Monday, January 9, 2012

Memories of Family Games Night (D n' D)

My family plays games. Ever since I can remember my parents made sure that we spent time playing together. It wasn't a 'thou shalt' every Thursday night thing, not that there is anything wrong with that.  But it was often, and it evolved as we grew up, and our interests changed.

One of my first memories of my parents gaming, is really just vague images of my dad having his friends over for D n' D. I don't remember anything specific, just that I wished I could play too. I also remember the annoyance of having to go to bed just as the game started. It was a big mystery to me what they did.  All I knew was that it involved dice, little metal figurines my dad painted, and all sorts of maps. In short: pretty cool.

Imagine my happiness when my older cousins Josh and Virgil came over to visit when I was 10 and my dad offered to DM a game for us.  I couldn't believe it my luck. Dungeons and Dragons was a game for adults!  This was my chance to enter in to a world of adventure and fantasy that I had been blocked from my whole life.  Now if only I understood how to play the game...

I got to be the magic user, while Josh and Virg were a fighter and a priest. My dad sat at his desk looking very serious, while we sat on the nearby couch and chairs.  I wondered if my cousins would notice that I had no idea what I was doing. 

Even though I didn't really understand what was going on, I was still happy to be there.  I got to finally play, and use the cool 20 sided die my dad had.  (I loved the colours and the novelty of them). These were my dad's special dice that we were not allowed to play with them, touch them, and it was better not to even think about them. My fingers itched to touch them. I had visions of this game going on for hours and the great adventures we would have. I wanted to destroy an ogre with a fireball!

I lasted maybe 2 rooms in the dungeon before my dad informed me that I died as a result of my injuries from the first skirmish. The priest forgot to heal me. Game over. It totally sucked.

My next 'real' foray into the world of Dungeon and Dragons was much more fun, really cliche, but much more fun.  But that's another story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Minecraft lego! For real?!?

Thinkgeek tweeted about this a couple of days ago.  I think I know what I want for my birthday. 

Ya know... just to display in the library... not to actually play with or anything...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's your game?

When I think about different types of gamers I usually think along the lines of computer gamers vs. console gamers.  Or gamers who prefer FPS games to RPG.  Generally speaking, when I think of gaming, or gamers, my mind  goes to electronic games. This is not to say I don't play board games, I love board games.  But I just figured if you play boardgames, you enjoy all boardgames.  I only recently realized  how wrong I was and that there are different types of board game gamers. 

I know, you are thinking: 'Uh... duh newb!'  But I honestly just assumed that everyone had the same exposure to a variety of boardgames growing up that I had.  That their parents, being responsible and concerned with their childs' development made sure to expose them to an assortment of different games, teaching them to appreciate all games for their unique qualities.

It was my last -board- games night with friends from work that awakened me to the reality that everyone games differently in every gaming format.  My friends are a definite type of gamer; they prefer to play group party games like Cranium, Taboo and Ouburst.  Any game that involves yelling, teams, and opportunities for amusing outbursts are an instant success.  I enjoy these games too, but as I also realized that night, those are not my preferred game. 

I had been dying to introduce my friends to one of my favourite role playing (lite) strategy games: Betrayal at House on the Hill, -think Clue meets Scooby Doo -on steroids.  What could possibly go wrong?  I had already played this game numerous times with other friends and my family.  It is quite simply an awesome, fun filled game.  It has excellent plots, twists, and opportunities for you to collaborate to destroy a common enemy... unless you turn out to be the traitor, then all bets are off.  

Imagine my dismay when the game flopped.  Just when things were getting interesting!  The haunt had just begun, and I looked looked around to my friends getting ready to do some serious ploting only to discover they were all staring at their phones! checking Facebook, texting, tweeting, and generally not engaged.  I was so disappointed.  Here I had suffered through endless party games and now had the chance to really game and my friends had checked out.  How could this have happened?  (My one consolation was that at least I wasn't the only one who was disengaged during the party game portion of the night; one friend actually fell asleep during Taboo, even with one of his teammates yelling in his ear.  He left early.  Ah good times!)

And that's when I realized two things:
1. I'm a bit of a game snob despite my assertion that I love all games,
2. That there is a board game for every group/individual... you just need to agree on which genre to choose.
And I guess the same goes for every game format, from computer, console, board and card games; there are subcategories and genres that appeal to different people.  It just means like in everything in life that sometimes you'll have to compromise.  Even if it means playing Taboo... again.