A few years back, all my game group would play are what are called “Euros.” These are games where you basically do a lot of math and strategize for 3 hours and hope you mathed better than everyone else. There was always a theme, though light, and what mattered was calculating the perfect strategy.
A year or two of playing games like that burnt me out. Around the same time I started playing my first role playing game (RPG). It was Star Wars and super fun! Then after that campaign, we decided on trying out the new Dungeons and Dragons rule set (5th edition). What a whirlwind that’s been! I think playing RPGs both digital and physical has completely changed the way I approach gaming.
I love getting into the adventure and story. I love rolling a fist full of dice, hoping I defeat the monster. While I still love math and strategy games, I love the lighter and more fluid games more these days.
Why the change? I’ve actually always been a very imaginative person. I used to sit in my apple tree and come up with all sorts of stories and worlds in my head. I had an imaginary friend named Yoshi and had created an entire story and world around him. In middle school, I would write Star Wars Fan Fiction and random comics with friends. So it’s actually no surprise that I would love storytelling in gaming.
I also have a math degree, so there is a measure of strategy and mathematics that I love in gaming. Most RPGs actually have quite a bit of math in them and adding up dice rolls and stats on the fly is a great lesson in mental math.
Does this mean I won’t play an abstract game with little theme? By no means! I’m loving games like Azul, and word games like Codenames are quite fun too.
I just find that as I grow older, the type of gaming I am into has changed. Not only that, but our gaming group has changed drastically. While we still have the core 3 of us, we have added a couple other gamers to the group. These gamers are more into shorter games, especially ones that are cooperative. And when learning new games, they enjoy games that can be learned in 20 minutes or less.
I’m okay with this change though. While my Monday night group isn’t totally into storytelling games, they are into a good mix of gaming and adventure. One big example is Mansions of Madness! It has strategy, theme, storytelling, and math. Another game we have been enjoying lately is Mystic Vale and Call to Adventure. There’s a good combo of strategy and theme in the game.
I think gaming is a great outlet for my imagination. As a kid I wrote stories and playacted, now I get to do that in gaming form. I think as adults we sometimes lose that imagination and forget what it’s like to role play and be in different world. As my son grows older and his imagination develops, I’m excited to enjoy adventure gaming with him and create amazing stories!