The beginning of August, which marks the first month of the $60 a Month experiment, is nigh. That means it’s time to evaluate some forthcoming titles and get a basic plan of attack going for the month ahead. Normally this post would also include a recap of how I did with the previous month’s budget, but since we haven’t begun yet, that will start next time. Meanwhile, hit the jump for what’s in store over the next four weeks.
The big releases for August are BioShock, Madden 08, Stranglehold, Two Worlds and Blue Dragon for 360 and Luminous Arc and Brain Age 2 for DS. Of those, the ones that I’d consider purchasing are BioShock and Madden 08 although either would completely break my entire budget for the month. Considering that I still have to pay for at least my GameZnFlix subscription (which I’m not willing to cancel yet) and probably should start off on the right foot with my PSP fund and the Live renewal fund, I’m working off of $30 to start with. There’s nothing pressing that I want on the tabletop gaming side but I’m down to three trades on Goozex before they start costing me a dollar each and I don’t know how many requests I’ll get for my listed games which can add up in postage pretty quickly.
But the big deal isn’t so much an August release as it is a September release: 9/21 marks the day Halo 3 hits and I will be there to pick up my copy. Since I’m losing half my budget each month to previous commitments, I need to save that remaining $30 in August to combine with the remaining $30 from September (plus a bit more for tax) to cover the cost of Halo.
Fortunately this is an abbreviated quarter since I skipped out on July so I can apply all the recycling money I get to the next two months. A lot of my activity in August will depend on how much I get for my trip to the recycler: I need to use it to cover the tax for Halo, plus my small but significant Goozex fees. If I have to I can dip into the PSP fund and/or the Live renewal fund to cover something, but that will really only hurt me later.
My estimate for the recycling I have (about three bags worth) is in the $40 range. My calculations show that I need about $5 for tax on Halo 3 in September and at most I could need to pay up to $15 for various Goozex fees. In all likelihood the Goozex costs will run me maybe $10, probably less.
Covering the Bases
So assuming my guesses are more or less correct, I should have $20 or $25 to work with after taking out the savings for Halo, the rental fees, various funds and leaving some breathing room for Goozex activity. However, that $20-$25 is pretty much all I have for two months that isn’t spoken for. But since I plan on Halo being the main purchase in September, I think I’ll go ahead and let myself spend the money in August.
But that’s not a lot of cash so a lot of my gaming is going to have to come from existing sources. I figure I’ll keep an eye on XBLA for something interesting and scour game stores for great bargains but I won’t earmark August’s disposable cash for any one thing.
Plan of Attack
Like I said, a lot of gaming will have to come from existing sources which means playing games I have on hand but haven’t yet enjoyed or taking full advantage of GameZnFlix and Goozex.
A few titles I have available but haven’t played yet are Arkham Horror which is still in the shrinkwrap, plus I wouldn’t mind pulling out some Gorkamorka minis and getting them set up, nor would it be a bad thing to try out a couple of quick-play card games I either haven’t yet tried or have only played once or twice.
Meanwhile I’m still clinging to Enchanted Arms despite not really having much desire to play it. I’m waiting on the next title from GnF in exchange for Rainbow Six: Vegas and Marvel Ultimate Alliance will be in the mail before July is over so there should be two new games to try for next month. While I wait for those I think I’ll give EA one more chance to hook me and if not it will be back in the mail. Unfortunately it’s not easy to know what I’ll be getting from GnF based on their availability so I can’t plan much around them, but ideally I can get through at least one batch before the month is up.
On Goozex I have a couple of trades pending which will give me one or two new titles to play for next month but I don’t have a lot of points remaining so I may need to offer up a more in-demand item to see about keeping the flow coming. I’m clinging onto Dead Rising because a) I love the game so much I kind of don’t want to part with it and b) there are a few Acheivements left that are potentially attainable but I may have to let it go so I can try some new stuff.
For the first month I’ll try to keep the targets reasonable until I have a bit more experience under my belt. I think I can get at least three new games from GameZnFlix going and I’m counting on roughly that many from Goozex at least. Add in at least one new game with the roughly $20 I hope to have and that gives me a Games Acquired number of seven. I plan to break out at least two of my unplayed tabletop games from the stash so my New Games Played target for August is nine. I’ll be conservative and say I’ll play another six previous titles on top of that for a total of 15 games played making my target score for August 7/9:15. That’s probably pretty low but I’ll increase the difficulty for next month once I see how I do.
Stop by next month for a recap on how I did and a look forward to September.