The cult of the new and multi-player solitaire

I have been thinking a fair bit about what I want from games, This appllies mainly to RPG, wargames and boardgames, which intersect in my thoughts and what I perceive as why me and current trends don’t seem to be meeting. This is purely personal, your own experience is no doubt different, possibly more satisfying.

To give a bit of background I played in a few, long term RPG campaigns in my time, seeing characters grow and develop. In some campaigns even having some effect on the world.

Similarly with board games, we got a game, we played it a lot, tried different things, tried the variations, talked about it. These were mainly board wargames, as opposed to the currect boardgame revival types. Although there were a few abstract, most would class more as Amertitrash than Euro style.

New publishing methods, new funding methods, new delivery methods mean that RPGs, figure wargames and boardgames are arriving at a high rate. Crowdfunding seems to be working, as there are not enough failures yet to spoil that as a method of providing finance, as opposed to taking on that fifth mortgage or offering the bank manager sexual favours in exchange for a loan extension.

So, the first niggle is this. Depth of play. Not in terms of play depth, but in getting enough time to explore that before moving onto the next thing. I saw that a bit at my favourite wargames club.  A new wargame with attendant figures would come out. Those with skill would have the figures painted quickly and played with long before I was ready, and they would move onto the next game.

Figures can be repurposed, well, often, but you can’t do that with board games so much, but the same is happening. The games, whether RPGs or boardgames, are not getting those exended games. Characters are not developing in their game world. Options and strategies are not being explored, one off games are happening then the next new game is brought out.

The next niggle is this. Games as a social event. Euro games in particular might as well have you playing on your own. You make sets of things whether collections of objects, territories or constructed items, and at the end you tally up a score , and then you have a winner, woooooo!

There is precious little interaction or through game competition, you might as well be playing in your own house and postin the results on a forum. Although you can stymie an opponent by closing off a route they want or taking a desired rseource, that usually seems incidental rather than deliberate.

Add to that there is the fact that these are a kind of games I do not enjoy much. If I got to play games I enjoyed more in exchange then that’d be fine. Social contract and all that, but that isn’t happening and, as a wise man once said, “if it isn’t fun, stop doing it”.

Aha! Coop games I hear you cry! All about the player chatting and decision making. “Pandemic”, “Lord of the Rings” and “Castle Panic” for example? Well, that’s the theory, but too often one player dominates and the others become proxies rather than equals, and we are back to a low quality social experience.

So what is “the answer”? Well, there is no universal answer, this is purely personal after all, so this can only be for me.

Well, I can play those coop games, I have a few after all, but I might as well play them solo at home. They are designed to be player versus game after all. I can play some of the sort of board games I like solo, randomising strategies, or playing both sides. Figure wargaming I can return to my foldable projects and tting armies painted at a glacial rate to once again play figure wargames.

As to role-playing? Do my bit for agitate for longer campaigns, but that;s a group decision. So make my case and pitch it. Might do a bit of random dungeon bashing for old times sake from time to time.

If you made it this far, thanks, you must have been stiuck for something to do tonight, seriously, but thank you, good night and may your god go with you!


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