A few weeks ago I inherited a bookshelf. This led to a general cleaning & reorganizing of one of my storage closets and allowed me to pull a lot of my older games out of storage containers and put them back on shelves.
These included tons of classic American titles from my High School and College years. Dune, Source of the Nile, and Wizard’s Quest from Avalon Hill. 2038, Mystic War, and Suzerein from TimJim Games. Arkham Horror and Elric from Chaosium. The Lonely Mountain, The Riddle of the Ring, and The Battle of Five Armies from I.C.E. King Arthur and Excalibur from Wotan Games. And a number of others from these publishers, Steve Jackson Games, TSR, White Wolf, and others. About five feet worth of games, all said and done, neatly arrayed on two shelves.
And that was what struck me, as I was juggling things in and out of the closet, dodging empty storage containers, piles of books, and curious cats. The games all fit. On the bookshelves. Perhaps we took it for granted at the time. But …
We don’t know how good we had it.
Last Thursday I played my first game ever of Mall World. It’s a game that I was really enthused to pick up when it was released by Rio Grande Games. The tile-laying was probably what appealed to me first; I like building games. However when I saw the first pictures of it, with its geomorphic tile designs, I was totally won over. It looked neat.
It arrived at my door as part of a large box of games. I quickly ripped through all of them, ogling pieces and reading rules. But afterward Mall World began to gather dust as it sat atop my to-play pile, for days, weeks, and eventually months. I took it out a couple of times to play, but it was rejected each time. At least once this was because I didn’t want to play an auction game with the minimum number of players, but more often there was another reason that I couldn’t bring myself to play the game: the rules.
A Long & Winding Road
On August 13, 2005 I wrote my premiere article as one of the founders of a group gaming blog called “Gone Gaming”. Group blogs were all the rage at the time, because they gave the opportunity for five or seven people to each write a weekly article and so publish a blog that had notable new content every day of the week.
The downside of a group blog, as we came to learn, was that it was hard to keep everyone interested, particularly when they were publishing one article a week — a rate that I’ve come to decide is excessive if you don’t want to burn out. By the end of 2007, all of the other founders were gone and even some of their replacements had moved on as well. We were no longer managing an article a day, and thus we decided to join up with news site BoardGameNews to merge with the folks already offering analysis & editorial there.