Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The game time conundrum revisited

A couple of years ago, I looked over my game collection and sighed at the number of games that hadn't seen the attention they deserved.  I wrote a post listing games that I wanted to spend more time on, even as I realized that as long as leisure time is limited and the game collection is big, there will always be neglected games on my shelves.  It's a topic worth revisiting from time to time - both because it's interesting to see how the list has changed (and how it hasn't) and because it's helpful to look at the collection with fresh eyes and think about resurrecting a few titles that might bear dusting off and playing again.

As I look back at the list from two years ago, I realize that many of those games remain unplayed, particularly
  • Stonewall Jackson's Way and Here Come the Rebels , two titles from Avalon Hill's Great Campaigns of the American Civil War
  • Aces and Eights, a Western role-playing game
  • De Bellis Antiquitatis, a quick-playing ancient miniatures game
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men, the Avalon Hill age-of-sail wargame that I only play at WBC  
  • Leaping Lemmings, For the Win, Belfort, Alibi - various acquisitions that never got to the table more than a couple of times
  • Age of Renaissance and Panzer Leader, a couple of old favorites that just don't get played any more
But not all is lost.  From the list of neglected games on that post, there are a few that I was since inspired to bring out and enjoy:
  • Midway became a regular series between me and Frank Hodge, a very satisfying series of battles including a complete variety of variants covering the Coral Sea campaign
  • Various Euros have managed to get some regular plays - Chicago Express, St. Petersburg, Le Havre, Samarkand
  • The End of the Triumvirate is an old favorite that I've managed to bring out a few times.
I have added a few more games to my collection since then, and more than a few haven't seen the light of day in a while:
  • Acquire has really endeared itself to me, but I have a hard time convincing people to play it outside of convention tournaments.
  • New England was an auction pick-up at PrezCon that looks really good but for whatever reason just hasn't made it to the table - probably in part because it requires more than two players.
  • Templar Intrigue is a party game for a relatively large group - seven to ten players - that I just need to find the right situation to bring out.
  • Caylus was another recent acquisition that I'm sure I can get played; for whatever reason, it just hasn't happened yet.
  • Pergamon seems to be a hard sell both at home and with my gaming buddies.  Too bad; I consider it the best Eagle/Gryphon game I own.
  • Coup: Reformation hasn't made it out in public since I picked it up, and I'm not sure why.  It's only marginally more complex than Coup.  Again, it might just be a matter of making a point to get it to the table.
  • Battue was a hit the one Sunday afternoon we played it as a family game, but since then I haven't been able to get my sons to play it again - for no reason that I can discern.
So now that the holidays are upon us and we'll have a few days off with friends and family, perhaps I can make the opportunity to crack open some of these neglected gems.  Ultimately, though, there's no getting past the fact that there are only so many leisure hours in a week - or a month, or a year - and there will always be games that go unplayed.  Every gaming opportunity seems precious, so we always want to make the most of the playing time that we have.  Here's to hoping that as we approach the new year, we can broaden the spectrum of games that we spend that time playing.


  1. As often discussed, happy to play SJW and HCR, DBA, and a few other titles with you. Now that The Season of Madness is upon us, we'll need to wait until we have free time, aka The Month of the Two Faced God Janus.

    1. Yes, Paul, the sad thing is that we probably have been saying to each other all year, "We need to get together and play SJW/HCR/DBA/[pick a wargame]," yet we very seldom do. I was very grateful when you had us over for Caesar: Alesia. Perhaps we need to start a custom of playing one wargame every quarter.

  2. I, for one, would like to try Belfort again. I think we played it once...and I remember really enjoying it. I have a several on my shelf that I could start a list with as well. "The Dutch Golden Age", which I got a pittance at Prezcon 2 years ago is still in it's shrink. The Power Grid variants - Factory Manager and First Sparks are woefully neglected. X-Wing doesn't make it the table nearly enough to justify the amount of little ships I keep buying for it. And I loaded up on Dystopian Wars miniatures when that was starting off...never makes it to the table.

    We need to become independently wealthy.