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Board Games Killed the Video Star!

Jim Reed
United States
Mount Holly
New Jersey
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ANOTHER RAMBLING BY JIM REED!

It's been said many times. Growing up, I played a ton of standard boardgames. However, video games were my true first love. One of my best Christmas memories was 83 (or around there) when I received my Atari 2600. Ever since I have pretty much owned every gaming system that came out. Yes, even the turbographix-16, the Jaguar, the Lynx, And the best system ever, the Dreamcast. Currently, I do not own a ps3, just a Xbox 360 and Wii.
I also play and have played plenty of PC games. The late 80's were dominated by PC gaming and every last dollar of my paper route money went to Sierra. ( I think I learned all my sex education from Leisure Suit Larry)

Obviously, a few years back, when I stumbled into this wonderful world of board gaming, time had to be found to play. Something had to take a hit to free some space in my schedule. One big thing that changed was television and movies. I was never a big channel surfer anyway, but my family and I did have our "must watch" shows. I may of had 10 or so where today I only have three or four, and with DVR, it's way more flexible than it was 5 years Ago. I don't care that I'm not watching as much TV. I'm actually glad about it.

That freed up some time but not much, so other than sleeping, the next thing to take a hit had to be my video gaming, and although I didn't notice this much at first, now I see, that board gaming has just about eliminated my video gaming.

Just a few years back, I would spend countless hours, and nights, climbing the online ladder boards and fragging friends and foes on games such as Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, Unreal Championship, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and the list goes on and on and on. Offline, I would be hacking through multiple rpgs such as Oblivion, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, KTOR, and more, as well playing multiple sports, racing, and action titles.

As I started playing more and more table top games, the first thing I noticed that went, were the first person shooters. I barley touched Halo 3 multi player, I never got into Gears 2, I stopped playing Unreal and Rainbow Six games. I did enjoy COD Modern Warfare but never got into World at War or MW2. I did play these games but only the single player story lines. Playing online requires a lot of time and practice if you want the game to be fun and not frustrating, and it was time I just didn't have anymore.

Thankfully, a year ago (or more now), two games came out that I absolutely loved! Red Dead Redemption and Fallout 3! Fallout 3 is a single player only post-apocalyptic rpg. I sunk days of my life into this awesome title and still go back occasionally to finish up some DLC (down loadable content) missions. Red Dead Redemption is more an action adventure set in the wild west. (I love the wild west!) This game actually put a pause in my board gaming for a time. It does have some multi-player content and I did play some of the co-op multi player quite a bit and a bunch of the free roam online stuff. These games pretty much faded out though near the end of last year though. I never did finish the Undead Nightmare for RDR.

Over the past year, my desire to pick up and play new titles has drastically dropped. I have yet to play Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age 2, or Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (even though I own it!). I tried to get into Fallout Vegas but just couldn't. We picked up the Kinect at Christmas with a few games and even that hasn't been played much the past few months.

But let me tell you what! You should have seen the look on my face last week when my wife called to tell me that a Funagain Games box was on my front porch. It took every thing I had to keep from leaving work early. Every Tuesday now is open game night at my house flip flopped with rpg night (currently Deadlands Reloaded. (did I say I loved the wild west?) Every forth Sunday is Pathfinder.

A few nights ago, I turned on my Xbox and...well, I'm sure this has happened to everyone...I felt like playing something, but nothing I had I felt like playing. I dug through 40-50 game boxes, scrolled through dozens of down loadable games and nearly a hundred demos, and nothing. I started a bunch of games but quickly stopped. Man, what I wouldn't have done to set up and play a game of Stone Age or Puzzle Strike at that moment.

Board gaming has killed my video gaming, and almost, I don't really care. I'm loving the hobby, as much as I ever loved video games. I'm much more involved in it, with podcasting, conventions, and blogging. But, at times, I miss it. I have a really good friend who is an avid video gamer. (seriously, he needs intervention!) He spends 95% of his free time console gaming. We don't talk much anymore because I'm not as caught up and consumed by the hobby any more. Back in January, he did come over and spend two days and we vegged and played the whole time. It was great!

I'm not going into why I prefer board gaming over video games. That would be another long blog. But I do! Is there any games I'm excited about? Oh yeah! 11/11/11- Skyrim, Elder Scrolls V! Eventually, I will play more; Crisis 2, Gears 3, Rage, and more.

Now, are there any board games I'm excited about? Oh yeah! Too many to list here! And lets not forget this, I'm still excited to play almost all the board games I already own! (One of the major reasons I love them more than video games.) But as I said, that... would be another blog.

Check out My blog here...http://njagp.blogspot.com/
And more Gaming Goodness at my podcast here...http://njagp.libsyn.com/
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Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:35 pm
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Should First Plays Count?

Jim Reed
United States
Mount Holly
New Jersey
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Jim Reed - This is my first Blog, I'm assuming it is supposed to be more like ramblings, so, here's some..



I'm not a statistical person. Although, I do record my game plays on Board Game Geek, I do not record whether or not I won them. One thing that has been really notacible to me lately, is that first plays should never count when deciding if you liked the game or not.



I would say that at least 40 percent of my plays come in the form of one and dones. (games I play only one time and never play again) Now, this isn't because they are bad games or games I don't like, although this is sometimes the case. Many times, it's a game played at a convention, the game store, or a friends house.



The other 60 percent is games I've probably played multiple times.



All of these games still have one obvious thing in common. They all had a first play. This, leads me to my point.



I'd like to categorize first plays into three categories:



1.) Games that are easy to pick up, understand, and play the first time.

These games can be light euros, light strategy, family, party, card, and so on



2.) Games that are difficult to understand the rules, methods of victory, etc until you've played them once.

These are usually heavier euros or heavy strategy



3.) Games you think are either one or two, but you end up playing with some rule wrong anyway.

This can be ANY game, and seems to be my "most likely to fall in" category.



The percentage for me, I would say is...

1 = 20% 2 = 30% 3 = 50%



Keep with me here.



With this in mind, 80% of my first plays should really not count.

I am also strongly starting to think that first impressions and game reviews with minimal plays should not have any bearing on how good or bad the game is.



Game examples:



Agricola ( Z-man games) - My first play of this game was at a convention I got spanked. It wasn't until about half way through the game I even saw the strategies involved. After seeing how the game end scoring worked, the whole thing totally made since. But that first play wasn't very enjoyable. My next play I did much better. In teaching and playing this game twice, I always destroy first timers.



Puzzle Strike (Sirlin Games) - The first play, we totally screwed up a major rule in crashing gems. So much so that all the players hated the game and I didn't play it again for a long time. Until someone told me how it actually worked. Now I love it!



Cosmic Encounter (Fantasy Flight) - I hated this game my first time playing. I just didn't see the flow of the game at all. I made every wrong decision I could possibly have made and understanding exactly how the negotiations worked took all game. My second play of this, I saw the same thing going on with a few other first timers.



Other games recently that we've gotten a pretty major rule wrong in our first play are Mansions of Madness, Rune Wars, A Touch of Evil, and even rpgs like Deadlands and Call of Cthulu.



I can't tell you how many games I didn't like the first time I played them, then to go on and like or even love the game after playing it again. And I see it all the time with other people. They get fustrated over one aspect of the game, don't understand something the first time through, or just don't win, and these thing really effect how much they enjoyed the game.



If anything should be said about boardgames, it's not just try every game once, but it should be said, "Try every game ATLEAST twice!"


This blog, and other blogs by me can be found here...
http://njagp.blogspot.com/
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6 Comments
Mon Apr 4, 2011 12:06 am
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