My wife and I are foster parents. And my gaming group consists of my kids. Now as with all foster homes, we have had children in and out of our house over the years – all of various ages and for different periods of time. This is, as you might expect, a bitter-sweet lifestyle. But those general musings are better suited to other venues. To the point of this post, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the rewarding experience of gaming with two, young girls who were placed in our home for about 18 months. They returned to their parents last month (ages 11 and 10). Not only do I miss their humor, imaginations, and unique perspectives on gaming, but their absence has also changed the current gaming sessions for me and my two sons.
The first, immediate difference is that now we’re down to 3 players. Really, this change cannot be understated. One, we have a few games that are simply, out-right merrier with more. Bang! The Bullet is a favorite of ours, and you can play with three, but it’s just not the same. More generally, the dynamics of a 3-player game versus 5-player are noticeably different – though not always easily quantifiable. Without a doubt, we still have fun playing games, but we enjoyed it even more with the extra interaction. Of course, the trade-off is that our games are relatively quicker.
The change in game choice is also evident. The boys tend to prefer war games, and we’ve already hit up two of our longer slug-fests in the past month. Certainly we will play a variety of styles and genres, but I’ve no doubt that the scale will tip toward the conquest end of titles for the near future.
Perhaps more interestingly, the “replacements” to our gaming group have changed the situation considerably. We had three siblings placed in our home about two weeks ago. However, these kids are younger – ages 6, 5, and 3. I suspect that all newcomers tend to change the dynamics of a regular gaming group to one extent or another. In my case, it’ll mean simpler games with the new kids and the deeper, hobby titles with my two boys. Both experiences are a blast and I can roll either way.
So what about you? While the particulars may vary, I’m sure my situation is little different than others who attend regular gaming groups. Has the departure of a long-time member, or more, impacted the nature of your group? Perhaps that person was a close friend or family member? Maybe it even altered your group’s gaming choices or habits? If so, in what way, either positive or negative? And how were you able to adjust to the change in dynamics?