Goal of the Challenge:
As a counterpoint to the Cult of the New, this challenge encourages people to play each game several times to explore and experience them in depth. There is no rush to find the optimum strategy on your first play, or read all of the cards beforehand. Instead, each play reveals something more and something different, you get to try various strategies, and everyone’s strategies evolve with their understanding and learning of the game. If you are tired of constantly learning new rules when running after the latest hotness, never really learning various strategies to any game, and needing to relearn the rules of old games because it’s been too long since they were played, this is the challenge for you.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just play ten games, ten times each, over the course of the year. Well, I’ve tried it a couple of times, in 2015 and 2016, and both times I failed! However, this time I want to try to be more disciplined about the whole thing. I’ve talked about it a couple of times in recent weeks here on the blog, but I want to try and do something to really get the most out of my game collection. I have literally thousands of pounds of board games, so I do want to make more use of it!!
To that end, then, I am throwing down my hat early on in the year, to plan which games I want to play over the next twelve months, and then at each end-of-month retrospective I can track how I’m doing, much as I’m planning to do for my hobby goals that I talked about the other day, as well. I feel I need to emphasise though, it’s not about scripting my entertainment for the year, it’s just a way to keep me on track!!
Without any further ado, then…
I think everything here should be very straightforward to achieve, as it’s all stuff that either I know that I can play solo, or that I know my wife won’t roll her eyes at me if I suggest we play! Though hope springs eternal that she will try the Star Wars LCG again someday…
The three LCGs up there are all games that I played at least ten times in 2022, so I have no doubt that I’ll be able to accomplish that part of the deal fairly easily. I have four big games that can sometimes take some build-up, as I know they’re a bit of a time-sink, but they’re all very enjoyable so I’m hoping that won’t be too much trouble, either. Hogwarts Battle and Elder Sign are both games that Jemma quite likes (the Harry Potter game is probably her favourite of the lot), so I think it’ll be easy enough to get these played, too.
That does mean, though, there is one missing. It’s 10 games, after all! Well, the Challenge that I quoted from at the start has two levels, Normal and Hardcore, but both allow for some flexibility. In Normal mode, you can add in and swap out games if you’re finding it difficult, whereas in Hardcore you pre-select 11 games and have to play at least ten of them. I’m opting for a bit of a middle ground, where I have a couple of games in mind that could form the tenth slot, but it’s more difficult because I need people to play them with!
I’d like to play more Carcassonne, as it was one of my favourite games back in the day, but I’m not sure I’m in a majority on that one. I have been thinking about stuff like Hellboy and Ghostbusters, both huge kickstarter games that I’ve barely scratched the surface with, so it kinda makes sense to include those as well. Finally, there’s stuff like 40k, which could probably see a lot of time if I were to apply myself, or Necromunda, which still needs some evangelism to get people round here to play with me. I suppose I could always just play that solo scenario with the Ambot ten times, though!
So far, I have actually managed to play two games this month, Runebound, and A Touch of Evil. So I’m well on the way, already!! I’m feeling quite hopeful that I will be able to get through the challenge this year, as I have chosen some games that have a lot of new content for me to try, plus games that I haven’t really played in years, so it should be good to get back to them. I’m not really in the business of buying many new games these days – Marvel Champions last year was my first new game for years – so I can’t really see me getting sucked into the cult of the new, but it’ll be good to have something to focus my mind, and hopefully I’ll be able to smash through the list in no time at all! It is only one play of each game per month, after all…