Coming Late to a Game

ClockThere have been more than a few games that have passed me by in the last few years because I didn’t start playing at the same time as the rest of my gaming buddies. Summoner Wars is a perfect example of this. When the game was first released, my friends played this thing like gangbusters. I’m not sure where I was during all of this. I think I played it once and wasn’t all that impressed with it.

Now that some time has passed, I’ve started looking at Summoner Wars again and I think I would like to give it another try. The problem is that now all of my friends are much more experienced than I am. Their level of play doesn’t match my own, and it causes a number of problems. It’s often frustrating for the expert player to play someone that is very inexperienced because of the amount of explanation required, the additional time it may take for that player to make a move, and the lack of a challenging opponent. It’s frustrating for the novice player too because they may feel like they don’t get the opportunity to explore the game and make those happy mistakes that often lead to new strategies.

So what can you do if you have a game you would like to try, but everyone in your group has played it to a fairly high level of mastery?

  • Find another player of your level, and play with that person. This is probably the best situation, but it’s not always possible.
  • Play the game online against similar opponents. The great thing about a play-by-web site is that you can take your time. You don’t need to feel rushed while you think about your move.
  • Play the game against an AI. This is a great way to develop some skill without feeling stress about your level of play. This is how I learned to play Race for the Galaxy, and it’s how I intend to get better at Summoner Wars.
  • Play the game solo. You can do this with many games, and I know a few people that really feel like they learn a lot by doing this, but it just bores me to tears. This is not how I want to spend my time. I may run through a few turns when I first get a game, but I’m not going to try and play the game all the way through by myself. Dullsville man.

I’m sure there are other ways to improve your level of play. What do you think? If you have suggestions, please offer them in the comments below.

4 Comments

  1. Greg Wilzbach

    We rarely play a game enough to become expert players in our group. Games are always fresh! I am with you on Summoner Wars. I’ll give it another go online before jumping in with experienced players.

  2. My trick is to take SO long to come around to a game that everyone has forgotten it already. They’re often eager to give it another try, and this has the added benefit of sorting out the gems from everything else that gets released. I was that way with Thurn & Taxis, Pandemic, Agricola, and now I’ve heard of some game called Flash Point: Fire Rescue that I really should try some day. 🙂

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