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Solitary Soundings

Musings of a solitary gamer. "The advantage of conversation is such that, for want of company, a man had better talk to a post than let his thoughts lie smoking and smothering." (Jeremy Collier) Comments welcome.

Archive for Patrick Carroll

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Board Gaming Alone and on the Phone

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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Movies are for entertainment; books are for learning; games are for mental exercise.
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In this brave new world of ours, as everyone knows, we can play board games (and card and tile games) by ourselves and even on portable devices. Wonderful, isn't it? Or is it?

In this blog post I'm talking about the games we find in BGG's database, not the ones we find in the VGG database. (The latter, of course, can also be played alone and are always played on electronic devices, but a blog post about that would be for VGG.)
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Wed Nov 2, 2016 10:12 pm
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The Intricate Realm

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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As noted in my last couple blog posts, I'm delving into Magic Realm. Figured that after owning the game all these years, I might as well learn to play it.

Years ago, I used to enjoy the process of learning complex games. Just learning relatively simple board wargames (e.g., Waterloo) was hard enough when I was thirteen. But within a couple of years, I had started tackling the tougher ones, like 1914 and Anzio. A decade later, I was into Squad Leader and then ASL. Along the way, I dabbled at big games like The Next War as well.

Today, I still enjoy the process. But it's different now.
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Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:46 pm
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No Gamer Is an Island

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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Motivated partly by a love of solitude and partly by fear (of ridicule, rejection, or who knows what else), I've spent a lot of time in my life by myself. And that includes my gaming life. Even this blog title and my BGG badge reflect my "solo" approach to gaming.

But I'm not really as solitary as I might seem to be.
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Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:17 pm
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That Good Old Hands-On Experience

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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Movies are for entertainment; books are for learning; games are for mental exercise.
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I've been learning to play Magic Realm. I finished reading the basic rules over the weekend, and I also played a dozen or so solo games using RealmSpeak. Now I'm pretty well intrigued, and I may end up being downright enthused.

This morning I'm asking myself why MR feels so different from strategy computer games and other games I play.
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Wed Sep 7, 2016 6:05 pm
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My First Bucket-List Project

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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For all I know, the end is still far off yet. But when you get past age sixty and have had a medical scare or two, you become more aware of your mortality. And that can make the idea of a "bucket list" a bit more real.

At first, though, I wasn't thinking about that when I fired up RealmSpeak a few days ago. Another BGGeek brought it back to my attention, so I decided to see if it'd still run in Windows 10. It did, so I played around with it a bit, even though I'd forgotten most of the Magic Realm rules.
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Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:13 pm
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Stuck in the Middle

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Huh ... I'm back over here on the board-game side of things again. Why? How'd I get here?

For many months at least, I've been spending almost all my time over in VGG, since I finally faced the facts and realized 99 percent of my game playing is on an electronic device.
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Sat Jul 9, 2016 3:42 pm
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Playing a Game versus Playing at a Game

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I'm tearing my hair out over Go this morning. I have an app for it on my smartphone, and I've been playing it again for the past few days. Or rather, I've been playing at it.

I have a chess book that advises players to get past playing "hope chess." That's where you just scan the board until you spot a move you'd like to make, then make the move and hope it works out somehow. As long as a player does that, s/he's stuck as a beginner or novice. To become a decent player, you have to pay more attention, think things through, and do some conscious planning and executing.
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Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:50 pm
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Why My Big Interest in Games?

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Many times, in this blog and elsewhere, I've pondered on why I play games solitaire or why I play certain kinds of games. But let's step back a bit further: Why do I play games at all?
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Thu Jun 2, 2016 6:11 pm
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What Actually Gets Played

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Unless this is the first of my posts you've ever read, you know I ruminate about games a lot more than I play them. Because of that, I get stuck in a loop where I'm always asking myself what my favorite games are. My hope is that I'll come to a firm conclusion in my mind, and then I'll start playing what I've decided are my favorites.

Originally that was supposed to have been a big time saver: it'd keep me from having to sample lots of games, discarding 80 percent of them. If I could simply identify the top 20 percent by mulling over my preferences, I could avoid all that trial and error. But of course it was a misguided notion. Without much actual experience to draw upon, my mind was always busy with something mostly insubstantial. Then, if I did get around to playing a game, I'd think, Whoa! This isn't much like what I what I'd imagined. That would set me back to square one, where I'd begin revising my list of potential favorites.

So, today I'm going to blog about what games I've actually played and am actually playing.
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Thu May 26, 2016 9:04 pm
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A Big (if Potentially Short-Lived) Change of Pace

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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Movies are for entertainment; books are for learning; games are for mental exercise.
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Over in my VGG blog, I got this insightful reply to one of my posts:
Luke's Comment

As far as I can tell, Luke is right on the money, and he clued me in on one of my blind spots. For most of my life I've claimed to be very noncompetitive. Even in my 1985 article for the Avalon Hill General, I wrote that I'm much more a Dreamer than a Competitor. But actually, it would seem I'm a competitor who's just not that sharp, who's shy about contacting opponents, and who's easily distracted from the game's objective by the story, by table talk, or even by a stray thought.
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Fri May 20, 2016 9:56 pm
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