We Have A Game Issue

I’m hoping this is a local problem. I hope in other parts of the States and World this problem does not exist. Keep in mind I made this sound big, but it’s not. What do gamers do when they have games they no longer want? My hope would be that they give them away, sell, them, or even better there is a store that takes unwanted games in trade or whathaveyou.

Around here there is nothing.

There are stores for DVD’s, music, video games, clothing, and so on. If you, like us, have board, role playing, and card games other than Magic the Gathering your recourse for unwanted games is to ask if friends want them, see if the local gaming group wants them, sell on Ebay or whatever sell site, or do like we have for a long time sit on them, watch them gather dust, and ponder how your back will be after another move.

Friends don’t want the games, the local gaming group is rather snobbish about games, Ebay is more a pain than a boon, and we are tired of sitting on them. After a move where a gaming cabinet ended up in the library we decided enough was enough and went through our games. We set up two and a half tables, brought out all of our games, and began sorting.

Each person was allotted a keep, go, and never played pile.

Surprisingly, we agreed on 98% of the go pile. A pile that kept growing and growing. There were games that everyone despised-Robotech RPG Tactics, Oregon Trail-there were games that were one off, meaning you play it one or two times and that is all there is to the game, and there were games that we liked a lot, but have not played for years because some other game came along and did the original game better.

The keep pile is an assortment of games that everyone agreed on such as Pandemic and games that one or more of us had to keep, for now, because cats. Yes, if a game involved cats it likely stayed, thankfully those are all small games. We have yet to find a large cat game.

What caught all of us off guard, the number of games that one or more, often all of us, have never played. How is it possible to own games that you have not played? If you are us, you buy games on sale or that you really find interesting, get home put them on the shelf and well…forget about them.

Which brings us to today and the next few weeks, maybe months. The go games are bagged up and heading to Good Will. Yes, Good Will. I have been on a “if nobody wants this and I cannot easily get value out of this, donate it kick.” If you happen to live where we are or nearby travel to Good Will in a few days for board games…that is if Good Will does anything with them.

Meanwhile, we have several stacks of games we have not played, which you will end up reading about, starting with the “Disease-friend or foe” a selection of games revolving around curing a disease or being a disease.

Recycling Games

We have a lot of games and things collected over many years. Over time games and things get left behind. Forgotten on a shelf or in a box until one day you stumble upon them. Sometimes the forgotten get a new life, but more often than not the game is put back on the shelf or back in the box to be forgotten until you have to move at which point…the whole process starts over.

I do not like to keep things I am not using. A lifetime of moving drilled into me do not carry around more than you need or want to move, mostly the second one. Recently I have been looking at reducing our extra games and stuff. If we aren’t playing it or using it we should find something to do with them.

Our form of recycling. Thankfully there are a few places to unload games and stuff. My favorite part of the process is seeing what happens to stuff that nobody wants. Hold on a sec. Way back in the day, when I lived in apartments overrun with kids who had less than nothing to do to keep them from hanging outside my door and lighten my load I gave them games and such that I no longer had a need for. Best time was two kids playing Magic the Gathering with about 10 cards between them. The look when I gave them a box of commons, uncommons, and lands. They didn’t hang outside my door again.

So with that in mind, I enjoy seeing how much stuff is worth. I don’t care. If I cared I would take care of the price/sale myself. I’m just looking to lighten my load. Whatever I get is more than enough. At the end of our last trip we had a box of cards that they didn’t want and we didn’t want to cart home. We asked if they just take them. They, being the store people, said we have a box of stuff we give to new players. Perfect. That’s what I used to do.

Meanwhile at home, the Robotech RPG Tactics game has found a second and third life. The books went into starting a series of fires and as packing material. The food was good, so turning bad into good. The miniatures have languished in a box for a while now. The kids pulled out a few to practice painting on, a good use for them. They did not want to learn how to build using them, a good decision on their part.  Back in the box they went until someone else wanted to learn how to paint.

Instead of them purchasing expensive miniatures and practice on them why not use these? No reason why not. With one stroke I lighten my load by giving the miniatures away and they have something to practice on.

Slowly, but surely, we are lightening our load of games and stuff not used by us and turning them into something of value to us or giving them away to people who can put them to us.

Home To Chaos

We made a conscious decision to stay at home or at least as close to home as we can stay today and probably tomorrow as well. Typically, when Barb has a day or two off we go out so she can see the world beyond her counter. However, we have over the last few weeks seen a lot of the world beyond her counter and the world at home has suffered. Thus, we aim to correct, meaning clean and organize, the home so that the next time we go out to see the world beyond her counter we do not have to come home to chaos.

Two comic cons has seen an influx of posters. Sad thing was we went to both saying, “Not a lot of posters.” Not because we are lacking wall space, but because posters mean having to purchase poster frames and that means measuring posters and trust me when I say no poster ever fits the available frames. I bet if we could take all of the extra spaces around the posters on our walls we could put many of the new posters into frames.  Alas, we cannot, thus measure, go to the store, and hope to find enough frames and enough frames that are close enough.

The cons also saw a much desired and needed increase in reading material. Before we left, I cleaned and organized all of the bookshelves. I know I should have waited until we got back. In my defense, we rarely found books, let alone a lot of books, at previous cons. Which is probably why we found tons. Between the comic books, graphic novels, novels, and oversized books I am or was in the process of attempting to keep on row of books from falling off a shelf with one hand while trying to simultaneously create a space and insert new books into place. Yes, my books are organized.

Games. Why did we purchase games at comic cons when we have games and brought games with us to con? Part of me thinks that we like to carry large, awkward, and heavier than when we arrived bags. The other part of me says, some games were unique, some games were games we were on the fences about and with the sale price were worth trying, and others, the smallest amount, were just so cool looking that we had to get them.

Around here games are kind of organized. There is the cabinet, bookcase, and stacked cubes of must play and are playing games. There is the bookshelves and closest of we played it and may play it again. Lastly there is the never again box and shelf, currently occupied by Robotech RPG Tactics and Oregon Trail. I know Oregon Trail will come out of the box, because we are mad it at for the last game, and we tend to forgive our games. The other one…there forever.

And keep in mind the above is just the stuff from cons that we are cleaning up. There is still laundry, mowing, writing, painting, dishes, and cooking to go.

Games We Play: Con Games

Hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day and remembering why there is a Memorial Day and no it is not a national day to get drunk, eat hot dogs, and party. We are doing our part here at home.

When we went to Motor City Comic Con we took a few games with us, but due to the hectic pace we kept we were unable to play more than a game or two. This time because C4 has shorter hours we packed several games including a new one, We Didn’t Play Test. Before that some suggestions from us about games and travel.

When packing games here are some things we learned:

  1. Smaller games are better, think pack of cards big
  2. Make sure the games do not have a lot of small parts
  3. While you hope this won’t happen, if something should get lost or damage make sure you are okay with that
  4. Quick games are better than long games, people are tired and distracted
  5. Packing more games is not better than packing a few good games
  6. Have games that interest as many people as possible
  7. When playing in public get used to all sorts of interest from passerby’s

For C4 I packed, Get Bit, Star Realms with Colony Wars, Roll For It, and We Didn’t Playtest This. All of them are self-contained, small games, that fit in one bag. Further, if something happened to them I could get another copy at worse.

Here is what happened:

Roll For It is too much for very tired people. I know, a game where you roll dice and match pictures can become frustrating when the dice won’t roll the pictures. Tired people get frustrated quicker, see where this is going?

Get Bit is a great little game, except when people play in a easy to recognize pattern. Then Get Bit becomes repetitive and boring.

Star Realms was the favorite of the trip. We taught two people how to play and they loved the game. I expected to play a game or two, at most. We played every day, a couple of games each day. We even played a quick game before C4 opened on Sunday. Star Realms is an extremely well designed game making games close and keeping everyone engaged. Adding Colony Wars to allow 4 players made games more interesting.

We Didn’t Playtest This was…the adults expected a lot more. The kids had no clue what to expect. The gamer in me hoped for more and got what he expected. We Didn’t Playtest This is played as such, deal two cards to each player. On your turn draw a card from the draw pile. Pick a card and place the card in front of you. Follow the instructions on the card in front of you. That’s it.

Here’s the rub, the goal is to win. Many of the cards are instant win, everyone hold up 1 to 5 fingers, those with an odd number lose. Now, if we were drinking, this probably would’ve been fun. As it was there were no drinks and there were children. Children and adults don’t like instant lose over and over and over again. So here is my recommendation, IF you are looking for an extremely quick game (longest game was 4 minutes) to carry around, you are not looking for things to make sense, fun cards to read (the cards are very fun to read), then pick up We Didn’t Playtest This. Otherwise stick with Cards Against Humanity.

Games We Play: Warhammer 40k

It has been two years and three weeks in the making to play our “first” game of Warhammer 40k. Approximately two years ago we bought our boy a Warhammer 40k boxed set because he likes the Tyranid (think bugs) Army and I after many years of working at a hobby shop as a “games guy” love to assemble, paint, and play Warhammer 40k, but hate the Tyranids.

warhammer-7Unfortunately two years ago he was not ready. Now he is. He has dilengently read the rules, he has painted (as 12 years do) many of his figures, and he has begun assembling them. Plus, because we did not have terrain, he built some (as you will see), out of Legos.

I will not, unlike in other game reports, explain the rules of Warhammer 40k. The rules are complex (at times needlessly so) and explaining them would be several blog posts. Instead, allow me to say that for our boy this is the most complicated game he has ever tried to learn. Warhammer 40k is a game that he will play for a long time and get a lot of enjoyment out of. There are and will be games he likes better, but this will stick with him for a long time to come.

warhammer-2Our “first” game (we played two years ago, but did not go well) was a mess. What is a mess? Constantly looking up rules, constantly referring to stats, and generally getting many of the wrinkles out when learning a complicated game. This was on both sides of the table.

With more preparation, such as having all of our units on easy to reach and read stat cards, would have helped. However, much was learn as you go situations such as what can a tyranid army do against a dreadnought? Turns out, not much for now. Or what exactly happens during an assault phase and so on. These wrinkles are not new to me, but to him major hurdles he had to learn to work through, such as finding a rule to prove your point. If he couldn’t find the rule, then the rule didn’t exist. I am very proud of him, this could have been a game that broke him. Instead he is working on his stat cards as I type this.

warhammer-5As for our game, I won, but not because of anything more than I had a dreadnought and he did not have any anti-armor weapons. He did not because I did not pay attention to the dreadnought stats which are like a tanks. If I had I would have counseled him to build units with anti-tank. As I did not pay attention, he didn’t. On the other side, I didn’t pay attention to how melee combat focused his army was so I only built a five man squad of assault marines.

warhammer-1The game went like this; we moved a lot. 🙂 Then I charged his genestealers after shooting them up. I won the combat or so I thought, then two (yes, two) genestealers killed most of my five man squad. Then my librarian (commander) died. Then his commander died. Then the dreadnought killed everything else while remaining immune to his actions. In another proud gamer dad moment, once I realized the situation I asked if he wanted to stop playing because it was not fair, he said nope he wanted to see what he could do and learn from that.

Did we have fun, yes. Will we keep playing, yes and games will get easier.