Written by Josh Bailey
A recent article from FFG mentions that the October 29th edition of FFG Live will celebrate the “impending release” of Marvel Champions. This certainly makes it sound like the game will come out in the first week of November rather than sometime in October as was originally stated. So, how do we survive at least another 3-4 weeks before the game releases?
Binge on #content, I suppose. I’m going to shout out everything I’ve been reading and listening to related to the game and will ask that others also comment with anything I’ve missed. Along the way, I’d also like to share some of my personal struggles with patience and how gaming can be both a help and a hindrance. Again, if anybody would like to comment with how they are dealing with the same issues, it would be much appreciated.
I would have thought that as I get older, my ability to be patient and live in the moment would improve, but it turns out that I have been going in the opposite direction. I hesitate to say this, but I would not be surprised if this was mainly due to the proliferation of smartphones, twitter, internet culture, etc. I hesitate because, as an older Millennial, I hate agreeing with the “kids these days and their smartphones” takes that you usually hear from Boomers and Gen X-ers. But I cannot escape the fact that it feels like my brain is different than it was ten years ago. I have trouble focusing on tasks for extended periods of time and I abhor a quiet, reflective moment. Rather than enjoying time with my amazing wife, I always reach for my phone even without knowing exactly what I am going to do with it. It’s rare for me to only have one source of stimulus at a time. I listen to podcasts at work. I usually have on YouTube while I’m deck building. As I write this, I am on a laptop in my living room with an NFL game on the television and my phone nearby that I keep consulting for Fantasy Football updates. My idea of winding down at night is playing Pro Evolution Soccer while listening to a podcast. I don’t think I was like this as recently as five years ago, and I feel like the main thing that has changed is how much I am engaged with podcasts, Twitter, Reddit, Discord, etc. I know that I am constantly guilty of closing an app on my phone just to immediately open it again two seconds later. I think I did that three or four times in a row once before I made myself put my phone down. I should probably explore something like meditation, but right now the only thing I do that comes close to that is gaming.
Zen and the Art of Storage Solutions
I have already admitted to having something playing on the television or my phone while deck building, but sometimes that’s as close as I get to a meditative, live-in-the-moment state. I especially like organizing and putting things away in their place, which often takes longer than the actual deck building. My favorite part of a new game is opening the box for the first time, removing all the shrink wrap, punching all the bits and figuring out the best way to bag everything for future plays. Some companies are starting to package games already punched and sorted with bags, and while that is very thoughtful I do feel a little robbed when I open it up to find that my job is already done.
LCGs, especially those that can be played solo, are both very alluring to me and intimidating as I try to cope with these issues. Alluring because I feel like I can sit down, have some quiet time, and just concentrate on the playing and the manipulating of components to focus my mind. Now, yes, I do often half-listen to something on my phone while doing this but occasionally I can compromise and just play music (especially movie soundtracks that complement the game) or charge my phone in another room so that I have fewer distractions. The physical components are important for me. I have the ability to play some of these games in a digital medium but I choose not to because it loses that ritual of moving tokens around that helps get me in the headspace I want to be in. Being able to jam games in half the time is actually harmful to what I am trying to get out of the experience. I sometimes am intimated by the thought of sitting down to play an LCG, however, because my problems with focusing make me kind of anxious about trying to do just one thing for 1-2 hours. This also keeps me from making music or doing other creative things that I tell myself I need to do more of. There is comfort in drowning out my thoughts with multiple screens and phones and tasks at once rather than trying to focus. That’s probably unhealthy.
The Content I Crave
All that being said, I don’t want to come across like consuming all of the available #content for the game is a bad thing. It’s just the manner in which I do so that I think needs to change, and maybe by saying all of this online in a public space I can start to change my habits. So let’s get positive and talk about all the places to get information related to the game, and hopefully, some of you can turn me on to anything I have missed. Even while consuming media at a responsible pace and taking time to enjoy the world around you, 3-4 weeks is a lot of time to fill while we wait on the Core Set to release.
- IRebelDestiny.com – a bit of shameless self-promoting here. I will be writing at least one new Marvel Champions article for the site each month focusing on game-related topics. This might be teachings tips, aspect/hero thoughts, scenario evaluations, or creating and maintaining a playgroup. I also would like to write articles that are a bit more personal in nature and use the game as a starting point for larger discussions, such as this article (though oftentimes they will probably be much more lighthearted than this one turned out). So you may get up to two articles per month from me. Check out the rest of the site too if you are interested in Star Wars: Destiny and KeyForge.
- Deck-celsior – I was drawn to this podcast because of its ties to the LOTR LCG community and have enjoyed every episode released so far. An all-encompassing panel-type show that will be familiar to anyone coming from Cardboard of the Rings.
- No Responsibility Podcast – Like Deck-celsior, I was interested in this podcast because one of the hosts, Sugi, is someone I followed for Star Wars: Destiny. I appreciate their perspective as all about fun rather than “pro strats”. Be sure to check out their interview with designer Michael Boggs.
- Team Covenant – I’m linking here to the Marvel Champions section of their website but their YouTube page is also a great place to go for play-throughs and analysis. For the sake of trying to extend my focus and appetite for thinking deeply on a topic, I appreciate the tone and thoughtfulness of their podcasts and videos.
That’s how I’ve been dealing with the wait, but do you have any recommendations for Marvel Champions articles and videos? If so, leave them in the comments. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on quieting the noise and how gaming helps or hurts with that endeavor. Next time I’ll be writing about the hero expansion that I’m most looking forward to.
Thank you for reading.