Saturday, January 20, 2018

Who are 'we' in 'Games We Play'?

First blog post for 2018, and I realise that we haven't updated (or created!) our profiles on our blog. So I decide to rectify this, and go round up the various members of the family today to interview them one at a time. Turned out to be an interesting exercise, with me asking gaming-related questions and typing furiously into the laptop while the family member drawled on about games they love to play.



So here's me:

KK - Daddy
"My name is KK and I grew up playing boardgames like 'Ratrace' and 'Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs' before getting into RPGs and computer games, after which my friends and I turned 'Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs' into a pseudo-RPG where the explorers fought over precious ammunition before being eaten by T-Rexes.

I got into modern-day boardgames close to the time when my kids were born, and we had friends come over to our place and over-play games like 'Settlers of Catan' to the point where we were giving bribes to the player who rolled a 7. And from there, my progression path was Catan -> Ticket to Ride: Europe-> BoardGameGeek -> PuertoRicoCaylusRaceForTheGalaxyAgricolaEveryOtherBoardgameThatINeededToPlayAndOwn.

Now over 12 years of gaming, I like to say that I'm an all-rounded gamer, but do you want to know a Gaming Truth? (glances around before whispering) "It's not what game you play; it's who you play with". I can pretty much enjoy any sort of game, as long as the other players enjoy the game with me. Funny comments, laughter, smiles all around the table. That's what makes tabletop gaming so fun.

So who are YOU going to play with next?"


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Cynthia upgraded her phone yesterday, and we are gobsmacked by how brilliant the camera is. After I dragged her away from playing with her new phone, I got her to take a few profile photos of all of us, and then sat her down for an interview:

Cynthia - Mummy
"Hi, my name is Cynthia. I got hooked into games after I had my second baby; since we couldn’t go out much at night, we brought our social life into the house by inviting friends over for dinner and games in between nappy changes and controlled crying.

I tend to like resource management or strategy games like Castles of Burgundy, Macao, Agricola and Grand Austria Hotel. Games that are based on interesting historical background, particularly around the renaissance period. I like games where I have a player board in front of me to build on, and yet still interact with other players, and at the end of the game it feels I’ve given my brain a good workout.

I love to see the tangible outcome of the game, and all the different moves I had to make in order to build the board in front of me. That's really satisfying! It's like, evidence that I’ve built something. I love good banter around the game table, with everyone trying different strategies to win. The game sessions I enjoy most are when I’m playing with a bunch of funny and smart players, and I feel like I have to do my best to win.

It's great that I can share this hobby with my husband, and that we can have fun with our friends and kids doing something that we love! It's precious, special quality time.

Now, who’s up for a game of 'Splendor' with all the expansions!?"

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 Our recent foray into Netflix has changed our viewing habits in our household, particularly with my daughter Jojo who is now binge-watching every episode of "Dragons: Race to the Edge" before school holidays are over. She's still keen to be interviewed though, so here she is:

Jojo - Dexterity Queen
"Hi my name is Jojo. I was introduced to games through my Dad (of course!) and I’m pretty sure the first few ones we started playing together was 'Gulo Gulo' and that chicken Zigga-whatever game - basically games with the big chunky figurines and pieces to move around. (KK: She's probably talking about 'Chicken Cha Cha Cha'. I've got the german copy 'Zicke Zacke Hühnerkacke'. No, I can't pronounce it either.) 

I do prefer more card games over board games. I like strategic thinking, but I also like fast-paced games, like being first one to answer, or dexterity games. (KK: Jojo is the 'Dexterity Queen' in our house. Once, she made me cry in 'Jungle Speed') 

Some sorts of games I'm attracted to are party games, not typical board games, like 'Say Anything', 'Loony Quest' and 'Times Up'. I have a fantastic experience with RPGs, where you can make your own character, or something like that. RPGs are really amazing, you are free to do anything you want. Literally, just do anything. It was really cool! I like playing a stealthy, agility-type character like an elf. Yeah, not one story is the same, especially when Dad is GM-ing. You never know what’s going on in his head! (KK: True! Even I don't know sometimes!) It is so spontaneous, with lots of improvisation, and so exciting to play to find out what happens next!

Dad once told me about different gamer-types, like Collector, Explorer, Puzzler, Killer, etc. I like games where I collect things and don’t want to lose all my good stuff. I might even stay in base. I'm getting a bit more adventurous though. I still like collecting stuff, and getting more powerful."

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Lastly, I go hunt down the more elusive member of the family, the rarely-seen Evan who is predictably 'play-testing' some games on the XBOX. It takes some persuasion to get him down for an interview, but eventually, I finally get him to the 'interview futon' and start firing off some questions:

Evan - Spontaneous Move Specialist
"Hi my name is Evan and I started playing games because my Dad told me to. I played games like 'Say Anything' - it was pretty 'meh'. I like Star Wars X-Wing miniatures because you can collect these cool mini ships and they all have special traits. I used to play Pathfinder RPG with my sister Jojo; that was a unique type of game. I liked it the most, especially when my character Sharpblade tried to drink the slimy water from the hagfish tank.

I don't really consider myself a master gamer, but normally in boardgames, I get really close to the objective and almost win, except I come in second-place or somethin'. I am the most spontaneous player of the house - as in, I make pretty random moves. It's pretty awesome when I win even when I do that! (KK: Yes, an 'Evan move' has special meaning in our house.) 

With video games, I like first person shooters, or third person shooters, because they allow me to see from a soldier’s perspective. It looks pretty realistic. I also like Nerf guns, and I review them on my YouTube channel as a hobby. If I had to recommend a game to someone new, I'd choose 'Ice Cool' because it is pretty simple and you just flick things. And it's short. Long games are pretty boring."

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Yes, I think we need to work on Evan's attention deficiency. Maybe start with short adventure games, and work his way towards longer fare. Or I could just decommission the XBOX.

What sort of games would you introduce?

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