Of the last 72 hours or so, I’ve spent over 20 playing games. Nearly a full day out of three, rolling dice, flipping cards, and moving little plastic pieces around. And while I had a great time with great people, throw in the start of Daylight Savings Time and, frankly, I’m exhausted.
Because while these games are fun and there’s plenty of time of socializing, some of them require a lot of brain power if you’re going to do even moderately well. The first game we played yesterday, Dominant Species, consists of 2 to 6 players going through 17 phases over the course of 2 to 4 hours, simulating nothing less than the struggle for life itself. This ain’t checkers. It’s not necessarily a difficult game, just a complex one, and I have to admit, once it was over — with me finishing third — I was absolutely worthless the rest of the day. My showings in the next two games — Tzolk’in and Puerto Rico, both games I’ve played numerous times and in which I usually display a modicum of competence — were among the worst I’ve ever managed. I kept trying to devise strategies with Mayan workers and Puerto Rican colonists, but my head was still filled with images of migrating spiders and procreating insects. Needless to say, these things did not mesh well together.
But even bad gaming is good gaming. You can play poorly and still have fun, because, while you want to be competitive and even win, most of the games are so well designed, there’s a certain pleasure to just watching them work. Besides, my Friday and Sunday gaming went much better; I won a couple of games, and fared a lot better in the ones I didn’t. I also finally nailed down the squad I’m going to fly in the upcoming tournament for the X-Wing Miniatures Game next week, so hopefully my showing will be more than a $10 donation to whoever wins the damn thing.
Oh yeah, next week. That’ll be games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. It might just be an illness. Whatever you do, don’t cure me.