Looking back – a year of gaming

Everybody loves lists, right?

Well, after a year writing about tabletop games, I’ve learnt a lot about this weird, fantastic, geeky hobby.

I’d like to share a few of my thoughts, should you care enough to read them.

  • You’ll be surprised by the games you’re still playing in a year. It might have seemed a good idea to spend £60 on that massive, big-box game with all the cool miniatures for a six-hour marathon, but 12 months on you’ll probably be playing Zombie Dice instead because it’s quicker, easier to teach and zombies are cool. When you’re picking games to buy, try them first if you have a good shop nearby, and really think about what will work within the context of your gaming group.
  • YouTube is a great resource for picking games. The Dice Tower and the Dice Tower Network of blogs, podcasts and video reviews are so helpful in learning about a game, getting a feel for its mechanics and theme. Channels like Watch it Played are great if you’re stuck with a game once you own it. I cannot for the life of me work out how to play Dice Masters, so I’m trying to learn it in this way (UPDATE: I still can’t play it, so I gave the game away to the son of a friend. May he get hours of overly-complicated fun from it).
  • Kickstarter can be a good way to find new games and to really feel like you’re part of the game development process. But don’t expect anything to run on time. I backed a game which shall remain nameless which is now around six months late and counting. Ah well. So choose your projects carefully (I wrote a blog on this topic here) and be patient! The game might end up in the shops before you receive yours as a backer, but try and remember – there might not be a game at all without your funding. I won’t debate here whether Kickstarter is simply becoming another distribution method for established game companies to judge appetite for a game without the usual risks.
  • Engage with other gamers on social media. I’m constantly surprised when game designers and publishers re-tweet and favourite my Twitter ramblings. This is also a good way to keep on top of new games, what designers are working on and so on.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell, pass on or donate your games. Most of us don’t have space for a board game room, or even a board game shelf. I love King of Tokyo, but I’ve also tried King of New York and I think I’d like to own it. I don’t have room for both games though, so selling ‘Tokyo would make room for the newer game. Or pass the game to a member of your gaming group (you’ll still get to play it), or donate to your local game shop so others can benefit. I regularly exchange games with a friend, as I’d much rather they were played than simply sat on a shelf looking nice and inspiring my daughter to ask me ‘where the man’ in relation to a picture of The Joker on the DC Deck Building: Rivals game.

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