2. Accept That You Can Only Be Friends With RTS Games. Something happened in the last decade that started to sour my RTS fun. I’m guessing it was the slowing reflexes, the dwindling neurons and the already palpable stress of having small kids yelling at you for your attention while you are juggling other time intensive activities. I tried a bunch of times to “get” some of the best RTS games this year. And there were some great ones that were making efforts to meet me half way. Whether it was by grouping units into squads Kohan style or adding “card powers” that made for extra fun strategizing on a different level, they made the effort but I just have had a progressively worse time at managing time as a resource. Still, like a moth to a flame I come back again thinking that the great explosions and flights of arrows that blot out the sun will make up for the agonizing feeling of having to be in 10 places at once.
3. Use Gaming As An Opportunity To Learn: Back when I was a teenager I knew every capital of Europe because I played the board game Third Reich by Avalon Hill all the time. Well, I usually played at least up until the dice deserted me during the Invasion of France and then the board went up in the air….or just sat there in the basement waiting for me to figure out how to save the situation. War gaming is great because you can learn some history and geography at the same time usually. But gaming in general is a great way to teach yourself and your kids some of the mysteries of this universe. One of the big ones that I stress to my kids was taught to me by my father and reinforced by Charles Bronson himself (cf. The Mechanic) . The 5 “P’s”. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Note that you can add a little flourish and hyphenate one of the P’s by adding Piss in front of Poor. Strategy gaming is all about having a plan and those who conceptualize and articulate the plan even just in their heads have an advantage.
4. Stay Away From Anything With The Word Collectible In It: You won’t find a bigger supporter of free market economics and American style Capitalism than me. I’m not going to condemn anybody’s choice of business model but as a consumer I have learned enough to stay away from this. It will only bring you remorse and so many copies of “common” cards that you will not be able to find enough shoe boxes for them.
5. Play More Board Games With Real People I love computer games because they give me instant access to a range of experiences from mental stimulation to just watching things explode. Board gaming requires real people all gathered together at the same time and getting along. Even if they are family and friends they can be stinky, disruptive, and difficult. But there is also just nothing like it as far as plain old fashion fun goes. All my life I’ve loved board games and played them usually solitaire…but when you can get real people together nothing else comes close.