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Subject: BBC - 10 reasons chess may never make it as a spectator sport rss

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Tom Scutt
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This is a nice little article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-24904517

There's even a mention of Settlers of Catan in the final paragraph.

So, are there any games that would make a good spectator sport?
 
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J. M.
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Dancing Eggs (with celebrities?)


edit. Sorry, sport. Well there is running, so in that sense it's kind of a sport?
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Pedro Pereira
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I can think of a few:

Techno Witches
Elk Fest
PitchCar

I think this type of game could make good spectator games
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Ian Taylor
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Steerpike wrote:

So, are there any games that would make a good spectator sport?


Soccer seems to do pretty well...
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Pedro Pereira
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pltinum wrote:
Dancing Eggs (with celebrities?)


edit. Sorry, sport. Well there is running, so in that sense it's kind of a sport?


Sure it does. Chess doesn't have any physical dexterity challange to it except perhaps "pulse-twitching", which can be dangerous at times. Sports is in a broader sense of "competition" here, which is what made Chess be recognised as a sports because it can be improved by training.
 
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J. M.
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Pedrator wrote:
I can think of a few:

Techno Witches
Elk Fest
PitchCar

I think this type of game could make good spectator games


Pitchcar could actually work. Maybe 'Racing' games in general?

Ave ceasar, formula d?


It has to be something with no to little hidden information. Something that a general public can understand or can SEE who is doing well and who is not. That's why racing games are good. you see who is in the lead and who isn't. Maybe Tigris & Euphrates? it's pretty visual. Not much hidden information. Could be confusing for the general public, but with good commentators it might give a clear image of the game.
 
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J. M.
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Pedrator wrote:
pltinum wrote:
Dancing Eggs (with celebrities?)


edit. Sorry, sport. Well there is running, so in that sense it's kind of a sport?


Sure it does. Chess doesn't have any physical dexterity challange to it except perhaps "pulse-twitching", which can be dangerous at times. Sports is in a broader sense of "competition" here, which is what made Chess be recognised as a sports because it can be improved by training.



Yeah I know, I just went with the physical, since the game isn't that competitive.
 
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David
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Expanding from the article I believe a spectator game should have the following traits:
plays in a decently short and predictable time frame (football goes for about 2 hours but it's a very active thing compared to a board game) I'd say about an hour tops would be good.
rules have to be simple for everyone to follow the play (This excludes hordes of board games already. You wouldn't want to explain Arkham Horror over television).
gameplay has to be visually easy to follow. You can't have loads of cards littered with critical text like MtG. While you competitive players might know most current meta game cards on sight, your average viewer will not.
The basic strategy has to be understandable for average viewers. If you know why a certain move was legal and what it will do but have no idea WHY the player did that then it's not going to be engaging.
Should work well in a 2 party format: either 2 players or 2 teams facing each other.

Space Cadets: Dice Duel could be fun to watch. I'm not sure how suitable the game would be from a skills perspective and it would probably be hell to supervise for rules violations. But it would certainly short and visible enough.

In Switzerland Jass is a televised "sport"... But only as part of larger cultural and festive program.

Dog could work as long as you can show the hands to the players.

Coup, The Resistance or One Night Ultimate Werewolf might work in a similar way as Poker does.

I think some could carve a small niche for them selves but probably only online.
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Eric Brosius
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I think Go is inherently a better game for TV than Chess. Because the stones never move around on the board, the commentators can illustrate what they think are likely to be key points, and show viewers where the players are likely to play. With Chess, the potential moves involve moving pieces around and are more likely to be disorienting.

Of course, the familiarity of the viewership with the game is more likely to be a significant factor.
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Tom Scutt
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piemasteruk wrote:
Steerpike wrote:

So, are there any games that would make a good spectator sport?

Soccer seems to do pretty well...

Ah yes... I guess that should have been board games
 
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Green Dan
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Snooker. It's hardly more active than chess, but it considered a Sport.

I don't like Sport, but I like Snooker. It's basically a boardgame with a very specific Board.
 
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Scott Hill
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Greendan wrote:
Snooker. It's hardly more active than chess, but it considered a Sport.

I don't like Sport, but I like Snooker. It's basically a boardgame with a very specific Board.


I was about to say Snooker!
 
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Ian Taylor
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I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion of poker in this thread, given that this is the one non-physical game that has actually made the conversion and thrived as a spectator sport. I guess the keys to poker's success is:

1. It's simple - Everything in poker can be boiled down to 'bet', 'check', 'raise', 'call', 'fold'. There isn't anything else to the game really. It's comparatively easy to figure out what is going on at any given time.

2. It's easy to follow the game state - If you have a chip count (or can just estimate the size of piles) then you have everything you need to know about the game state. Every hand is a fresh start there is nothing you have to keep track of over time as a spectator.

3. It's exciting - Players going all-in, busting out, changing fortunes on the turn of a card makes for good viewing. Slow, methodical 'slogs' to victory are not fun to watch.

Note that these facets are also common to most other popular spectator sports. If you want to find another geeky game that would work as a spectator sport, you need to find one that can emulate the above three facets of poker. It's easy to see why most board/card games wouldn't work by noticing how they would not comply with the above.
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Scott Hill
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Gah! And I was about to mention Poker too!

shake

piemasteruk wrote:
1. It's simple - Everything in poker can be boiled down to 'bet', 'check', 'raise', 'call', 'fold'. There isn't anything else to the game really.


Apart from bluffing.
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Gamer D

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Wil Wheaton's Tabletop shows that there is a niche audience for spectating board games, provided that the focus of the show is the interaction of the personalities and not the game itself. If someone did a celebrity chess show similar to Spellslingers or Tabletop I suppose it could grab some chess fans
as viewers, but overall I think other games lend themselves better to social interaction and would make for better viewing.
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René Schep
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Magic the Gathering has tournaments streamed weekly and generally does quite well.
 
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Holger Doessing
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pltinum wrote:
It has to be something with no to little hidden information.

But... what about poker tournaments?! wow
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Ian Taylor
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Scorpion0x17 wrote:
Gah! And I was about to mention Poker too!

shake

piemasteruk wrote:
1. It's simple - Everything in poker can be boiled down to 'bet', 'check', 'raise', 'call', 'fold'. There isn't anything else to the game really.


Apart from bluffing.


Even bluffing falls into that basic model.
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Graham Walker
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Fox Sports turned my event (The World Rock Paper Scissors Championships) into a one-hour televised special and boy did that make for awful TV.
 
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Aki Järvi-Eskola
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What about hybrid sports? Like Chess boxing?
 
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Matt Brown
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The problem with Chess is it is similar to watching two people mimic The Thinker. If the players had any sort of engaging personalities, it would go over much better.
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Eric Brosius wrote:
I think Go


I think I'd rather watch grass grow.

As for the OP, games are for playing, not watching. i.e. not a sport.
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Thom0909
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One problem with chess and many other board games is they're hard to edit for broadcasting. That's why poker works - you don't have to show the hands where everyone folds. You don't really lose the narrative even if you skip half the hands.

In chess, you *could* edit out some the time the players are thinking, but you'd need enough time to explain to the viewers what's going on. It's hard to quickly comprehend what's going on.
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Paul Oakes
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From 1976 to 1982 there was a BBC2 programme "The Master Game" which was 30 minutes of chess, showing one game a week from a tournament of 8 invited players, initially all British, but later including Karpov, Korchnoi and other top players. The players added a voice over to illustrate what they were trying to do, and there was continous analysis through the game.

I found it gripping, and although the players' voice-overs were added after the game they gave a sense of how a good player thought and the occasional exclamation as they realised how they were in trouble. I still remember a final with the charming Czech GM Hort and a grand master where Hort declined a Queen exchange which cost him the game. His comment of "My mother would have been so proud, ah well" is for me a definitive comment on nearly winning a big event.

It ran for 6 series, in the last one they tried to sex it up and totally ruined the entire thing.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_Game
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GeekInsight
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I think the two biggest problems for Chess is that: (1) there is a lot of downtime and downtime isn't exciting to watch; and (2) Chess moves seem dull since most people have a casual understanding of the game but do not appreciate why one particular move is optimal or suboptimal.

However, I think there are some games that would work well. As Poker has shown, bluffing games like Coup could be enjoyable to watch. Werewolf or Resistance would also be good. In fact, someone posted a pilot of a Werewolf game show that was interesting.

Some CCG/LCG finals are interesting to watch - but only if you really know what's going on. So, sort of like Chess I guess.
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