I can only play my wargames with friends that actually know how to play
them And just knowing the rules is often not enough as well. I can only play my
role games on the nights that I can actually get the group together consistently.
But fortunately there are a lot of other neat gaming options out there.
Between 93 and 99 I was
a major fan of the popular collectable trading card game known as Magic the
Gathering. Its quite the phenomenon, it can be fairly said to actually be largely responsible for the
creation of the collectable trading card industry. You donít have to like the
game but you can't ignore the influence it has had on the gaming community. I
played it obsessively all those years, spending an insane sounding amount of
funds on new cards as new sets appeared. At first I was hopelessly outclassed by
my friends and their decks. In time my collection grew until my decks were quite formidable
as well. I
was, I like to think, a major influence on the hobby in the town due to the help
I gave to the only retailer in town carrying the cards.
But everything has its
day. Magic is still big as we speak, but I think the company has ruined the game
in the manner in which the cards are marketed. Not to mention the regularly
inept card text wordings. In time the local mob of friends drifted to other
pursuits. Cards that are not being played are not much good to anyone. I turfed
all my cards at a local retailer. All but two all time favourite decks, and my
mint condition mana cards set are gone. I got screwed for dollar value,
but hey, they were of no value to me at that time, and I knew what I was doing
when I sold them. It's not like they were
not fully used. I'm not one of those put em in a binder and wait for them to
gain value maniacs. Those cards in 10 years will be just pieces of card board
like they are now.
I havenít played
Magic now in more than a year. Donít imagine I will ever play it ever
again. I'm the only one in the gang that still has any really.
The next big thing with
me was L5R or more fully Legend of the 5 Rings. It is still big with the gang.
It's a more thought provoking design and has been more efficiently marketed as a
design I think. The game is more playable in mob games (most designs assume only
two players competing against each others deck normally). I rather like the
political aspect of the game. It uses a feudal Japanese like cultural setting,
so the material is unique and not done to death. A good deck remains a good deck
generally. A major weakness of Magic the Gathering was the forced need, to constantly
purchase new cards to retain the competitive edge. Makes for good marketing up
to a point, but it was the main reason the group started to drift away from
playing it. I have been playing L5R for some time now, and my financial
commitment has never been more than a few bucks unlike my expenditures on
The market is knee deep
in collectable trading card games. But money only goes so far. Pokemon, a well
known name, is a game that is two young for my interests. I purchased a bunch of
the Sailormoon Card game out of understandable interest in the anime show (my
friends think I am insane). The
game is a mere clone of the Pokemon design though. I donít expect the gang to
indulge me much (actually I expect them to laugh at me and leave it at that
hehe). There are card designs for all manner of target groups.
Everything from sports, sci-fi, horror, licensed spin offs like the Star Wars
design and Star Trek. The market is quite big.
A passing fad with me
was the Dragon Dice game. Not cards but dice were used. It was perhaps a bit to
odd for the market. TSR suddenly dying off just after it appeared didn't help
either. But I like the unpredictable nature of the fact you had to roll the dice
rather than just play a card. I have a great many of the dice, but alas, I am
the only one in the gang that has them now. The rules were sometimes vague. I tell
myself I am going to get around to doing a proper job of editing them so that
the game has less confusion when being played.
Thanks to an anime fan
friend that bought an immense amount of Ani- Mayhem cards I have a very god
working collection of them. It's a great game to break up power gamer
complacency. They are mindlessly funny cards to play with. It is actually
possible for the "game" itself to win and all the players to lose (amusing eh). They are
based off of a limited selection of popular anime titles (most are ones that I like
which is neat).
Then there is my
assortment of Aradia cards. A weird sort of game that employed almost a manner
of minor evolution for you main player card. The game suffered though from
a bias if a person bought more and better cards than the other player. Some
cards were disproportionably powerful. It made
it possible to completely ruin the game for the other person. A sure fire way to
ensure the other player no longer wishes to play. Fortunately, when it hit the
ole brick wall among the gang, I scooped up enough cards to make two equal unbiased
sets of cards. So I have a way of ensuring that both would have a fair chance. But it gets only a passing
interest these days as well.
Now of course the world
doesnít revolve around these collectable trading card games. I love other more
traditional board games too.
I like to play Monopoly. I just won't play it with people that only want to sit
on property and bore me silly. In 30 minutes I expect ruthless trading to occur
so that the game doesn't resemble root canal. Poleconomy (spelling approximate)
is a great game that uses Canadian companies in a two circle style board that
mirrors Monopoly. Personally I think its a better game.
I have played the latest version of Risk. Risk in its modern version with
Generals and Moon locations as well as undersea locations is a superb game. I
can't say enough positive for that game. Definitely worth the cash.
I really find a game called Empire Builder to be outstanding. I has a board that
you draw on with crayons. It's about you trying to create a railway empire
faster than everyone else. Game also has some inadvertent educational value
along the way.
I don't mind playing games like Life or Sorry etc. They are all fine lightweight
fun. I tend to be stuck playing them though, when company is basically friends
that have no inclination to really go outside of what I would have to say is
Generally, I am just very sociable in nature. It's not that I find these games
especially great, they just give me something to do with friends after dinner.
One thing I don't really go in for though is card games based off the ordinary
52 card playing deck (or what people think I am saying when I say "card games").
I don't mind playing, but the games lack something interesting somehow.