Why you don't like luckless 2p abstract games, and why you like this exception.
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I'm in love with 2-player, luckless, perfect-information abstract games. I'm obsessed with playing them and obsessed with designing them. I also want to be better at designing them than I am. To do that, I think it might help to better understand why many people don't like these kinds of games, and why there are exceptions that appeal to the same folks.

So, if you do the following I'll be terrifically grateful:

If you're someone who doesn't like the kinds of games described above, but for whom there is at least one exception that you *do* like, post that game to this geeklist.

In your entry, describe why you don't like this kind of game in the most thoughtful terms you can muster, and also describe why the game you've posted is an exception.

Try to avoid single-word descriptions, like "I don't like abstract games because they feel puzzly". What does it mean for a game to feel puzzly? Why should puzzliness lead to negative feelings? etc. Try to go beyond the usual explanations.

If the entries are thoughtful enough, I hope this will help all of us develop a deeper understanding of what makes for good game design, regardless of genre.
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1. Board Game: Polarity [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2069]
Karl
Austria
Salzburg
Salzburg
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I dislike luckless 2p abstract games because with the same opponent the tend to go the same way each time played. Add a random element at setup and you got me interesed. Or add an element of dexterity like for this one to give different outcomes for the same tactics.

So basically it comes down to 'can the game be solved'. With different setups this is at least multiplied manyfold.
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2. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:411] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I generally dislike "luckless 2p abstract games" because they feel too much like work (i.e., require too much concentration) and thus repel many players. I have a hard enough time finding opponents anyway, and I often end up playing games solitaire. If I insisted on playing "luckless 2p abstract games," I'd have to search online or join a club to find opponents. Add a luck element, however, and possibly an option for more people to play, and my wife and friends will gladly join in.

Exceptions, for me, are traditional games--e.g., Chess (plus Shogi and Xiangqi), Checkers, and Go. These games appeal to me because of their history and culture, and because of the literature they have generated. While I might not play these games often (and will certainly never be very good at playing any of them), I still like reading about them and dabbling at them. When I do, I feel I'm participating in a wonderful time-honored tradition.

But if you show me any newly designed game of this type, I won't be at all interested. I know it will be essentially a mathematical exercise or a contest of concentration and reasoning power. I can already get plenty of that from Chess, Checkers, and Go. More than I'll ever need. Any one of those games would satisfy me for a lifetime; and with any of them, I also get to enjoy a body of literature and a worldwide community of players. That's something I can't get from any newer game.
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3. Board Game: Dameo [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:8122]
Mark Paul
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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I was into chess and checkers (Draughts) for quite a while. While I loved the brainburning competition, the fact was it lacked excitement and at times "Fun".

I remember playing the Sicilian Defence- Dragon variation and trying to recall the book plays until the middle game. As I went into the middle game it was tight, closed and brainburning. Well the game ended in a draw and my oppenent said, "Good Game, that was fun." To me is was all the fun of cramming for a final exam.

On day I stumbled on Dameo, a checker variation by Christian Freeling. This game has many possibilities, you can set people up for traps and the consequences are brutal.

Maybe if it is over analyzed it will become like chess to me, but a game should be fun to play.
Other abstracts I find fun:

Camelot
Twixt
Kreigspiel (Chess in the unknown.)
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