Well 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 Magic cards.


    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 boringly normal.

    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.