Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The game time conundrum

This isn't a new problem, but it's a problem that has recently really come sharply into focus.  I've been playing plenty of two-player games at home, and several multi-player Euros with friends.  But a number of other games and genres have caught my attention on which I'd like to spend more time and energy:

  • Midway, which my colleague Frank H. and I played once recently and intend to play again, switching sides.  Frank has been heavily researching the variants that were published in The General and elsewhere - Leyte Gulf, Coral Sea, and perhaps another as well.  I could see us running a series of these games.
  • The Great Campaigns of the American Civil War:  My friend Paul R. and I have played several scenarios from Stonewall Jackson's Way, and we're both interested in playing Here Come the Rebels as well.  These are terrific Civil War games that deserve a lot of attention.
  • Western role-playing:  When I came home from HistoriCon and described High Noon to my sons, all three got excited about the idea of a Western-based skirmish game.  Then they got the idea that it would be even more fun as a role-playing game.  Unfortunately, I'd got rid of my brother's old copy of Boot Hill (and I'll save the "game storage conundrum" topic for another post).  But they did a little internet research (being the resourceful little web-heads that they are) and discovered Aces and Eights.  So I picked up a few figures and a miniature church.  All that remains is to acquire the rules, paint the miniatures, get some terrain, compose a campaign...(I think that means I'm setting aside Traveller, which my 16-year-old was interested in, and Dungeons and Dragons, which my 11-year-old was having me run.)
  • De Bellis Antiquitatis:  How did my old miniatures flame fall off the face of the earth?  Seeing miniature storage options at HistoriCon reminded me of how much I enjoyed DBA and would love to get back into the swing of ancients on the table.
  • Another HistoriCon inspiration was dreadnought-era naval miniatures.  I picked up a copy of Brian DeWitt's When Dreadnoughts Ruled the Seas and a few Russian cruisers.  I am eager to find some Japanese ships, paint them up, and re-visit the Russo-Japanese War.  
  • My recent experience with WS&IM has rejuvenated my interest in the age of sail.  I'd like to further explore battles of that period and get some sailing ship miniatures on the table in the process.  I also have some thoughts about the fields-of-fire rules that I think deserve some exploration.  
  • I've picked up a number of Euros and other boardgames over the last several months - Chicago Express, Leaping Lemmings, St. Petersburg, Le Havre, For the Win, Samarkand, Belfort, Alibi.  It would be nice to get some time with each of these.  And meanwhile my friends have picked up other games, and they are all interested in getting them to the table as well.  And I'm interested in playing them.
  • I have some old favorites that I'd like to bring back to the table as well - The End of the Triumvirate, Age of Renaissance, Panzer Leader, just to name a few.
  • I have two game designs in the works - "Supply and Demand," which isn't pressing, and "East India Company," which is very promising and which I'd really like to get firing on all cylinders by the time Congress of Gamers comes around.  
So what's my point?  Simply that there are way too many games and not nearly enough time.  I know I'm not alone with this problem.  Gamers everywhere are like kids in candy stores, not knowing which of the myriad choices most deserve their hard-earned and limited spending money.  Well, this is my candy store.  And the limited resources are time and attention.  

Tot ludos, ita paulo tempus.


  1. I find a similar conundrum. Each time I purchase a game it gets played almost at once, then a few more times until the next is purchased. It then gets pushed down in the stack when a new game comes along. We only play a few standars; very few games get popped back off the stack...sad...

  2. It is sad, isn't it, Steve? Every time I look over my collection, I say, "oh, we should play that. Oh, and that, too. Oh, and that one. Oh, I should teach the kids that ..."

    Hiew Chok Sien is a Malaysian blogger who wrote an interesting post about this phenomenon and how he struggled for a while with his tendency to keep buying the next new thing. He finally reached peace with himself as what he calls a "game taster."

    My own approach is a little different. I like to spend some time diving into a game and exploring it. Lately it's been Wooden Ships and Iron Men and now Midway (new post to follow soon). The problem is that I wish I had time to do that with about ten or twenty different games.

  3. Or in six words, "So many games, so little time."

    Where have I heard that before... ?

    I really should get residuals for that expression :-)

  4. It's been 14 months since I wrote that bulleted list, and most of them still remain barely touched. Frank and I did play a lot of Midway, and I've played a fair amount of Euro games, and "East India Company" has had some good playtesting. Otherwise, though, the "So many games..." problem is still a pervasive one.