WBC, Day 3: Russ’s Perspective

August 5, 2009

Playing board games all day is oddly tiring. I think much of it results from trying to concentrate while the noises and activities of hundreds of people buzz about. So I slept in today, or at least as long as my timezone shifting body and mind still reeling from the worst Here I Stand game in my short gaming history would let me: 8:30 AM.

I eventually rolled into the WBC at 10:30. After wondering aimlessly for awhile. I met up with Gene, the same guy who along with his two sons taught me Dominion. After chatting about the previous day, we where joined by Stephanie. Together, we learned to play Sherwood Forest.

Sherwood Forest is a fun Euro style game where each player is trying to be the next Robin Hood. To do this, you have to work together and go it alone as you try to rob the caravans passing through the Forest. In spite of being rather light on strategy, I had a lot of fun playing it and trying to barter and work out crazy deals to get Stephanie and Gene to help me out. Sherwood Forest is now on my buy list.

I then spent part of the day trying to meet up with another guy named Mike. I noticed he had written on the board that he wanted to learn 1960: The Making of the President. Having some free time, I gave him a call and despite our best efforts, we were never able to meet up. We’ll try again tomorrow. (Is it still a victory if you beat a newbie you are teaching? Because… I’m still looking for my first 1960 win.)

Speaking of games I’ve never won, I played in two rounds of the Hammer of the Scots tournament.  (Never fear, my flawless loss record is still intact.) For my first game, I was paired up with the world champion, five years running. It was pretty much a blow out. But I did learn a few things about the game. For the second game, I was paired up against the world champion’s wife. I held my own for the first half of the game. I was actually doing rather well. But the tide turned, fatigue set in, and she nearly wiped me out. I managed to hold onto two nobles, resulting in a 12-2 loss.

But, through it all, I think I learned something about myself. For me, an integral part of board gaming is the social aspect. I love the competition. I always play to win. But, without the social aspect, it feels odd. I guess that’s one of the underlying problems I’ve had with some of my tournament games and why I could never be a great tournament player. I not only want to play the game, I want to make a connection with the other people at the table.