So, that’s a hell of a title for a gaming blog, eh? I’m hoping to address a few issues that I’ve been running into as a gamer lately, and hopefully I won’t come off sounding like a complete and total moron. So, just sit back and bare with me while I ramble a little bit to start off with, then get into the meat of the actual gaming part of this B-L-O-GEEEE!
Why Do I Game (And why does answering this matter)?
So, I’m addressing this issue because lately I’ve been accused of just caring about games in my personal life, and while that may seem like the case, it really isn’t. I know that sometimes, yeah, I can get a bit obsessed with games, and buying them (*cough*) and wanting to play them. I can go on long rants about games and how they affect my life. I can even sometimes start a blog that exactly 2 people even read (and one of them is my mother!). But what is it about games that drives me to these ends?
Well, believe it or not, it isn’t the games themselves! Okay, so, yeah maybe I do like particular games, and I’d probably be upset if I ended up in a gaming session with a bad or boring game (not always the same thing), and yes, I do buy a lot of board and role-playing games that I’ll likely not get to play for a long time, so I can totally see how one might think that I play games for the games. Not so.
I play games for the people who play games.
Gaming is, to me, a social event. A gathering with a purpose and an end in sight. Getting together with friends over a board game is a good time, in my book. You sit down, and whether or not you win or lose, it’s all about whether or not you played the game and had a good time. Usually when I game, there is food and drink involved, whether it be pizza, beer, chicken, wine, whatever. I break out a board game, and it gives the gathered folks a common interest and something to concentrate on other than sitting around watching a movie or staring at each other. It’s mental stimulation, a conversation starter, and above all a social activity.
So why do I feel the need to explain this? It’s because I don’t want people to think that the gaming is about the games. For gamers who have loved ones who are not gamers, there’s that whole stigmata of ‘nerd’hood that comes up when you talk about games, and the non-gamers can easily fall into a mental zone where they feel that the games are supplementing the relationship. Such is not the case. Given the choice, I’d totally choose spending time with my S/O over spending time rolling dice, but I’d prefer to spend that time with them ALSO rolling dice. But then there’s the problem where your loved ones do not share your love of the game, and therein lies problems. Do you try to convert them, or do you push aside the gaming for them? I guess it’s all about balance, as it is with all things. Gaming is a hobby and a catalyst for being social, and like any hobby or social practice, all things in moderation.
And now… GAMES!
So what has been occupying my mind other than these deep philosophical questions? Long Games. Man, I’ve always been a huge fan of the short, easy-to-play, fun in a small box sort of games along the lines of Small World, Thunderstone or Dominion, but lately I’ve been eying some of these bigger, longer, more in-depth games that have been out on the market for some time. There’s also a couple of new role playing systems (and updates to existing systems) that I’ve been looking at and contemplating playing. So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of things I’d like to be playing soon (but probably won’t, sadly).
This game’s been around for a while now, I realize, and to be honest I’ve constantly been intrigued by it. It’s the very sort of game that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will get my rump kicked in, but the mighty breadth and scope of the game awes me. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Twilight Imperium is a board game of galactic conquest and civilization building. I have never touched the game, or seen it played, or even read the rules, but the pictures and description of the pieces sound amazing enough to make me want to dig in with all my teeth. It’s daunting, though, as I’ve heard tales of plays going on for twelve or more hours at a time. Definitely the longest game on today’s list, but I think I may be able to con some friends of mine into taking a weekend to help me experience it.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Ah, Descent, how I’ve longed for you ever since I saw your massive box sitting high upon the shelf of my local gaming store! Your minis and your open dungeon crawling game play have tempted me in my sleep and in my dreams. Your expansions constantly play across my vision with promises of new and wonderful expeditions of little plastic players. One day, some day, I shall delve your depths, and I shall explore your mysteries. I own you, and I have read your rules, and I feel deep in my soul, that some day I’ll be able to talk my guys in my Savage Worlds group into playing a game of this one night when we don’t have any campaign plans. It’s less abstract than other board games I’ve suggested, and more like a dungeon crawl. Viva La Descent!
Runebound (2nd Ed.)
Now, this is a game I played with an expansion at the very first Winter War I attended way back in 2005. It’s a good adventure board game with a ton of expansions already released and ready to play as well. I picked up a copy of this out of nostalgia, and realized and remembered that it isn’t at all a cooperative board game. Maybe not as deep or as complicated (or as long) as Descent, but it still looks like it can hold some good hours of adventure for myself and others. It’s an older game, sure, but I still think it holds up fairly well in this day and age, and while there are certainly more complex adventure board games, this one will still hold a very special place in my heart.
Ah, not a board game! This is a role playing system that can be most accurately described as “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends” meets “Grimm Adventures of Billy and Mandy”. The concept of the system is that all children have a special bond with an otherworldly “monster” companion, who themselves are merely reflections of the emotional instability of the child. The players play as the children and the monster they are bonded with and do adventuring that way. Each character is defined by their stats, skills, and relationships with other things/characters/NPC’s to make for a very interesting system. The rules supports ages from Toddler to Teenager, giving the game a very wide breadth of scenarios and moods that can be played with. Looking forward to running/playing this at some point!
Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition
It isn’t out yet, officially, but because I pre-ordered the hardcover book, I’ve got the PDF. If anyone is familiar with M&M 2nd edition, go ahead and throw that book away and get this one. Everything is simpler, and the powers are a lot easier to read and understand. The stupid skills system is replaced with a smaller set of broader skills, which putting points into is far easier to deal with, and the calculations for defensive skills is, well, gone. They’ve greatly reduced the math needed to play the game (though not to the level of, say, Savage Worlds) and made the entire thing far more streamlined. I could easily see this being far more enjoyable now that it all makes a little bit more sense than 2nd edition’s totally ridiculous math-heavy rules. Go get it.