I am going to say this outright: I LOVE to play Magic: The Gathering. One of my grad school buddies and I used to unwind by playing round after round of it, trying out different decks and admiring each other's chosen strategies. I also appreciate Magic for the role that it plays in gaming culture. Game stores might sell a lot of board games, but Friday night Magic and regular set releases almost certainly keep the money coming in.
Now that I'm about to move, though, I think the time has come to offload most of my Magic cards. The sad fact is that I can't keep up with the game financially, especially since I have other, stronger gaming interests. I also love to invest in games that I can play solo. Magic sets are now rotating more quickly than ever before, meaning that cards quickly become outdated. There are always new cards and mechanics to focus on, especially if you want to walk into a game store and play with other people. The problem with a CCG (collectible card game) is that you have to really commit to it if you want to be at the top of your game.
If I actually work up the nerve to sell my Magic cards, I am going to miss them. They don't hit the table very often anymore, but I have strong positive memories attached to MtG. There is something very special about meeting up with your friends to test out your own unique deck, the one you built yourself. (I don't love duel decks because the fun of MtG for me is concocting my own.) I can get a little bit of that feeling from LCGs (living card games) like Lord of the Rings, and if I want to duel it out with cards, I can play Ashes or Summoner Wars. But it won't be quite the same.
Although I love my MtG cards, I want to be realistic about my actual gaming habits. I haven't played Magic regularly in a long time, and I don't foresee myself starting up again. So aside from a few choice decks, I think my MtG collection will stay behind when I move this summer.
Ave atque vale, MtG.
I am no intellectual slouch, but Race for the Galaxy has stymied me for years. Ricky Royal has taught me many a game on his YouTube channel, but even his patient and detailed videos about The Gathering Storm couldn't get through to me. For some reason, I would zone out partway through any explanation of this game. There are several different symbols to keep track of, as well as multiple cards with varying bonus powers. I think my brain just couldn't handle everything at once.
My experience of this game has changed thanks to the release of a Race for the Galaxy app. Since downloading it onto my iPad and going through the tutorial, I have been able to play and enjoy the game. In fact, I like it a bit better every time I play it. The genius part of this particular tutorial is that it is divided into three phases, adding complexity as you go along. This way of explaining Race for the Galaxy really worked for me, because it divided things that had overloaded me into smaller chunks that I could finally manage.
One of the toughest things about learning new games is that when a game has a lot going on, it can be tough to hold all of the relevant information in your head at one time. Things that feel intuitive a few plays in don't always click so easily for a complete novice. A great tutorial in a board game app can help so much with that.
Race for the Galaxy's app is great in part because it handles all of the bookkeeping while your brain is still processing how to play the game. It also allows you to zoom in on cards and view a full explanation of what the symbols on them mean—an invaluable help when you are still figuring out the iconography in Race for the Galaxy. I am grateful I bought this app not only because it's fun to play it on my iPad, but because my experience with the app has finally enabled me to fully appreciate the physical game.
I've backed a few Kickstarter projects this year, almost all of which were successful. Now that the projects are funded and going into production, I am sitting around and waiting for my new games to come! I pounced on a few projects that seem obvious for a solo gamer, including Gloomhaven and Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave. Here are a few of the others I'm excited about:
City of Kings
This cooperative fantasy game looks intense. It combines a several different game mechanics, allows for character upgrades and customization, and clearly has a ton of content. Plus it explicitly bills itself as a game for 1–4 players. Hopefully I'll have a great time sinking my teeth into this one in solo mode. I love games with storylines, so this one looks like it will be super enjoyable for me.
This small card game looks like a devilishly good time—as long as you don't mind losing a lot. I am particularly excited that the game will have a campaign mode, and that there will be several different characters whose abilities will spice up the game. Even better, there is an explicit solo mode. As someone who prefers to play alone, I appreciate it when game developers treat my playing preferences as more than a throwaway marketing thing. Even better, this one should be delivered in July or August, so I don't have that much longer to wait!
Grimslingers: The Northern Territory
I missed out on Grimslingers the first time around, so I'm more than happy to get on board now. I love card games, so it felt like a natural choice. I'm also loving the theme, which is basically wild west meets sci-fi/fantasy. The art for this game looks fantastic. Plus, it is going to be a versatile addition to my collection. There are solo and co-op modes for me to enjoy on my own, plus I can duel with my boyfriend when we have a gaming date night. Awesome.
They say that good things come to those who wait. I just wish the wait weren't so long! I foresee many happy hours of gaming in my future.
I don't have an answer to this question yet, but... how do you successfully and economically move a large collection of board games? I ask because in just a couple of months, I will be moving from North Carolina to Georgia. My boyfriend and I live in a two-bedroom apartment, and while we are generally modest people who have not overdone it in terms of worldly possessions...
I probably have a collection of about 100 board games. And I love them all. If it were practical, I would pile them up and luxuriate upon them like Smaug.
My first step should probably be to take inventory. I'm not 100% sure how to do this efficiently, but it would be wise to know exactly what I am dealing with. The bulk of my collection is in my office at home, but I also have a secondary collection at school. (Some of those might not make it out of my classroom alive—rambunctious high schoolers are rough on games.)
Once I have a complete understanding of the size of my board game collection, I might want to... you know... see if I can thin the herd a little. I have never sold off any of my board games, and the thought of parting with my precious cardboard treasures fills me with sadness. But if there is stuff in my collection that I don't truly want, it would be best to see that it goes to a loving home. I already know I will want to keep most of my games—I haven't counted them up, but I definitely know what I have, if that makes sense. And the games I have actively excite me still.
Next, I think I will slowly begin to start packing games up so I can get an early sense of what I'm dealing with. A lot of my smaller games will probably pack very easily, which will give me a sense of comfort as I am "nexting." (I've decided that "nexting" is the opposite of nesting. It's preparing to move on to a new place!) Then I will be able to turn my attention to packing larger games.
As I pack, I'm going to keep a notebook and log the contents of each box. That way, I will know which games are in "Office 1" when I unpack later. I'll also know how many boxes of various things I packed and whether everything is accounted for when we get to Atlanta. I feel like this information could be useful both for the move itself and for giving me a sense of how much stuff I have managed to accumulate.
Dear readers, do you have any tips for moving collections of board games? If so, please comment. I welcome your advice!
For my part, I plan to post a few more times about my experience of moving with board games, in case it helps somebody else out down the line.
I love International Tabletop Day, mainly because it provides me with an extra excuse to do stuff I was planning to do anyway. But this year, Atomic Empire celebrated one of my favorite days of the year by hosting an UnPub Mini event. So not only did I get to play board games, but I got to be a small part of the birth of several new board games!
UnPub Mini events are interesting because the prototype games are at very different stages of development. On Saturday, some people were displaying games with highly developed box art, while others had playing cards that consisted of printer paper stuffed into plastic sleeves. One developer had a Kickstarter campaign in the works, while others were in the process of talking to traditional publishers about their ideas. It was fun to see what local game designers were up to, and it had me wondering whether I'd walk into a game store one day and see a familiar looking title on the shelf...
The game that most caught my attention this weekend was called "Town Gate." It was an engine building game with a lot of interesting decisions to be made. The game wasn't particularly thematic—it was your basic medieval-type game—but I loved the tension caused by wanting to try so many things but only having limited actions to work with. I can see the game being very competitive among friends who understand the mechanics very well, and I love games that reward repeat plays. I would definitely be interested in trying "Town Gate" again.
I haven't been gaming too much recently because life hasn't been very accommodating. Between a crazy teaching year and a very active job search, I haven't had a lot of time to myself. Taking some time to enjoy myself on International Tabletop Day meant a lot to me because I got to feel like myself again for the first time in a while.