Addressing the underlying issue of why I write on this blog just about every week seems like a good idea. While individual blog posts have their own idiosyncratic motivation behind them, I have never addressed the general reason for this blog. the most concise way to answer the question of why would be for the experience. This also covers how I game in all the various iterations.
What that experience is changes from game to game and the way in which that game is played. I can play Ticket to Ride or Duels of the Planeswalker on my computer in order to play the game and also just unabashedly win.* I still get the intellectual stimulation from playing the game but little else.
For the most part this is also true for playing games online, by which I primarily mean Magic Online and Dominion. While playing against other people does mean that I want to be a better player and be courteous. Otherwise it is still not really a social experience for the most part.
These two are fine, cause sometimes I just want to be able to play a game and not have to deal with people, or the physical components and all that entails as well.
Play By Forums and Play By Emails are a bit amorphous by definition. It really depends on the group and game in question. It’s still a matter of enjoying the game, but at this point on the spectrum you also start to enjoy the social aspect of gaming.
The natural end point of this progression would be face to face gaming**. This is where both the social and intellectual elements are present. However the intellectual element is decreased due to the time constraints of playing face to face compared to playing over the internet. There is less time to process every angle of a board state and make the most optimal move based upon that. In practice is isn’t as large as it is in theory 99% of the time On the other hand, the people you’re playing with won’t be totally fixated on the game and conversation about the game will happen. Part of the experience of gaming is doing something with your friends, and through gaming I have become friends with some truly great people. I’ve also met some of the most insufferable and vile people that I”ve ever had the displeasure of knowing; but that’s the way it breaks.
Gaming is an experience and the ways in which you can game offer a variety of experiences that are all valuable in their own right.
*’Duels in particular is rather good for this as the AI being bad means that you have more leeway to win more and go deep.
**VASSAL basically counts for this as well, you just dont’ have to worry about the internet dropping when you play face to face.