Friday, November 10, 2017

What's Your Reset Game?

Lately, I've been in a rut for playing board games, even just solo. For anything. Some games I've only played a handful of times, so I know I'd have to re-learn the rules a bit. Others, I knew how to play, but just didn't really feel like it at the time. And then I wondered to myself, "If I had to restart my vigor for the hobby, what would my reset game be?" And then I found out it was probably the same game that gotten me INTO the hobby - the original Pandemic, a game I've talked about profusely on this site.

Pandemic was my probably my first "different" board game than the rest. I really wanted to play with others, but I reviewed the rules enough that I thought I can probably play it myself. After confirming this through the BGG forums and their suggestion to go into it with 2-3 roles, I thought, "if I'm playing solo, it makes sense to just use ONE role." Thus began plays after plays of equal parts losses and wins, all before bgstats entered my life, sadly. I can't recall how many solo games I played with myself, but I played that game so often that setup was second nature to me, and the puzzle was always new and fresh and customized. And being the only player, there was no "alpha player" at all; I had the final say on what actions to perform, and it was all my fault if I lost.

And wow did I lost. But with each loss, I had that increased urge to reset and play again. I'd play the next game with a different role. I'd try again but with a different strategy. I'd try once more in a harder difficulty if I finally beat the game. I'd crank it down if it was too difficult. I'd introduce the mutagen expansion. I'd try the red epidemics. I'd try both at once. I learned not to use the dispatcher role, since I'd have no one else to move. I had even tried legacy mode (all 7 epidemics + 1 extra from Outbreak expansion), and supposedly have video evidence of this victory in its entirety. I played Pandemic so much, and still played more. The theme, mechanics, and many ways to lose all appealed to me in ways I've never experienced with any other game, analog or digital at the time.

So it seems quite fitting that Panedmic becomes my "reset" game, something for those board game ruts where I feel even lower than those lowest times. Almost like a "break glass in case of emergency" type of board game. Because I know it will remind me of how wonderful board games are, marrying theme and mechanics into an immersive experience that catapults you to a haven of dramatic choices that draws you into its climatic conclusion.

Here goes nothing... *slams hand on reset button*

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