Almost everyone who’s ever been involved in a Barigord Studios adventure has been passionate for gaming! We love board games, table games, video games, roleplaying games, and game shows! This post is best viewed on the home site.
Last week’s post can be found here.
Hey Gamers, do you ever get tired? Not just sleepy tired, or moved-too-much-furniture-today tired, or why-is-the-weekend-still-so-far-away-?!? tired. I’m talking a more specific kind of tired, where your normal state of being awake can be totally derailed by even the mention of a specific game, or by something as simple as logging in. It’s Gamer Fatigue, and it comes in a few dreamy flavours. Let’s… zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Are you Gamer Fatigued because you’re overwhelmed? Game companies want your money, and since most of us only have so many moneys, this can get competitive. Companies even compete with themselves by trying to out-profit previous years, and even previous quarters.
In order to turn their need to make money into… money…, they need to offer you something in exchange. Though the definition of ‘something’ is getting pretty nebulous these days. Magic the Gathering’s Secret Lairs are an example, as players question whether some Mountains or a handful of lower-rarity LOTR cards with Ralph Bakshi screencaps constitute ‘something’. Don’t get me started on video games that are sold with the idea that future content will supplement what you just bought.
I feel overwhelmed by the unbelievable release schedule of today’s games. I had planned today to write a post about a new Commander deck I’d build from the LOTR legends I opened. But apparently we’re into Commander Masters spoiler season now, and that took a little wind out of my sails. It’s just too much.
Writing about board games is something else I’d like to do with this post. I’d love to be up on board games, but it feels like that would be a full-time job in itself. There are sooooo many, and they release so frequently that it’s impossible to get a sense where to start with any of them. You just have to pick something and hope you like it. And then hide from sites like board game geek, where posters will tell you how basic and mainstream your game is (I’m kidding!). But there’s still that little fear that you’re playing checkers in a chess world.
Overwhelm in games themselves can be just as bad. Magic the Gathering has thousands of legendary creatures to build Commander decks around, and more come out every few months. And that’s not considering other formats. On the tabletop itself, Magic can be overwhelming, especially in casual Commander, with 4 or even more players and decks that aren’t built for quick kills. Often players build decks that create complicated boardstates without intending to build them that way. I’ve done it many times.
In video game terms, open world games can be the most daunting thing of all, even more than high difficulty. I’m still playing my first playthrough of Legend of Zelda – Tears of the Kingdom, which I started on release day. There’s still sooooo much to do. I could complete the game and move on, but it’s an enjoyable world, so I’m maxing it out. I still get fatigued, though, by the sheer volume of quests and things to find, and how as those things decrease, they’ll get harder and harder and take up more time each. On a map the size of TOTK’s, how bad will finding the last of the koroks be? There were 900 in Breath of the Wild. How far will I get before I give up?
The koroks in TOTK are a really good way to talk about the Fatigue from repetition. Not only are there going to be ~1000 of them, many will require the same sort of actions to find. Lift the rock, shoot the balloon, touch the glowing stuff. Not only that, but if you played BOTW, you did all of those things before. There are some new ones, yes, but the process of going through a landscape and finding them in a similar manner as the previous game is giving me Fatigue.
In Magic terms, we’ve got repetition from sameness, which is a result of the vigorous printing schedule. What do I mean? Well from the LOTR set, I wanted to build a few Commander decks, but I’m not entirely sure that I will. I opened some cool legends, like Shelob, Child of Ungoliant and Sauron, the Dark Lord. I also traded Andrew for a Bilbo, Retired Burglar. But I’m having troubles.
The main reason is repetition. All of the ideas I have for Shelob, Child of Ungoliant are really similar to my Mari, the Killing Quill deck, except I swap assassins and rogues for spiders and mana ramp. It’s still heavily invested into Viridian Longbow. I thought about trying to do big spiders or something, to be different, but the playable spiders are few and the rest of the deck seemed pretty boring. Making opposing creatures into food tokens is cute and very flavourful (yum!) but not something the deck can control easily. It also pays off fairly similarly to Mari’s payoff.
Even though they are quite different in a lot of ways, I find the repetition between Bilbo, Retired Burglar and Sauron, the Dark Lord is getting in the way of me building either deck. I expect The Ring Tempts You mechanic to be fairly central to both decks, and they share 2 colours. For Bilbo, step 4 of the Ring, where each player loses 3 life when you deal combat damage to one of them, is the realistic wincon and probably the entire focus of the deck. It might just be a fun gimmick to try once, and makes me wonder if I should even bother.
Sauron, despite making armies and drawing new ‘hands’ of cards, doesn’t have as obvious a path to victory. The Ring will ultimately get there, but the abilities actually kind of clash. The army token might get big, but it has no native evasion, and makes for a questionable ringbearer. The only Tempting Sauron has on his card depends on the army token to punch through. The discard aspect of Sauron’s draw ability might seem like it could feed a reanimation strategy, but it needs a 6-mana Commander on the table first, plus a ring-tempt to trigger, so it’s probably better as an incidental strategy rather than a main one. I don’t really know what to do with the deck outside of either goodstuff, which I’ve done before in the same colours, control, which I’ve done before in the same colours, or The Ring Tempts You, which steps on Bilbo.
Real Life Cost
I mentioned the last korok above. Finding every last thing in a huge video game might not be realistic for all sorts of reasons. Maybe another game comes along. Maybe the console or the tv or the internet or something gives out, and requires a replacement. Maybe that replacement takes a while or doesn’t come or doesn’t fit into the budget.
I haven’t been prioritizing going to Commander Challenge, a local casual Magic tournament, recently. Why? Simply because my work schedule has been Saturdays. I’d love to play, but it’s not as easy. I have to book time off, and that’s not always possible. Because of that, deckbuilding becomes less urgent as I have a backlog of decks I haven’t tried yet.
When it comes to social gaming, we sometimes host a Commander night. But it’s with the understanding that complicated boardstates, mana management, and figuring out the stack make the game exhausting and less like a game than a shared ordeal. Even figuring out what to do with targeted removal, like Swords to Plowshares has become annoying, and removal is just sweepers like Wrath of God. The length of games makes it hard to plan for more than one. We’re looking for less-involved alternatives, either to supplement, or to play instead.
Cash flow is a big issue too. Commander Masters is coming and will be very expensive. I won’t buy it, in large part because I have most of the cards I want from the set already. And many of the cards are way out of my usual price range of under $2. Other players might not be in this position, but maybe they spent big last month on LOTR. Even if you can afford it, are you ready for another huge dump of cards into your collection?
As far as content creation goes, I don’t depend on this website or our Youtube channel for income, but plenty of content creators do. I feel for them, with the release schedule and costs of keeping up. Just having current cards to make content with is expensive, and if your content revolves around opening product, you’re probably stretched unless you’re sponsored. That’s gotta be Fatiguing.
Games are supposed to be a break from things like jobs, and hardships, and the high stakes of real life. They simulate actions that couldn’t be accomplished in real life, like slinging Fireballs or Terraforming Mars (not today, anyway). They’re fun, diversionary, and relaxing. Or they should be.
The mass commercialization of games, and the explosion of available options, has changed the landscape of gaming to one which must be navigated carefully to avoid stress, disappointment and fatigue. What do we do when the thing we rely for escapism is something we need to escape?
I wish I had the answers, because I’m feeling the fatigue. I’m trying to simplify, and be less concerned with release schedules, but I care about these games and want to stay in the loop. I’m slowly chipping away at the koroks.
What about you? How do you cope with Gaming Fatigue? If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.
Thanks for reading!