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“We are the sum of our board-gaming choices”

To celebrate our second anniversary, we invited our readers to send pictures of their game shelves and tell us a bit about their collection or hobby. Gloomknight is the second winner of this contest. Congratulations!

Here's his story.


Gloomknight’s Shelf from 5/2020 to Present Day

I started collecting solitaire games in May of 2020. The first two games I ordered were Mage Knight and Gloom of Kilforth (Although Shadows of Kilforth arrived first). I played and enjoyed both, despite their differences.

Mage Knight introduced me to another level. This “puzzly, card-drawing, hand-management concept was entirely new to me. What’s going on? Why can’t I just move my character from A to B without having to over analyze every single mathematical possibility to the n-th degree, and then recalculate those same probabilities five more times in case I missed something?

Shadows of Kilforth brought back some of that old video game RPG feel such as different stats, skills, races, and class types to play as. Magic? Check. Big bad Demons? Check. Snooty Nobles? Check. Innocent by-standers who attack you for no reason? Wait, why do I have to kill this guy again? Oh, right, I should use my imagination… Maybe he’s mad I took the last canapé. The nerve! Draw your Steel!

After that, I found myself fussing over rules. Beating myself up over the choices I “could have made” like when that stranger was just reaching for my pastry and I killed him for it. Now I don’t have enough life points to survive my final encounter! For shame!

Addicted to the spice

When Dune Imperium hit my table I was blown away. I had already discovered smaller deck-building games such as Friday, which I had developed a new fondness for. But, Dune brought it to a whole new level by combining a worker-placement concept. I was also contending with a challenging AI that was surprisingly easy to manage. The narrative element and artwork harkened me back to my early 20s when I enjoyed the novels.

For days you couldn’t pry me from my table. Two or three games became twenty too many. My daughter began rolling her eyes. My mother prayed to the heavens. My wife just shook her head and asked why I couldn’t handle the household chores with the same determination and resolve. But I was just having fun. And eventually I took a step back to a more normalized affair, as work and real life set in. Yet, I imagine gaming as a hobby could last a lifetime, regardless as to how much or how little I devote to it.

Embracing analysis paralysis

Learning new rules/strategies/play-styles can be fun for anyone. It is healthy for the brain, and can expand the mind to envelope new ideas. There is a dreaded term in the gaming community called “Analysis Paralysis,” that I happen to appreciate instead. Life is full of interesting choices and the only time we truly become paralyzed for thought is when we allow fear to overtake the decision-making process. When fear is replaced by opportunity the only path left to take is whatever suits your needs the most; the aforementioned “choice”.

Making decisions in a board-game simulates a reality in which doing so defines who we are. “We are the sum of our choices.” Therefore, the process can be fun as well as enlightening and can also have far more reaching consequences than initially meets the eye. Puzzling out a “game” strategy can easily be applied to the workplace, the home-front, or anywhere else that requires critical thought. Or you can always just roll the die and see where life takes you instead. Sometimes, that is where the real fun begins!

Unless you roll a one.

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