Author Topic: What do you look for in a game?  (Read 6051 times)

Offline jungleboy

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What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2017, 08:55:53 AM »
Though that playmat is just soooo lovely. (Yes, I'm sure that is very subjective as well!)



Hmm, it looks like the final playmat might be a bit different. From the Plan B website:

« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 08:57:51 AM by jungleboy »

Offline Decar

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2017, 09:22:03 AM »
Some interesting design choices!

I think the spices on the left of the earlier version and nicer than the newer one, they stand out more.  But overall I think the visuals are more prominent in the newer one.

I wonder if they'll make a golem playmat  ;D

Some other things which may or may not be mentioned:

  • Engagement (without feeling overwhelmed)
  • Being able to try before you buy / rules available / print and play?
  • Turn times
  • Table Talk
  • Tactility
  • Table presence
  • Setup time
  • Racial/Gender/Other inclusivity
  • Symmetry / Asymmetry.
  • Drama
  • A hook
  • System Depth
  • Visible Progress - ie: city building

Hopefully, that will give others the chance for their cognitive juices to run.

Or at least give some other topics to discuss  ;D

Offline Decar

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2017, 01:40:27 PM »
I was just talking with Dan while he was in his PJs about how we both dislike the term 'gateway' because it implies that the end goal should be to quickly move on to complex games, and we don't think that's necessarily true.

I wonder if the Gateway is intended to be between the world of non-boardgamers to the vast realm of boardgaming.  That these games are a successful way of introducing people into the hobby; rather than implying gateway games are used as stepping-stone or a hoping-point, which people must visit before moving into bigger more complicated things.

Offline franks

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2017, 01:57:12 PM »
Though that playmat is just soooo lovely. (Yes, I'm sure that is very subjective as well!)


Hmm, it looks like the final playmat might be a bit different. From the Plan B website:


What's strange is I copied the image from the website and it saved as a different image(?). The image you show is the proper one!
Franks

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline franks

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2017, 02:22:28 PM »
Some interesting design choices!

I think the spices on the left of the earlier version and nicer than the newer one, they stand out more.  But overall I think the visuals are more prominent in the newer one.

I wonder if they'll make a golem playmat  ;D

Some other things which may or may not be mentioned:

  • Engagement (without feeling overwhelmed)
  • Being able to try before you buy / rules available / print and play?
  • Turn times
  • Table Talk
  • Tactility
  • Table presence
  • Setup time
  • Racial/Gender/Other inclusivity
  • Symmetry / Asymmetry.
  • Drama
  • A hook
  • System Depth
  • Visible Progress - ie: city building

Hopefully, that will give others the chance for their cognitive juices to run.

Or at least give some other topics to discuss  ;D

Decar, more good ideas here.

I just finished 2 games of Agricola (revised edition with the Mrs.) and we both struggle with the game to some degree.

What I'm getting at are these tight games where every decision can be a bit agonizing (at least for some). I had my best ever game at 43 points but it is still a bit of a slog. I do like the game but it's not exactly a relaxing experience.

So ... another factor might be Brainburnyness.

This might be closely tied to the complexity level but not always. I have some games that are tightly designed that are not that complex.

Agricola - 3.39
Agricola - All creatures Great and Small - 2.35 (is still a tight game of challenging decisions).
Cinque Terre - 2.37 (surprisingly brainburny) but I love it.

Then look at the highly rated Caverna (reported to be a more wide open sandbox experience), has an even higher rating of - 3.79.

I even think Ticket to Ride (1.87) can be a tense experience, (mostly how competitive the players are). We dusted this off last week with the girls and it was reminded how tense the map can get with 4 players.

I see where game intensity can be have a varying appeal. I have to admit I like the tension but past a certain point it can be less fun!


Offline Decar

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2017, 02:36:38 PM »
I think I know you're talking about.  I have to say, I've not managed to play many games that cause this, at least upfront.  I think it often happens in worker placement / activation games the most.  When you have to try to determine what the best course of action is, several turns in advance can be a real headache.  But I don't mean that in the same way that chess allows you to see in advance.  It's more of a subtle equation, multiplying resources and working out how best to use them.  Multiple simultaneous equations all colliding at just the write time. It seems to occur a lot in Uwe Rosenberg games!  I hear a Feast for Odin punishes even more than Agricola does and it's usually very unclear how badly you'll do.  Even patchwork manages to do this by penalizing players, it's quite hard to get a positive score some days!

I would say that brain-burn can definitely be an issue for us.  My wife reports that having worked all day, the last thing she wants to do is continue to have to think too hard.  Sometimes having clear and present options is the best way to go, even is tactically it's not.  I would say that was some of the appeal of Ginkgopolis recently, the best move is well and truly hidden, so making a reasonable move now is easier to decide.  This usually means you can take a reasonable option in front of you, but other players can spend more time strategizing.  Usually if that results in a close finish it means the game is unbalanced, but often it can simply be because one player can't 'see the wood for the trees', they're lost in a maze, rather than taking it steady.  :(y)

Offline franks

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2017, 02:56:42 PM »
I do think tension is key in a game it just depends on where our comfort level gets breached.

Again, maybe one could use a similar similar scale to complexity (but different).

Maybe it can be more clearly defined as the 'level of decision making' rather than game intensity.

If I took a stab and mostly my opinion.

Agricola might be somewhere a 4+/5
Marco polo 4+/5
Cinque Terre 4
TTR - 3/5 (?)
Agricola - All creatures 3+/5
Century: Spice Road 2/5

So I might be in that 3.5 region of comfort. I can push 4+ but it's less 'fun' for me.

Bah mostly just thinking out loud  ;D

Offline Chooselife

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2017, 02:58:34 AM »
Quote
called Sarajevo and the theme was about snipers climbing to the top of a building to get in position to shoot their enemies,

This does sound pretty good. Though I'd call it 'Enemy at the Gate' and set it in Stalingrad...nothing like a movie tie-in to shift games.

Would totally buy/back both.

Regarding BBG or any other ratings I don't pay them much attention.
I like games because I like them, not everybody else and statistics can be broken, especially internet based ones (check how Gloomhaven got to #1 by a lot of people changing their pandemic ratings to 1).
Heaviness is subjective and highly affected by your game group, I mainly play with kids but everybody has that "slow game" friend.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother;

Offline Hounk

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2017, 06:05:19 AM »
Difficult question. I definitely like relaxing, brain burning or speed/reaction-pressure games alike. I like particularly elegant design in games with a focused goal, but there are still some true "point salad" games with abstract resource to VP conversions (which I would not call "elegant"), like in "Castles of Burgundy" or "Great western Trail", which I still enjoy very much.

I also don't mind game length, as long as I feel the time frame is appropriate filled with true choices. "Ticket to Ride" or "Betrayal at the House on Hill" are by no mean very long games, but I'm not too fancied to play them. The first one can get really frustrating in times, when you have several rounds in a row have no other vial choice then taking two cards from top of the deck, yet always only get cards in the wrong colours. The second can some times turn out a great experience, but the first part of the game is not really a game. Feels more like setup, because the game really plays itself with no real choices for the player. And potentially this phase can take 45 minutes or more, and one or two rounds after the haunt is triggered, the game already ends. That can lead to a very miserable experience. So I think, most important for me is, that the game immerses me with choices, what to do.

Offline danisthirty

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2018, 09:37:20 AM »
I’ve enjoyed reading about what others have mentioned as being important factors for them when looking to buy a new game so I thought I’d mention some of the things that are important to me, for your consideration. It was quite difficult putting my finger on exactly what it is about specific games that make them so irresistible, but I’ve done my best!

Artwork is always a factor. I can enjoy games regardless of my feelings towards the art, but if the game is unknown to me, bright, colourful artwork always helps towards making a good first impression. It isn’t always about the art in the most obvious form either though, as I’m more a fan of the humble meeple than I am of either old or new edition tile artwork (so much so that I had my Dan meeple created in the classic meeple shape).

Theme is also quite important, although I’m usually more likely to be turned off by a boring theme than I am turned on by an exciting one. Themes I particularly enjoy are City Builders and Zombies, so a game that involved both would be off to a good start as far as I’m concerned!

Whilst the artwork and theme of a game could be viewed as being quite cosmetic, the mechanics of the game certainly aren’t, and this is something else that can draw me to a game even if the artwork and theme don’t really do it for me. This was certainly the case for Carcassonne anyway as I was drawn to the elegance and simplicity of the gameplay far more than anything else. But I’m not picky in this respect either as I’m open to more or less any type of game. The one thing that turns me off though are overly complicated rules or added complexity for the sake of added complexity. Less is often more, and games that do this through intuitive mechanics and simple rules are often the ones I tend to like best (hence why I usually prefer to play Carcassonne without expansions).

This might seem like a bit of a strange thing to be drawn to, but I do tend to admire games that are particularly compact. Mint Works is probably the most compact game I own and as much as I love it, there isn’t much that draws me to it in terms of theme or artwork. Other games that I like for this reason are things like Flip City, The Great Heartlands Hauling Co, some of the Tiny Epic games and… Carcassonne (after repackaging into a mini biscuit tin)! Conversely, I don’t like many games that come in huge boxes for seemingly no reason.

Finally is the play time. I don’t mind game dragging on for hours on end, but in most cases this is usually because we chose to throw in dozens of expansions or were playing with newer players who needed the game explaining to them as we went. I prefer games to be relatively short, perhaps about 30 – 40 minutes per game, which is another reason why Carcassonne scores so highly for me.

I wouldn’t say that any of these aspects is any more important than any of the others, but if I see a game that gets a tick in 3 or more of these boxes than it’s likely going to end up on my wish list sooner or later!

Offline jungleboy

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2018, 01:43:34 AM »
Nicely put Dan. Zombies aside, I think our interests match up fairly well so it's not a coincidence that we were both drawn to Carcassonne so much. Although as discussed many years ago, I love mixing the game up with expansions and find the base game a bit too unexciting by itself.

As an aside, last night I dreamt that I was playing the 'Board Game Geek Board Game' but it was too heavy and complicated and I didn't like it (and was losing badly when I decided to quit). Then later I accidentally dropped a stack of board games including that one down several flights of stairs and all the boxes opened and the components spilled out everywhere.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2018, 11:02:43 AM »
5. Manageable/Mitigating Uncertainty (random events, dice rolls, landscape-discovery)

No one has followed up on this so I'll have a go.

Firstly, I have no problem with luck being present in a game, unlike seemingly most of the BGG crowd who often think that having a luck element in a game is the worst thing in the history of the world. (I guess they haven't been to IKEA lately.) I read a weird debate recently on the BGG forum for Endeavor (I think) where someone is trying to say that there's too much luck in the game because random token placement as part of setup, in his view, constitutes luck. Thankfully most people are disagreeing with him.

Back on topic, sure, in a game like Carcassonne, when luck goes against you, that's not the greatest feeling, but on the flip side, when you draw the one tile you desperately need, that sure is pretty amazing.

As Decar said, mitigation, especially for dice rolling, is important, such as re-roll chits in games like Alea Iacta Est or the Institute for Magical Arts. In other games where the luck element is not as blatant as rolling dice, I see being able to mitigate the luck yourself through your own decisions as a kind of 'skill'. So in Carcassonne, that means trying to put yourself in a position where you can utilise lots of different tiles on any given draw and aren't reliant on one rare tile to come to your rescue and bail you out. If I feel like I played well enough to win but luck went against me and I lost, I'm OK with that. Maybe that's what it comes down to in the end.

Offline Decar

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2018, 11:21:41 AM »
Interesting thoughts Jungleboy, I'm not a particular fan of games that present all their information in front of you.  Essentially such a game is a puzzle.  Ultimately, you could find the best path in front of you.  It is often seen in abstract games, knowing that the first/last player will lose if both players play perfectly.  This is the case in noughts & crosses or connect 4, but a lot of games are really about solving that puzzle, which happens in all games in the gipf series, but also Chess & Go as extreme examples.  Thankfully, that puzzle solving is way beyond me, but there's no pretense.  You know the game is a flawed puzzle, but good luck working it out.
It can happen in higher-player-count games too: where you need to read your opponents moves, but then the game becomes judging what the best risk to take is.  Asking questions like: Do I score 10 points now and hope PlayerB doesn't do XYZ?  Or should I get 7 points now and assume he does.  My issue with these sorts of games is that they hide the puzzle and call it a game.

An alternative is to introduce something random, a little bit of chaos.  However too much chaos means either play could win regardless of the events and decisions made.  Just like Snakes and Ladders.  Being able to mitigate means trying to understand the odds, or count the tiles, or know the risks to determine a suitable strategy which should allow you to progress, score points achieve a goal.

I rarely get the chance these days, but sometimes setting yourself a challenge within a game can be just as rewarding.  Just like saying: can I trap a player's meeple before they score 10 points, for example.  Sometimes that's more important than winning the game overall.  Even winning a single player-interaction can be more rewarding than the summation of the entire game.

Offline franks

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2018, 12:45:16 PM »
More good points, jungleboy and Decar.

I go along similar guidelines with luck aspects of games especially with mitigation mechanisms. That’s balances makes for a great game.

Thinking long these lines took my mind to another aspect and that is variability in games. I especially enjoy games with a variable set up or variable boards along the lines of Kingdom Builder for a quick example or Carcassonne for that matter.

Whether it is the chance for a different board or even card combinatios that come up in a game, these add interest and challenge.

I might actually enjoy more games where you have to deal with issues on the spot rather where you need a strategy all mapped out. I probably have to consider this more and it’s probably a measure of both that I enjoy.

Regardless, variability would be another big one for me.

Offline dirk2112

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Re: What do you look for in a game?
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2018, 02:19:55 PM »
Whether it is the chance for a different board or even card combinatios that come up in a game, these add interest and challenge.


I agree 100% Franks.  Card variability and combination is rather common, but the lack of different boards annoys me greatly.  I can't believe some games still come out with blank sides of game boards.  If you are a company making any type of board, you should make a flip side for variability.  Different point values, locations, or totally different game play are all current things found in some games.  If Imhotep wouldn't have double sides, I think we would have been sick of it by now.  A game like Pandemic Iberia should have another side featuring another region like the Ticket to Ride games have.  Same game, same components, how much more can it be to make another side of the board?


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