Just a brain-dump tonight of assorted products that have flown across my radar, combined with a little self-reflection about my hobby gaming.
The Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society has been publishing an excellent wargaming zine called Warning Order for several years. The latest issue (Spring 2020) is out now and if you’ve never checked out this zine, definitely give it a look. While I can’t say that I’m interested in every article they publish, there are always a couple that speak to me or ignite my gaming passions.
It’s not often that I buy 5 things on Amazon using my Prime membership, checkout, and discover that every item is being shipped separately. But alas, that’s what I’m going through at the moment with a purchase of 4 different Vallejo Surface Primer paints, and 1 container of The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. Three of the five arrived quickly, now I’m just waiting for the other two. I’m quite eager to try out the Vallejo primers as they’ve received rave reviews. In addition to Black, I got dark Bronze Green, Skeleton Bone, and Leather Brown. Surprisingly, I don’t own any colored primers as I’ve stuck with white Gesso for undercoating my figures for years. But I want to branch out and try the Dallimore Method, starting dark and building up lighter highlights. I’ll report on my experience with the Vallejo Primers once I try a couple of them out.
Not gaming related, but hey, we’re sharing here right? I keep coming across this on FaceBook and have finally bookmarked it because it looks super cool and has received terrific reviews from buyers. A bluetooth speaker in the shape of a black, grinning skull — why yes please. Tempted! They also sell a cool cat speaker whose eyes light up different colors.
I started playing board games when I was 8 years old, and was a regular board gamer into my early 20’s. As board games fell out of fashion in the late 80’s & 90’s and I was preoccupied with work and other pursuits, I drifted away from playing board games on a regular basis. But I still held on to many of my old games.
Around 2004, I started getting interested in board gaming again, thanks to Board Game Geek and listening to The Dice Tower podcast. I even drove to Columbus, Ohio with my wife to attend the Origins Game Convention in 2005 and came back with several new games in tow (including Ticket to Ride among them). While my game buying greatly increased, my playing increased only slowly, in bursts and stops, but it never became a regular occurrence despite my best efforts to get a regular game-group to play games at my house.
I’ve played more board games over the past 10 years than I had in quite some time, but I really wish that I could have played more often. I’ve got so many games still in the shrink-wrap that I’ve been unable to break open and get to the table. There are three big reasons why this has happened.
First, I strongly prefer to game with friends rather than strangers. Tabletop games are partly social events and I want to share that experience with people I really love to hang out with. So, I stubbornly hold on to the hope that my adult friends will magically find more free time in their busy lives to play board games, and commit to a regular schedule. But it never happens. Still, a man can dream.
Secondly, I’ve come to the realization that miniature wargaming is my #1 love. The simple fact is that the majority of my hobby time is spent on wargames rather than board games. There’s only so much time to go around.
Third, I’ve become burned out trying to keep up with the exploding board game scene. Every month, there are a slew of new board games coming out. Kickstarter has seriously ignited the board game industry. The weird thing is, despite the bevy of new releases, I’m not interested in most of them. Oh there are things that catch my eye; I pledged on the Dark Tower Kickstarter because my wife loved the old game and was interested in this new one. But the simple truth is, the new games seem to appeal to a new generation of gamers (nothing wrong with that at all), and I’m happy sticking with older classics that I love and only adding a new title if I honestly think it can break into my top-50.
The reality is that I’ve begun drifting away from board gaming again. I don’t listen to board game podcasts any more. My visits to BGG are much more sporadic. And I’m not going to go chasing after all the new games and get sucked in by the cult of the new. In fact, I’m ready to start selling off games in my collection that I’m pretty sure I’ll never play.
Despite all that, I still want to play board games. But I want to focus on playing the games that my friends and I love, and trying a few “new-to-me” games that I need to bust out of the shrink-wrap (Blood Rage, Nexus Ops, Pandemic: Cthulhu, Inis, Santorini, Forbidden Sky, Merlin expansion to Shadows Over Camelot, Titans expansion to Cyclades, etc.). Maybe FOCUS will be the key to re-energizing the board game hobby for me.