Slay the Spire

The game I’ve been playing the most lately is… Slay the Spire. As you might have guessed from the post title.

It’s a fantastic deck building roguelike/roguelite, and a game I had for a while but didn’t play much. But I remember enjoying it enough to double dip for the Switch which is what hooked me back in big time. Having it portable over the Christmas holidays was a killer feature.

Screenshot from 2020-04-01 13-08-24

Those 109 hours on Steam are separate from whatever I’ve played on the Switch, and of course not all from the month of March.

I enjoy this game because there isn’t any downtime, every second you are making decisions about hand management, what to play, what rewards to choose, what potions to use, how to spend gold, what to do in the random encounters, which path to take, etc. Choices are about risking more damage now to finish the encounter earlier versus defending more, selecting (or removing) cards to hopefully make your deck stronger, selecting a relic for their buff, and so on.

I love open world games and all, but sometimes there is a lot of time filler just traveling to the next spot to get something done. In StS, travel is quick – you pick the next location to go to and the encounter starts.

Yes there is luck, but like poker and scrabble, a skilled player can consistently steer things their way.

It takes a bit to understand what’s going on, especially with effects like poison, weakness, vulnerability – and how those effects work – as well as card modifiers like “ethereal”, “intangible”, etc. That’s where the Slay the Spire wiki comes in handy.

On the Steam version, I’m currently Ascension 4 on Ironclad, Ascension 3 on Silent and Watcher,  Ascension 2 on Defect, and have beaten the corrupted heart on Defect and Silent. I’m a bit behind on Switch… I need to check to be accurate, but every one there is around Ascension 1.

But yeah, I’m getting my money’s worth out of both copies I bought. 🙂

 

Wrap Up

Well I enjoyed Blaugust. I posted more this month than I had in the previous year, which is an amazing way to end a slump.

The challenge will be continuing… every other day will be really tough, but I think I can manage or average a post a week, flipping between progress in LoTRO or ESO and then whatever other games I’m playing.

My goals are simple: work on my gaming  backlog (haha, essentially this is an infinite task), and keep advancing in the MMOs I’m playing (LoTRO, ESO). My attention also is wandering a bit… I played and enjoyed FF14 (on PC, not so much console due to overall controls) and think about fiddling around there for a bit. I know that my attempts to play 3 MMOs at the same time, very casually in each, have failed with a 60-30-10 split at best.

As far as progress, I might as well mark where I am now.

  • In LoTRO, my “mains” (Naerys the Guardian and Dhrun the Burglar) are outside Minas Tirith. But, I’m taking a break from them and leveling up Barlk the Boerning, who is level 30 in the Lone Lands, and nearly finished with Vol 1 Book 2 in the epic storyline.
  • In ESO, Dauram the Wood Elf Nightblade is level 18, still on Shimmerene, and in the middle of the Lost in Translation zone quest.

 

Books

Here’s a few books I’m planning to read:

Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson

I’m a Sanderson fan, but this book has sat in my unread pile for around a year. I read the first two books in the series (The Way of Kings, and Words of Radiance) and really enjoyed them. Both are around 1000 pages long and… let’s just say that I’m starting to forget some of the finer plot details, minor characters, etc.

So I was reluctant to start Oathbringer knowing I’d be in a partial fog for most/all of it.

However, I found a solution. First, refresh my memory by reading chapter summaries (TWoK, WoR) and skim over Tor’s re-reads of both (TWoK, WoR). That’ll set me up to read Oathbringer remember enough to make sense of it. Just to make sure, perhaps I’ll follow along the Tor re-read too.

Bared Blade, by Kelly McCullough

Bared Blade is the sequel to Broken Blade, a novel I really enjoyed.

I’ll just copy the Amazon blurb for the book:

Once a fabled Blade of Namara, Aral Kingslayer fought for justice and his goddess alongside his familiar, a living shadow called Triss. Now with their goddess murdered and her temple destroyed, they are among the last of their kind. Surviving on the fringes of society, Aral becomes a drunken, broken, and wanted man, working whatever shadowy deal comes his way. Until a mysterious woman hires him to deliver a secret message-one that can either redeem him or doom him.

I read this earlier in the year and the main character inspired me to play a Nightblade in ESO. 😉 The idea of a stealthy knife and bow fighter that also had some magic ability resonated while I was reading so that’s the character I created and am questing in Summerset with.

 

 

Board games

I spend enough time in front of a computer, so it’s nice to step back and play some board games with friends. Here are some I’ve been playing lately.

Wingspan

Wingspan is an engine-building game themed around birds – you probably guessed that based on the name. It comes with something like 180 bird cards, all unique, and as a player you decide which ones to add to your habitat, what food to collect, whether or not to concentrate on gaining food in the forest, laying eggs in the grasslands, or gain more cards in the wetlands.

Each bird has an ability that triggers off others in your habitat and possibly other birds in the other player’s habitats. Scoring involves meeting per-round objective (have the most birds with ground nests that have eggs, etc), secret objectives (most birds with wingspans above/below some number, most eggs, etc).

This game won the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres and it deserves it. My group really enjoys playing this.

Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven, currently #1 on boardgamegeek, is a tactical combat RPG. There is a giant amount of content in the box, with nearly 100 scenarios, a branching storyline to follow, 6 starter classes and 11 unlockable classes (spoiler – 12 since there is one that unlocks after solving a puzzle). There is an expansion that adds another starter class as well.

The classes are all creative and not just typical fantasy tropes of fighter/wizard/thief.

The game is cooperative – the group succeeds if the objective is met (typically: kill all the monsters) and at least one player is alive. But nearly everything else is competitive, such as gaining loot, accomplishing secret objectives (be the first to loot a chest, let someone become exhausted, etc.)

The game brings several new mechanics to the typical board game dungeon crawler. One is: instead of dice each character and monster has a modifier deck. Characters can influence the deck as they play and earn “perks” from the secret objectives. What each class can do to the modifier deck differs, but they all generally involve improving the deck by adding or removing cards. Think of it as a customizable die.

A second is the skill ability deck mechanics. Each class gets a certain number of cards (ranging 8 – 12), each of which has an initiative value and two halves: top and bottom. The key mechanic is the cards must be played in pairs, one card for the top half ability, the other for the bottom half ability. If you can’t play a pair of cards, you have to rest which makes you sit out a round, choose a card to discard, heal up, and re-enter play.

Over time, resting depletes your deck and you are out when you are unable to play a pair of cards, i.e. become exhausted.

OK, there is a lot more that I can’t possibly summarize here, but this game is fun and challenging. There is character progression – level up to access to better equipment, learn new abilities, possibly unlock a new class to play, etc. There is a computer version available on Steam, which is missing several classes and mechanics… but to be fair, does implement basic game play well.

LoTR: TCG

In case you can’t get enough Lord of the Rings, there is a “living card game” (LCG) by Fantasy Flight. LCG means the expansion packs are all fixed, so you know what you are getting, as opposed to a traditional CCG like Magic where expansions packs contain random cards.

The basic play of Lord of the Ring: The Card Game is: build a deck of 50 cards from the huge number available, advance the quest deck, and survive the encounter deck. Each round you get resources to spend putting cards into play from your hand, and those cards lets you advance the quest, defend against monster attacks, or attack – you decide how to divvy the effort up.

You can dip your toes in by getting the LoTR:TCG so-called “core set” which has enough cards for 2 people to play. From there, you can buy deluxe or saga expansions, or try to catch up on monthly adventure packs.

This game is cooperative, and plays very well solo or 2 player. It can play more but then the downtime between turns starts to get pretty large. Also, if you play with more than 2, you’ll need more core sets.

I have a friend who is really into this game, and sets up a weekly meeting at a game store. All I have to do is show up with my character deck, all the extra work of picking the quests and setting the encounter deck up is handled by others, so I can be lazy. To be fair, I’m the least experienced player in the group.

Consoles vs PC vs Mobile…

One thing that’s changed for me over the past few years is the amount of free time I have to play MMOs has taken a nosedive. Yes, this is a problem everyone faces; I know I’m not unique.

It’s more accurate to say my available time for concentrated gaming has diminished, and separately, other forms of entertainment allow more flexible play styles and hours. As far as things to do while I’m at home, which is largely where MMO gaming occurs at least for me, I’m only able to carve out a ~2-3 hour block of time about once a week these days.

MMOs are demanding in that it is hard to pause or take a break, or even jump in and out of the game quickly. Grouping is likewise tricky. And being out of town for a weekend a month, give or take, also forces the issue.

So I’ve gravitated towards games that let me do that: mobile games, other console games, or single-player computer games where I can stop/pause arbitrarily.

While I do enjoy group content and raids/dungeons or what have you, if I mostly play an MMO like a single player game (RPG with a storyline), why not actually play a single player game (RPG with a storyline) specifically designed that way?

Now that I’ve given console and mobile gaming a chance, I’ve found they offer some nice benefits over PC gaming. I’m not trying to start a flame war between platforms, I’ve just noticed a change in what fits my reality.

One nice advantage of console gaming is couch coop gaming. As in, sitting in the same room/couch with your friend and tackling a game together, competitive or coop. So many console games are designed for this form of multiplayer gaming. I enjoy going over to a friend’s house and bringing a game and extra controller along and that’s it, we can play without a lot of futzing around.

Nobody I know has a gaming PC connected to their TV, nobody has their gaming PC configured/ready for multiplayer or even across-the-room access via remote. I’m not saying it is impossible, it’s just everyone I know that games on a PC does it by themselves, at a desk in front of the screen, where multiplayer means online and not in-person. Including me.

There is another advantage of consoles – renting games from a local Redbox. I’ve done this several times to try out a game before making a purchase decision.

Console games go on sale too, although not as deeply as the sales on Steam. Still, I’ve bought a bunch of console games for $20 or less by just waiting for seasonal sales. I’m also a Playstation Plus member and get two free games a month, some of them are actually pretty good. 😉

One of the consoles I have, the Nintendo Switch is portable, which is a killer feature when traveling. Yeah I can get a gaming notebook, but I’m not excited about spending a fortune for one… I owned one previously and it was a bit cumbersome.

My gaming PC is 6-7 years old at this point, but still runs pretty well. From the original build, I added a 1 TB SSD, and later, swapped to a GeForce 970. I spec and price out replacement systems all the time but I’m not thrilled with spending ~$1000 for a newer system just to move pixels faster. If my gaming box dies, I’m going to have to think hard about whether or not I’ll replace it. My desktop computer is a NUC running Ubuntu 18, so if my gaming PC dies, I won’t be computer-less. It’s more “are the games that need high performance graphics on Windows worth the cost of a new gaming PC?” when I can run many strategy, puzzle, roguelikes, RPGs and so on just fine on Linux. Plus of course just play games on consoles.

One disadvantage of consoles is it is more work on get pics off the console and onto a computer. The PS4 isn’t much work since it has USB, but the Nintendo Switch requires removing the SD card which adds to the inconvenience. I might create a fake Twitter account since the path of least resistance is to take a pic and then share/post to a social media account.

Blaugust 2019

I’ve fallen into a blogging slump, so I decided to participate in Blaugust 2019. It’ll be motivational! Writing a post every day will be… unlikely, but I can definitely try for the Silver Award for 15 posts.

The reason for my slump isn’t a mystery – it’s simply that my available entertainment time is sliced and partitioned among more activities that before. So, not as much MMO’ing of late.

Anyway, I don’t want to write too much today and steal way from future posts. 😉

MMO Home

Syp asked a question in a recent post:

I’d love to hear from you who have what you consider to be an MMO home. What game is it and why do you consider this your main game?

Several people answered including me, and my answer included games I like but not much of answer about what I consider a home.

Syp listed a few characteristics: popular, active, plenty of goals/activities, connected to a guild, willing to play for a long time.

I was thinking about this over the weekend and my answer for an MMO home would be a game I enjoy all facets of. The storyline is enjoyable, crafting is engaging/useful, combat is fun, group dungeons are fun with decent rewards, PvP if present offers a battleground-style mode (balanced numbers/levels/gear power, opt-in for open-world PvP).

Basically, if I’m only going to follow a storyline, I might as well play a single player RPG. If I’m only going to craft, I might as well play Factorio or some puzzle game. If I’m only going to PvP I might as well play a MOBA or some shooter. PvP isn’t a big draw for me in MMOs anyway but I do like it a bit.

Of all the games I’ve played, my home MMO was Guild Wars. Yes, the developers didn’t call it an MMO but it was close enough to one for me. I enjoyed the storylines, every class, the great guild I was in, grouping for the missions, the very simplified crafting, even PvP (alliance battle) – all of it.

LoTRO would be a close 2nd. I’ve tried PvMP a bit and it’s not my thing, but most everything else is great except crafting. That has the feeling of churning out junk just to advance to the next tier in order to churn out more junk and eventually at the top tier, make some useful items. Also, I haven’t done any group content in LoTRO since the SoA/MoM era, but I really enjoyed the dungeons and raids I took part in back then.

I haven’t grouped in ESO so that’s a big mystery. Are the dungeons fun, does the group finder work well, etc? Otherwise, the storyline is great, crafting is complex and worthwhile. I have not attempted PvP.

FF14 I have grouped in, since the storyline requires it. The duty finder worked well, there is a roulette system to reward/encourage players to queue up for content they’ve finished. Crafting was a bit more involved that merely collect and churn out. FF14’s biggest advantage (to me) is letting one char play every class, which allows for variety and flexibilty. I might not actually want to play every class, and instead play melee DPS, ranged spellcaster DPS, tank, healer, etc. without leveling multiple chars.

SWL is almost there, but I’m not sure I want to do end-game content. I do like the game but I kind of see it as a single player RPG to play through. The devs promise some upcoming QoL fixes so maybe swapping gear will become less grindy.

Anyway, that’s my attempt to describe a “MMO Home”. Good thing ESO and FF14 are top contenders because there is another reason I’m rethinking the games I play – that’s for the next post. 🙂

Win10 part 2

OK, to follow up my previous post where I had a graphics driver installation left in limbo: not correct, can’t reinstall, can’t uninstall… after fiddling in safe mode for a bit I decided to punt and just clean install. I was also going to search for install logs to see if I could figure out what went wrong, when I realized I didn’t actually care and just wanted the graphics to work. My gaming PC was originally Win 7, upgraded to 8.0, upgraded to 8.1, upgraded to 10… I’m willing to believe there was a certain amount of registry cruft  and orphaned files along the way.

The good news is the reinstall went swimmingly and I now have a perfectly cromulent Win10 box again.

I did NOT install the driver package from nVidia; instead I let Windows auto-detect and eventually update my graphics driver. I am now running driver version 10.18.13.5362 from 7/22/2015, according to Device Manager->Display Adapters->nVidia GeForce GTX 650->Properties. Their latest package is 353.62, release date 7/29/2015, which seems to be contained in the last 5 digits of what Windows reports (i.e. 10.18.13.5362). I’m satisfied and calling it a day as far as the upgrade.

nVidia Driver
nVidia Driver

I have 2560×1440 back, and dxdiag tells me everything is fine and my card’s feature levels run 9.1 to 11.0. Good to go.

I actually prefer this – nVidia’s packages always included a bunch of stuff of questionable utility. They installed a fancier control panel applet, GeForce experience, some PhysX acceleration support, a photo/image viewer that I never used, etc. I’m not sure any of that stuff contributed to my desire to merely have working graphics. I want the driver and for my system to be as stable as possible with the least amount of extras installed. Less stuff = fewer problems and junk to chase around my system.

Thus my recommendation to you if you want to run Win10 – just let Windows Update find and update the graphics drivers. A few days have passed so initial kinks and/or bugs have been fixed and ideally it will just work. (Again, the system I updated stretched back 3 versions so problems with the final update might not be unusual. In addition, the system wasn’t dead it was just stuck in a lower resolution than I knew was supported).

Anyway, a functioning system isn’t any good with no games to play! 😉

So on Fri I queued up a bunch of installs from Steam and GoG Galaxy, and then went to work – after disabling various Power Options so my system wouldn’t go to sleep and cut off the downloads. I returned home and it was still crunching through my list.

After churning on through to Sat, everything finished up in time for me to then run the MMO installers and get a second round of updates. Those would be ESO, GW2, LoTRO, and TSW… and now hours later, it is Sun evening and I have my games back, but don’t have time to play anything. #firstworldproblem

Lastly, I uninstalled the “Akamai NetSession Interface”, which LoTRO installs as part of its download/update cycle. I made a note specifically to remember to get rid of that – I’m sure it is useful and value-add and blah blah blah but now I’ve re-downloaded the data and don’t want it lingering.

Framerates

OK, I don’t have time to play, but I figured I could at least jump in a check on framerates, sort of an update of a post from a few months ago.

  • GW2 – Rock solid at the same 63 fps. GW2 is nice in that is displays the framerate outside the game in a config dialog, which means there isn’t any uncertainty about what’s going on in-game to potentially change it.
GW2 framerate
GW2 framerate

FPS is the bottom right corner of the dialog.

  • LoTRO – in contrast to GW2, the fps is displayed in-game. Which is fine, but I get some different numbers: between 60 and 67. This of course is only important because I can’t remember what I was doing (if anything) when I did a framerate check in my previous post and got 77. That’s a pretty big change. Currently, from where Naerys is standing in Helms Deep, I get 60 looking at Theoden and Aragorn, and 67 with my back to them. 😉
LoTRO Framerate 1
LoTRO Framerate 1
LoTRO Framerate 2
LoTRO Framerate 2

In the above 2 screenshots, FPS is displayed just right of center at the bottom.

  • TSW – I logged in on Wayness and did a quick check. I’m getting 28-29 from where she is standing, which is very close to the 30 I reported last time. But, I don’t remember where she was or what was going on. However, I think the number are so close it is basically equal.
TSW Framerate
TSW Framerate

FPS is towards the top of the screen on the left edge.

Unfortunately, last time I didn’t know how to check framerate in ESO. But now I do: /fps. When you do that, it shows up in the lower left corner.

ESO framerate
ESO framerate

It was bouncing between 26 and 28 so capturing 27 seems fair.

And further unfortunately, I did not reinstall WoW, EVE, or WS… yet. I’m unlikely to play them (boils down to available time really). I would like to check the framerate on WS because it was so terrible, I’m hoping some optimizations to the game have improved it.

Win10 brings some nifty enhancement to games – when I start one I get a temporary hint about shortcuts available. For instance, Windows-Alt-Printscreen to take a screenshot (that’s how I took the GW2 screenshot – if I hit Printscreen or Alt-Printscreen at that GW2 screen, I get a screenshot of my desktop. But Windows-Alt-Printscreen grabs the game screen).

The list of the various Win10 keyboard shortcuts that apply to games:

  • Windows logo key + G: Open Game bar

  • Windows logo key + Alt + G: Record the last 30 seconds (you can change the amount of time recorded in Game bar >Settings

  • Windows logo key + Alt + R: Start/stop recording

  • Windows logo key + Alt + Print Screen: Take a screenshot of your game

  • Windows logo key + Alt + T: Show/hide recording timer

Source

I’ll check out the start/stop recording ones soon.

I’m kinda tempted to upgrade my video card to something a few generations newer. 30 fps is ESO and TSW? Hm… I need that to be better. 😉

Win10

Ok I’ve been off taking a break from MMOs and computer gaming in general actually. Been playing some roguelikes, newer ones that the good old Moria I use to play back in the day.

Anyway, today I upgraded my Windows PC to Win 10. And it went smoothly overall, except for one minor issue – graphics driver is not doing so well. Instead of the lovely 2560 x 1440 resolution I have become accustom to, I am getting a whopping 1024 x 768.

So it appears I’m getting some generic video driver that does let me set the less-barbaric 1280 x 1024, but that is still far short of a decent resolution for anything much in the modern era. Perhaps I will keep playing roguelikes a bit longer… 😉

Windows update does see a newer driver is out there, but fails to download it.

Win10 Update Error
Win10 Update Error

It seems to be some variant of “File Not Found”. Great.

I went straight to the nVidia website and downloaded the Win 10 353.62 WHQL drivers. Straight from the source, those have got to work, right?

Nope. After a reboot the driver “fails to install while the Add New Hardware Wizard is open” (which it was not) and then it is wedged. It won’t uninstall, and it won’t reinstall:

nVidia install error
nVidia install error

It’s crap like this that makes we want to junk my PC (well, install linux onto it) and just do my gaming on a PS4 or my Mac or my iPad. I can get ESO and FFXIV for the PS4 plus several other games I’ve been eyeing (Witcher 3 now, Fallout 4 later), play the indie-type games on my Mac (my Mini only has integrated graphics so while I can run GW2, LoTRO, and various other games, it is a strain), play the mobile implementation of various boardgames on the iPad, and not have to deal with all this crap.

I’ll fiddle some more, but I have a bad feeling that I’m going to end up clean installing.

On the bright side, the partially failed nVidia install did let me bump my resolution to 1650 x 1080. Which still looks like garbage since that isn’t the native resolution of my nice monitor.

Anyway, the morale here is: don’t be in a rush to upgrade to Win 10. Let early adopter morons like me hit all these problems. 😉

Board Games vs MMOs

My Wed board game group has added an additional Mon “small group”, where the focus will be on 3-4 player games, or ones that play well with 3-4 players even if they support more (Dominant Species) and especially new (to us) games. Playing a game for the first time while also teaching it to others is challenging, so the Mon group are folks that like to try new games, learn as they play, have extra patience to plow through rules, and play slower in general. Somebody has to take the hit to learn so that future plays are faster and more correct (rules-wise); the advantage is also familiarity makes it easier to teach a game to a new player.

Wed is often about playing something everybody who shows up can play, which often comes down to Resistance Avalon, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, or a 7-8 player game like 7 Wonders, Eldritch Horror, and so on. Every once in a while we split into smaller groups but I’d say the group as a whole prefers to play something everybody can join in on.

The impact for MMOs is Mon/Wed perfectly overlaps the 2 days my WoW guild raids. And if push comes to shove, I’m not favoring computer gaming over RL gaming.

So, my time as a WoW raider might be coming to an end. I’m paid up through the middle of Aug, so I can see if the new Mon group sticks or not, but if it does, I won’t be resubbing WoW.

I’d like to whittle the MMOs I play even further, so we’ll see. I’d rather spend $15 to $20 a month in the cash shops of B2P/F2P games I enjoy, in order to support them.

Board Games

Lately, I’m finding more enjoyment in board games than MMOs. There are some interesting parallels between them and MMOs.

It seems most MMOs are F2P with micro-transactions, however board games are generally B2P. But, only one person in the group needs to buy the game in order for everyone to play.

Some MMOs have subscription fees, and the admittedly stretched analogy here are collectible/living card games, such as Magic the Gathering or Fantasy Flight’s various LCGs (“Living” Card Games – Fantasy Flight’s variant where the expansion packs are fixed sets). This is still advantage board game, because if you stop paying an MMO sub fee you have to quit playing; stop buying expansion/booster packs and you can still play with whatever you have already bought.

The board game equivalent to a F2P MMO is a cafe or store that has demo games for play testing. They may even expect a micro-transaction (buying food/drink from them) in return.

Like MMOs, board games feature PvP, except the PvP in board games is generally better balanced, especially in 1 on 1 scenarios. There is more variety in the conflict, from direct attack (Neuroshima Hex, War of the Ring) to out-maneuvering (Tzolk’in, Carcassonne; basically any traditional euro-strategy game). Some games are noted for their balance and different playstyles of the opposite factions (Android Netrunner).

Like a dungeon or raid in an MMO, board games also feature cooperative modes, where everybody fights a common enemy, solves the group puzzle, or defeats the “AI” represented as the game mechanics (Ghost Stories, Pandemic).

MMOs let players solo, and so do some board games. Some are designed for 1 player (Friday), many others have single-player scenarios (Onirim, Mage Knight). You can take most cooperative games and play more than one player (Forbidden Desert, Samurai Spirit), but not all as some feature hidden information or traitor mechanics (Hanabi, Battlestar Galactica).

Some MMOs have fairly developed economies, so games where you build an economy and try to outpace everyone else may appeal (Le Harve, Puerto Rico, Macao).

Theme and immersion are arguably better in MMOs, since graphics, sound, and a 3D environment go a long way. However, board games offer a wider variety of settings and roles, from underwater robot programmer (Aquasphere) to wine merchant (Viticulture) to post-apocalyptic tribes fighting for control (New Era) to spaceship crew member (Space Alert) to wizard battling others via summoned proxies (Tash-Kalar) to humans trying to flee a zombie attack (Escape: Zombie City) to… well, you get the idea.

As much as enjoy playing MMOs, it is also nice to do something besides killing as the bulk of the in-game activity. In a board game I can be fairly relaxed as a jewelry merchant (Splendor), raise bamboo (Takenoko), run my estate (Castles of Burgundy), be a spice trader (Jaipur) or monk sorting monastery gifts (Biblios), complete quests as a samurai (Yedo), or research and publish potion formulas (Alchemists).

Board games definitely have the edge in grouping and interaction as well, no text chat or Mumble/Teamspeak config required.

With my limited time these days, I’m finding it hard to pay as much attention to MMOs and computer games in general. The obvious solution will be to trim out ones I can’t effectively play solo on ~5-6 hours a week or less, scheduled 100% at my convenience. The culling has begun and I’ll report more on that later. 🙂

And yes, I own all the board games (except Magic the Gathering) I mentioned in this post.