Friday, July 23, 2010

"There are better games?" Really?

Apparently I missed announcing this blog's one-year birthaversary, which was the 24th of June.  So, uh, Happy Birthaversary, Lucioman's Boardgaming Blog; maybe we'll get you a real name instead of this lazy nonsense.  

Extra post this week because I've been slacking.  I'm considering changing the schedule up, but we'll keep it the same for now, and I also realized I need to review some actual GAMES on this blog, so we'll definitely see more of those in the near future. 

My cousin Randy visited on the weekend and asked me attempted to goad me into playing a boardgame I wasn't interested in playing.  He told me it's a great game; I told him it took too long to set up (an issue, as they had limited time to visit), was one-sided, and there are better games to play.  Admittedly, the last point may not have been entirely fair, but I was also watching my two toddlers, who require a certain level of attention.  One of them does have the middle name "Danger," after all.

My cousin's retort:  "So we'll never play this game again."  I was taken aback.  First, Randy was on the verge of breaking Rule #6--then again, Randy's basically always on the verge of breaking Rule #6, but I love him--he's my cousin, but may as well be a brother.  Second, it isn't a bad game, but I was confused by my own statement, "There are better games."  Third, if I really believed that, shouldn't I trade the game away?

Let me begin by saying that I do enjoy The Willow Game:  there's exploration, a large variety in the decisions and courses of action, more than one path to victory for the good side (in this case, "more than one" meaning exactly two), there are a wide variety of items and other events that are brought about with a very large deck of cards.  However, this game also has its faults.  It's a roll and move game, and traversing around the map can be slow; even if you have a horse to aid your movement (1d6 spaces instead of 2 when walking), there's a chance you'll move as slow or slower.  The villains start fully powered but outnumbered, while the heroes start weak but can gain power, and have a few tricks up their sleeves.  A lot of this game seems like waiting, and mostly waiting for the villains to murder the heroes and steal the baby.

Understanding that I didn't want to play the game, is that statement, "There are other games out there" just BS, is it true, or true enough that perhaps I shouldn't hold onto this game?  If that's the case, shouldn't it go somewhere else, either traded for something I am interested in, sold, or even donated to charity?  (Note:  Many of the larger thrift stores no longer carry boardgames or toys, and simply trash them upon receipt.  While not 100% certain why, I've heard it's because of the recent China/high lead content issue in the last couple years.)  My goal is not to be a collector, though my shelves would tell you otherwise; if the goal is to play the games on my shelf, and to try out new games before buying them, why keep this game?

I suppose one reason is nostalgia.  There are games on my shelf that I know will likely never be played again, or played so infrequently that owning the game is counter-intuitive.  Games from my childhood, such as Dungeon Dice, which my family played every summer vacation.  Games with a special significance--my wife bought me a copy of Ceasar and Cleopatra as a wedding gift, which we didn't play until a full year later when we lost power in our house and had to play by lantern.  Games that would now be difficult to re-acquire, be they out of print, small print runs, or released in another country.  I don't need to own these games, but I like having them around in the event I want to play them, and simply seeing them on my shelves elicits enough emotional response to merit keeping them.  To this end I made a point of tracking down a copy of Dungeon Dice, and was ecstatic to find a copy still in shrink--and this game is older than I am, having been published in 1977. 

Another reason could be that the game offers something not available in another game, particularly a game I own.  Certainly I don't own another Willow themed game (for reference, there is another one published by Parker Brothers), but what about a game that features this kind of exploration, character building, and potential storytelling? 

We ended up playing God Dice instead (two games, I won both, TAKE THAT, Randy!), but I apparently need to replay this game.


  1. "Games that would now be difficult to re-acquire, be they out of print, small print runs, or released in another country."

    You're a collector.

  2. Hahahah
    I know there a millions kind of Online games in this world.So dear enjoy to play of them whenever you have leisure time.
    Play Action Games

  3. Brian, I'm referring to games I have in my collection already that I'm not willing to put for the effort or money to reacquire. These games, like Epic Duels or Plague and Pestilence, are games I've happened upon, but they're on my shelves to be played. Better they be ruined being played than sitting "looking pretty" on my shelves.


    The people around 0:40, they're collectors.