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"Gaming" vs. "Certain Games"

Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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"It's not hard to design a game that works, the real challenge is making one that people want to play again and again."--Martin Wallace
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Microbadge: "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." -- Ralph Waldo EmersonMicrobadge: Swimming fanMicrobadge: Parent of Two Girls and One BoyMicrobadge: Innovation fanMicrobadge: "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." -- Henry David Thoreau
Here's a somewhat rhetorical-sounding question. Last night I went to my FLGS (which is honestly not so local) specifically to play Age of Steam, which is a game I love and a game I have a very hard time getting opponents for. A guy I met online tried to get 4 or 5 people to commit to the game on the FLGS mailing list earlier in the week, and it wasn't looking good for quorum. As I was sitting there waiting for him, a few people showed up who all knew each other and they were asking what they were going to play. "You here to play Age of Steam?" one of them asked the other, in a joking tone of voice. "Hah, yeah, of course," the other one said sarcastically. Once our game did start, a couple people stopped by during the game and either made some (good-natured) remarks about how the game was too brutal, one woman stood and talked for a few minutes and said she preferred Steam, etc. So, confirmed: not a popular game.

After our game was over, Tom (the guy who set up the game) said "how can you not like this game?" And I nodded, not because I think everyone ought to like this game, but that I liked this game a whole lot and I can't see myself not liking it.

So my question, which is not really about Age of Steam, specifically: Age of Steam is one of those games that I would love to play a couple times a month. And it seems to be pretty hard to drum up that kind of local sustained interest in it, and it occurred to me that I can say that same thing about practically all of my favorite games.

And as I was driving home, I sat there wondering if I liked gaming, or if I liked certain games. Because if my 18xx group dissolved for whatever reason, and if I could no longer find local players for Chicago Express or Age of Steam or New England Railways, I honestly wasn't sure if I would seek out new games to be potential favorites, or if I'd just wait it out knowing that I might be waiting forever, or if I'd throw in the towel and get rid of my 3+ player games (2p stuff like abstracts and card games are immune from this; I have no problem finding people to play those).

I'm sure other people have given thought to this very thing. So I'm sort of wondering how other people would answer that question. The process of navigating this huge world of gaming and finally reaching what I liked took three years; November of 2009 I bought Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan and brought them home for Thanksgiving. Since then, I discovered what I liked and sought to create opportunities to play those things, and this has been successful.

But if all of a sudden it stopped being successful, I don't know that I have it in me to try to search through games again to find other things I identified with to that level.

Luckily, Tom's a kindred spirit in the "it's hard to get other people to play my favorite games" camp, and our tastes match up pretty well in places, and we're already talking about getting some Power Grid and Container played. So the scenario I was thinking about on my (longish) drive home isn't likely any time soon.

So, what say you: if your Top Ten games suddenly were looking like they would go unplayed possibly forever, would you find a new Top Ten? How long would you wait before accepting they'd never get played again?
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Subscribe sub options Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:12 pm
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