New Year's sessions wish

After the end of this year's Formula Dé championship, Nigel asked whether we wished to have other tournaments next year. Several ideas have been already circulated by e-mail among us. Various schemes have been suggested, e.g. a single-session tournament of short games, or a two-session tournament of a longer game. The idea is to have ca. 8 people playing two games in parallel, and then redistributing players after each round. With a short game, one can fit 3-4 rounds within a single nightly session, whether a longer game would require two consecutive sessions. Another scheme is to play 6 or more variants or expansions of the same game, one per night, over several months, like the various race tracks of Formula Dé.

Provided the game we choose is one of the games I like, I will definitely participate in a tournament, whether over 1 or 6 sessions. Not because I feel the need for any formal competition, but because I crave for playing the same game multiple times — a topic that came up several times between Paul B. and myself on our car-sharing trips to and from the game club.

I just checked the list of games I played over 2008, realising that I played ca. 70 different games, the majority of which was played only once within that 12 month period. This means that  by the next time I play the same game, I will have forgotten what I learned from the previous play. I will likely use the same strategy, do the same errors, and continue to miss the game's subtleties. In sum, I won't be able to diversify my approach to that game and to deepen my understanding of it.

There are two ways to appreciate the richness of contemporary boardgame mechanics and themes. The in-breadth approach is to play as many different games as possible from different designers and publishers. The in-depth approach is to play the same game multiple times, with varying number of players, and with different players every time, because the same game can feel completely different when played with different groups. The right thing to do, of course, is to achieve a healthy balance of both approaches. Looking back at 2008, it's obvious my game club experience is heavily skewed towards in-breadth boardgaming, because most of the games I played more than once were played at home.

Hence, although it may seem counter-intuitive at first sight, my wish for 2009 is to play less, i.e. fewer different games.


  1. by David M, on December 23 2008 @ 9:44 am
    I agree: I like to play something two or three times to get the hang of it when it is new, and then bring it back periodically. There are several older games that I rate highly and bring to the club 2 or 3 times each year. [Serenissima, Samurai & Katana, Joan of Arc, Seefarers] It takes a while to build up a cadre of people who know how to play, so even now it usually needs a rule explanation for someone.
  2. by Huggy Basher, on December 23 2008 @ 2:40 pm
    Hi Michel
    I would like to play the same game several times, as you say, to understand the subtelties and develop strategies for it.
    I have recently played Conflict of Heroes 1 night a week for 7 weeks with Paul Day. After the first session we both understood the rules and could clarify any ambiguities prior to the planned session the following week. By the time we had played it several times the game is much quicker and we are more likely to have ‘tricks up our sleeves’ that the other may not expect.
    Applying this mantra to other games and playing the same game 2 or 3 weeks back to back greatly appeals both in and out of a league situation.
    A game that would play at least twice in a typical evening down the legion and played on two consecutive nights (or at least in the same month) would definitely get my vote for a comp.

Last played

In my collection

On my wishlist