Monday, 7 January 2008

new games summary dec 2007, eurogames burnout

I have played many new games during my trip back to my hometown of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, all of them at Carcasean boardgame cafe, the first of its kind in KK. This is all thanks to Chong Sean, owner of the cafe, who has been very accomodating to bring the games that I requested to try. Most of the games I played are Eurogames, and many are older games which I did not have a chance to try. Some of them I had considered buying. Some I did not plan to buy, but just wanted to try. I played 17 new games.

  1. That's Life
  2. Elfenland
  3. Chinatown
  4. O Zoo le Mio
  5. Medina
  6. Dschunke
  7. Show Manager
  8. Africa
  9. Felix: the cat in the sack (I self-made this)
  10. Blokus Trigon
  11. Hare & Tortoise
  12. Carcassonne The City
  13. Thief of Baghdad
  14. Palazzo
  15. Vinci
  16. Carcassonne The Discovery
  17. Niagara

Carcassonne The Discovery was an unexpected and pleasant discovery. I'm keen to play again and may even buy it. I like Chinatown too, and will consider buying when it gets reprinted this year. I (and Michelle) like Africa, but unfortunately it is out of print. Felix: the cat in the sack, Niagara, Vinci were disappointing (I wouldn't say bad, but disappointing to me), especially Vinci which I have heard many good things about.

After playing so many new Eurogames within such a short period of time, I can see why some people have Eurogames burnout. I don't have a burnout, at least not yet, but I can see how some people can have this. Eurogames are mostly very streamlined. They have simple rules. Many of them are about collecting victory points. Many of them share similar mechanics. They usually do not have too much luck element, and because of this, they sometimes tend to be rather mathematical, and can be bland at times. The strength of Eurogames is that (usually) strategy matters. However, given that rules are usually quite streamlined and concise, Eurogames sometimes can feel quite similar to one another. I guess playing too many of the same type of games can make one feel burnt out on it. I guess it will be similar for people who play hex and counter wargames, or collectible card games (like Magic The Gathering).

After 17 new games, I still have capacity to learn and play new games now. I think I am enjoying tasting different games, rather than learning a game well and mastering it. Not to say that I don't enjoy that. I have played many games of Lord of the Rings, Power Grid, Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. Sometimes even if I know I probably won't thrilled by a game (e.g. Niagara, Thief of Baghdad, Carcassonne The Discovery), I still want to play it at least once. I'm thankful I did this with Carcassonne The Discovery, as it turned out to be quite interesting. It actually makes me feel happy after I try a game and can tell myself, "I don't need to buy this". I feel like I have spent relatively little money (on a drink at Carcasean), and have saved a lot of money in not buying a game I which would have otherwise had to buy before I could try it.

One thing that I have learnt from my recent playing binge: You don't need to play / own every game. There are so many games out there, you'd be making life difficult for yourself if you try to play and/or own all of them. Playing is probably not too bad. It doesn't cost too much to play a game, if you have a boardgame cafe like Carcasean to visit. Other forms of entertainment, like karaoke, movies, probably cost more. Owning too many games is expensive. Not economical. I have about 130 games now, and to be honest with myself, this number really is more than I need. There are games (although not many) which I have bought and have never played. There are quite a few which I have played only a few times, and after that have not played for a long time, e.g. Java, Axis & Allies Europe, Axis & Allies Pacific, Mexica, Goa, Taj Mahal, Princes of Florence (and yet I love this game!). These are the ones which, if I were very rational and very strict, I probably would not keep in my collection (maybe except Taj Mahal and Princes of Florence). However I cannot bring myself to part with them, because I'd tell myself: "This is a good game", or "I will play it again one day", or both. The only game that ever left my collection was Domaine, which I didn't like much, and traded it for Hoity Toity at a local boardgame event. I almost traded away Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation - Deluxe edition, because I like the base game which I already own, but don't like the variant game that is included in the deluxe edition. I also don't like the bigger and clumsier pieces and the graphics of the deluxe edition. Manila is also one of the less loved games in my collection. Sid Meier's Civilisation too, but my sister lugged that all the way back from Melbourne for me, so it's worth keeping just to remember her kindness.

So, I need to tell myself this more: You don't need to play / own every game. It's OK to miss some good games, even excellent games. You already have enough good and excellent games to play, and you are not playing them enough. And perhaps I'll just wait for an opportunity to play those games at a boardgame cafe. I am thinking of Notre Dame, Pillars of the Earth (Han is planning to trade for this, so I may get to try this soon), Race for the Galaxy, Agricola, Airships (Giganten der Lufte), King of Siam. Let's see which of these I eventually cannot resist and decide to buy... hey wait, I wasn't supposed to say that.


Han said...

I don't have Burn-out, i didn't get to play enough for it!

I found that my taste is more inclined towards Ameritrash. But i'm glad to play any game, just less likely to buy a Euro nowadays.

About my collection, i went through the craze of buying from eBay and is now cooling down (hopefully); trying to do some trading but it's difficult because of location (But will be trading one game: Duel of Ages 1 for Pillar of the Earth with a guy from Penang)

Hiew Chok Sien said...

Our taste and our collection complement each other well! :-) You are more inclined towards Ameritrash games and I am more inclined towards Eurogames.

I probably should be doing some trading too, since I find that there are often games which I buy and play for a few times, and then don't take it out to play anymore. It would be ideal if I had traded for the game, and then traded it away, for another game which I will only play for a few times. That would save money. Unfortunately for us in Malaysia it is not so easy to do trading because we don't have critical mass.