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Subject: What makes a game fun for you? rss

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Paul Spencer
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I realise that's a broad and pretty vague question. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently. Trying to narrow in on what I really enjoy about board games.

As a rule I know that whatever Shut up and Sit down recommend I'll enjoy. I think there's something about the types of games they like that really resonate with me.

For me what makes games fun is the interactions with other people, the way a game facilitates an experience that you wouldn't have otherwise had. I think Quinn's sums it up best in the review of Captain Sonar,[url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjo4iXyDPtw [/url]

So look at your shelf is there an over-riding theme or style that stands out? Or is it a mish-mash of Kickstarter regrets?
 
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Pete
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The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)
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G.Daddy.Slim
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plezercruz wrote:
The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)


What he said!
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J C Lawrence
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A good game, a fun game, sits just outside my head, just outside my comprehension, just outside my ability to wrangle it...and taunts, lurching hurdy gurdy-like in and out of being fully seen, fully encompassed. It is almost within reach, almost fully comprehendable, almost solvable, almost understandable, almost predictable, almost controllable...but not quite, and in doing so it lures and tempts and teases with great insights, shafts of bright revelatory light, sweeping vistas of if-only-I-could-see...and the regular deliverance of in-hindsight-predictably-inevitable failure.
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Dianne N.
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plezercruz wrote:
The other players...


+1

If everyone else isn't having fun it isn't fun for me. Also, some games require you have people that are equally skilled for the game to be fun (no fun to beat someone to a pulp or figure out 2 turns in that you've already lost the game).

On the other hand, if you simply mean games that I have fun with in general... I like something that makes me think but isn't a total brain burner, a game that rewards solid strategy/tatics but still has a small element of luck to it that could make you have to reassess everything, and has some sort of take-that element. I think I might be in the minority of take-that gamers, but I do like messing with people in games (even if it's just being able to attack for the sake of attacking, or steal something just because I can).
 
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John Prewitt
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plezercruz wrote:
The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)


Haha. I almost always play solo and my wife plays sometimes. Fewer the better! I enjoy interesting puzzles that make my brain burn and keep my mind engaged. If a game doesn't keep me engaged I'll pack it up and put it away. Having other player as the table (besides my wife) takes my mind off the game, which I don't like (she is in the same boat as me and we play games pretty quickly because we both are very focused).
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René Petersen
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glouie wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)


What he said!


Yes!
 
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Pete
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79strat wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)


Haha. I almost always play solo and my wife plays sometimes. Fewer the better!

I guess I'm the first cold antisocial guy in the thread? What makes a game fun for me is interesting mechanics and ongoing puzzles that make my brain burn.
Understandable. For me, absent other players to compete against, I'll do something different.

Pete (thinks some games are better than others, but most are enjoyable with the right crowd)
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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1 A challenging mental puzzle. I want it to be difficult to figure out the right thing to do.

2 Skill matters. I want the better players to win substantially more of the time. I don't mind dice and such, as long as skill remains the primary determiner of victory.

3 A theme that draws me in. I want to feel the game has some connection to some kind of story that I can identify with.

4 An attractive game. It doesn't have to be glitzy with gobs of miniatures but I prefer it to be pleasing to the the eye.

5 Obviously (as Pete said) the right people to play it. A good game isn't much fun if I'm playing with a bunch of grumps. (However, the right crowd won't help if the game sucks. Then I'd rather just hang out with them.)

EDIT: Take my top 4 games:
Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan: Medium challenging, but skill clearly matters. I love the theme of war and betrayal in feudal Japan. It's a very pretty game.
Innovation: Perhaps slightly more challenging than Seki. Managing chaos can be hard. You have to roll with the punches. Skill matters, even though the randomness of the cards can drive you crazy. The theme is barely there and the cards are workmanlike rather than beautiful.
The Gallerist: Just a lush thinky mental space. So many things to do and most of them will push other levers in the game. Skill clearly matters (our kid kicks my wife and my butts). The art theme shines through fantastically and the game is gorgeous.
Agricola: Punishing challenging worker placement. Make a mistake and start begging. No contest between good and bad players. The theme comes through very well (I'm a farmer!). The game looks pretty good until you pimp it out like I have, then it looks pretty great.
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G.Daddy.Slim
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plezercruz wrote:
79strat wrote:


Haha. I almost always play solo and my wife plays sometimes. Fewer the better!

I guess I'm the first cold antisocial guy in the thread? What makes a game fun for me is interesting mechanics and ongoing puzzles that make my brain burn.
Understandable. For me, absent other players to compete against, I'll do something different.

Pete (thinks some games are better than others, but most are enjoyable with the right crowd)


Definitely true, and for some people, the right crowd is themselves. And that's okay.

(diversity is what makes the world go round!)
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Michael Tyree
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plezercruz wrote:
79strat wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
The other players...

Pete (lists that as the number one factor in his enjoyment of a game)


Haha. I almost always play solo and my wife plays sometimes. Fewer the better!

I guess I'm the first cold antisocial guy in the thread? What makes a game fun for me is interesting mechanics and ongoing puzzles that make my brain burn.
Understandable. For me, absent other players to compete against, I'll do something different.

Pete (thinks some games are better than others, but most are enjoyable with the right crowd)


I actually feel a bit of both. For me, I think I could state this as having the right players. Sometimes, solo or 2 player. Other times, a big party game with the more the merrier. I just want the best fit for everyone to have fun, because if someone is miserable, it will spread to everyone.

As to game type, my perfectly subjective preference is a tough, challenging puzzly beast that will smack you around a bit while you build your skills. As stated elsewhere, luck is fine in small doses, but I like to know I'm getting better as I learn the ins and outs.
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John Burt
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ascruplepen wrote:
I realise that's a broad and pretty vague question. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently. Trying to narrow in on what I really enjoy about board games.

As a rule I know that whatever Shut up and Sit down recommend I'll enjoy. I think there's something about the types of games they like that really resonate with me.

For me what makes games fun is the interactions with other people, the way a game facilitates an experience that you wouldn't have otherwise had. I think Quinn's sums it up best in the review of Captain Sonar,[url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjo4iXyDPtw [/url]

So look at your shelf is there an over-riding theme or style that stands out? Or is it a mish-mash of Kickstarter regrets?


Funny enough, while I love watching SUSD's reviews for the comedy value, I disagree with their opinions most of the time. I even often disagree with their reasons when they like a game that I like.

What makes a game fun to me is NOT the interactions with other people. I can think of numerous other ways to socialize that would be more fun than playing boardgames. What keeps me interested in boardgames is the challenge of the games themselves. I like immersing myself in solving the puzzle and/or experiencing the story, first and foremost. If people are playing with me, then we all get to share the game experience, which is awesome and the reason I prefer to play with others, but that is not the primary reason why I play.
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nat tact
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I cannot tell you what makes up a good board game but I can tell you when something is a good board game.
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John Prewitt
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quill65 wrote:
ascruplepen wrote:
I realise that's a broad and pretty vague question. But I've been thinking about it a lot recently. Trying to narrow in on what I really enjoy about board games.

As a rule I know that whatever Shut up and Sit down recommend I'll enjoy. I think there's something about the types of games they like that really resonate with me.

For me what makes games fun is the interactions with other people, the way a game facilitates an experience that you wouldn't have otherwise had. I think Quinn's sums it up best in the review of Captain Sonar,[url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjo4iXyDPtw [/url]

So look at your shelf is there an over-riding theme or style that stands out? Or is it a mish-mash of Kickstarter regrets?


Funny enough, while I love watching SUSD's reviews for the comedy value, I disagree with their opinions most of the time. I even often disagree with their reasons when they like a game the I also like.

What makes a game fun to me is NOT the interactions with other people. I can think of numerous other ways to socialize that would be more fun than playing boardgames. What keeps me interested in boardgames is the challenge of the games themselves. I like immersing myself in solving the puzzle and/or experiencing the story, first and foremost. If people are playing with me, then we all get to share the game experience, which is awesome and the reason I prefer to play with others, but that is not the primary reason why I play.


I'd say I'm very much like you as far as boardgaming goes. I've only recently met an "outsider" (friend) who enjoys gaming, but for the most part anyone I know looks "down" on my hobby, including friends and family, so I exclusively play solo or with my wife, and that's fine with me.
 
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James Arias
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For me...

Theme matters...especially oddball mash-ups like circus bizarres vs. martians.

Attractive components...so staring at it for an hour is easy on the eyes.

Emergent gameplay that you can create funny narratives about (and laugh about).

Unexpectedness ... e.g. certain game types I prefer random maps to scenarios or fixed boards. Random encounters. Statistically rare but awesome moments. Etc.

But most of all, unplugged face to face time with the players (which for me most often are the kids, or an old college friend).

Edit: these threads should be correlated with that gamer type survey. I'm Immersive-Gregarious!
 
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Chris Graves
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I'm probably going to mention a lot of things that have already been mentioned, but here we go (in no particular order):

* Several ways to win the game
* Player mats/factions with different powers/strengths/even weakness
* A small percentage of luck, like drawing cards, because you have to react
* Good components
* Quality art
* Re-playability
* If not re-playability, an EPIC experience
* Immersion/theme
 
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Ed James
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clearclaw wrote:
A good game, a fun game, sits just outside my head, just outside my comprehension, just outside my ability to wrangle it...and taunts, lurching hurdy gurdy-like in and out of being fully seen, fully encompassed. It is almost within reach, almost fully comprehendable, almost solvable, almost understandable, almost predictable, almost controllable...but not quite, and in doing so it lures and tempts and teases with great insights, shafts of bright revelatory light, sweeping vistas of if-only-I-could-see...and the regular deliverance of in-hindsight-predictably-inevitable failure.


Like when you lose interest in a game the moment you learn how to win.
 
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mortego

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my answer is also the people I play with but as far as the game is concerned I think co-op type games make it fun for me.
 
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John Smith
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I have a broad-ish taste but the main pattern seems to be games that have quite a lot of weight for their game length, that are low-ish in luck (Glass Road at the shorter end, Kanban at the longer). Not that many of our games have dice, my wife generally avoids those games. I also appreciate nice art and components, which tend to make me appreciate a game that little bit more.

I don't need strong themes generally, though appreciate that Doomtown is in my view dripping with it. I seem to need only a few nice-ish pictures to get into whatever theme is there.

I also enjoy a few high luck games but prefer them to be shorter (love King of Tokyo).

Reviewers-wise, I think Rahdo, DriveThru Review and No Pun Included cross over with my tastes. Though No Pun Included didn't seem to dig Viticulture, which I love!

Rahdo has a strong pull for me with his two-player focus and he is not mad on take-that games, which is handy as my wife is not keen on mean games.

DriveThru I like that Joel has a broad taste. I mainly play Euros (partly because my wife loves thinky Euros) but enjoy most games, I'll play almost anything.

No Pun Included like some of the same games I like and I find them very entertaining.

Not watched so much Shut Up and Sit Down for some reason, maybe they did not cover so many of the games I was looking into. Though I really enjoyed their Doomtown review and that did sway me.

Not that I have been very difficult to sway!

whistle
 
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Melody Klein
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The challenge, first and foremost, I think.
Even if the challenge is mere optimization of a solution you've previously discovered. Even if it's just optimization vs the random draw/roll.

A secondary favorite element is building an engine. The feeling that my cards/components are doing most of the work for me (due to how I've selected/utilized them) is one of the most satisfying in gaming. Yet I do enjoy games where there's no such element.

I think I place the opponents/collaborators as third after those two things, yet for the most part, I wouldn't play solo, so it's fair to say all 3 are very important.
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Osiris Saline
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I really enjoy collaborative games where the challenge sort of guarantees you'll be losing as much as you'll be winning.

This includes the usual wonderful narrative horror co-op fare, alongside co-op games that have traitor/s & independent goal-per-player elements like the beloved Battlestar Galactica.

I really like easy to swallow themes alongside a largely co-op game, whether it's the typical Cthulhu/zombie lore that any horror fan over the age of 16 will likely have some knowledge of, or stuff like the easily relatable fear of illness & disease in Pandemic.

On the other hand many years ago I largely lost my love of combat games due to my growing love of co-op games, and, well, escapism in horror vs escapism in war when your friends have literal war stories, and your family sides have constant battles against one another due to opposing sides in wars...it's led me to stay far away from them, versus just isn't very fun when it reminds you of junk and genuinely leads some players to go into the 'when I was in...' state of mind.

So the themes have to be welcoming and not a reminder of the horrors of the real world right now, the gameplay must allow players to be largely collaborative, and in some form they must have some narrative, whether it is through stories gained as a social experience between players in the aforementioned Pandemic, or guided stories you are trying to finish in stuff like Mansions of Madness: Second Edition or countless GM'd tabletop role playing games.

In short, it has to be a shared joy whether winning or losing.
 
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G.Daddy.Slim
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PerpetualFX wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
The other players...


+1

If everyone else isn't having fun it isn't fun for me. Also, some games require you have people that are equally skilled for the game to be fun (no fun to beat someone to a pulp or figure out 2 turns in that you've already lost the game).


You have to be careful with this one though.. Sometimes it's hard to know when someone is having fun... and your actions to make them have fun make it worse for them or others in the group. I played with a meetup organizer who was so concerned about helping others win (trading stuff for zero value in return, etc..), he made the game pointless... I don't want another player giving me (or other players) stuff just because he thinks winning will make us happy and thus have fun...

I have no problem being beaten to a pulp in my 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 100th game, if the person is clearly better than me. But as you pointed out, it may not be any fun for the guy beating me either.
 
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Max Power
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ascruplepen wrote:

For me what makes games fun is the interactions with other people, the way a game facilitates an experience that you wouldn't have otherwise had.


I'd echo what you said here. Face to face interactions are integral to the board game experience in a way that practically makes them the dividing line between playing something like hearthstone alone in your room while you cry yourself to sleep.

This is whey I tend to shy away from Euro games and lean more towards attack oriented games like King of New York and Wiz-War, and hidden roles games like Resistance and Coup which force direct player-player interactions at almost every turn.
 
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Ray
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When I first got into gaming, I thought I could play with anyone just as long as the game was challenging and fun.

After playing with many people, I need to play with friends or people who will become friends after we play. I could be playing my top ten in a row and if it's the wrong people : it would be for nothing.
 
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Dianne N.
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glouie wrote:
You have to be careful with this one though.. Sometimes it's hard to know when someone is having fun... and your actions to make them have fun make it worse for them or others in the group. I played with a meetup organizer who was so concerned about helping others win (trading stuff for zero value in return, etc..), he made the game pointless... I don't want another player giving me (or other players) stuff just because he thinks winning will make us happy and thus have fun...


I didn't say I'd go out of my way to try to make other people have fun, just that I enjoy it most when everyone is having fun. You are right that this is tricky, but for the most part you know it when you see it.
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