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Shifting Gears

They start out so small. You can still hold them in your hand. Look at them. Go "oooh, don't you look all pretty-pretty-pretty". Then they start growing. Giving you funny looks. And before you know it, they tower over you and you are in trouble. The pile of unplayed games.

Now when there are so many games staring at you, the thought of playing them may become overwhelming. And the playing itself may feel like a chore, while you should be having fun. Some people on BGG enter a challenge to get motivated. I try but I found this doesn't work for me. Still too much like a chore. But there is something I do enjoy and I have the 1 Player Guild's Roger S to thank for it. Every two weeks he runs a themed SoloCon (check this overview on BGG). Everybody can join in, it's just for fun. You play a game that matches the theme. This is a perfect way for me to go through the pile. As you can imagine, there's a game in there for every occasion.

This time we're doing the SoloCon for Soldiers and I've picked Gears of War. I got this one second-hand and the figures are painted, which is nice and easy (I haven't painted in 20+ years and back then I made an awful job of it).

It's an SF game where your soldiers fight mutants. I've just done the intro scenario so far, and I started out one-handed as I have to learn the rules. I felt a bit overwhelmed at first, but it turned out to be a very streamlined experience. The hand management of your cards is good fun. You use them for actions (mainly movement, attack, or a combination) but they are also your health counters. You lose one for every wound you get. Which one to throw out?

Attack is with dice, and you can spend ammo tokens for combat bonuses. You'd rather not, as there's not much to go around. After your turn, the enemy spawns, advances and/or fights you. Hopefully you managed to take cover so you can roll extra die in defence. Which I promptly forgot. I took cover, but forgot the bonus. So the mutants had some extra luck in fighting me. It was still very exciting. I was sure I was going to lose, then my chances turned and I was really close to winning. Then I lost to the weakest of opponents.

Serves us right for all those genetic experiments, I guess.

I played it a few more times, also two-handed just now. That's even better as you can help out your team mate. I need to clear the table further one of these days and try with a full team of four.

So while until recently boxes were piling up and the playing of new games was coming to a grinding halt, I've found a way to shift gears. Let's restore the relationship with my unwieldy child.

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Bram Kok
Bram Kok
Nov 15, 2019

I try to play all my games within a week of them arriving. It's not a hard rule in case of Spiel or multiple KS's arriving at the same time. But by doing so I usually still have some of the excitement from the acquisition to help me through the process of learning the game and getting it played for the first time. This works quite well as I currently only have 1 game on the Shelf of Shame.

Unfortunately I don't apply the same rule to expansions............

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