Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Abstract Fetish

I never used to like abstracts. And considering the abstracts I knew, such as Checkers, Dominoes, Tic Tac Toe, Connect 4, and so on, fair enough. I still don't like those games. I still don't like Chess much either, but I can see that it has some interest, I just find the movements of the pieces too complex. But then I played Blokus and liked it. Then my mate from Funatical loaned me a copy of DVONN, and I liked that too. And then he loaned me YINSH. And then I realised that I might not be so down on abstracts after all, and collected the complete GIPF series. And it has continued from there. With brother-in-law as a usually willing opponent, and occasionally the kid, I've played a lot of abstracts this year.

One of the advantages is that they're usually quick. If you've got half an hour for a game, you can fit at least one and sometimes 3 plays in. Gobblet and Quoridor play very quickly. They're also easy to explain. You can explain and play Gobblet twice in the time it takes to explain Hameln. That's not to say it's not worth the effort to play harder games, but it's certainly easier to keep the interest of a casual gamer if the rules explanation is quick.

Recently, my interest in abstract games has turned into a complete fetish. I looked at Stephen Tavener's ratings and examined all of his 9s and 10s. I looked at all the games that Clark Rodeffer may be interested in trading for. DAYS later my wishlist had grown bigger than my belly. And because many of the games are out of print, so had my want list. Then came the want-list purge as described in an earlier posting, and most of the abstracts survived. Why? Because good abstracts do get played. The kid and I can fit a game in most evenings. I'm much more confident that if I buy Kris Burm's new game SHMESS that I'll be able to play it a few times. I don't feel so guilty about buying games that will actually get played.

Abstracts are also often pretty. I have 3 of the Pin International Collection on a rack in my living room, I have two of the very beautiful Gigamic wooden games, and all of the GIPF Project's beautiful bakelite. I need more places to display all of these games, but I do love to look at them. Oh yeah, and beautiful glass Chess and Backgammon boards that I bought in a set for $A20. There's something mathematically enticing about abstract games.

So my wishlist now contains 26 or so abstract games, from a total of 87. Yeah, I still can't get past the amusing card games and chunks of plastic, but that's a lot of abstract games that I want. And I know I can't trust Santa...

BTW, for those who are wondering what has happened to Scrabblette: she's visiting family overseas and taught her nephew Blokus Trigon last night. She shares many of my fetishes.


Iain said...

Have you tried Piecepack or Icehouse?

Friendless said...

Piecepack doesn't really appeal to me, but I've added it to my wishlist just to see. I know I could make my own but I'm a mathematician not a craftsman. They seem to be pretty expensive to buy!

I haven't bought Icehouse pieces - after all, they're just pretty bits - but I have played Zendo or some approximation thereof. Are there other Icehouse games?

Iain Cheyne said...

Making a piecepack set out of cardboard is pretty simple. I bought my own and have not regretted it. It is very portable and I can play lots of games with it. It is particularly strong for playing abstracts.

Icehouse is also good. There are lots of icehouse games.

prude said...

ahhh friendless I has found you!

Trust you to have an IMMORAL name to your blog! You shall not be put on my favourite blog list. All the more loss to you I think.

Why people should be "playing with theirself" when they could be chaste moral beings and donating to penguin charities is beyond me. I urge people to read my blog and see the error of their lustful ways immediately!

(and save penguins)

Friendless said...

Welcome Prude! Normally I would delete non-gaming related comments, but since I started this by posting on your blog it's only fair :-). Yes, everyone should check out your blog to see a truly moral woman at work.

prude said...

tauypvI thinks you is turning this into a game now friendless!

May the best person (obviously me) win!

Morals beats just just having fun, i.e. hedonism, in all life and agames, that is just fair and right. We all know that.