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Fear of the New

O Updated
Fear of the new (Topic Discussion)
There Will Be Games

Sure. It's always great to play with the latest shinies and be at the cutting edge of what board games have to offer. It makes you feel trendy, in-the-know or it's just great to have bought something new. I love it myself. It's amazing when someone offers you a game for review that hasn't been released yet. You feel honoured. It's a special thing. It just makes you happy, and enjoying games has a lot to do with happiness for a lot of people. However, there is also the flipside. It can be stressful, and often very expensive, to always hunt for the latest game, the newest release. Your fear of missing out can turn into panic. That's when it's time to remind ourselves where our interest in the hobby started.

First of all, there are simply too many games released every year for anyone to keep up with. Even if you have nothing else to do and your budget is unlimited, you simply can't play 10 games a day, every single day of the year, with no breaks. After all, roughly 3,000 to 4,000 games are released annually, and that excludes expansions. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

So, the simple fact is that you will miss some games. That's unavoidable. However, I hear you say that you don't want to buy every game. You just want to focus on the hot new games, the ones that everyone talks about. You might even restrict yourself to just one or two new games each month. That, you say, will be fine, because you can afford it and it'll be manageable.

In reality though, and assuming that you actually are rich enough to afford it, or are able to share the cost with friends, or otherwise are able to get hold of those games in a sustainable way, the question is whether you will have enough time to play the games to really enjoy them.

I would argue that most games need to be played at least four times to get the full enjoyment. Many, and especially complex, games need to be played many more times though, before you have thoroughly explored them. So if you buy two new games a month, you would have to ensure you have at least two games evenings a week and get those games to the table.

Of course, I can't speak for you, but I find it difficult enough to play games once a week, let alone more often, at least with regards to playing with my games group. Yes, I do play more frequently with my wife, most evenings in fact, so they allow me to play certain games more often, but there are others that I only get a chance to play once a week at the most.

Now, I don't want to tell you what to do, but I have found that playing games several times, ideally more than four, is worth it. Many games reveal more subtleties and new strategies and additional layers the more you play them. It could be as simple as having better luck, if a game is luck dependent. Just because it didn't go your way on your first play doesn't mean you won't have a better experience on subsequent plays. For more complex games, that are not dependent on luck, you will discover new strategies or ways of approaching a game with additional plays. Games that are asymmetric will also need to be played more often, at least once for each faction, if you want to get the most out of them.

I appreciate that there is peer pressure. Nobody wants to brag about having played Carcassonne dozens of times. It's much more popular to share your first play of the latest game - and as I said, I do understand the enjoyment you get from playing a new game. However, nobody should feel bad talking about how they discovered a new strategy in an older game, because they have now played it so many times. We should really encourage repeat plays of games.

After all, there has been an increase of re-releases in the last couple of years, and companies like Restoration Games pride themselves on bringing old classics back to life and making them fun with only small updates and changes. So it would be a shame if we bought an updated classic and only played it once or twice.

In fact, every game has had so much time put into it, so much effort from game designers, developers, illustrators, rule book writers, editors, publishers and many other people, that we should really cherish and value. So, here is to more plays of old games.

There Will Be Games
Oliver Kinne
Oliver Kinne (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Oliver Kinne aims to publish two new articles every week on his blog, Tabletop Games Blog, and also release both in podcast form. He reviews board games and writes about tabletop games related topics.

Oliver is also the co-host of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast, which releases a new episode every three to four weeks and tackles different issues facing board games, the people who play them and maybe their industry.

Articles by Oliver Kinne

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JoelCFC25's Avatar
JoelCFC25 replied the topic: #307235 18 Feb 2020 19:32
My sense is that longtime users of this site (and its predecessor) generally aren't that keen on collecting games for the sake of it, or for "following the crowd" and wanting to play all the newest stuff just to say they have. So the "keep playing great games repeatedly" credo will find a lot of purchase here.

When my kids were very young, I was largely absent from gaming forums for a few years and had little to no sense of what was en vogue at any point in time, unless I was able to make a rare foray out with my group. It's almost like I live a couple full years behind wherever the tastemakers and "try all the hot new games" hobbyists are--but that's OK. If you build up a stable of people whose reviews/ratings/comments you grow to trust, you can pretty easily discover after the fact which titles are most likely to be winners for your tastes, and which others might have had a meteoric rise in gaming mindshare but didn't hold up over time. Unless it's a super niche game from a boutique publisher, it's probably obtainable (or will come back in a reprint).
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #307236 18 Feb 2020 19:56
Boy, Joel makes a point. One of the reasons I like posting here is that most opinions come from a position of experience.

I was on Reddit the other day talking about Thunder Alley and its negotiative aspect and the guy on the other end didn't think there was any negotiation in the game at all. Didn't strike me as dumb, just not very experienced with the game. A lot of people have only one or two plays in of most if not all games.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #307237 18 Feb 2020 19:57
^I always argue playing and exploring games many times is an informal core site value.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #307242 18 Feb 2020 20:32

Gary Sax wrote: ^I always argue playing and exploring games many times is an informal core site value.

I would agree. I have been pleasantly enriched by the discussions on these forums. And they have led me to a number of sound purchases that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Even when there is a hot take on a game here, it's much more informative....especially on negative takes. Instead of just hard panning a game that was played once, the contributors and crowd around here tend to skew towards, "it's not my cup of tea" and a delineation of the games mechanisms that hit and miss with them.
oliverkinne's Avatar
oliverkinne replied the topic: #307331 21 Feb 2020 05:35
I'm glad that people here see it as important that games should be played multiple times to fully enjoy them. It's very refreshing, when in other places everyone seems to talk about the new hotness all the time.
Road Judge's Avatar
Road Judge replied the topic: #307358 21 Feb 2020 17:28
I probably average two games days a month of 5-6 hours each so learning a new game all the time takes away time I'd rather play games I know and I can just sit down. And start right away.

In summers I'm gaming 3-4 times a week as my son is home from college so learning a couple new ones is not at big a deal. But I still like playing games he and I have played a lot before as we have history in that game so as we play game 20 of something, we'll remember a memorable moment from a previous game and talk about it.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #307376 22 Feb 2020 16:12
Yeah, I'd much rather play one game 25 times than 25 games once. It's a mixture of my personality and liking to save money.
oliverkinne's Avatar
oliverkinne replied the topic: #307577 29 Feb 2020 11:01
It's really lovely to hear that others enjoy playing the same game multiple times, rather than always focus on the latest hotness.
quozl's Avatar
quozl replied the topic: #307609 02 Mar 2020 15:12
To me, "fear of the new" is not wanting to waste my time with a new unproven game when I have so many proven awesome games I could play instead.
dysjunct's Avatar
dysjunct replied the topic: #307610 02 Mar 2020 15:15

quozl wrote: To me, "fear of the new" is not wanting to waste my time with a new unproven game when I have so many proven awesome games I could play instead.

Fear of wasting time.