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Subject: How do you turn 'interesting' into 'fun' rss

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Drew Dunaj
United States
Lambertville
New Jersey
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I have a design that playtesters have deemed 'interesting' but not 'fun'. I'm not sure how to tell when a mechanic will be interesting and not fun because up till now I've assumed if it is interesting it will be fun.

Anyone have a rule of thumb for situations like this? How can you tell when something won't be fun, even if it is interesting?
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Tyler Brownwell
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Interesting to me seems like the theme is engaging and worth playing...

Fun would be mechanics wise...
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Adam Stapley
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Lyman
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To me, interesting would be more along the lines of innovative or a captivating idea. Fun would be meaningful choices and the right difficulty level and many choices to be made. Interesting means you've got a good mechanic on your hands, implementing it in a meaningful and enjoyable way is the next step.
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Drew Dunaj
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@Adam

So it really depends on the surrounding mechanics, if it is determined by implementation. If I can spout off a rule, and you can think of all the depth it could potentially cause, that's interesting. But when you are interacting with it inside the game, I guess the systems are holding it back if it's not fun?
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Gary Dahl
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This is a tricky one... that I feel like I've struggled a lot with in the past. As a game designer, it's tempting to focus too much on the mechanics of your games - since they are what your title implies you are responsible for. I now think it's actually much more important to focus on what the players are doing, and the experience that you are designing for them. The mechanics of your game should merely be tools that evoke specific responses from players.

I'm not sure this advice applies equally well to all kinds of games, but has been useful for me in the kinds of games I've enjoyed designing and playing. And I hope it is helpful for you. Best, Gary.
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Drew Dunaj
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Lambertville
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Thanks, Gary, I think you're right. I'll have to go back to the drawing board on this one...
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Matt Barr
United Kingdom
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Pace is a huge factor - even the most compelling game becomes a slog if it takes too long to play. Likewise, the amount of interaction it encourages.

Still very hard to judge as 99% of the fun for me comes from good company - if I'm playing with people I like, I'll even enjoy a game that's mechanically pretty vapid.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Decorah
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For me, being fun tends to involve dramatic "Aha, I've done it moments" like resolving a big spell in Magic or finishing my yellow area in Castles of Burgundy.

Games that are interesting but not fun for me tend to be ones where everything is very incremental, and there are just no "wow" moments.
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Pete Goch
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Depends on the sort of game you're talking about. If it's a Euro game the mechanics can be interesting in that there's something novel and new about them or the way they interact. But, if they don't reward the player for clever decision making they won't be that much fun. Can you set up a big turn? Can you chain actions or bonuses? Can you knock down another player while setting yourself up?

For a thematic game the mechanics or the theme might be interesting but they don't merge in a way that's fun. When mechanics evoke theme and theme inspires mechanics you've got a fun game.
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Steven Long
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There are many kinds of fun:
http://mike-compton.blogspot.com/2007/06/theory-of-fun-in-ga...
Hope that help,
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Carl Nyberg
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I agree that pace is a huge factor. In my games, I try to make the turns as short as possible to deter boredom.
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upandawaygames.com
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I don't know in this case, but sometimes people give a noncommittal and ambiguous "interesting" as a way of sparing the designer's feelings, though in the long run they're not actually doing a favor.
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Stijn Hommes
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I had a long response ready to post that got lost in the void during last night's maintenance.

So in a nutshell:
1) I think if your play testers consider the game interesting, you're already half-way there.
2) Fun and enjoyment are very subjective. You want to ask your testers what they consider fun. If they can't articulate why, ask them about the games they like to get an idea whether they like mechanics heavy games, auctions, light entertainment or any games with a fantasy theme.
3) For me, fun is a combination of an interesting theme combined with meaningful choices and mechanics that fit with theme (the game needs to simulate something -- the more things link, the better).
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Rana Puer
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This is a worthwhile question, even if it is a difficult one. I don't have an easy answer, but it is still worth pursuing.

If you have an interesting mechanic, I'm sure you don't have to chuck everything. Find out exactly what players don't like about it and tweak it to eliminate that part.
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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Interesting could be a nice way of saying they don't like it. Not fun is what they felt when playing it. Fun is different for everyone. What is fun for one may not be for another.
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Steven Long
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bbblasterfire wrote:
Interesting could be a nice way of saying they don't like it.

Yes,sometime It's just polite. Ask playtesters what they mean "interesting" is.
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Jules Prick
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I would say fun comes in different emotions (horror / comedy / action)

That means your game needs to touch on (one of) those.

I think unexpected events would also help, or just building up the tension and going for it (like a Risk battle).

If you want to know more, let me know.


Cheers!


Jules
 
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Mike L.
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I find that if something is interesting, but not fun it often coincides with how fiddly the mechanic is, Which often means streamlining is necessary. Or as others have said, it doesnt have a good wow factor. So, is there a way to makethe mechanic simpler and have more punch, without losing anything?

Another solution would be to ask the playtesters what they didn't like.people will often answer a question if asked straight forward.
 
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