I play a lot of games, and most of them, I only play once or twice before I move on. That's mostly because I average about three new games a week, which doesn't leave a lot of time to go back to my favorites. I do repeat some now and then, but a game has to really impress me to get a replay.
And what I've found is that, most of the time, I can tell in one game if I want to play it again. In fact, I can usually tell in the first hour of a game whether it's one I'll put on my repeat list. I can usually tell, right off the bat, whether or not I'm actually going to enjoy finishing a game, even if I just started. Not always, you understand - some games might actually require a little repeat study before I can render a verdict - but nine games out of ten require only one attempt for me to figure out that I'm not going to have fun playing them twice.
And yet I hear, over and over and over, that I didn't understand the game because I didn't play it more than once. So here's the deal - if you want to tell me I have to play a game a dozen times to appreciate it, you can shove your head right up your ass and break it off at the neck.
If I read a novel, and after two chapters I'm going, 'this book is stupid,' I don't finish it. It's that easy. You can tell me that it gets a lot better later, but this is entertainment, and I'm not planning on doing a bunch of work to get to the gooey Tootsie Roll center of the story. Right off the bat, I can say, 'hey, this book sucks!' And then I can put it down and walk away, because I'm reading the book to be entertained, and if I don't like it, I'm not going to keep doing it. Otherwise my entertainment becomes work, and frankly, if I'm going to work, I can do something that's actually useful.
If I watch a movie, and after twenty minutes I'm bored and irritated and angry that I paid for a ticket, I don't need to watch the rest to determine that I'm not entertained. Right off the bat, I can determine that I'm not digging this movie, and I could better spend my time drinking malt beverages and reading comic books (two activities that I know for certain I enjoy).
Let's take it one step further - if I actually finish that boring book, and I still think it was a waste of my time, under no circumstances should you tell me that I would like it better if I read it again. Here's the deal, you arrogant bastard - if I hated it once, I'll hate it twice.
Same thing goes for movies. If I watch a movie from opening scene to closing credits, and I hate it, what kind of asinine butt-monkey would tell me that I would like it if I watched it again? I tried the stupid movie, and I hated it. Tell me all about how I missed the parts that you thought were brilliant. Describe how the director really did a good job, and that wooden acting and horrible singing is actually supposed to make me appreciate the film. Talk all you want, but a crap movie is a crap movie, and I'm not apologizing for not liking it.
So let's apply that to games. I can almost always tell in the first hour of a game whether or not I like it. Most of the time, I'll still finish the game - but if everyone at the table is saying, 'what can we do to make this end so we can go do something better, like clean the patio furniture?', I know I've got a stinker on my hands. I don't need to keep playing, because right off the bat, the game sucked. I don't need to waste an entire evening being frustrated and pissed because I played a stinking turd of a game. That first hour is enough to know that I don't want to get that one out of the box again.
And let's say I do finish the game, and get to the end, and now I hate it. I do not need another 30 plays to determine that I don't ever want to see that game hit my table again. I can make that decision after one game. Also, if I stab myself in the thigh with a knitting needle, I do not need to stab myself five more times to figure out whether or not I like it. If you don't like something once, don't do it twice. It really is that easy.
We're talking games here. Entertainment. Stuff we do because we like it. Stuff we do to have fun. And if a game is not fun, it is not a good game. You don't eat a cookie that tastes like cow manure and somehow think four more will improve the flavor. If you don't like your dessert, you don't eat more, and if you don't like a game, you don't play it again.
If a game doesn't appeal to me, the blame lies with the game, not me. I don't have any responsibility to a game to play it a bunch of times just to see if I end up liking it better. It's supposed to be fun, and the burden of responsibility is on the game, not me. It's not my job to make myself like a game. If the game can't make me like it, the game gets put away and never played again, and anyone who wants to complain that I did something wrong can kiss my wrinkled white ass. I play games to have fun, and I'm not apologizing for it.
So the next time someone tells me to play a game again after I said I didn't like it, I'm going to punch them in the face. Then I'll say, 'yeah, that sucks the first time, but it gets better if I keep doing it.' They should completely understand.