Last night I ran into a creative writing bump, not block, just bump-I have been writing in a technical style for the past week working on Building Block mechanics, I went to start adding the creative touches to make the mechanics less like reading an instruction manual and more interesting, only to discover my mind was still in technical mode. Thus when working on the equipment instead of a fun, more advertisement style description, I wrote out the technical details. Boring. So I am taking a break.
Which is how I got here, reflecting on the past year. Over on Scrawling I wrote out an overview of the year from my point of view. Here I plan on doing at least two reflections-today’s on gaming and one on food. I may do others. This year was a huge gaming year here. We played and tried playing more games this year than I have ever done before in my life. There was a motivating factor, the kids. I want the children to play games other than video games. I am not anti-video game, we are playing Diablo III now, routinely play Mario Kart 8 (they lose a lot to me :)), Infinity and Infinity 2.0, and the kids love Minecraft. I enjoy Minecraft, but the music is a bit of a bummer to me thus keeping my play time down. Video games have always been a part of my life and will continue to be so, but I was fortunate to be there when video games were born, thus I had already learned that there were other things to do with my free time other than play video games. Now video games are everywhere and I watched as my kids turned to video games with increasing frequency when bored or when they couldn’t think of anything else to do.
I wanted to change that. Thus the search or continuing search for games that caught the children’s attention, were fun to play, educational in some fashion (math, planning, reading, etc), and involved playing with others in a direct fashion. Sitting across from other people changes how people behave and teaching sportsmanship important to me as much as teaching them how to be good winners and losers.
Regular readers have followed along as we played various games this year, here are the standouts:
Pathfinder RPG: I have many role-playing games here as part of a long history of gaming and none of them other than Pathfinder caught the kids attention. They were more than willing to give role-playing a try, even playing through a couple of adventures, but in the end their attention span due to age was the nail in the coffin for playing. But that was not the end as I thought it would be, no, the kids put the books to use. First, flipping through the books to look at the images, but then the boy started reading them, and reading them to our girl. Now she is reading them or at least any page with cats on them. Note to Paizo, to increase sales to our daughter I suggest more cats. 🙂
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: This game was the family favorite last year and this year as well. Pirates as the theme for the year could not have been better tailored to our family. While we have not had as much time to play this year as we would have liked, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game gets played at least once a month. An excellent game to teach reading, some math, planning, and teamwork.
Star Trek Attack Wing: This was a pleasant surprise. We got Star Trek Attack Wing because at the time we were marathoning Star Trek on Netflix. The kids were interested in the ships, but due to our experience with Star Wars Attack Wing Barb and I were skeptical that the kids would play. Play they did and still do. Most this year was spent watching the boy find a faction that suited him, first the Federation, then Klingons, then Borg, and finally the Dominion. Our girl only wanted a female captain, Janeway and Voyager have seen her to many victories.
D&D Attack Wing: This was no surprise and a recent game. Who doesn’t like dragons? Everyone in this family loves dragons thus dragons fighting was a natural. With enough differences to make D&D Attack Wing its own game we play regularly, although I am the only one trying to play with anything other than dragons.
War Gaming: Wargames came upon us in an end of the year rush. Robotech RPG Tactics showed up with many hopes and went into the closet after a dozen one-sided games. That did not diminish the children’s desire to play wargames with lots of miniatures, which lead Warhammer 40k. Barb was skeptical that the kids would like the game, but Warhammer 40k has surprised her. The boy is reading the rulebook, practicing, playing, planning, and is waiting for the time when he will learn how to paint the miniatures. Our girl enjoys watching the game, helps out, but is not interested in the armies we have, but should the Sisters of Battle show up she has promised to kick our armies in the nards.
Card Games and Wrap Up: Last year we were playing a lot of deck building games. Those seem to have fallen by the wayside to the games above. I believe the reason why is because deck building games are quick, almost instant gratification games, and our children are starting to look for deeper gaming experiences. The progress from Attack Wing style games into Warhammer 40k miniature games seems to be following that same evolution.
Games of all varieties are an important part of our family dynamic. They bring us together and teach many lessons that I feel are important for everyone to learn, especially the social aspects. I am looking forward to the end of the year when the kids are home and we have the time to play games uninterrupted, that is a good holiday to me.