Thursday, 1 December 2011

good Eurogames and good movies

A random thoughts post...

Good movies

I have a love-hate relationship with good drama movies. I usually like this kind of movies (e.g. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Shawshank Redemption, The King's Speech), but somehow I often find myself resisting to watch them. Maybe it's because I find it hard to commit the time and to invest the emotional commitment to watch such movies. I don't experience such dilemmas with comedies. It's strange how I often don't give such movies a chance. I still have not watched Slumdog Millionaire.

I notice that there is a similarity with how I treat typical Eurogames, not really a parallel, just partial similarity. I tend to feel that they lack creativity and they can't break out of a mould, and I rarely give them any chance, even though I started the hobby with these games. Nowadays I tend to prefer heavy Eurogames. I recently read Michael Schacht's new game Coney Island described as a potential classic like Web of Power / China. Coney Island never interested me, simply because it's a light-to-medium weight Eurogame (sorry Michael). But China is a game that I like and admire very much. So, I probably should not be dismissing new games based on such unfair criteria. The challenge for a boardgame hobbyist nowadays is how to filter through the overwhelming number games being published every year to find the games he likes. I rely on snippets I read from various online sources - boardgame blogs and rankings and news, and I tend to just browse quickly, only delving deeper when something really catches my interest. Because of this, I think many good games slip through. Unfortunate, but inevitable.

Hey, that's our song!

I entered the hobby in 2003 / 2004. Games that I bought and played heavily during that period (the formation years) would always have a special place in my heart, just like pop songs during one's teenage years. For me, "our songs" are games like The Princes of Florence, Carcassonne, and Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper. There are newer games which have similarities with these games, some may even be better designs, but they will always be inferior to "our songs". If I want to play games with similar depth, or using similar mechanisms, I would just turn to "our songs". There is no need to buy a newer game unless it is significantly different or provides something that I don't have yet.

Newer boardgamers will have their own newer "our songs", and we old farts may frown upon them, just like the even older farts frown upon our "our songs". Noone is right and noone is wrong.

And then there are some classics that most people can agree on. Can I compare Acquire to When I Fall in Love?

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper


Cooperative Ark

My 6-year-old daughter Shee Yun wanted to play Ark after reading a book about Noah's Ark. It's a bit too much for a 6-year-old, so I created a cooperative version. Players have a hand of 4 cards, and take turns adding one animal to the ark. Weights of animals and tilt of the ark are played. Restrictions on carnivores, herbivores, and food apply. Room temperatures apply. Room size applies. Special animal rules (exclamation marks), animal categories (fast animals, shy animals, heavy animals etc), and payment for new rooms don't apply. There is no scoring. We just worked together to place all the animals onto the ark, in as few rooms as we could. It was quite pointless, but she enjoyed it.


Jason said...

That's a good point about our own personal "classics." New stuff is rarely considered as good as the old stuff that we grew up with. I'm that way especially with video games. In my opinion, the simple classics of the DOS era are superior to the sensory overload that video games innundate you with today. Our bias towards the "tried and true" indeed may sometimes causes us to miss a new, modern classic. But on the other hand, sometimes it saves us from wasting time on a trivial, unoriginal clunker, too! :-)

Paul Owen said...

Hiew, I agree with you and Jason. I have such sentimental attachment to the games I grew up with, even if there are better games now. I spent 14 hours playing Wooden Ships and Iron Men at WBC last summer, and it was like being at a reunion with an old friend.