6 thoughts on “Gaming Frustrations

  1. Actually Kev, I totally feel your pain. I get into “slumps” where nothing seems interesting to play, and games that I am playing, board or computer, just can’t hold my interest.

    It may very well be associated with your new gig – when things are particularly busy for me and I have a lot of decision fatigue I find it hard to face making even more decisions in a complex game. Let’s face it, the games we play are complex and they are all about making complicated decisions. That’s not exactly a recipe for restoring a brain that is just tired of that kind of work.

    The other thing I find that can really pull me up out of the immersion of a game is if I find I’m spending a lot of time thinking about how to document it for a blog post. Blogging is great, but at some point it starts to feel like an obligation. One of the reasons I game is to get away from all of the obligations I have and focus on something else. When I hit that point where I’m no longer enjoying what I’m playing because I think I have to come up with a good blog post, I’ll crash and burn on the game really quickly.

    Gaming is only fun when you’re doing it for fun. When it starts to feel like work, for whatever reason, it’s time to take a break.

    Now, I find I can stay a lot more engaged if I tie my gaming to a period or subject I’m really interested in. I’ll probably go crazy uncontrolled about buying titles around that subject, and it may be months or even years before I get to it all, but it’s all part of the current obsession. I find I can really get immersed if I’m also reading about the subject, probably playing VASSAL or PBEM with someone also interested, collecting games and books on the subject, and just generally getting into it. That probably means letting a lot of other stuff sit. Stuff that maybe other people would like me to blog about or want to play. If I have the time and energy, fine, I’ll pull away for a bit. Otherwise, it needs to sit until I’m ready again.

    I find I have to “just say no” to what isn’t fun. Whatever is left is probably what I want to spend my time on.

  2. +1 to what Doug says. When your gaming and or blogging starts to feel like work, when your enthusiasm dries up, when the fun goes, take a break. You pump out a lot, Kev, so take some time out. When you feel ready to start again, it’ll probably be better for you if you restrict the amount of gaming/blogging you do.

    The less I eat the better it tastes! Good luck.

  3. Kevin,

    I have always been impressed with the number of games you play and blog about. I think you and I are more or less contemporaries and when I think back to the once a year AH release to the current situation where on average there are several games published a week how we game has changed. When I had a collection of 6 games, which my mother thought was excessive, I knew each of them well and had played them dozens of time. Whereas now I set up many, knock out a turn or two and then it is off to the next with no time to understand them or ever achieve any competence beyond what I have obtained from 50 years of gaming.

    What I do when I get in this kind of rut, is I go and play some games that I know well and have not played in a bit. I am always playing Empire of the Sun, but my go to game in situations like this is Anzio (AH) or I play some of the magazine games that I have liked in the past. The point is to get one that has traditionally made you happy and focus on that for a bit.

    Having now done a series of tutorial videos I find that they are a lot of work. It usually takes an entire day to shoot, edit, and upload. So, it is a commitment. Perhaps you should blog less and play more for a bit so it does not feel like work. I would say that I play games as a counterpoint to work, but these days they are one and the same, so I am not a good model here.

    Anyway, hang in there and try and get the the endorphins flowing again.

    All the best,


  4. You’ve made it clear that you are about the stories. That’s clear in this video and in all your work, it’s your passion. For me, the stories are about me as the commander (of a squad or a nation or anything in between). For a game to be fun, I need to know the history and want to retell the story inserting myself and my decisions. I want to explore ‘what if.’ Some games do that better than others and some will scratch your particular itch better. It’s clear that’s why you like WaW and LnL, they are all about stories with smooth, simple rules that don’t break the mood. Also, like Doug said, I find that when I’m tired and/or down, everything tastes like sawdust. Finally, an experience shared can be transcendent. I gave up computer games because they all ended up feeling like the game was playing me, that there was no soul and no story just an optimization exercise. “Spreadsheet: The Game!” My suggestion to you (and to me, thanks for brining up this great topic!) is to remember that you’re in it for the story, play games you love and walk away from ones you don’t, play more with friends with whom you can make a stories you can share years later, and get some rest too. It’ll all make more sense when your life force is rejuvenated.

  5. Kevin – I always enjoy your videos and what you have to say. I agree with the previous comments. It is time for a break from trying to play numerous games one right after the other. If you must play a game, pick an old favorite. Better yet do something different — paint historical miniatures, get into building models, read some great historical fiction. I just finished Jeff Shaara’s
    four books on the Civil War in the west. Give your mind a different kind of workout and you’ll be refreshed soon enough.
    Best of luck. Mark

  6. Hello Kevin,

    Interesting post. Let me say that I understand what you are saying but I have no answer for how you are feeling. From above Doug, Brendan, Mark and Craig all have good insights and I believe they are right when they say take a break or make a change. Most specifically about the work of putting this blog together. Mark says, and I agree, you put a lot of effort into a large number of games and add the effort of writing, videoing and posting what you see. So my guess is if you take a break, hang a left, return to a game you know you like and have not done in a while — any of these things will probably work. Hell, maybe all it takes is a good night’s sleep and a brisk walk in the sunshine.

    What ever you find that works I have no worries that you will be back at this in some form after some down time.

    I shall now return to my regular test duties and wish you all the best.

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