Jan 7, 2021: Playing The Long Game

Thursday night. The first Thursday night of the year.

We’re back in the world of digital tabletop gaming. And this time we’re learning a new game. Viscounts Of The West Kingdom is one of the trilogy of games that includes Architects Of The West Kingdom, which took us ages to play the first time, and that one was relatively simple compared to the horrors of this one. If we’d had the orginal load out for games nights, we’d still be learning it. Now. Whenever you read this. Even if you read it several years in the future. It would still apply.

The first step in learning a new game is, of course, to read the rules. No. No it isn’t. Not anymore. Not in this world of digital amazement and the occassional mis-ordered Italian zoo-based game. No, nowadays you watch a YouTube video on how to play. And you take it all in.

This time, we watched a video on how to play and the man did not pause for breath in thirty long minutes. He talked fast, he included second takes in his video rather than edit out the first ones, he kept saying we’ll come back to that later for almost everything. He pointed at things. He was just a disembodied arm on the screen. It did not go in at all. Although, for me, that was because at the start of the video he’d positioned himself behind a desk in a such a way that he resembled a muppet. Honestly, if I’d seen a clip of the video and they hadn’t airbrushed out the sticks that were operating his arms, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

And so began a three-hour learning journey of playing the game.

We played for ages.

It didn’t feel like ages, though, which was nice. But it was ages. When we learnt Architects, it really felt like ages. This didn’t. It felt like we were getting on with it, but time was definitely passing. It’s about an hour and a half to play in real life, so digitally you have to add a bit because mice and keys aren’t as good, sometimes, as hand and eye. Although the shuffling online is significantly easier. So actually, three hours to learn the game isn’t that bad. And we did alright. And we all beat Nik, which goes to show how much he taught us and how much he didn’t pay attention to his own game.

Daniel won.

But it was only a training game so, under those rules, Nik is not required to burn his actual physical copy of the game because all the fun has been knocked out of it by Daniel having never played it before but playing it better than anyone else ever.

We’re playing again for real next week. The no help on every turn game that we need to cement this in our lives.

At least we know we’re doing it. And it gives Nik time to gather up some kindling for post-game…