my Ride with Quarriors! comes to an end. So does anyone else feel similarly when buying new games??
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:25 pm
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Yesterday's game experience - 7 Wonders

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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NOTE: I decided to start writing down my thoughts/opinions of games that I play, especially those that I'm playing for the first time. On the one hand, this is just a fun excercise for me with no real purpose. On the other hand, I want to see if any others have had similar experiences with this particular game, the first time they played it. It would also be interesting to get answers to the following questions: "How similar were your experiences in subsequent plays?" "Has your opinion of the game changed?"

Another important point is that I am just talking about one particular experience with the game, not about the game in general. So I don't consider this as any kind of "review", just some casual observations. My feelings about the game can be vastly different than my feelings about one particular game experience.



So... 7 Wonders...
I had gotten the game in a trade recently, but had only managed to get in a couple of 2p games until yesterday. I finally got a chance to play two 5p games at a local game group meetup. In this post, I mainly want to talk about what (if anything) was different between the 2p experience and the 5p experience and whether one was better than the other.

So far, I've enjoyed all my experiences with this game. I think I had more fun yestreday though. Let's see why...

- Setup is really quick. Choose your wonder. Separate out the cards into the different age decks and deal them out! The number of players doesn't really make a difference for this aspect of the game. thumbsup for the setup!!

- Play time is also really quick. We took about 30 minutes per game, and again, this didn't change with the number of players. Also, 30 mins IS the advertised play time. I'm really happy about this. I've noticed with a lot of games, the advertised playtime is XX minutes and my games always seem to take XX + (y) minutes. A notable example for me personally is Dominion - I've always taken close to an hour per game (2p or more), Maybe it's just me! Anyway, thumbsup for the play time as well!!

- Now on the actual gameply. In 2p games, you need to make 2 deiciosns in each round: which card you keep for yourself and which card you give to the dummy player. In a multi-player game, you just need to decide which card to keep for yourself. This may not seem like a big deal, but I think it slows down the 2p game just a bit - not enough to cause any issues with the game experience by any means.

- Another thing with the 2p game is that, you are constantly aware of how well your opponent is doing. It is easy to keep track of total victory points so far, total gold, resources, green cards etc. So in the 2p game, the choice of which cards to pass to him becomes even more significant, as does, the choice of which card to discard or give to the dummy player.

In a multi-player game (> 2p), it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all the opponents' progress. You might have to be aware of your immediate neighbours, btu I never found myself looking at what the 4th and 5th players were up to. This could very well be due to lack of experience with the game, but hey, this post IS about my initial experience with the game.

So what I felt was that when there are more players, the game turns into kind of a multi-player solitaire system, where you are just trying to enhance your performance based on the cards that you receive each turn. In a 2p game, you have the potentially to significantly impact your opponents performance. In this aspect, I prefer the 2p game. This is not a criticism of the game in any way, just an observation of the differences.

- One aspect where I preferred the 5p game over the 2p game, was the number and variety of options available throughout the game. Since you play with a lot fewer cards in the 2p game, after a few plays, the game experience begins to feel a little too familiar. I wish there was a way to use a different set of cards each time. Maybe we can start with more money or extra resources to support the 4+, 5+ 6+ cards.

Overall, I enjoyed both, the 2p game and 5p quite a bit. I will definitely play it with any number of players. Each game experience had its own strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I really like the quickness of the game and the number of choices it provides in that short time. I feel that is its best quality.

Until next time..

Thanks for reading!
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Fri Apr 8, 2011 6:16 pm
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Yesderday's game experience - Thunderstone: Dragonspire

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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NOTE: I decided to start writing down my thoughts/opinions of games that I play, especially those that I'm playing for the first time. On the one hand, this is just a fun excercise for me with no real purpose. On the other hand, I want to see if any others have had similar experiences with this particular game, the first time they played it. It would also be interesting to get answers to the following questions: "How similar were your experiences in subsequent plays?" "Has your opinion of the game changed?"

Another important point is that I am just talking about one particular experience with the game, not about the game in general. So I don't consider this as any kind of "review", just some casual observations. My feelings about the game can be vastly different than my feelings about one particular game experience.


So I recently purchased Thunderstone: Dragonspire and Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements and decided to give it a shot yesterday. My first game was a 2-player game with my wife and we used the inital setup recommended in the Dragonspire rulebook.

I had played Thunderstone once before at a local game group (used a mixture of cards from the base game and WotE), so I was somewhat familiar with the gameplay. My wife had never played before.

My overall feeling with our first Dranspire experience is "slightly underwhelmed". I enjoyed it a lot more when I played it before at our local game group. I think the main cause of my problems with this game experience lies with the recommended "first game setup". This combined with the fact that we were new to the game and not making the optimal strategic choices, really slowed down the game for us.

Here are some thoughts on what I liked/didn't like about our first game

- Understanding the rules was pretty simple, especially since we were both familiar with Dominion.

- Setting up didn't take too long since we were using the recommended "first game setup".

- So the first thing I noticed was that the monster deck was pretty large..considering that this was a 2p game. There wre 31 cards in the deck (30 monsters + 1 thunderstone). We would have had to face a minimum of 20 monsters before the thunderstone would show up and end the game. Considering that one of us visited the dungeon maybe once every three/four turns (just guessing),that meant playing through more than 80 hands!!! That was quite a lot. I hope I didn't miss any setup rules, but I felt the game took a little longer than it should with 2 players.

- The next issue I had was with the types of monsters in the monster deck. I know this will change with each game, but the monsters in the "first game setup", were't really varied enough for me.

- Thanks to some unlucky shuffling, we started off with a bunch of monsters that needed magic attack only. Due to our unfamiliarity with the strategies required, we rarely intentionally lost to a monster in order to send him to the bottom of the deck. So instead, we tried to stock up on magic attack spells and heroes which provide magic attack only. We eventually got rid of the initial wave on "magic attack" monsters, but our decks were full of these cards which didn't turn out to be useful for most of the other turns. This really slowed it down for us since we had to spend many turns either resting or in the village.

- Another thing that slowed down the game for us was that a majority of monsters that we defeated initially kept giving us disease cards! This didn't make our hands any better suited for dungeon attacks and again, we would end up resting or going to the village.

- Unlike Dominion, I didn't find a lot of cards (at least in this particular setup), that allowed for multiple purchases or to draw more cards. Like I already mentioned, we kept drawing hands that did not allow us to visit the dungeon successfully, and this really limited our choices and we were therefore forced to rest (and prolong the game further).

- Finally, putting the game away was a pain! Not only do we have to separate out the decks (which is fine - have to do it in any deck-building game), but you also have to arrange the heroes in order so its ready for the next game. Additionally, it seems that there are a LOT more destoyed cards in this game compared to dominion. So that just adds to the game-end sorting thats required. This is really a small point, but thought I would mention it anyway.


Even though there were some things I didn't like about this particular experience, it has not deterred me from wanting to try the game again. After thinking about our first game, I realized that a lot of the problems we had with the length of the game was simply due to us not making the best gameplay choices. Also, using the randomizers to determine the heroes/monsters/village decks will also do wonders for our future games, IMO.

So did anyone else have similar experiences with Thunderstone?
Any ideas on how to speed up the 2p game?

Thanks for reading!
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Mon Apr 4, 2011 7:26 pm
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Miniature board games or How can I trick my brother into buying me good games ? :)

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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Ok.. here's the thing..

Chaos in the Old World has been my favorite game since I bought it a couple of years ago. I introduced this game to my brother and he loved it. Unfortunately he lives in California and I live in Missouri, so we don;'t get to play often. But whenever we do, he always wants to play Chaos.

But one thing he liked even more than the game itself were the miniatures and the fact that you could paint them and customize them. This feature really grabbed him, especially since he already somewhat enjoys artistic hobbies. Since then, he has constantly been asking me about miniatures and games similar to chaos. He even bought another copy of Chaos in the old world, painted all of the figures, painted some awesome wodden boxes to store the mini's and gave them to me as a present!!

So last week, he happened to come a game store and went in and found a whole lot of minis. he got all excited and bought about 5 figures for $20. Now neither of us are into miniature gaming or wargames at all, so he didn't care what theme/system the minis belonged to (warhammer etc), he just bought them because he thought he might enjoy painting them.

That got me thinking... why spend $20 on 5 miniatures, when you can spend $40 - $50 on a whole game that includes miniatures, sometimes quite a lot of them? Now I have no interest in painting the minis, but I would definitely want to play the game!! So now I'm on the lookout for some good games which gome with good miniatures. My brother gets to paint the minis and I get to play the game with them... sounds like a GREAT deal to me!!

Does anyone have any suggestions?? Here is what I am NOT looking for
- Large wargames with tons of small figures
- Complete game systems like Warhammer 40k or other similar systems

What I am looking for is a good euro/hybrid game like
- Chaos in the Old World
- Cyclades
- Runewars

I already have these three games. Are there any other games like them, which have good miniatures, but are still great strategy games to play in a couple of hours or so
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Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:09 pm
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Were my trades worth it??

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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I recently participated in a Math trade at my local game shop. I put up 6 games in the trade and received 9. Overall, I haven't been able to make up my mind on whether I made some good trades or whether I got the raw end of the deal.

Here is how I ended up

1. I put up Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and received 7 Wonders
I'm happy with this one. TTA was my top game and I wanted something good for it. Even though TTA is a great game, I was having trouble getting tit on the table. It's too long for regular game nights at the FLGS and I never got to play a full game at home with my wife. So I figured I might as well trade it. And I've been hearing a lot of good things about 7 wonders and I wanted to try it. I know a lot of people might think that TTA is the better game, but for me, I'm counting this as an 'upgrade'!

2. I put up A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game and received Sun Tzu
I'm indifferent on this trade. I received ATOE in a previous trade and played it only once. I thought it was pretty decent, but no one else liked it so it never got played. In fact, initially, this game didnt get traded at all. I finally worked out a side-trade with someone for Dynasties. I don't know anything at all about Dynasties, it was just an impulse trade. So I really can't say if this was a good trade or not. Overall, I have a feeling ATOE might be a better game, but I still don't really regret the trade. I'll mark it up as a 'downgrade' for now!

3. I put up Niagara and received The Gardens of the Alhambra, Malta!, and Blockers!
I bought Niagara at a used sale sometime ago and never played it, though it looked pretty interesting. I wasn't actually very keen on trading it but put it up anyway, hoping I would get something better. I ended up with the above-mentioned trio of semi-abstract games. This bundle was way down in my want-list for this game, so I'm actually a little disappointed. Not that the games by themseleves are bad, or that '3 games for 1' is a bad ratio, it's just that I expected something better, especially since at least 3 or 4 other people wanted Niagara. Overall, I'm considering this a 'downgrade'!

4. I put up Axis & Allies: 1942 and received Catan Card Game
I got A&A as a gift a long time ago, but never even opened up all the bits. I had just gotten into games and was wondering if wargames were my thing. So I decided to try out A&A (Not even sure if that is considered a 'real' wargame, but anyway). I looked at the rules and components and it just seemed like too much work. So it just sat on my shelf all this time. So I was definitely going to trade it away. But was Catan card game a good choice. I already have Settlers of Catan (my first game)and enjoy that a lot (even the 2p variant). But again, the Catan card game was way down on my want list and I was expecting something better. But since I'm pretty positive that I would not have played A&A, I'm going to count this as a 'fair trade'.

5.I put up Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game and received Shear Panic
I recently posted a blog entry on how I "don't get" co-op games. So even though something about death angel appealed to me, I was ready to trade it. I think I'm pretty happy with Shear Panic. Cute components and quick gameplay will probably ensure that I play it once in a while with my wife at least. Death Angel may be the better game (??), but I'm ok with this trade, so 'upgrade'!

6.I put up Dominion: Intrigue and received Age of Gods
I like dominion ... a lot!!! But every one seems to have it. And lately, I've been playing a lot of dominion online. So I get access to the game (including all the expansions) pretty easily. I also want to buy Thunderstone to have as my go-to deck building game. So that's why I decided to trade Dominion. I don't know if Age of Gods will be a good game. I've seen a few pictures/reviews/articles but I'm not convinced that I would like it.... just have to wait and see. So at this point, I'm counting it as a 'fair trade'. Hopefully, it will turn into an 'upgrade' in the future.

7. I got Vineta for free!!
Vineta was part of another game bundle I was hoping to receive! When I didn't get it, I contacted the new owner of that bundle and proposed an alternate trade. It turned out that he did not want Vineta at all and was only interested in the other game in that bundle, and furthermore, he offered to give me Vineta for free!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. How nice was that??? Thank you, Tim Collett (if you read this ) So this one... DEFINITELY an 'upgrade'!!


So thats about it!! I'm not sure what to make of the overall trade. Does anyone have any opinions about my results???

Now that I've written this down, I think I might create a geeklist with these results, just for fun!!
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Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:43 pm
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Co-op games .... I don't think I'll ever "get it"!!

Richard Martin
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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So as usual, I was lurking around BGG and looking at a few games and I came across Lord of the Rings. I know its a pretty old, popular game and many people here already know about it, but I didnt!! Anyway, everything looked really nice about the game until I saw it was a co-op game. That immediately threw me off! And I started thinking about why I never seem inclined to look at co-op games.

When I first got into board games, it seemed that co-op play was a really cool idea. I kept looking into games like Shadows over Camelot and Battlestar Galactica. I eventually ended up buying BSG and was pretty pleased with my purchase. I could never get a big group to play it initially, so I tried a 2-player pure co-op variant suggested in the rules. Boy, did the game fall FLAT!!!

Now I know that playing BSG with 2 players will be blasphemy to some and I really didn't get the optimal game experience, but that's besides the point. I have nothing against BSG as a game. I've played it with 5-6 players and have quite enjoyed it, but the pure co-op version really didn't click for me.

The traitor elements (Or the one vs many style of Scotland Yard or Fury of Dracula) in some of these games do appeal to me though. In such games, there is a strong co-op element, but the fact that you are working together against another player makes it worthwhile for me!

Since then, I have tried (or at least looked at) some other co-ops as well and the basic mechanic of working together just didn't seem to work for me. I've noticed that if I'm playing with my wife or people I'm familiar with, we tend to 'cheat' just to give ourselves a slight advantage. For example, if a card gets drawn that really messes up the game for us, someone usually sugggests - "lets just draw another card". This happened on more than one occassion...and the sad part is, everyone at the table, myself included, just agreed. Now I know that this is the players' fault and not the game or mechanic, but hey.. this is MY blog and thats how I feel!!

If, on the other hand, I'm playing with a game group at the FLGS, then the game is tighter and no one tries to circumvent the rules. In a competitive game, this isn't a problem at all!! Each player is keeping the other in check and everyone is trying to win. I just find that style so much more interesting.

In my experience (and this in no way generalizes the feeling for anyone except myself), co-op games don't make me want to put in my best effort with the game. I can rely on someone else to make the good moves. And if I win, I am not as satisfied as I would have been in a regular competitive game. I don't know if I won because I played well, or because someone else played well!

Overall, it seems (to me at least), that if I wanted to do something together, I would rather do a jigsaw puzzle or something. I at least feel we accomplished something together after we finish!!

Does anyone else feel that way? Maybe its just me and I'm overly competitive!! Are there any co-op games that might change my view on the mechanic?

If anyone reads this, I would be more than happy to hear your views on this.
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Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:45 pm
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