Tuesday, 9 December 2008

the right way to buy and play games

I have been quite pleased with the way I have been buying and playing games this year. I find that most of my games bought this year have been getting many plays, i.e. very good value for money. I bought 22 games this year, not counting one which I self-made, one that I have pre-ordered but has not arrived (A Game of Thrones LCG - Living Card Game), and one that was a free game with another purchase. This good trend started with Race for the Galaxy (217 plays) and Through the Ages (16 plays), both of which I had not planned to buy, and only decided to do so after playing Han's copies. I have played 21 games of Agricola in one month. With the most recent purchase (mid Nov), I have played Dominion 12 times, Galaxy Trucker 7 times.

It is not just about the number of times a game is played. It is also about appreciating and exploring the strategies in the games. It is quality over quantity. I think it is better to play a good game 5 times and learn its nuances and learn to play it well, than to play 5 mediocre (or maybe even good) games once, and not be able to fully appreciate them. I think (or I would like to think) that I am controlling my game-buying urge better. I am always trying convince myself to play more of the games that I already own, and not to buy any new game unless I have an unstoppable urge to do so. Half-convincing reasons should not be sufficient anymore (e.g. I don't have something like this in my collection, or I should complete the set). That said, I did buy Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries. Now I have Ticket to Ride, TTR Europe, TTR Marklin, TTR 1910, TTR Switzerland, and TTR Nordic Countries. My reason is not half-convincing. My wife likes Ticket to Ride. That's a solid reason. No argument about that. But I don't plan to buy TTR the dice game.

Among the games published at Essen (big game fair in Oct 2008), there was only one game I had an urge to get, Space Alert. However, now that I have read some reviews, I may not get it afterall. Well, maybe I will decide after I get even more plays out of Galaxy Trucker, by the same designer. There were still some interesting games, e.g. Formula D, Cavum, Le Havre (high chance of buying), Chicago Express, Steel Driver, Ghost Stories, Powerboats, Snow Tails, Leader 1, Wasabi (also higher than average chance of buying eventually), but at this moment, no strong urge to buy now. I'll try to wait until mid next year before my next big order. That'll give me some more time to decide which games I want to buy. There will be more reviews for these now-still-new games too by then.

At this moment there is only one game that I have decided to buy - Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition. Well, there goes my no-half-convincing-reasons theory. I'm buying this partly because of nostalgia, and I know I'll love it, despite that I am not likely to get many plays out of it. I think none of my Axis & Allies games have more than 3 plays, except for the 1984 edition Axis & Allies. I didn't keep count of A&A Europe or A&A Pacific plays, but I'm quite sure they have no more than 3. A&A Revised (2004) - 2, A&A Battle of the Bulge - 2, A&A Guadalcanal (which I really liked) - 1.

So I hope for 2009 I will buy fewer games than 2008, and I hope other than a few exceptions I will play all new games at least 5 times.

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