No preamble, just ideas:
1. Focus on limited number of games and systems.
I’m relatively content about the frequency with which I buy new items: in 2012 I tended to buy a large new game roughly once every three months (making public declarations that I didn’t intend to buy a big new game until, say, September, helped – knowing I would be embarrassed if I couldn’t follow through with what I had said was a powerful force for me). In addition, I traded a fair number of games, which helped keep on course.
Nevertheless, even buying new games with quite low frequency, I realized I was reaching the point where I would struggle to engage meaningfully with many more different big games and gaming systems. Thus, in 2013, I’m likely to prioritize buying expansions over new games. I want a degree of novelty, and I admit that the excitement that knowing something cool is in the post to me can be a stimulus to get through a dull day, but at this point becoming acquainted with an entirely new game can feel more of a drain that a boost. It’s not just the time it takes to learn the rules of the game, but the amount of thought that must be given to a game before time with it truly becomes enriching – the point where learning a game is replaced by learning from a game. I’ve put in the effort with games like Race for the Galaxy, Agricola and Innovation, and have reached a point where each play of each of these games teaches me something: I don’t see much point in starting from the beginning with close cousins of any of these.
2. Give more time to the little guys.
The exceptions to the above, perhaps, are the brisker, less intricate card games which really brought me into the hobby. A game that is quick to learn is also quick to relearn: thus it’s not a particular problem if a simpler board or card game spends some time out of favour. By further extension, this means possessing more such games is more justifiable (within reason). For instance, I haven’t played my personal favourite, 6 Nimmt!, in some time, but if called upon with no notice, I could explain the game to an unfamiliar crowd (and do so well), and then play the game itself to a high level.
My last large purchase of 2012 was made up of four smaller card games ordered from Germany, and together, they’ve probably brought me more pleasure than the three bigger games I bought in 2012. I mentioned in my recent review of it that Kakerlakenpoker Royal constituted my personal favourite game of 2012, and I’m entirely serious in feeling that a quick-playing card game of this kind can, if done well, have value which surpasses the complicated big-box board games which have, regrettably, come to eclipse (pun unintended) other forms of game in our hobby. I’ve been revitalized not only by playing this kind of game anew, but by introducing them to others: I’ve found a number of people new to the hobby are not familiar with the unfussy kind of designs which were once felt to be archetypal of modern board and card games. I want 2013 to be a year of simple card games, in my own playing, if not in the wider world of this hobby.
3. Design something.
Just to see what it turns out to be. I’ve been mulling this as an exercise in self-expression for some time: it feels like time to stop pondering, and start something. I’ve no goal to take any idea to the level of publication (I don’t flatter myself to even think I could). However, I’ve also no goal to become a rock-star, yet improvising on the guitar is a great pleasure for me.