So Many Games, So Little Time

As a husband of one and father of three, finding time to game can be tough. My sons are at an age where they are active in school and sports, so the wife and I stay pretty busy making sure they are all where they need to be. In addition, we are active in our local church and I even play in a local band. So time is a premium, as I’m sure it is with most families. Thus, carving out time slots here and there to game is pretty tough.

Some close gaming friends of mine are pretty good about making sure we get together once a month to play. I’m part of a gaming MeetUp group and we try to meet once a week and I try to go to one of their events each month.

I’m fortunate that each person in our family likes games, so we strive to have game nights at least once a week. But for us hard-core gamers, that’s not a lot of gaming. Therefore, when I get to game, I’m very particular about what I play.

I love to experience new games and typically get hyped about any major game releases. But with so little time, I have to pick and choose what I do. In my early days of gaming it was easy, I only played the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game (TCG) and I sunk a lot of time and money into it. Then after a while, it seems I was trying a new collectible card game (CCG) every time one was released. Of course, I needed people to play with so I persuaded my friends to try them, too. My efforts to get them to try the games was soon called,”pimping” by my friends.

Most of my friends were married and the kids were young  making it easier to find times to play. But as we all got older, we just couldn’t constantly be switching games. So now we spend a lot of time talking about games we have interest in, what would have staying power, and what people would be willing to give them a try.

Our latest long-term excursion is Warmachine/Hordes. This is the first time I have gotten into a miniatures wargame and the time and money commitments for this type of game is pretty substantial. Getting into the hobby takes a serious investment in order to buy all the painting and assembling supplies. Once you have that, then it takes a lot of time to assemble and paint the figures. And this is all before I’ve rolled one die for a game. Once we started playing actual games, I see that it will take a lot of time just to learn the intricacies of the rules, strategy, etc.,  just be able to be competitive. The good thing about this is that it’s keeping me focused on one game…but it’s not totally satisfying my gaming itch.

I’ve always loved card games, but the investment is just too much now for a CCG. Thankfully, Fantasy Flight Games came out with the Living Card Game (LCG) series that gives me the satisfaction of deck-building but without the collection component. Since its release, I’ve been into the Lord of the Rings LCG. It doesn’t take as much time to build a deck and play as it does to paint models and play with miniatures. It’s my game of choice for when I don’t have a lot of time to sit and play.

Right now, I’m trying to focus on only those two games, but there are so many other great games coming out. The board game market is exploding now with AAA titles and I want to try them all, but I have to curb those desires to rush out and buy on new release a day. Having a couple of gaming groups to play with gives me the chance to try games without the upfront investment. This satisfies my desire to always be trying the latest and greatest thing, too.

With very limited time, I’m doing a good job of trying to stay focused on only a couple of games, but that Star Wars LCG is looking pretty good and the Quarriors expansion comes out this summer . I really need to get that. Also, Iron Kingdoms RPG comes out later this year, too. I’m sure a new RPG won’t take much time …*sigh*… I guess the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

About Marty

Father of Three, and Husband of One, Marty has been a video and board gamer since the Atari 2600 and Uno (both from the 70's). As a child, he has fond memories of playing all sorts of games with his family and friends. As a parent, he now wants his three sons to have the same great memories of everyone sitting around the table captivated by cards/tokens/miniatures, feeling great about a win, learning how to deal with losses, but having fun regardless of the outcome. Marty didn't discover the sub-culture of "geek" gaming until 2000 through the Lord of the Rings TCG. From there, a whole new world of card games, board games, RPGs and miniature wargaming was opened up to him and he dived in head first. As his sons started taking interest in his hobby, Marty gladly cultivated their interest and supported whatever games they wanted play. Even his wife, a non-gamer just a few short years ago, now loves the gaming culture and gets "geeked up" as anyone for board game nights and trips to GenCon. Gaming is now a family event. Less time is spent watching TV and more time is spent sitting around the gaming table strategizing, laughing, learning, and building memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. At the same time, Marty is adding new memories of his own. Marty goes by the handle WolfpackEE on Board Game Geek.
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8 Responses to So Many Games, So Little Time

  1. Cyrus says:

    Star Wars is going to be a real financial burden on my family. I’m already saving money for it. Putting a Star Wars card game in the LCG series was a brilliant and evil move by Fantasy Flight Games. Good thing they like money so much, because I’m about to send it to them by the bag full.

    Great article!

  2. Frank says:

    I suppose it could be worse; you could be the father of one and the husband of three…

    Seriously, I feel your pain. I can count on one hand the number of plays I have had since the beginning of the year, and time for my gaming blog is even less. I currently have Memoir ’44 set up on the gaming table, hoping my son and I have time for it this weekend.

    The good news is that our winter Boy Scout outing, at the end of this month, will feature a Hive tournament, put together by our newest Senior Patrol Leader. I will be taking another half dozen games, hoping to get in a few plays of something!

    • Cyrus says:

      Huzzah for the Scouting program! I’m the Cubmaster for our pack and working on using games more during our pack meetings. I’d be interested in learning more about how the gaming went for your Scout outing and the benefits of using games in youth groups like Scouts. I hope you consider publishing an article that covers this topic on your web site, Frank. And if not, there is always Father Geek… 🙂

  3. Jason says:

    Nice article – I’m right there with you! My kids and I can pretty much only game on weekends – sometimes we have a free evening on a school night to play a quick game or continue part of a long one left-over from the weekend. Otherwise, it’s homework, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, church, or laundry – but mostly laundry, it seems… 🙁

    • Cyrus says:

      I would argue that the one very big negative about the gaming hobby is that it is a leisure activity that requires 2 or more people. This makes it difficult to work into a busy family schedule. The difficulty only increases when you now try to schedule a gaming session with 2 or more people! But like all things that are important to you, you make it happen. That’s why web sites like MeetUp.com and other social networking sites can be such a wonderful resource for us gamers.

  4. Marty says:

    Cyrus, you may be happy to know that you have a little more time to save up the money. .

    I also played the Star Wars Mini game at GenCon. We thought it was so-so. It didn’t really grab us.

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