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The Post Christmas Gaming Wrap Up

December 26, 2007

My sister played two frames of bowling on the Nintendo Wii. This is a tremendous success on my part, and marks the first time ever that she has played a video game. After two frames, she preferred to return to her point point position on the couch watching others play and talking with her husband. She’s a really active woman in phenomenal shape, so it’s not a case of laziness or physical difficulty. Rather, she’s just firmly apathetic to video games in general, even when the game itself isn’t foreign to her. Another relative, also apathetic to video games and a few years younger than me, had so much fun with Wii Boxing that she’s considering purchasing the console.

I wonder if this is the way the market needs to grow, that no amount of advertising can convince apathetic non-gamers to purchase a console, but sometimes, a first-hand experience can. In saying this, though, some friends of ours in their 50’s recently purchased a PS3 much to my surprise. Why? They wanted a Blu-Ray player, and the PS3 was priced well comparative to other systems, and let them play games, too. It was a relative bargain in their eyes.

A multitude of board games also fell on our house this Christmas. For the adults, there was Carcassone with the river expansion and Settlers of Catan. I also got Chrononauts for myself (I couldn’t help it). For my 6-year-old, there was Sorry!, Dominoes, Operation and Boo Who!. While I very much envisioned an evening where the kids went to bed and several of us stayed up and played either Settlers or Carcassone, I found myself playing Sorry! with my kid instead.

Playing with my kid – no matter what I’m playing – is always an enjoyable experience. It would be great if the game we were playing could be likewise entertaining. Sorry! is a good gateway board game, but it’s a painful game for people who love board games to play. The strategy is negligible, and the game could just as well be described like this: “A family time consumer where you sit on chairs and wait for luck to play itself out.” So, I take delight in my kid having fun, and that’s where my fun comes from.

It would be great if there were a game we both could enjoy equally. Fluxx has its moments, my modified version of RISK is fun, and many people tell me that Ticket to Ride is the game I’m hoping for. I’ll pick that up in the new year. Clearly there are games that can satisfy audiences of all ages – Wii Bowling, Super Mario Bros. and innumerable sports games. When I lived in the Caribbean, cricket and dominoes were loved and enjoyed by the great majority of people, regardless of age.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were first exposed to amazing, thoughtful board games instead of the stuff that’s on the shelves of Wal-Mart and Toys R Us? Just imagine if for just one day that the games tucked on the shelves of comic stores and game shops in strip malls could replace the pile upon pile of humdrum games in Toys-R-Us or Wal-Mart? I believe more people would continue their love of games well into their adult years as I have.

Tonight, we play Settlers. I’m determined.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. fanciest45 permalink
    December 26, 2007 10:44 am

    I got Settlers of Catan for Christmas and needless to say my brother and I played it all day long, adding in my cousin in the mix to make things more interesting. I absolutely love the game, and foresee so many more hours of fun with it. Merry Christmas!

  2. Brett permalink
    December 26, 2007 8:14 pm

    There is an easy variant of Sorry that is supposed to make it more tolerable and will allow you (and the kid) to make at least one more decision each turn; play with a hand of three cards and play only one per turn, drawing back up to three at the end of your turn.

  3. December 26, 2007 10:09 pm

    You should have just done what we did and play Carcasonne WITH the 6 year old. He’s probably played it more than I have, actually. He didn’t win, but had a good time anyway.

    My wife gave me 9 board/card games for christmas this year. Best. Christmas. Ever. So far we’ve only played The Awful Green Things from Outer Space and Blink. There’s still a big stack to go. 🙂

  4. December 26, 2007 11:12 pm

    Joe, yeah, I thought of that after. 🙂 She wanted to play Sorry, though, and was excited.

    Wonderful to hear about the presents that your wife got you!

  5. December 27, 2007 10:07 am

    Joe Ludwig said: “You should have just done what we did and play Carcasonne WITH the 6 year old. He’s probably played it more than I have, actually. He didn’t win, but had a good time anyway.”

    You might want to drop farmers from the game when playing with children. They are easily the most difficult piece to explain.

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