Gamers Alliance REPORT
Winter 2008 Vol. 2 No. 25
The Strength to Lead
If you want to get sort of philosophical, it seems as though you can divide people into two basic groups: leaders and followers. Some people like to "go with the flow", following a trail already blazed, having full confidence that the direction to be taken is safe, secure and true. On the other hand, some people like to make the decisions, take charge and exercise control. What makes this so interesting is that often these roles shift depending on the particular situation, with leaders in one scenario perfectly comfortable in taking a back seat while followers traveling comfortably in the wake of someone else's leadership will sometimes rise to the first rank in making key decisions in another arena. In gaming, both types are necessary and valued. But in gaming, it takes a certain strength to lead.
We have a lot of games coming to our gaming table. From my perspective, it is EXTREMELY important that the games are played the way the designers intended they be played. How else can you fairly evaluate them? For this reason, the role of the "game leader" is pivotal.
The game leader must be fully conversant in the nuts and bolts of the game play. He need not be fluent in the best strategies of the game. (The game is brand new; part of the fun is in discovering the best strategies of a game, strategies that are often not immediately apparent.) But he MUST be comfortable with the salient points of the game so that fellow players around the table can get into the ebb and flow of play with the least amount of fumbling. For that to happen, a leader must have a certain mental toughness.
By this, I mean that game leaders must go the extra mile to make sure that a game hitting the table has a fair chance to be experienced the way it was intended to experienced. For example, a game leader must:
1. Be able to explain the rules in HIS OWN WORDS so that fellow gamers can grasp them quickly. (It is, of course, fine to refer to the rules. No one expects a game leader to memorize a new game. On the other hand, sitting down to the table and reading the rules verbatim to the fellow gamers is not leading.)
2. Be prepared to bring to the session play aids that may be beneficial to smooth playing. (Card translations, should there be text in a foreign language, for example, is extremely helpful. Reproducing play aids that come with a game so that each player has their own set to help with the game play is another helpful example.)
3. Maintain control when gamers ask questions. Some questions can be answered immediately but sometimes, you'll have to ask your fellow participants to wait just a little bit more as the answers to their questions will become apparent very very soon.
We are living at a time when boardgaming is riding a wave of quality. So many excellent designers, so many excellent game. So many games, so little time! But if we are fortunate enough to have strong game leaders, the time we have playing games can be well spent.
In this issue of GA REPORT, we bring to the table some more quality games. We garden in Babylon, travel to Cuba, sail the seas, join a league and run for President of the United States! Meanwhile, Al Newman hears dark whisperings, Chris Kovac goes into battle, Joe Huber digs up something new and Jeff Feuer enjoys a harvest while we flashback with Kban to a great game! Plus, we welcome first time contributor Andrea "Liga" Ligabue from his trip throughout the galaxy! And, of course, much more!
Until next time, Good Gaming! -- Herb Levy, President
1960: THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT
AGRICOLA AMYITIS BALLOT BOTS BATTUE: STORM OF THE HORSE LORDS
CUBA EL CAPITAN FLASHBACK: TYCOON
KEY HARVEST LEAGUE OF SIX MACHT & OHNMACHT (POWER & WEAKNESS)
PALASTGEFLUSTER (DARK WHISPERINGS) RACE FOR THE GALAXY
TICKET TO RIDE: SWITZERLAND
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