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I'm Not Dead
I'm done writing boardgame reviews. I know people like hearing about the latest games, but it was never really what I set out to achieve here at the Fort. My initial vision was to write articles about various different boardgaming topics...and occasionally review something random/obscure that wasn't getting proper exposure. So I'd like to get back to that, and this article is my first step towards that original direction. Basically, I'm going to go over where I'm at as a person roughly 12 years into this hobby.
But I echo Rafael: don't stop writing, even if it's just game reports or a change in view of a game as it ages, because I appreciate your perspective, too.
I'm also taking a step back from reading reviews, which I find is often the momentum that causes me to ride the CotN wave.
I don't think they're a disservice, certainly not from the contributors on this site. I've acquired excellent games because of some of those reviews... but many of these games also aren't getting played as much as I'd like and sometimes don't command my attention enough to make any firm plans to play them again.
I think it's a consequence of owning a large collection and an increasingly defined idea of what I'm looking for in a game; even small hiccups in newer games tend to make me set them aside and revisit older games that hit the same notes, maybe less elaborately, before the ongoing salvo of incremental designs started happening. It has the effect of a constant tide of reviews that implicitly, and understandably, value the new things that games are introducing, which are genuinely compelling, but whose purpose inevitably crashes against the bulwark of games I've already learned and continue to play, mostly because... they got there first.
The new aspects need to be that much more worthwhile and I'm learning that they are seldom worth it for me any more.
When newer games mostly distinguish themselves through incremental differences, they also damn themselves through those differences at times: little design missteps and flourishes with negligible payoff that make me think twice about taking the game off of the shelf when it's sitting next to something more classic and solid, or simply more enjoyable & already learned.
This "new games fatigue" I think is something of a trend. This doesn't mean we're not interested in boardgaming, but simply that there're a LOT of games both out there and in our collections and we'd rather go deeper than broader.
Rafael Silva asked about games that I'm keeping and why....perhaps that is an entire article for further down the road when I feel that the purge is complete.
Here is a peek at some of the stuff that didn't make the cut:
Small World - I think Small World is a fine game. However, I don't love it. It's just a touch too clean and mechanical for me. If I'm going to break out an area control game or something that scratches a similar itch I'll reach for EVO or Origin instead.
Arena Roma II - This battle line variant is fun...but it doesn't blow me away. I'd rather reach for Blood Bowl Team Manager...or um Battle Line.
Dungeon Lords - One of my favorite games actually. It's just such a motherfucker to teach and it requires experienced players...so I finally said aidios. I struggle to fight the urge to replace this with the big ass anniversary edition like some chump resisting getting back with his ex girlfriend.
Defenders of the Realm - I like Defenders of the Last Stand much better. Plus I've got more fantasy games than I know what to do with.
Bruges - There was a time when I thought this game was good. I was wrong.
Hyperborea - Another instance of getting rid of a legitimate game that I adore. It's very unique, but the chances of it getting played were next to none.
Spartacus - Yeah, I know this is like heresy. It just wasn't ever getting played. And if we're being honest with ourselves the gladiator combat is kind of shit.
I'm not going to bore you with an entire list, but yeah sometimes you get rid of stuff you like...other times you part with junk you don't know why you bought it in the first place.
@ Black Barney
Yes that box of Hamburgum is very real. Drink it in!
You know you never need to twist my arm to play some Talisman. I'm always up for a game!