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Subject: The Breaking-up-the-Monopoly challenge rss

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Alex P
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After re-watching Scott Nicholson's "Breaking up the Monopoly" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4nofYNC67s), since he re-edited it, I got to thinking what other perennial favorites of the general populace that could be replaced if only these folks knew what great games awaited them*.

So I present my challenge: Take a popular (read: continually stocked) game sold at Wal-Mart or Toys 'r' Us, deconstruct it into its various facets (mechanisms, themes and feel) and suggest a better* game that might best reflect that facet.

If you can make a video - preferable, since you could "respond" to Scott's submission on YouTube - keep it in the same general format. I.e. a short segment with a reason or two for why someone might want to replace their long-time favorite and then state the facet and introduce a game. Describe each game but keep that short too, the goal is to sell the games we like, not teach them. They can look up another video later if they really need it. Or you could post it in Geeklist format (as I will) and link to it here.
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Alex P
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*Note on elitism: Who are we to tell "them" what a "better" game is? This is a criticism of criticism I see quite often (ironic, I know). Well critics (the good ones, anyway) tend to be educated in a particular subject. Many go to school and have a deep knowledge of their subject - in our case, there aren't many of us who have a degree in "board game design" or "fun creation" but we do have lots of experience. Just like you would trust your plumber to suggest a brand of wrench or your mechanic for what model of car to avoid.

Isn't this elitist? Yes, yes it is. In the same way that your physician/mechanic is an elite of the human body/automobile and its functions. We're just as familiar with games in our own way. We know how much more fun a game can be when we change X or remove Y or add in Z. We've also been exposed to many more games and we don't have any sacred cows that forbid us from "denying" the holy Scrabble or Risk or (gasp) Chess.

Are you saying we're better than "them"? If by "better" you mean "more informed/educated/experienced" about this particular subject, then yes. Smarter? No, probably not.

What if I think that games like Monopoly and Game of Life are awesome? This thread isn’t for you - you win.
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Alex P
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Here's mine: Risk - http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/63083/breaking-up-the-mono...
 
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Jack Smith
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This is a good idea Alex, hope it picks up. Also the word 'elitist' is heavily abused on the internet, it is never used in the proper context. If I want to learn about fishing I ask a fisherman. If I want to learn about gaming I ask a gamer. We certainly can help people make more informed choices. After that it is up to them.


Edit: The only issue I had with Scotts approach was the implied assumption that you needed to play several games to get the flavour of the one game (Monopoly) even though of course it was there to show alternatives for game elements. I'm not sure if it was shooting itself in the foot.
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Alex P
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Halfinger wrote:
The only issue I had with Scotts approach was the implied assumption that you needed to play several games to get the flavour of the one game (Monopoly) even though of course it was there to show alternatives for game elements. I'm not sure if it was shooting itself in the foot.


Perhaps, but even for people that that like Monopoly (I used to be one when I was younger) I suspect that they play it for one or two things in particular over the others (I used to like making the big deals).

The more important point, though: he's using their game as a wedge to introduce something even more fun. He could have just rattled off any number of games (choice of 6700 or so, according to the geek) that are better but this way, he gives them a further excuse/reason to go outside of their comfort zone (read: try something different).
 
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Branko K.
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I dislike this "breaking up" approach.

A boardgame isn't a sum of its "mechanisms", just like a book/movie is not a sum of its plot devices. I simply do not believe that you can dissect a popular game, pull out all the squishy bits and say "hey, this other game has a similar squishy bit, that means that is a good game, too". I mean, I like Scott and am sad to hear he will not make more boardgaming casts, but I just don't think an average person will say "I like Monopoly because I like investing in properties".

People do not like Monopoly because it somehow scored a mechanism-bingo, people like Monopoly because of various sociological factors. It's a recognizable, omnipresent, universally accepted boardgame, a cultural phenomenon. I don't think anyone chooses Monopoly on purpose by making a conscious decision and picking it up over other games, it's one of the things you somehow get introduced to growing up by people who also somehow got introduced to it growing up. It's popular because it's everywhere, and it's everywhere because it's popular.

I think the best way to make people interested in other boardgames is simply to stick to the "light, fun, attractive" approach. There's a reason why TTR or Carc or Settlers get the "gateway" tag so often, even though they do not share "mechanisms" with Monopoly. Sure, something like "Acquire" is much closer to Monopoly, but to a non-gamer it will more likely look like a glorified Excel table then a source of fun and enjoyment.

So, yeah..it might be fun to dissect a game from an academic point of view, but thinking that the results will distill a perfect non-gamer bait.. nah. Not buying it.


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Jennifer Casperson
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Although I agree with your point that a board game is the sum of its parts, it is often the case for me that a certain aspect of any given game(Risk's heavy reliance on dice rolling for instance) that turns me off to a game.

I think this is a good idea, but was not executed properly. When I read over the OP's example for Risk, it didn't really engage me. In my opinion, what this idea needs is a more in depth explanation of why I should go to any one game. Since this seems like a lot of work for the amount of games referenced, maybe it would be better to focus only on one, and then list some recommendations with links to videos about them for the others.
 
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Tuomas Korppi
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OK, here are the things I like in Othello. Someone pls recommend me a better game with these characteristics.

* Two-player game. No problems with vendettas, kingmaking, favoritisim etc. that appear with more players.

* The strategy of the game is counterintuitive. Even if the object of the game is to maximize the number of your disks in the end, it is strategically wise to minimize the number of your disks early and in the middle game.

* There exists strategy literature for the game. So studying by reading is possible, and you do not have to invent everything from the scratch.
 
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Eric Jome
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baba44713 wrote:
So, yeah..it might be fun to dissect a game from an academic point of view, but thinking that the results will distill a perfect non-gamer bait.. nah. Not buying it.


I don't get this interpretation out of this at all.

This, to me, is about progress. About taking a serious look at what is good and what is bad in something like Monopoly and finding improvements. In the past, people did that with house rules. Now, we've got a whole field of additional games to consider as alternatives. By turning a critical, seeking eye to the essentials of a game, you're hoping to keep as much of the style and feel of that game while making it a better experience.

This is just a simple game of substitution. Instead of X, try Y. Y is like X, you'll enjoy it in the same context and with the same people, only it is more fun and more interesting. You'll love Y because you like X.

There is no "bait" for people to play games. Everyone likes games. This is about introducing people to better, more fun games instead of letting them go through less fun games generation after generation.
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Alex P
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Punainen Nörtti wrote:
OK, here are the things I like in Othello. Someone pls recommend me a better game with these characteristics.

* Two-player game. No problems with vendettas, kingmaking, favoritisim etc. that appear with more players.

* The strategy of the game is counterintuitive. Even if the object of the game is to maximize the number of your disks in the end, it is strategically wise to minimize the number of your disks early and in the middle game.

* There exists strategy literature for the game. So studying by reading is possible, and you do not have to invent everything from the scratch.


Try the games from the Gipf series. Of the ones I've tried: Dvonn and Zertz. Dvonn is the one that's easiest to pick up immediately. Tzaar is the latest in the series and, after reading the rules, it seems quite good as well.

They all have very simple rules (think Checkers) and have very complex game play (think Chess).

There are plenty of strategy articles on the net for these. The rules usually include some tips and basic strategies - anything else you read just allows you to travel up the learning curve a lot quicker.
 
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Branko K.
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cosine wrote:

There is no "bait" for people to play games. Everyone likes games. This is about introducing people to better, more fun games instead of letting them go through less fun games generation after generation.


Which is something I never disagreed with. I was just stating that the process of introducing "better, more fun" games must not necessarily include "dissecting games they already know".
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Eric Jome
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baba44713 wrote:
not necessarily include


Not necessary, but perhaps useful.
 
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Alex P
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cosine wrote:
baba44713 wrote:
not necessarily include


Not necessary, but perhaps useful.


At the very least, just as an excuse to broach the subject. Instead of saying, here play Settlers of Catan instead of Monopoly, you can say, well if you like the trading aspect of Monopoly then I'll recommend Catan which has a lot of fun trading (and also reduces the game time to something more sane) wink wink.
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Robert Wesley
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For the "Game of LIFE" remnants: "Death RACE 2010" whistle
 
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Stephen Miller
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baba44713 wrote:
cosine wrote:

There is no "bait" for people to play games. Everyone likes games. This is about introducing people to better, more fun games instead of letting them go through less fun games generation after generation.


Which is something I never disagreed with. I was just stating that the process of introducing "better, more fun" games must not necessarily include "dissecting games they already know".


True, but if they know what aspects of a game they're familiar with they they enjoy and/or dislike, it can offer a starting point.
 
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