Fighting FOMO

Following the board gaming community on Twitter, BGG, at your game nights or right here on our very own blog it’s easy to get wrapped up with the latest and greatest games. There is a significant pull by the “Cult of the New” in the community. This is often reflected in the BGG rankings, the games you read about, and the games we see hitting the tables. I wanted to take a step back from that for a moment and try and resist the fear of missing out or FOMO as you’ll see it called.

I recently had the chance to revisit a classic game and introduce it to my spouse and 13 year old son. I was on a ski holiday with my family and a friend of mine who I game with regularly drove up to the cottage to join us for an evening. He brought with him a big box of games, one of which was Puerto Rico. I knew my wife would like this game and we asked my son if he wanted to try. After running through the concept of the game and the basic mechanics of playing we were off. After a few rounds it was obvious that not only did the 2 new players understand the game but they were starting to make some quite clever moves to block and hinder the two veteran players. The final scoring was close with only 15 points separating 4th and 1st place but the real great thing was that my wife and son had a good time and said they’d want to play it again.

This experience really cemented in me something that I have been trying to focus on this year. I’ve been trying to focus on enjoying the game experience regardless of the age of the game. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that new is good and old is bad. Games that were wonderful and rich experiences 2, 5, 10 years ago can still be rewarding and fun to play. In fact some are better as we dig into them. 

Now obviously as part of the To Die for Games team I need to keep abreast of new releases, the latest designs, and board gaming trends but I don’t want to get such tunnel vision for the next big game that we forget that you can have an amazing time playing a game that you owned forever or that you just bought for a steal second hand because it’s no longer the community darling. I think if we find a good balance of enjoyment in New and old games it will be healthier for the hobby and our wallets. 

Advertisements

Kickstarter Preview: The Grimm Forest

This is a title that has more than one member of the To Die For family very excited. The Grimm Forest is a game by Druid City Games where players must use cards and tricks based on familiar fairy tale characters to play cards and gather resources in order to be the first to finish all 3 levels of their house.

big_bad_wolf

Players are encouraged to use any of the devious tricks they have read about in the many books of Fables found throughout the land. Some will have their plans wrecked by that villain of old, the Big Bad Wolf, while others will gain bricks, straw, and wood by the cart load.

resources

The art on this game is quite nice and the components for the players pieces and the houses are great sculpts. Our very own Board gaming Pinup girl, Mandi has had a chance to play a demo of the Grimm Forest and has had nothing but great things to say about it. Check it out March 21 when the project goes live.

houses

Kickstarter Preview: Dig!

Dig! is a cool little push your luck style game that has a very interesting 8 bit look. Designed by Julien Charbonnier this game looks like it could be a blast to play.

The Hill hides many treasures and all it takes to collect them is to DIG! However, these are not the only things the hill hides… Creatures and traps await, the galleries you will create might either mean wealth or despair.  Delve into the hill and gather ten Gems to win the game! Take some risks, push your luck, hire recruits to dig deeper and win favors of companions (Knight, Wizard, Scout, Hunter…) to protect your galleries from the many creatures (Thieves, Skeletons, Orcs…) and traps the Hill hides.

The artwork really appeals to me and as a man of great height (5’3″) I really appreciate that the shortest player goes first. If retro game art and pushing your luck looking for treasure while fighting of monsters is your cup of tea that check out this game when it goes live March 19th 2017.

Gaming as a Family

As many gamers can attest to, finding the time to play all the games you want to can be difficult. This is especially true of those gamers, like myself, who are parents. This isn’t to say that gamers without kids aren’t busy but their schedule is usually more flexible and has less moving parts and dependencies.
Gaming as a parent has phases, each with pros and cons. When your kids are infants and toddlers you can usually work an evening around the kids. These young children are usually early to bed so you can have people over early evening to get a game in but you probably are playing to late into the night as you will have an early wake up call, and maybe a few in the night. As the kids get older your evenings get busy! Homework, soccer, hockey, piano, more homework…This is the phase I am currently in. I have a teenager and a set of twins in the second grade. Our evenings are packed but I have found a few things that have really worked well for this gaming family.

First of all I am lucky to have a spouse that is supportive and helps me schedule game nights with people either in our home or out and about. Unfortunately even with a spouse that wants to help you get to games groups it won’t always happen this is where I got lucky once again. She is an excellent game partner. This took some work to really fine tune. When I first got into serious hobby boardgames she was happy to play the gateway games and some of the deeper titles but as I dig in and started getting into really meaty, long games I lost her. This was OK, I had my heavy gaming group to scratch that itch, but I really like gaming with my spouse and I had to find a way to make that happen. The real breakthrough in our couples gaming was Patchwork. It didn’t have a dry cold war theme, it wasn’t in your face conflict, but it still gave us to sink our teeth into and develop some strategies. We started playing regularly in the evenings rather than sitting in front of the TV. It has quickly became our thing, we’ve added some games to the regular rotation like Lotus, Castles of Burgundy, Agricola and others. These gaming sessions which started in order to supplement my game group has become my primary gaming and some of the most satisfying as it is also great time spent with my favourite person.

The second big change was that the kids are now old enough to play interesting games. As young children we played all the usual suspects, Candy Land, Guess Who, The Game of Life etc… All of which teach kids the very basics of winning losing, reading a board, rolling dice but are not a whole lot of fun for the adults involved. The first game that started our transition was Carcassonne but the real breakthrough was King of Tokyo. When King of Tokyo entered our lives everyone one fell in love with it and my family of 5 spent many hours chucking dice and pitting our monsters (I’m always Cyberbunny) against each other. We have since added many games that all the family loves but our well used copy of King of Tokyo has a special place in my heart.

My oldest son is transitioning into his teens so is spending less time playing with his parents but when he does I can really get into some bigger games. His first love was Summoner Wars, we play that a lot! I still remember when the tables turned and he started consistently beating me at it. Recently, We had a game night with one of his friends not long ago where we go Mechs vs Minions to the table and we flew through the first four missions laughing and trash talking all night long. His latest acquisition is Cry Havoc which I got him as I thought it would appeal to his video gamer side. It’s science fiction theme as well as the constant and direct conflict was a big hit.

We don’t set a specific game night, we don’t force anyone to play but there is lots of gaming happening in my house. It always makes me smile when of the kids says “I’m bored” and the solution is usually a board game. I’ve tried very hard to make our love of gaming grow organically. I make an effort to see what games work so I can have a good idea of what new games to introduce. So if I have any advice to someone that wants to get in lots of games is to introduce the people you spend the most time with to games. Another key is to let it happen naturally, pay attention to what the others like and don’t push. If you shove your hobby on people they’ll shove back, but if you make it inviting and enjoyable you are far more likely to get buy in. The single best advice though is go into it with the goal of spending great quality with your family with a perk of it being around a game board, make sure they know how special your time together is and it won’t make them feel like they are just there to enable your gaming.

If you have any questions about getting your family or spouse to play games leave a comment or send me a message and I will be more than willing to talk you through it and maybe guide you to games that may work.