Saturday, February 23, 2008
That's not an easy question to answer.
Most avid gamers have a hoarding mentality. They like to collect lots of games and admire what they've amassed, even if there's no realistic chance that they are going to actually get to play all of those games. TMP did a recent poll where they asked miniature wargamers if they were "compulsive hoarders", and the majority of people claimed that YES, they were indeed pack rats. I'm sure that if the same poll was presented on BoardGameGeek, the same answer would be received. The lure of collecting new games is an addiction bordering on kleptomania for many gamers.
But there comes a point in every gamer's life when reality sets in. The moment of truth may occur when you run out of shelf space to store more new games/models. For some very sad, unfortunate gamer geeks, it strikes when they're so far gone that their weekly expenditure on games out-strips their weekly spending on essentials like food and utilities. And for folks like me, it hits when the opportunities to play games with my circle of friends falls far short of the sheer variety of games that I have readily available to play.
When this ultimate breaking point is reached, what's a puzzled gamer to do? To me, the obvious answer is that it's time to streamline and downsize your game collection to much more reasonable levels. And that means selling off games, be it on eBay, at conventions or yard-sales, or selling them to your friends who had the sanity not to go overboard and amass way too many goodies. Perhaps you'll even want to go the philanthropic route and simply give away some of your games to those less fortunate. Whatever your approach, you know (and I know) you've just got to do it!
But before you undertake your own personal great games sell-off, just how many games should you keep? That number will vary greatly for everyone, but my general rule of thumb is to base it on the typical number and type of gaming sessions that you host each year.
Let's look at an example of how you can figure out this target number for yourself.
For me and my busy circle of gaming buddies, the hope is that we can hold 1 game session per week (or 52 sessions per calendar year). So far in 2008, gaming sessions have been held more like once every 2 weeks (or 50% of available weeks) . But if I factor in Monday evening gaming sessions that I've gotten to play with my family, the total has been more like 3 out of every 4 weeks (or 75%). So I'm looking at hosting roughly 40 gaming sessions per year.
If I analyze those 40 gaming sessions, how many games do we play during each session? For me, it's usually just 1 game. But occasionally, perhaps 25% of the time, we'll play a 2nd filler game that takes 30 minutes or less. So taking 40 x 1.25, I need about 50 games to cover every session I'll be hosting per year.
But realistically, you don't always play a different game each time you host a game session with your friends. There are those favorite games that you play multiple times per year. Out of my base of 50 games, perhaps 33% of the time I'm going to replay a personal favorite like Battlelore, HeroScape, Lord of the Rings Confrontation, and so forth. The math is actually a bit more complicated than this, but for easy figuring let's deduct 16 games from my base number (50 x .33) yielding a net of 34 games. I prefer to round to the nearest 5, so that means that 35 games in my collection should do the trick for me.
But I like to factor in one more thing, called the gamer's "security blanket". The idea here is to add 20% to 25% worth of padding to your target number to ensure that you've got enough extra games to feel warm & cozy. I'm going to choose 25% for myself since my target number is pretty low (under 50 games). So with 25% padding factored in, my new target number equals 45 games (or 35 x 1.25, rounded to the nearest increment of 5). For gamers with higher targets (over 100 games), you may want to use the lower 20% padding factor.
The idea of padding is simple. Perhaps you break out a new game only to discover that you absolutely hate it the 1st time you play it. You're going to sell off that puppy right away, and you need a much better game to take its place. Or maybe you want a "special game" that's only pulled out on very rare occasions (e.g. a zombie game on Halloween, or a golden oldie that you play with a childhood friend when he or she comes over for a rare visit). By having some extra games in your collection, you have the security to cover those special circumstances.
Looking at my target number of 45 games, I cry inside a little. Man, I'm going to have to take a hacksaw to a good portion of my collection! My heart has dropped three feet and my hands are starting to shake.
An aside here:
I currently have over 140 games in my tabletop games collection. Some of these are miniature wargames that I own strictly for research purposes. I'm a game designer and like to understand and compare & contrast other wargame systems in an effort to find those game bits that I love, elements of play that I really dislike, pitfalls to avoid, and things that encourage me to devise new concepts/mechanics that haven't ever been done before (or at least done in the way that I envision doing them).
If you ignore all of my minis games, I still have over 100 board games and card games in my collection. Apparently, I'm a bit of a hoarder too! Yikes.
In order to get down to 45 core games, I could get rid of all my board games rated 6 or less (on my personal 1 to 10 rating scale). Even then, I would still be a little bit over my 45 game limit. But there are some well-rated classics that I've kept around for nostalgia's sake, and I could probably part with them simply because I don't foresee getting to play them again. I'm unlikely to ever play Sports Illustrated Baseball or SI Football again. Cutting games like that would probably be enough to get me down to the limit.
What really bothers me is that there are almost 100 new games on my BGG wishlist. For every new game that I add, I'll need to purge an older game from my collection in order to keep things balanced. That brings me to the stark realization that unless I really envision liking a new game and foresee playing it multiple times with my current circle of gaming friends or family, then it's just not worth buying.
So unless I can suddenly finagle more gaming sessions, and consequently increase the number of playable games in my collection, then I'm going to have to purge the wheat from the chaff.
On the plus side, that means focusing my gaming attention on playing the games rated 10, 9, 8, and 7 in my collection. In essence, we're talking quality over quantity. And after all, playing good games is really what it's all about.
On the downside, I'm going to have to get choosier in my game-buying habits. Taking chances on iffy games is not something that I want to do if it means sacrificing a well known, quality game already in my collection. When you're an addictive game hoarder, it's extremely tough to just say no. Perhaps someone will invent MethaMeeple for us addicts? A little injection of this drug before you browse BGG or surf on over to ThoughtHammer, FunAgain, Time Well Spent, FairPlay, or The Warstore and you're good to go! No more hand shakes and nervous eye ticks.
So there you have it. Once Spring rolls around and my spare time frees up, I will begin the purge. Visions of eBay will dance in my head. But then, maybe my fledgling game club will grow and that 45 game limit will grow to 50-60 games? I can only hope for the best.
By the way, what's your personal games target number? I'd love to hear from you Six Sided Rhinoceros readers out there.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
- Recapturing Lost Enthusiasm -- New Ideas for Fantasy Baseball
- The Overblown Steroids Debate in Baseball
- NL Rookie of the Year Watch
- Analysis Paralysis in Fantasy Baseball Drafting
- Programming is NOT the same as Software Design
- Computers and Tabletop Wargaming
- 5 classic Wargaming Books worth adding to your collection
- My Cold Wars 2008 Shopping Guide
- Going Ape -- the Karmans have arrived for AT-43
- Historical Wargaming Buzz -- Field of Glory and Wargames Factory minis
- 90mm Wargaming
- LITKO: The Holy Grail of wargaming accessories
- Point Costing Systems: Is simpler better?
- 10 cool board Wargames that I'm looking to purchase
- Tournament Gaming vs. Gaming Just for Fun
- How many games is too many?
- The Best Gaming Podcasts
- The Lack of Patience -- A Disturbing Trend in Hobby Gaming
- The Top 20 Board Games I'm Dying to Play
- Origins or Essen?
- Finding the Time to Paint Miniatures
- Creativity is Sorely Undervalued
I'm going to tuck these ideas away as potential future posts. For now, I'm not going to write about any of them. Sometimes, you just feel like babbling on about an assortment of things that don't really fit together as a cohesive whole. It's kind of a cross between Sanford & Son unloading the junk out of the back of Fred's pickup truck and a congressman engaging in a fillibuster (but without the politics). So anyway, off I go.....
Only 19 days until Cold Wars! I can't wait! I'm signed up for a full weekend pass and I renewed my HMGS East membership which expired at the end of 2007. This is the most exciting thing on my event-calendar horizon, and I'm saving up my discretionary dollars to buy some new toys at the wargaming convention. Which leads me into...
AT-43 or Confrontation? I picked up the AT-43 boxed starter set at the Fall In convention in November but haven't gotten the chance to play it yet. It was a big departure for me.
You see, I'm mainly a fantasy wargamer with a secondary affection for ancients/medievals, so the wargaming miniatures that I typically buy are trolls, orcs, reptilians, beastmen, elves, ghouls, knights, vikings, romans, spartans, crusaders, and the like. While sci-fi has always appealed to me, the cost and time of getting into it big-time scared me off. But I finally took the plunge when AT-43 was released by Rackham and became distributed by Fantasy Flight Games here in the states. The fact that the models come pre-painted really appeals to me because it's a huge time-saver; you can game right out of the box. Plus, it's a fast-play, skirmish level game, so the number of models you need to play a decent game isn't backbreaking and the rules aren't too difficult to learn. So AT-43 has become my Sci-Fi game of choice.
When I want a meatier, longer, more engrossing game, I'll play Sword of Severnia instead, the tabletop fantasy wargame that I'm developing for Rhino Software. Sword of Severnia is a card-driven, computer-assisted, mass-combat fantasy wargame which lets players use any models they have. So if you want to mix your nicely painted ancient/medieval historical minis with your figures from Warhammer, Hordes, HeroScape, WarGods, Erin, Hundred Kingdoms, Dwarf Wars, and Reaper Warlord, then you're completely free to do so. Use the minis you like and already own -- the whole wide world of wargaming miniatures is your oyster!
That's why I've got a dilemma. The new Confrontation pre-paints are softly calling to me. While I have no intention of actually playing that game itself, I can easily see myself buying the minis to add to my fantasy forces. The Wolfen are particularly cool and mesh nicely with a race that's included in Sword of Severnia. So do I buy the base Confrontation starter set just to get the models? Or do I buy some of the new Karmans (space apes) for AT-43, and wait until some expansion figure packs come out for Confrontation in a couple of months? Decisions decisions...
The other night, I finally listened to an episode of a new podcast called What Are You Working On? and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The show is basically a bunch of gaming friends sitting around talking about hobby games and sharing their insights and experiences. The guys seemed very relaxed and didn't take things too seriously (the emphasis was on fun, rather than the overanalyzed psychoanalysis crap that a few self-important podcasters sometimes put out). It was a fun listen and I'm looking forward to hearing another episode soon. Check it out.
On another note..... I need to start following through on one of my New Year's Resolutions: paint more figures. It's easier said than done, especially now that baseball season is almost upon us, which keeps me very busy both business-wise (I sell a somewhat sophisticated fantasy baseball program that I developed and run a stats service) and free time-wise (I'm the commissioner and statistician of a long-running rotisserie league). I think the only way to achieve this is to set aside 1 or 2 nights per week for painting/modelling. The fact that I need to get some new troops onto the table for upcoming sessions of Sword of Severnia should spur me on a bit. It wouldn't hurt to back away from the PC a little in the evenings -- more crafting and less reading is good for the right-side of my brain.
Speaking of painting, I'm considering taking some of my unpainted lead and sending it to Sri Lanka to get painted by Fernando Miniatures. Their stuff looks gorgeous, they've gotten great reviews from the wargaming community at large (especially over at TMP), and their prices are extremely reasonable. I have never used a painting service before, which is amazing considering I've been collecting minis for over 25 years. I'm going to talk with the guys in my wargaming group during Cold Wars to see if we can gather some models to ship there.
Moving into the board game arena, I got to play Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (the Deluxe version) with my friend Kevin last night. What a truly excellent game! It's an easy game to learn and plays very fast (games last only 30-40 mins), but the strategic options are deep, the theme is nicely melded into the mechanics, and the variants and extra components provided with the game give it tremendous replayability. The best thing that you can say about any game is that you're really looking forward to playing it again, and that certainly holds true for this classic by Dr. Reiner Knizia.
A handful of recently released board games are on my radar including Age of Gods, Last Night on Earth, Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage, Cutthroat Caverns, Kingsburg, Neuroshima Hex, and the updated edition of Colossal Arena. When I say recent, I mean in the last 6 months or so. I'm not an overtly crazed boardgame geek that has to buy every new game within weeks of its release. Heck, there are a few games that I bought at Origins 2005 that I have yet to get to the table. Such is life when you're a 40-year old with multiple interests and run your own business. Still, I'm on the measured path to increasing the number of boardgames that I play per year and that, coupled with my desire to purge some older titles that I don't forsee playing again, leads me to seek out new games. I'll talk about these games in more detail soon, but if you want to find out more about them go to BoardGameGeek, or check out the following websites providing video reviews of tabletop games:
- Bookshelf Games - by Lawrence Spode
- Boardgames with Scott - by Scott Nicholson
- Obsessed With Gaming - by Colin Sherman
- Stignei's Game Reviews - by S. Stignei
- The Games Rules Show -
Time for some shout outs to a couple of gaming-related companies that have provided excellent service to me lately. Way to go Litko Aerosystems, your custom acrylic tokens are very cool, your prices for high quality laser-cut wargaming bases are excellent, and your customer service is superior. I just can't recommend Litko highly enough. They have become THE place that I go first for wargaming accessories.
Secondly, here's a hearty shout out to Neil of The WarStore.com. For two Christmases in a row, Neil has delivered on large orders made by my wife somewhat late in the holiday season. Anna raves about how nice he is to deal with, and I'll second that having met him in-person during Fall In in Gettysburg, PA last November. Great guy, great selection of games, great prices, and great service. There's nothing else to say other than buy from the War Store and you won't be disappointed.
Speaking of war, the venerable game of Warhammer is now 25 years old this year. Say what you want about Games Workshop and its less-than-popular business practices and often head-scratching decisions (see the recent hacksaw that they took to Black Industries if you need recent proof), but Warhammer has a fond place in my heart. It is the game that really got me into wargaming and it has done much to bolster the wargaming industry for many years. There are, in my opinion, much better game systems out there from a game-play and mechanics perspective, but nobody offers the combination of (1) wide-scope of high quality models, (2) lavishly illustrated books, and (3) rich & colorful background world that Warhammer offers. Even if I don't play Warhammer any more (I'm focused on my own self-produced game), I still buy the beautiful models and am constantly inspired by their fantastic production values and the neverending source of ideas they bring to the wargaming community. People love to bash GW, and rightly so at times, but I'm happy they're still around and making cool toys for us older boys!
On a down note, not everything fun lives forever. It seems that Ragnarok magazine is in its death throes, as there hasn't been a new issue for close to a year. I'm a previous subscriber, but let my subscription lapse because of the long delays between issue releases and content that really didn't appeal to me as much as I would have liked. I would have liked to have seen Ragnarok be the fantasy/sci-fi equivalent of Battlegames, my current favorite wargaming magazine with a heavy slant towards historicals and only a smattering of fantasy, but with plenty of generic, broad-brush articles that appeal to a wide range of wargamers. Perhaps the promised new magazine from Polymancer Studios will fit the bill, but they're currently recovering from a hacker-attack that devastated their company website and thus have other concerns at the moment aside from getting a new magazine off the ground.
Last year saw the end of Wargames Journal, an oustanding print magazine that had a great mix of historical and fantasy/sci-fi topics, plus gorgeous eye candy. It had a fantastic start, but petered out for whatever reason. It's a damn shame. I was willing to pony up over $100 US for a 1-year subscription, so obviously, I thought very highly of it. I got a portion of my money back on the subscription that I had signed up for. The folks at WJ said they were moving back to their original online, PDF magazine format, but that was a longtime ago and their website is basically AWOL at this point. I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
In the world of podcasts, it looks like both the All About Miniatures and Solo Wargaming Show have taken an extended (perhaps permanent) hiatus. I hope the hosts of these two fine shows return with new episodes in the future, because there is a real need for quality podcasts related to miniatures. The only minis-based show that really shines in that regard is the terrific Meeples & Miniatures show by Neil Shuck, but perhaps the What Are You Working On podcast that I mentioned earlier will help fill the void as well.
And that's the babble for now. I'll hopefully return with some 1-topic articles in the future. Maybe I need some frozen orange juice so I can concentrate better? Eww... I know, it's an oldie and a baddie!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Today brings mixed emotions. On one hand, it's a great day to celebrate the love you have for your spouse, family, and friends. Whether you express your love through flowers, chocolates, hugs, kisses, or a warm smile, the important thing is to show it and mean it.
On the flip-side, Valentine's Day is a very sad day for me personally. You see, it was on this snowy day in 2007 that my Father lost his battle with cancer and passed away. I was there and I'll never forget it.
Unfortunately, Valentine's Day has taken on a new, dual meaning for me. One-half happiness and celebration of love in the here & now, and one-half melancholy reflection on the loss of a loving parent, a role model, a confidant, and a personal hero.
But on a positive note, I've learned that love carries on after death, and that it can be celebrated in remembrance of happy moments that have long since passed. When I think of "true love", I typically conjure this image in my mind's eye...
The love that my Father (Joe) had for my Mother (Patricia) represented, at least for me, the concept of "true love" in its purest form.
Perhaps then, it is appropriate that my Dad passed away on St. Valentine's Day. Maybe it was meant to be a way for us to understand that true love never dies and is not forgotten, it just moves to a different place, a place that we may no longer be able to reach out and touch, but which sticks deep down in the recesses of our soul.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
The following set of game rankings is for those tabletop games that are currently in my collection. There are a few omissions, mostly of games that I have no intention of ever playing and which will be going up on eBay eventually or sold privately. I also left out expansions to base games (such as those for Battlelore, HeroScape, Talisman, etc.) as well as a couple of rules sets included in wargaming books.
This list is primarily aimed at the members of SWABI, so that they can quickly see what types of games are in my collection and which ones I'm most likely to pull out during upcoming gaming sessions. However, my hope is that other visitors to this blog will find the list interesting as well, and will venture out to BoardGameGeek and The Miniatures Page to find out more about these games.
A quick note about the ratings:
- The RATE column is my personal rating (on a scale of 1 to 10). These ratings could change over time as I play & study some of these games more, but my feeling is that they're very safe bets within +/- 2 places (i.e. a game rated 7 is unlikely to ever rise beyond a 9 or drop below a 5 in my estimation).
- The WEIGHT column is a guideline to the depth and complexity of the game play and its associated rules. Games with a Weight = 1 are simple to learn and lightweight, while games with Weight = 5 have complex rules and very deep, meaty game play.
For a list of games that I have available for trade, or those on my wishlist, see my profile (SultanSevy) on BoardGameGeek. Have fun!
|HeroScape||10||2 to 4||90||3||Battle|
|Statis Pro Baseball||10||2||60||3||Sports|
|Domaine||10||2 to 4||90||4||Strategy|
|Feudal||10||2 to 6||90||3||Battle|
|Through the Desert||9||2 to 5||45||3||Strategy|
|Lord of the Rings: Confrontation||9||2||30||3||Strategy|
|Wizard Kings||9||2 to 7||150||4||Wargame|
|Hammer of the Scots||9||2||180||4||Wargame|
|Shadows Over Camelot||9||3 to 7||90||3||Adventure|
|Acquire||9||2 to 6||90||3||Economic|
|Talisman||9||2 to 6||180||3||Adventure|
|Tide of Iron||9||2 to 4||120||5||Battle|
|Wings of War -- Miniatures||8||2 to 4||45||2||Miniatures|
|Ticket to Ride||8||2 to 5||60||2||Strategy|
|Carcassonne||8||2 to 5||60||2||Strategy|
|Citadels||8||2 to 7||60||2||Strategy|
|Condottiere||8||2 to 6||60||2||Wargame|
|Cosmic Encounter||8||3 to 6||90||3||Strategy|
|Nexus Ops||8||2 to 4||60||3||Battle|
|Cash 'N Guns||8||4 to 6||30||1||Negotiation|
|Prophecy||8||2 to 5||180||4||Adventure|
|Win, Place, & Show||8||3 to 6||120||3||Sports|
|Pirate's Cove||8||3 to 5||90||2||Adventure|
|Battle Cry (Borg)||8||2||45||2||Battle|
|Arkham Horror||8||2 to 8||180||5||Adventure|
|Doom||8||2 to 4||180||4||Adventure|
|Wargods of Aegyptus||8||2||180||5||Miniatures|
|SI Baseball||8||1 to 2||45||3||Sports|
|Monsters Menace America||7||2 to 4||90||2||Wargame|
|Slapshot||7||2 to 10||30||1||Sports|
|Guillotine||7||2 to 5||30||1||Cards|
|Monkeys on the Moon||7||2 to 4||60||3||Strategy|
|Hordes of the Things||7||2 to 6||45||4||Miniatures|
|Mystery of the Abbey||7||3 to 6||120||3||Strategy|
|Chaos Marauders||7||2 to 4||45||1||Cards|
|Scrabble||7||2 to 4||90||3||Word|
|Attack!||7||2 to 6||180||3||Wargame|
|Saboteur||7||3 to 10||30||1||Cards|
|Pinochle||7||2 to 4||45||3||Cards|
|Facts In Five||7||1 to 5||30||2||Word|
|Pursue the Pennant||7||2||60||4||Sports|
|SI Football||7||1 to 2||90||3||Sports|
|Stocks & Bonds||6||2 to 8||60||3||Economic|
|Apples to Apples||6||4 to 10||30||1||Word|
|Trivial Pursuit||6||2 to 24||90||2||Trivia|
|Mystery Rummy||6||2 to 4||45||2||Cards|
|Balderdash||6||3 to 6||60||1||Word|
|Rogue Trooper||6||2 to 6||120||2||Adventure|
|Illuminati||6||2 to 6||120||3||Strategy|
|Executive Decision||6||2 to 6||90||3||Economic|
|Dark Tower||6||1 to 4||90||2||Adventure|
|Scene It! Movie Edition||6||2||30||1||Trivia|
|De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA)||6||2 to 6||45||4||Miniatures|
|Thinking Man's Golf||6||1 to 4||60||2||Sports|
|Battle Cry (Amer.Heritage)||6||2 to 4||60||2||Wargame|
|All Wound Up||5||2 to 4||60||1||Miniatures|
|Poker||5||2 to 10||30||3||Cards|
|De Bellis Multitudinis (DBM)||5||2||180||5||Miniatures|
|Wise & Otherwise||5||2 to 6||45||1||Word|
|Monopoly||5||2 to 8||180||2||Economic|
|Diplomacy||5||2 to 7||360||5||Negotiation|
|Pass the Pigs||4||2 to 10||30||1||Dice|
|Jargon||4||2 to 6||60||2||Word|
|Rummy-O||4||2 to 4||30||1||Domino|
|Blue Line Hockey||4||2||45||2||Sports|
|Milk & Cookies Rules||4||2||90||3||Miniatures|
|Rollout||4||2 to 6||120||3||Economic|
|Image||3||2 to 6||30||2||Trivia|
|VH1 Pop Up Video||3||2||45||2||Trivia|
|Let's Go to the Races||3||4 to 16||60||3||Sports|
|Trivial Pursuit - Sports Edition||3||2 to 6||60||3||Trivia|
|Americana Golf||2||1 to 4||45||1||Sports|
|Yahtzee||1||2 to 10||30||1||Dice|