By Mitch Freedman:
A strange malady has been sweeping through parts of the gaming community for the past few months.
The growth was slow at first, so slow it was hardly noticed, but it is now gotten so large that experts have given it a name.
Appropriately enough (for a wargaming community) the name is an abbreviation of three letters – P O W. Of course, it stands for Post-Apocalyptic Overload Weariness.
Now similar overload problems have shown up in the past, and usually they run their course until the order that underlies all gaming is restored. Sort of like a rebalancing of The Force, or the eternal stability of Yin and Yang.
In this case, the rapid growth of post-apocalyptic gaming has become so strong that other games are being nudged out. After all, no matter how hard we try, there are only so many hours in a week that we can actually game.
The late lamented Ian O’Dice actually set the world record for continuous gaming, 236 hours of non-stop enjoyment. They said he died with a smile on his face, and he was buried with his lucky green D-20 die. That was in 1905, and when he died after rolling three 20’s in a row, it gave that stroke of luck the name we still call it today – the Death Roll.
So, have no fear. Post-Apocalyptic gaming will not fade away completely, but it will start shrinking back to its hallowed place in the gaming universe. Until then, here are some signs to look for to see if POW is getting to you.
– When you play poker with friends, and you decide to take three cards after the hand is dealt, do you keep the three discards as well, telling the other players “I’m just deck building.”
– When you go to your favorite game store to look for something new to play, do you buy a game based on its weight, not who designed it or the cover art?
– Look at your wall calendar. Have you pasted blank pieces of paper over the year on each page? Or, worse, have you just crossed it out with a black marker or printed question marks to cover each year?
– Have you started a separate computer file cross-indexing playing pieces, their alliances, and specific terrain problems, then printed those notes onto flashcards so you can commit all the odd quirks to memory?
Now, this is not an attack on Post-Apocalyptic gaming. I enjoy it a lot. If pressed to name a game I enjoy (sure, you can say you like it. prove it) I would pick 51st state, because it has a nifty balance, some subtle differences in the competing factions and so much happens each turn that it lets me think I am winning until the end, when I fall victim to my enemies.
Happens to me a lot, come to think of it.
So, just try to hunker down until the POW infection runs its course. Try varying your gaming for a few months. I promise it will all get better in the end.