Friday, December 4, 2015

Breaking Point


I side-glance at the digital clock on the stove. 10:13 PM. I have some time.

Kids are in bed. Wife is asleep. I'm still wide awake, finally starting my day. I've made it through work, chores, and child-tending to reach this exact point. The dark silence, with only the light patter of cat paws heading towards me. Lenny always approached when everyone else is asleep. He knows he'll have my undivided attention. But not tonight, for I'll play some cool solo board games!

Well, I could. Or I can catch up on some shows I'm behind in Netflix. Oooo, there's that one video game I was stuck in. Maybe tonight I can spend a solid half hour to pass it. I guess I can play board games the next night.

Ignore the length of time it takes to setup a board game. Forget how heavy the game I want to play is. The board game can even be dead simple to put to the table and play. So, why oh why is it so difficult for me to play a board game? Why must I escape to catching up shows in Netflix or playing some video games?

(Playing with others...)

What? No, I have lots of games I can play solo. Maybe 2 years ago, there wasn't as much, but now? I have a plethora of games that can be played by myself to choose from! Friday, Onirim, Sylvion, Castellion, Robinson Crusoe, Imperial Settlers, Hostage Negotiator, Tiny Epic Galaxies,

(You miss it...)

Well...sure. Yeah, I miss playing with others. But I've been busy, and making time for game nights is hard. But the alternative is so much more! I mean, there's Castle Panic, Troyes, Archipelago, Freedom: The Underground Railroad, Harbour, Fields of Arle, Bottom of the 9th, Firefly,

(It's okay...)

Of course it is! There are so many games I can play solo that I don't need...no, that they're still fun on my...on my...on...*sigh*

(...)

*Picks up Pandemic* There was a time I wasn't bothered by this so much. Every game that I got, I played it alone with so much excitement that I would play again and again whenever the opportunity came up. My copy of Pandemic was exhausted with solo play after solo play, and that was for a game that didn't even HAVE a solo variant! But I played it, with only one role, no less. Lots of others would play with 2 or more roles, but I...I wanted - nay, CRAVED the challenge. I lost so much, but won just as many, and it was so much fun.

*Brushes hand over Castle Panic* I picked up Castle Panic with the knowledge that there was solo play built in. It satisfied another itch, defending my castle against hoards of goblins. Finding the optimal combo that will sustain my walls from crumbling down brought much cheer in my life. I even got to meet the designers at a publisher event in my local FLGS, and we had a rousing discussion of the game. I even brought my copy over for him to sign!

*Nudges Death Angel* Just hearing about the many losses Death Angel has caused to many players caught my attention quickly. It was a challenge that egged me to accept. One of the few games that I've wrung out very few (but gratifying) wins. The rounds can get so tense; surrounded by multiple enemies, always at the mercy of that one red (weighted?) die. The random choosing of 3 different teams, controlling them at once to figure out the best strategy...the challenge is astounding.

I could go on. By myself. It's fine, I suppose.

(Really?)

Okay, MAYBE going through another year of board game conventions I can't attend is a little depressing. It can't be helped. My life can't afford these excursions, not at this time anyways. Raising a family is top priority, with work a close second. I've been very fortunate to have met some people in-person, and I've successfully ran my own game nights with local friends. But the long periods without? I guess it's starting to get to me.

(You're using a made-up entity as a plot device to converse with yourself.)

ENOUGH, ALRIGHT?? I DO miss playing with others! Being the only one in my family that's excited about board games SUCKS! I don't have time to plan out game nights anymore, and people at work still think board games are for nerds! I get jealous of others meeting each other to play board games in conventions, and I struggle coordinating online games with friends!

(...)

...

(Look...)

No, it's alright. As much as it pains me, it hasn't really hindered my love for board games. I still find a way to play them, no matter what. It'd be a waste not to. On the bright side, the more I play these games, the easier they are for me to teach others when I DO play with others. It's ironic, really. The more games I play by myself, the more versatile I become in expressing my love for the hobby to others. Without it, I doubt I'd get my friends into board games as much as I have. I've even sold some of my lesser-played games to my good friend/game night partner. Playing solo is not a lonely thing AT ALL. It's only another way to enjoy the hobby, and a growing trend at that. I'm proud to be a solo gamer. And there's nothing wrong with that.

(You miss Paul Dean.)

I miss Paul Dean.
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