Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
24 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age well"? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeff Brown
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've heard this said about many games from 20 years ago and I was wondering if we would be saying this about todays games also?

Or since its not technology based will it be like a lot of literature in which many of the best games from today will become classics and the greats of tomorrow will be measured against? I personally prefer classic literature to books written today.

I'm sure that there will be a lot of great games in the future, I guess the question is whether the greats of today will be comparable to them or in some cases better. Have we reached the point in board game development where things can only match it and we will have more great games in the future but not necessarily better?

OR have we reached a golden age and have peaked in quality?

OR will things be better 20 years form now and we will be saying that these games didn't age well?

Will many of our top 50 at BGG or our personal top 50 be able to stand next to the top 50 20 years from now?

Okay there's your discussion topic now discuss:

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think that literature works that way. Very few texts survive to become classics and many of those that are now considered classics were neither popular nor critically acclaimed in their day. Seems like a combination of institutional politics (involving professors, critics, publishers, librarians) and subsequent work within the field (e.g. the older works that later writers allude to continue to have relevance) largely determines what survives/gets read by subsequent generations. And the classics change over time -- not just by the addition of newer works, but by a reassessment of which older works (and/or authors) matter.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Brown
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That's a good point.

I can't imagine that boardgames would have as much to do with politics and professors though. So I'm curious if these games will last. I hope they do, and definitely not all of them will but I'm just curious about what everyone thinks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Jacy
United States
Waltham
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
Yes and no. Not a great answer, but I think even in the case of literature there are a LOT of people who don't read the "classics" (would I have read Chaucer if not for a university english class...), and will never have the intention to regardless of what is "canonical".

So I believe there will be die-hard geeks who will say how great a select few games we are playing now are in 20 years, and there will be a bunch that say they haven't aged well. Hell, after "only" 10 years some are already saying that Settlers of Catan hasn't aged well, while others would argue that point.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Brown
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah I'm not a huge fan of Settlers, yet I love El Grande and that's been 10 years.

It's hard to think of a better auction game than Modern Art, or Ra (I haven't played it, but soon will).

A lot of people still love Acquire although I haven't tried it. I just played Fury of Dracula and I absolutely love it. I'm just curious if some of our games will still be considered mainstream favorites in 20 years and not just the older niche gamers. I'm also curious as to what people think those games will be.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Herbst
United States
Sayville
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In my opinion, the vast majority of current games will not age well. A few will rise to the top as the classics of the generation and a larger (but still relatively small) group will become second tier classics.

Even if we are living in a "golden age" of gaming (it's always difficult to tell these things from inside the age), most of our current games will be relegated to relative oblivion. Some others will appeal greatly to a very small niche group. Will any be played 1000 years from now (assuming we don't destroy the planet before then). I'm putting my money on contract bridge on the 20th century's best bet for chess-like enduring fame (1925 will seem like a contemporary game for us to the people of the 3rd millenium) but I wouldn't be completely shocked if people were still trading wood for sheep 10 centuries from now. I pick Settlers as the potential mega-classic Eurogame even though I prefer El Grande, T&E and others which I think have less of a shot.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Me
United States
Bowling Green
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
In 20 years, I'll probably be saying "Damn! And I though I was old at 40! Damn! Wish I'd had more time to play games! Damn! I haven't even played half of these things! Damn! 7 more years before I can retire! DAMN!"
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
London
London
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A thousand years is further away from us than we are from the modern chess game (15th century). For staying power down the millennia you have to pick Go!

That will still be there in 20 years, long after the Settlers of Catan special anniversary set has been sold to China to fund our balance of payments problems.


(I'm mixing threads, so what? )
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott
United States
denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
It's hard to say. Although, I would imagine that you could find a lot of people that feel that old-Avalon Hill was the pinnacle of gaming and everything else has to measure up to those standards-not that AH and euros are that easy to compare. So maybe we aren't really in the golden age. There's one thing I do know for sure: In 20 years Monopoly and Sorry! will still be more popular than any of the highly ranked euros-at least in the U.S.

You could be right though, look at all the re-themings and reworkings of other ideas that you see all the time. I'm sure that designers will run out of ideas eventually-just like pop musicians and artists and politicians and just about everyone else in our culture.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Paul
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hmm, interesting post...

Looking at the current top 50, we see a lot of very recent games. Are they fads? Or will they age?

There are some exceptions

ASL is 20+ years old and along with its expansions has many entries in the top 50.

UpFront is 22 years old and still has a very strong following.

However, these are both from the old AH company. Few Euro style games in the top 50 have any longevity - Die Macher being the primary exception. Course, I wonder how "being in print" affects these ratings.

The age of the current top 10...

Puerto Rico (2002)
Caylus (2005)
Euphrat & Tigris (1997)
Commands and Colors: Ancients (2006)
Power Grid (2004)
Princes of Florence, The (2000)
El Grande (1995)
Die Macher (1986)
Game of Thrones, A: A Clash of Kings Expansion (2004)
Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage (1996)

And of course, these are only measures of popularity here at BGG. To the culture at large, Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble and others are more well known. And have bigger sales.

But, what is the measure of a "classic"?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just for grins, here is the list of games that are at least 20 years old and have an average rating of 7 or better with at least 500 ratings:

Go
Advanced Squad Leader
Dune
Acquire
Civilization
Squad Leader
Titan
Diplomacy
Cosmic Encounter
Ambush!
Mah-Jongg
Liar's dice
Survive!
Can't Stop
Chess
Junta
Cribbage

Bridge surprised me by its absence, but it only has 432 ratings......

Most (12) of these games are from 1960-1985, so might represent a number of games from 1985-2005 that would remain thought that highly in 20 more years. (Only Acquire is from 1960-1965)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Elliott Reynolds
Canada
Victoria
B.C.
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
I think a lot of what we currently regard as excellent Euro-games will age well for a number of reasons.

For something to not age well it has to lose its social relevance. So, with literature, and specifically genre related literature, some of the classics in the genre from 20 years ago simply do not speak to the issues that we regard as relavent today. This happens a lot in sci-fi where visions of the future from 20 years ago are ikely to seen as parochial. The literature that does survive either speaks to universal themes, however one wishes to define these, or are very good insights into their own time.

The nature of games is decidely different. We don't really think of games as being socially relavent or irrelavent, in terms of meaning. There are probably some fluctuations in the popularity of certain themes, but by and large, a good game will persist. Games from earlier eras are irrelavent because of their structure. For example, a lot of games based on look-up tables became irrelavent because of computers. Likewise, as it was realized that one could distill a 6 hour experience to 1 1/2 hours without an inordinate loss of meaningful decisions, the day long games became irrelevant.

At some point there's a limit to this distillation where what you gain in terms of shorting the game length doesn't make up for the loss of game complexity. I think the one hour mark that euro-designers are currently producing is probably that limit.

I find it difficult to believe that the current crop of board games will lose their relevance because they have reached this limit and because they are largely meaning-free.

But who knows, maybe some sort of hybrid genre of computer / board game will one day usurp the current crop of designer games. Or, maybe our culture will change so much that we consider the genre irrelevant. If they are considered irrelevant, it will probably be because of changes to our cultural ideas rather than any major internal change within the genre itself.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sroney wrote:
Just for grins, here is the list of games that are at least 20 years old and have an average rating of 7 or better with at least 500 ratings:

Go
Advanced Squad Leader
Dune
Acquire
Civilization
Squad Leader
Titan
Diplomacy
Cosmic Encounter
Ambush!
Mah-Jongg
Liar's dice
Survive!
Can't Stop
Chess
Junta
Cribbage

Bridge surprised me by its absence, but it only has 432 ratings......

Most (12) of these games are from 1960-1985, so might represent a number of games from 1985-2005 that would remain thought that highly in 20 more years. (Only Acquire is from 1960-1965)


Great list!

I think that's a remarkable mix of games. Some mass-market titles mixed (Survive, Can't Stop) in with fairly esoteric wargames (Ambush and Titan) right alongside some centuries-old board games that originated in Asia (Go, Chess). There is some significant overlap with the ASL/SL listings. The next closest redundancies in the list might be Cosmic and Dune. As much as Bridge, I'm surprised that Settlers-- and more surprised that Poker-- didn't make this list. For all it's cutthroat play and friendship-risking drama, Diplomacy is in the pack. Junta is also a brutal negotiaton game, but the amount of luck in it softens the blows. Pleasantly surprised that cribbage made the list!

I've played every game on the list and the only one I can't tie any lasting experience to is Mah-Jongg. Guess that means I need to revisit it!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sue Hemberger

Washington
Dist of Columbia
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, but another way that a literary work becomes dated is if subsequent works do the same thing better (and/or until it's no longer interesting or novel). Calling the future right can consign you to the dustbin of history (or maybe just the footnotes) just as much as calling the future wrong can.

That's what I sense will happen with Eurogames. Current faves are likely to be replaced by newer, better uses of similar mechanics. Now we've just got to make sure that the Geek's top 10s are archived somewhere so that 20 years from now, we can see not which 20 year old games are highly rated, but how many currently highly rated games are still highly rated 20 years from now. I'm doubting, for example, that Can't Stop was an instant classic. And I think what makes it a classic now is that we recognize/respect the genre (push-your-luck) and believe that nothing's captured the essence of it better since. So classic status is a combination of continuing relevance and not having been superseded.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Brown
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
e.c.r. wrote:

The nature of games is decidely different. We don't really think of games as being socially relavent or irrelavent, in terms of meaning. There are probably some fluctuations in the popularity of certain themes, but by and large, a good game will persist. Games from earlier eras are irrelavent because of their structure. For example, a lot of games based on look-up tables became irrelavent because of computers. Likewise, as it was realized that one could distill a 6 hour experience to 1 1/2 hours without an inordinate loss of meaningful decisions, the day long games became irrelevant.

At some point there's a limit to this distillation where what you gain in terms of shorting the game length doesn't make up for the loss of game complexity. I think the one hour mark that euro-designers are currently producing is probably that limit.

I find it difficult to believe that the current crop of board games will lose their relevance because they have reached this limit and because they are largely meaning-free.


That's why I'm wondering if a lot of these will still retain their goodness. It seems that a lot of the times I hear that a game hasn't aged well its because they are saying that it is too long for what it is or there aren't many meaningful decisions in it or that the decisions are ruined by some clunky rules or something like that.
I don't think we will getting a lot quicker with the time limit as you say. I also don't know if you can get a whole lot more elegant with the rule designs in order the depth to complexity ratio.

I would like to see more development in excellent themed games with the elegant decisions and rule sets of some of the lesser themed games. I'm starting to see more and more of these pop up but still not quite there.

I'm not sure how you could improve on various mechanics in some games. Modern Art or Ra being an example of finely tuned auction games. El Grande as an area majority game. I can see newer takes can be had on these that could be as enjoyable but not necessarily better. Perhaps its just because I can't imagine it. In the same way I can't see how you could improve on something like Crime and Punishment or Anna Karenina, or whatever. You could have something just as interesting in the future but hard to imagine better.

I heard it once said that the US patent office was closed in the early 19th century as they said that everything that could be invented has been. Maybe I just don't have the imagination to be able to see these things which is why I'm not a game designer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Bee
United States
Marin County
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes, in 20 years we will definitely look at today's games and call them dated. In fact, I'm hoping that's exactly what happens.

Why? Because it would mean that board game designs have continued to innovate and break new ground. Wouldn't it be horrible if as of 1986 there were no more new game designs, and we were stuck with what we had 20 years ago? Ugh.

I sincerely hope the games we embrace today will eventually be displaced by even better games that are more engaging, challenging, and fun to play.

Except for a few select titles, the games of today will be the eBay cast offs of tomorrow.

I can't wait to see what great new titles I will be playing 2026.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hah! Because of the pension black hole in the UK I'll have to work until I'm 80 probably (which is another 55 years of work - great....)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Didn't age well" is a rather subjective term. Are we referring to a game still being commercially viable/successful with a mainstream audience, or are we asking whether these games will still be thought of as great classics amongst the geek crowd? There are a number of games ('Monopoly,' 'Clue,' 'Life,' and 'Risk' come to mind) that are largely considered garbage by most geeks, yet you can find copies in probably half the homes in the US and they're still big sellers for their producers.

I'd suspect that few, if any, of the "popular" games cited in this thread will still be hot items in 20 years, regardless of how good they may be, simply because most of them are only well known in the geek community already and haven't yet (and are unlikely to) make the transition to the mainstream market. The mainstream occasional gamers will never hear of those titles because they're not mass marketed, and the geek circles, ever hungry for new diversions and always searching for the perfect "it" game, will have moved on by then.

Many games also go through periods where they are hugely popular and then swiftly decline into near obscurity. Several folks have already commented about the curious absence of 'Bridge' from the list of popular games, yet back 40-50 years ago it was all the rage and neighborhood 'Bridge' clubs that met for afternoon or evening sessions were common -- these 'Bridge' players weren't geeks but rather were common run-of-the-mill folks. Nowadays, finding 'Bridge' players is a fairly difficult proposition. Go back a couple centuries and the same can be said of 'Whist': hugely popular and a mark of social sophistication if you were a player back then, and today hardly anyone has even heard of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BradyLS wrote:
As much as Bridge, I'm surprised that Settlers-- and more surprised that Poker-- didn't make this list.


Settlers of Catan is too new (1995) to make the list (only games 1985 and earlier need apply)

Poker has enough ratings, but its average is only 6.89.

Bridge had a high enough score, just not enough ratings, which is a factor of the group of people that come to this site, which also contributes to perhaps lower the ratings of some of the "lifestyle" games (games which some people play to the exclusion of most other games), like Go, Chess, Poker, Mah-Johng, Bridge, and other card games.

smithhemb wrote:
Now we've just got to make sure that the Geek's top 10s are archived somewhere so that 20 years from now, we can see not which 20 year old games are highly rated, but how many currently highly rated games are still highly rated 20 years from now.


And you would also have to purge or age the old ratings so that the ratings on the games are less than five years old in 2025 when the comparison is made. The ratings for these listed 20 year old games were all made within the last five years.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
(ron lee)
United States
baton rouge
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
cf. previous discussion on same subject:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/81409/page/1
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I believe that games "age" in different ways. Many games, such as "Fortress America" or "Mall Madness" reflect something significant about the time in which they were produced. For this reason, they will retain a certain interest value as artifacts of their time, even though gamers probably will not return to them.

On the other hand, some titles, because of their creative approach, fun factor or a whim of nostalgia, will return to a certain measure of popularity for a time. The interest generated by sales of good-condition copies of "Fireball Island" is an example.

Some games have significance as benchmarks in the history of gaming. Monopoly is such a game, despite the contempt shown toward it by some on BGG. Within the wargaming community, "Tactics" and "Gettysburg '61" are remembered, probably with more fondness or respect than they are due, because of their role in bringing the "now YOU are in command" concept to the general gaming public.

"Settlers" will almost certainly retain a following as a "classic" because of its signature role in bringing eurogames to the States. I can remember my first sighting of "Settlers" being played enthusiastically by a cluster of wargame grognards, some of whom I'd known for years as hardcore wargamers, at a HMGS-East miniatures convention. I was surprised at their excitement over a little hex-tile-board game with primitive wooden bits, cards, and--to my astonishment--NO COMBAT. The impact of "Settlers" is very significant in broadening many gamers' horizons.

Design advancements will inevitably relegate many best-selling games to the back shelf. Another factor to be considered is the evolution of physical presentation. In many contemporary games, we see more color, more texture, more care devoted to components than ever before. A lot of recent games are just plain beautiful. I believe this will contribute to their longevity in some (but not all) cases. After all, a thing of beauty is a joy forever--but a dud game is still a dud.

One last point. As I get older, I find myself returning to classic literature. Sometimes it's a pleasure just to take out an old friend like "Moby Dick" after twenty or more years and read it again.

I believe the same is true of good, solid games. The sheer quantity of games published in the past fifteen years is astonishing. The number of good games produced in this period is very large. Those who maintain a sizeable gaming library (I'm one of the guilty) cannot possibly assimilate every rule set, every system, or every nuance of all those games. But we may come to appreciate them in time, or revisit them in years to come.

I expect that some of my current purchases will not be deeply explored for some years. I buy them anyway because I am interested in the subject or the approach, but also because I know they will not be available forever. Who knows what will prove to be a "classic," or be reprinted in years to come? Who knows what will vanish before its time (can you say "Hannibal?") yet continue to develop a following?

Whether a game makes a splash or a plop, it might well prove to be of value in a generation in one of a number of ways.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Roney
United States
Ladera Ranch
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Expanding the list, these 1985 and before games are also in the top 1000 with 500 or more ratings (down to about 6.5):

Wiz-War
Kuhhandel
Poker
Hare and Tortoise
Empire Builder
Twixt
Battletech
Cathedral
Pente
Axis and Allies
Scrabble
Talisman
Scotland Yard
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Is it just me or do my balls itch?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
sroney wrote:
Just for grins, here is the list of games that are at least 20 years old and have an average rating of 7 or better with at least 500 ratings:


1830 is 20 years old.

I think the 18xx games will have staying power.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed Holzman
United States
Seffner
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Will we be saying in 20 years "these games didn't age we
Yup, you missed 1830: Railroad and Robber Barons.

Year: 1986
Rating: 7.66
Geek Rank: 64
Num. of Ratings: 632

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.