Why I Love Games, Part II: Exhilaration (energy, intensity, adreline, etc.)
Thi Nguyen
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Same as for Analysis via Pairs, Part I. I'm trying to figure out what factors in games give me that blood-pumped, adrenaline surge, that feeling of complete, wild exhileration.

See the sister list, Part I: Fun
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
Best way I can figure to do it is to compare vaguely similar games and figure out which difference leads to the difference in exhilaration.
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1. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:206]
Thi Nguyen
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ACQUIRE VS. VOLLDAMPF

Acquire I wouldn't describe as fun... more like brutally, exhaustingly exhilarating. It's one long nail-biting hell of a game, for me. Once, when a company got pushed over the mergeable size when I didn't expect it to (I think because my three opponents figured out what I was doing and decided to screw me), I let out a mighty, anguished curse. I screamed. And the game went on without comment. Because that kind of emotional energy just happens in Acquire.
 
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2. Board Game: Volldampf [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:2204]
Thi Nguyen
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Volldampf, on the other hand, hits me with this kind of vague, listless boredom. I mean, I can play it, and I'm pretty good at it, but there's nothing with the riskiness of pushing a company up as big as it can go before you merge it. There's nothing as vicious as stock-buying combat for majority. Instead, there's very quiet, very steady build-up, and slight differences in efficiences. Once in a while, you can sort of corner an area and work it, but rarely. But never can it happen that all your plans can come to naught. Never can it happen that the board changes wildly and unexpectedly - nor can you engineer such a change. Never can you get edged out of making a lot of money by a single share.

I think the essential difference is, in Volldampf there are efficiencies to be managed, but precious little *risk*. No danger, no exhileration.

They're both money games, they're both very tight money games, where you're obsessed with keeping money flowing in. But Volldampf... Volldampf is sort of sleepy. Volldampf makes me think, but it's never gotten my blood pumping.
 
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3. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:414] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Thi Nguyen
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CHESS VS. GO

Don't get me wrong, I love chess. Chess will certainly get my blood pumping. But there's a special difference between the sort of brutal simple adrenaline rush I get in chess...
 
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4. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:120]
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and the sort of pure, life-expanded exhileration I get from go.

I think the difference is that Chess is all one, tight battle; where Go is many battles, many regions, some that interact, some that don't. The very possibility of *giving up* on one area to gain initiative in another is constantly with you in go.

I think chess engages me on one level - a very calculational, logical level - and go gets that too. All the little battles are as tactically tense. But there's also that interplay between the importance of the small battle and the full sweep of the game - that gives go an almsot philosophical sweep. In go, there is the difference between a sharp, clever move, and a *wise* move.

That's why, I think, Chess exhilarates my brain, and go exhilarates my brain and my soul.
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5. Board Game: Hera and Zeus [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1406]
Thi Nguyen
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HERA AND ZEUS VS. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE CONFRONTATION

Don't get me wrong, Hera and Zeus is fun enough. But there is a sort of pure-tactics-ness to it. I think it's because there isn't the positional interest of LOTR: The Confrontation, and because the draw is essentially random. You smack down your cards, you defend as best you can. It's exciting, and there are a few strategic decisions, but the more I play it, the more I find play automatic. Got a pegasus? Hit 'em with it. Got a Siren? Try to take out their Nemesis/Poseiden and steal it. Got a Persephone? Use it instantly. Etc.

There's a bit of bluffing excitement, but since chance plays such a huge role in what cards you get in your hand, frequently, what card they put down is as much conditioned by chance as it is by choice.
 
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6. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:413]
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LOTR, on the other hand, is pure psychology. You know exactly what pieces they have available.

All the energy of the game is trying to figure out what the hell they did. Is their Boromir towards the front or the back? What the hell is that they're charging with? Oh, it's the Cave Troll? They're probably saving up for a flank attack.

Hera & Zeus feels like an exciting, but slender, engagement with chance. You draws yer cards and you do the best you can. Once in a while, you try to outguess your opponent, but you really don't have much information to make brilliant guesses.

On the other hand, with LOTR, you spend two-thirds of the time trying to mind-read your opponent, and the other part of the timing making occasional tactical calculations. But it feels, more than any other simple bluffing game, like a pure clash of undisguised wills.

That's exhilarating.
 
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7. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
Thi Nguyen
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ADDENDUM:

Tigris is exhilerating in the same way Acquire is, but sort of for the same reason. I explained up in the comment under Acquire. But this is here for indexing purposes. Blah blah.
 
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