Part of the problem with having so many games to play — if an excess of leisure options could actually be called a problem — is that often a lot of time passes between plays of the same game. You’ll all get together and learn how to play and have fun for a few hours. But then the next week the new hotness is out, and then you’ve got an old favorite you want to play again, and before you know it, it’s a month or two later and you’re back to that first game and everyone’s staring blankly at each other saying, “We knew how to play this, right?” So the first hour is you slowly remembering what you needed to do to win and realizing you’ve done none of those things.
That was kind of what happened to us with Merchant of Venus last night. The last time we’d played was back in January, where I’d managed to stumble my way to a third place finish. We spent a good thirty minutes going over the rules again, and to our credit, most of it came back pretty quickly. But while we remembered how to play, how to play well was eluding us for a little bit. We’d spend too much money on one thing, then have no money for something else we needed. Or we’d forget where a space route went and end up nowhere near the planet we’d wanted to go to. Midway through the evening though we clicked onto things again, and the pace really started picking up in proportion to our competence, and we actually resembled the seasoned game players we fancy ourselves to be.
Except I still finished in third place, so clearly I’ve learned nothing in the last eight months.