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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Brush with perfection? rss

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Nathan T
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I'm not sure how many gamers actually think of this kind of thing while learning or playing games, but I thought I'd get a conversation started to see if there's anyone out there...

Which game or games would you describe as closest to "perfection" in terms of being the maximum realization of what they're supposed to be? This is almost like describing a masterwork of art, but instead of the visual artwork applied to the game, I'm referring to the game mechanics themselves -- or it could be the package as a whole. For example, in single-player video games, Shadow of the Colossus is often recognized as the closest to a work of art.

I think we talk enough about "elegance" in game mechanics for certain games, and maybe perfection or near-perfection is really just a high degree of elegance. So aesthetically I'm thinking along those lines. It doesn't necessarily have to be the game you have the most fun with, or plays with the most group sizes.

I'd think a classic like Chess would be a good candidate, and as far as modern games go, I'd be thinking along the lines of medium to heavy Eurogames, but I'm curious to see how others feel about this question. I do think there has to be a minimum threshold of complexity though -- for example I don't think I'd describe Tic-Tac-Toe as "perfect" from an aesthetic standpoint.
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Jacob Randolph
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Haspelknecht is the first game to come to mind. In my last two plays I've realized that this game is executed nearly perfectly. I honestly can't think of a single fault of the game other than I want more tiles( which is coming in a 2017 expansion!) It's not my favorite game but I still enjoy the heck out of every play and I think it's a home run in art, theme, and mechanics.
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Joe Sallen
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If perfection is infinity, then I think Dominion is a parabola that gets closer and closer in that direction with each expansion. Each one has opened the simple system to complex possibilities without at all changing its base formula. Maybe a bit boring, but it fits.
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Greg
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"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."
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Go
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Jason
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I'll throw a few in. These games make me go "Damn, that's a good game." every time I play them. They just have that design aspect that makes them truly a great competition.

Concordia
Vikings
Arkadia

These games truly are perfect designs:

Biblios
Jaipur
Samurai
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Keyflower: As a euro hybrid auction/worker placement game this is just too good. It hits that sweet spot of heavy interactivity and interlocking mechanics of sacrifice and gambling for the end game. The components are supremely functional and dare I say...cheerful. Holding a plan together for that final sting using your opponent's space is gaming nirvana.

Cthulhu Wars: The antithesis of a euro on its plastic tentacled surface but held together by a victory point race and tightly balanced asymmetry to create the ultimate area control battle royale. Armed with brightly colored goliaths and very little hidden information it's all about second and third guessing what everyone else will do and then punishing mistakes with cherry picking a third of the map in one turn or 20 dice of smackdown.

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Chad Brown

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Star Wars Rebellion gives me this feeling of "WOW!" everytime I play it. I feel like I am immersed in a story and the game happens to be tagging along. Winning or losing does not matter. I have never felt a game functions so well at what I want out of it as this game does.
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Cris Whetstone
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Civilization
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James Arias
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If longevity is a valid criterion, then for dudes on a map type games there are titles like Ikusa whose rules are basically unchanged 30 years later.
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Bryan Thunkd
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s3kt0r wrote:
Came here to post this. Darn you Greg!
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Graham Robinson
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Bridge
Race for the Galaxy

and as people have already mentioned Go

Cthulhu Wars comes close, but has a few too many exceptional rules and a couple of other minor imperfections. Glorantha: The Gods War may be the perfected re-implementation.

Cheers,
Graham
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Jason Brown
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I've given 4 10's with one moving down to a 9 after several months.

10's
Scythe
Viticulture Essential Edition
7 Wonders

10 moved to a 9
Baseball Highlights: 2045 – Super Deluxe Edition
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Jim Fardette
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WetRock wrote:


Computer or board? I haven't tried the board game yet, but I have a 15 year old laptop that I drag out of storage once a year to play Civ II. I still get lost in that game for days at a a time.
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DaveB
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Cthulhu wars - great game, but just misses because its too big. Too big for my table, and too big to be carrying up and downstairs.

Arkham Horror - just misses as 10% of games to easy, 10% impossible and of course setup time.

Caylus Magna Carta - just misses because it hasn't got the above issues i.e. not enough of it!
 
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Steve B
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Probably Agricola. I am not the biggest fan of playing it, but I see it as the most finely designed board game of all time. Flawless.
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Graham Robinson
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baronholbach wrote:
I'd think a classic like Chess would be a good candidate,


I'd suggest that Chess is quite far from perfection. Quite apart from the fact that any difference in skill levels means that the winner is clear before the first move, there's an over-emphasis on openings and countering openings, with the mid-late game being considerably less important in determining victory. Compare with Go's ability to develop a strong position elsewhere to potentially recover from a poor opening.

Cheers,
Graham
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Andrew Johnson
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kalaheo wrote:
Haspelknecht is the first game to come to mind. In my last two plays I've realized that this game is executed nearly perfectly. I honestly can't think of a single fault of the game other than I want more tiles( which is coming in a 2017 expansion!) It's not my favorite game but I still enjoy the heck out of every play and I think it's a home run in art, theme, and mechanics.


Thanks for that. I was unfamiliar with the game.
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MC Games
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Euphrat & Tigris
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Nathan T
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crazybyzantine wrote:
If longevity is a valid criterion, then for dudes on a map type games there are titles like Ikusa whose rules are basically unchanged 30 years later.


Of course your analysis of "perfection" could be anything, so certainly longevity with an unchanged ruleset is a factor. Unless of course the game was simply not supported or developed, in which case there are thousands of games whose rules haven't changed in 30 years..

For me, rather than any external factor, it's about a feeling I get while playing the game, in addition to having fun with the game or excitement of competition. I just feel stunned at how perfect it is. It's not really the same thing as being perfectly balanced either -- a lot of games are really well balanced, which can be accomplished with a calculator and plenty of playtesting.

For me, the two games I've played that have this quality (other than Chess and Go) are Tigris and Euphrates and Le Havre. But I'm really glad to see people have mentioned plenty of games that are even newer than Le Havre (2008).
 
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Thom0909
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therealbuserian wrote:
baronholbach wrote:
I'd think a classic like Chess would be a good candidate,


I'd suggest that Chess is quite far from perfection. Quite apart from the fact that any difference in skill levels means that the winner is clear before the first move, there's an over-emphasis on openings and countering openings, with the mid-late game being considerably less important in determining victory. Compare with Go's ability to develop a strong position elsewhere to potentially recover from a poor opening.

Cheers,
Graham


Doesn't Go have the same issue with skill levels? A noob has no chance to beat a good player.

This doesn't bother me personally - it means the game requires lots of skill - but I don't see why it would apply to Chess and not Go.
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euronoob

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Well, Go at least has a handicapping system. So games between players of unequal skill are viable.
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Mark Smith

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I would have to put Chess up as candidate for a perfect game, it is a game that is mostly universally accepted .
As an example if I were to travel round the world stopping at towns and villages on the way. Chess is the most likely game to be recognised and a willing opponent would be found. Is this not the sign of a perfect game or is this a judgement for only people who have access to the Internet ?
Can you think of a game you could unpack in say Africa or the Middle East and have people see it and know how to play and enjoy it?
Personally I love Carcassonne as it is easy to teach and slick to play.
looks nice.
kids and adults of varying skill can play it.
smallish box.
multilingual.

Here is a scary thought my Mum just suggested Bingo . Well ?
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Thom0909
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euronoob wrote:
Well, Go at least has a handicapping system. So games between players of unequal skill are viable.


Chess can be handicapped as well: one side plays without a pawn or knight, etc., although no one seems to do this much any more. The old greats seemed to play a lot of games this way.
 
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Jacob Schoberg
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Elkhorn
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baronholbach wrote:

Which game or games would you describe as closest to "perfection" in terms of being the maximum realization of what they're supposed to be?


Kingdom Death: Monster

Doesn't really matter if you love or hate this type of game, it seems like no compromises were taken to the vision over the course of development.
 
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Pete
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Twister

Pete (can feel you judging him)
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