This pretty much sums up my gaming ethos:
After a long, sweaty day of auctions...
...you find yourself tooling home on your motorbike, your sidecar filled with the spoils of just-one-kopek-more
: half a bottle of vodka, a revolver, and a giant turnip. You pull up to your modest wooden shack and are greeted by your betrothed, Ludmilla, who is overjoyed at the prospect of grinding some giant turnip cuisine on the morrow. The night is spent swilling vodka, braying Imperial sea chanties while slickly red-faced and ends with clumsy love-making, the kind usually reserved for blue-blooded hunters returning to the gates of the summer lodge with a stag.
That night, your rival—The Spaniard
—lifts the latch on your plywood door and enters your bed chamber/kitchen/pissoir in a not-particularly-quiet fashion, the thud of his club-footed limp covered by your snoring. Casting about for an appropriate tool he spies the giant turnip and proceeds to beat you in the head with it, long, overhand strokes landing again and again, years of frustration and thwarting at every turn reduced to a blood pudding of tongue, teeth and clotted bedclothes. Winded, he staggers back from his gurgling victory only to trip over your drunken form!
With horror he realizes he has slain the voluptuous Ludmilla, whose snoring he mistook for your own. Weeping and mumbling lisping curses he pulls the revolver free of your pantaloons and blows his brains out.
The next morning, you wake to a charnel house. The Magistrate does the math and no one believes you didn't kill them both in a drunken rage. Of course you knew, you had
to know, that Ludmilla was enthusiastically greasing The Spaniard while you spent your days at the auctions? Everyone knew it! The revelation cuts the nuts off your defense and you resign yourself to silence.
Confused at how to execute a proper hanging, the townsfolk cut the rope too long and make the drop too far—the knot neatly snips your head off at the nadir, and your spurting body crashes into the offal pit where small children pelt it with rotten animeeples.
And now you know, Dear Reader, why no one will play Euros with me.
HiveGod's Patented LudoMoodometer™EURO----------•AT
Current Mood Is: PUNCH IT
_________________________________________________THE BESTEST GAME POSSIBLE!
I like all games, really I do—Ameritrash, Euro, abstract, war, card, party, kids'—if it's an apparatus designed for no other purpose than the frivolous human propensity for play, I'm on it and in it. The best game in the world, though, is anything from the "roll the dice, pull a card & have crap happen" family. Talisman (Revised 4th Edition)
, Runebound (Second Edition)
, and Arkham Horror
are among my absolute favorites though they be sloppy, mechanically hinky, and generally anemic when it comes to true "strategy". No, they are not strategy games. They are Random Story Generators, the interactive equivalent of a choose-your-own-adventure novel. They are catalysts for creativity. They are the crabbed notes of a mad musician from which you can play jazz with language.
And if you can dig it, nothing else can get you that high.
PS. Right now, High Frontier
seriously rocks it. Beyond the space-math, hidden in the whorls of the psychedelic map, there lies a wormhole to untold metric tonnes of emergent narrative:MASSED ARMIES
& BUCKETS OF FATE-JUICE
I'm also enamored with big, sprawling maps that need to be "pacified" by at least five fistfuls of plastic units and as many dice. Risk
(any version), the Axis & Allies
series, Conquest of the Empire
, Fortress America
. I never get to play these, ever—near as I can tell, I'm the only one in my game group who's into this style of play.
Though I must say, arcane, heavy stuff like Here I Stand
scratches the itch nicely:GAMES ARE MADE TO BE PLAYED
I hail from the heretic faction that believes games are meant to be played, and marked with the history of those plays—I hate sleeves and don't have a particular food or drink policy.* When I pull a well-played (read: loved) game off the shelf and see the wear and tear it has sustained it warms my heart with the memories of those good times with friends and family.
A pristine game at an estate sale is a failure of purpose.*Of course, I adhere strictly to the owner's policy if the game isn't mine.MY LAWN, AND THE REMOVAL OF THE SELF FROM IT
I am a "depth gamer" and a minor sub-priest of the Cult of the Old, much preferring to play games that have proven themselves worthy of mastery. I reject the constant shiny churn of the Cult of the New, playing games once or twice before chasing the dragon into the next Kickstarter with gorgeous art slathered on an empty box. Anyone can make a game that stands up to a mere handful of plays, and so that's just what many do. The far rarer thing is the game that is so full of challenge and possibility that it begs you to wear it out. Now, the good news is that hobby gaming has been around long enough in its present Internet-buzz-fueled form to have produced more of such games than you can possibly burn through in a lifetime of dedicated play...
So put down the pipe. Rise from your rag-filled, piss-stained mattress and walk, then run from the opium den that is the New Hotness. Master a game, master yourself.
See how many you can become an expert at, how many you can wear down to nubs and baby-blanket softness—the creased, stained and shelf-worn box full of marked cards, hand-rubbed chits and a board that shows real history; every divot a catalyst for nostalgia, a fog of wins and bad beats. These are the battle scars of ascendancy, the roadmap from novice to Master.
Be able to scoff, snifter in hand, monocle a-twinkle, that Game X "has but 50 plays in it before becoming rote."
Experience this, know this, and be increased.
_________________________________________________PRETENDING TO BE MYSELF
Why RPGs? They are an utterly unique form of storytelling entertainment—more evocative than mere board games, more personal than movies, better by far than even the best video games, and even potentially deeper than literature. While those media are all wonderful platforms for storytelling, none are as wonder-filled and involving as a good RPG session.
RPGs stand alone, delivering an experience
that cannot be had in any other way.
Currently running: DEPTH MANTRAEVERYTHING ELSE
At its best, the playing of games is a participatory artform, often mistaken for child's play in the same way that haute couture is mistaken for clothing and cuisine is mistaken for dinner.
Those who design games are Artists of the Highest Order; the fruits of their labor are nothing less than divine magic in their ability to transport and transform the human soul.
When it all goes right, of course...
When it goes wrong it's like a pyroclastic shard of Hell lodged in your skull, searing the flesh of dreams into ragged curtains of smoking meat.THE FINAL WORD IN GAMINGFun
. Games are supposed to be fun. They should blunt life's sharper corners and provide pleasure that just can't be had any other way. Period.
If you made it this far chances are good you'd enjoy semi-regular microdoses of the above—I can be found on Twitter @HiveGod
. I promise to let you know when it's time to riot.
Occasionally I'm on Facebook
, you know, if you're into that.
And the Doomthink Equations
is where I dump emphemera I can't sell, so it's, uh, really good or something.