This past week my gaming group started up a discussion regarding how we go about selecting the games we will be playing at our bi-weekly game nights. The idea was brought up because it seemed that many of us have new games that haven’t been played yet, combined with the fact that all of us are willing to play just about anything under the sun. Unfortunately we are only able to get together about twice a month, for a 5-6 hour period. This usually means that our group gets through 3, and on the rarest of occasions, 4 games a night. All of us are just happy we can find the time to get together at all, let alone be able to play our favorite games!
This last game night I introduced Earth Reborn (more on that coming soon) and even though the scenario we played was supposed to be the quickest available for 4 players, it still went on for 3+ hours, ending in a draw. Granted the first hour was taken up with me trying to explain the rules and setting up everything required for the scenario. Luckily I setup the board before my guests arrived, because they could have tacked on another 30-40 minutes. But I digress…
This brings up one of the problems we seem to always run into when selecting the next game to play, after finishing the intro game. Since usually our first game is a light filler where everyone knows the rules, or if they don’t, can be taught very quickly. The second game, however, needs to be a good one because we are all “warmed up” now. But most of the time we try and find something based on 2 criteria:
- Either everyone knows the rules or the person owning the game knows the rules well enough to be able to teach everyone else.
- Has to be playable in less than 2 hours (including rules explanation and setup). Granted this is not a hard-fast rule, but it is usually implied.
This presents an interesting issue. Unless I own the game or have played it at a previous game night, I probably don’t know the rules well enough to play it. Since I’m pretty much the low man on the totem pole, when it comes to my gaming experience, I’m the one they look at to see if anyone needs to be taught the game. So now we are trying to choose between a couple games that we’ve all played before and a few that are new that will require rules explanation. Usually the way this gets resolved is by one person just grabbing a game off the shelf and say “Here, let’s play this one.” Not once has anyone objected to the game that was selected, but the final selection came after sometimes as much as a 5 minute discussion. There has got to be a better way.
One idea that was proposed was for each person to select a game they really want to play, regardless of whether the others have played it before. We can then rotate through the group allowing each of us the chance to break open that game that’s been sitting on the shelf waiting to get to the table. Personally, I think this is a very elegant solution, especially since there are only 4 of us and sometimes even 3. Sure, maybe one of us won’t get our game played that night, but in that case we will just make sure that it’s the first game to the table the next game night. This will allow us to select a game that maybe we don’t have the rules down pat to and spend the time before game night learning the best way to teach it. Or, in my case, testing it out on Lisa. I do much better actually playing the game rather than just reading the rulebook or even watching video reviews online.
Question of the day
How do you go about selecting the games to be played at game night?
Do you leave it up to the host?
Do you follow the Bring-Your-Own-Game (BYOG) method?
Is it completely random and you choose based on what you feel like playing at that moment?
Or do you have another solution to this problem?
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