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Subject: Where did the term crunchy start in the board game world? rss

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Eleon Forsht
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Hello,

I have heard (and then started using myself) the term crunchy to describe the more complex and less luck bases board games for many years, but I have of late run into a lot of people who never heard of this term.

Then I wondered where this term started to be used and if it has any stories behind it. A google search did not really turn up anything that helpful, so I come to the experts.

I figure if anyone would know it would be someone here

Where did the term "crunchy board game" come from?

Thanks,
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Pete Goch
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I haven't heard anyone use that term but, presumably, it refers to crunching numbers.
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Chris Brown
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I haven't heard anyone use that term but, presumably, it refers to crunching numbers.
Oh thank god, I was expecting it to have something to do with the term "crunch parenting" that has popped up lately. This is used to describe the people who are all about all natural childbirth, breast feeding, no immunizations, organic food, no TV, etc.

No idea what that had to do with board games so I clicked with a terrified feeling in my gut.
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Liam
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Not heard the term within board gaming. A BGG only search for it beings up few relevant results.

When used it appears to identify a game or mechanic that is meaty enough to 'get ones teeth into'.

Its development within political discourse in recent years irritated me, so I won't be getting onboard with its use in board games. For me, assuming my understanding is correct, it's an unnecessary abstraction.
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Thom0909
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killerardvark wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I haven't heard anyone use that term but, presumably, it refers to crunching numbers.
Oh thank god, I was expecting it to have something to do with the term "crunch parenting" that has popped up lately. This is used to describe the people who are all about all natural childbirth, breast feeding, no immunizations, organic food, no TV, etc.


"Crunchy" = granola = hippy-ish tendencies, though perhaps the upper-middle class variant. This has been around for decades, but I've never heard it used for any board game.
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Matthew Jeanes
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I came across the term crunchy in my RPG days and it referred to the heavier systems.

I'm unaware of it's origins though.
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Rolinder Heigh
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I rather like the term "crunchy". It's better than another term I've run across for similar games, "thinky".
 
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Haakon Gaarder
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I thought it was about games that make you crunch numbers, then I played against a guy who claimed it meant games where you're "playing against the players a lot"... He said he got it from Tabletop.. Starting to suspect he's wrong.
 
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Jeff G
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Shem_Whistler wrote:
I came across the term crunchy in my RPG days and it referred to the heavier systems.

I'm unaware of it's origins though.


Ditto - referring to a RPG system with a lot of number-crunching and/or referring to a bazillion different tables for everything. If not tabletop RPGs, I'd wager the term came from wargames.
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killerardvark wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I haven't heard anyone use that term but, presumably, it refers to crunching numbers.
Oh thank god, I was expecting it to have something to do with the term "crunch parenting" that has popped up lately. This is used to describe the people who are all about all natural childbirth, breast feeding, no immunizations, organic food, no TV, etc.

No idea what that had to do with board games so I clicked with a terrified feeling in my gut.


As a 'crunchy' family, I'd say the only influence it has had on our board game hobby is we have always had a larger average of co-op games in our collection. So maybe you should add that to your terrifying definition of crunchy parents. But back on topic, I'd say none of our co-op games are 'crunchy' pertaining to rules and scoring features.
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Enrico Viglino
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Lyear wrote:
... I'd wager the term came from wargames.



Definitely not.
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Wendell
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calandale wrote:
Lyear wrote:
... I'd wager the term came from wargames.



Definitely not.


Yeah, never heard of crunchy related to wargames, only in the upper-class hippy sense. Or crunchy like potato chips.
 
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Jeff G
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wifwendell wrote:
calandale wrote:
Lyear wrote:
... I'd wager the term came from wargames.



Definitely not.


Yeah, never heard of crunchy related to wargames, only in the upper-class hippy sense. Or crunchy like potato chips.


Probably comes from us tabletop RPGers then. As in:

"I adore Shadowrun's lore, but that system is way too crunchy for me to totally get my head around. I'll probably hack a more rules-light system, like Fate, and just run Shadowrun in that instead."

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S J
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I believe I first heard the term used on Shut Up and Sit Down, and they described it as a game which had a lot of interesting decisions given to the player at once. A game that is "crunchy" is one where you have few false choices, and decisions typically differ in quality (versus just being different point values) and will greatly affect your strategy and tactics in future turns.

An example of a "crunchy" game would be Cosmic Encounter. While there are definitely times where numbers come into play, the "crunch" of the game refers to who you ally yourself with and why. Do you want to be the "fair" player of the game, letting everyone know you are a race that can be trusted to help a friend in need? Or do you want to be an isolationist, letting everyone else squabble and in-fight while you silently build your army and grind out a victory when no one is looking? Or perhaps you want to start with a strong alliance in the beginning of the game to achieve dominance, and when your ally least expects it stab them in the ba- oh wait. He just played a 1 when you played a negotiate. Did you see that, he's a filthy liar!! We should all team up and stop him from winning!!!

CE has "crunch" because your choices aren't just about numbers, but about the "role" you'll take, which greatly affects your strategy. Every option is viable in a vacuum, but what makes them interesting is that you don't know how everyone else will act or what cards they're holding.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Eleon wrote:
I have heard (and then started using myself) the term crunchy
I've never heard that term before.
 
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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I assume it came from tabletop RPGs, where there is a distinction drawn between the crunch and the fluff, by analogy to some sort of smores or other pastry. The crunch is the hard mechanical side of the rules, and the fluff is the text describing the game world and its concepts. Crunchy games have lots of mechanical complexity and often barebones background, while fluffy games have deep, rich worlds and often simple, streamlined rules. It's possible for a game to be both crunchy and fluffy at the same time if it's got lots of both (like, say, Exalted).
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Chris Schenck
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Never heard it regarding boardgames. I hope it doesn't catch on, though.
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Pablo Schulman
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Never heard it before. Now, I hear "meaty" all the time.
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Paul DeStefano
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So, what DOES it mean? I never heard it.
 
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yeah ... they should find a more "elegant" way to express themselves... hehe
 
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Christopher Yaure
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I remember hearing my oldest son use the term apprimately 4-6 years ago. I believe it referred to something complex that you could really bite into. He used it for boardgames, but also for other items. I will ask him if he remembers using it.
 
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Benjamin S.
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In RPGs and Wargames (especially 40k/fantasy) there are terms crunch and fluff. Fluff is the lore and the creative side of the game: the characters, factions, setting, and world building elements. The crunch is the game itself: game rules, army rules, points values/costs etc. some players enjoy the games for the fluff, some for the crunch only, and most for both.

In wargames you often hear people talk about fluffy players or crunchy players as in people who play the game mainly for the stories they create, and those that play for pure competition. The two camps often don't see eye to eye.
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Wendell
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Dogfish_Head wrote:

In wargames you often hear people talk about fluffy players or crunchy players as in people who play the game mainly for the stories they create, and those that play for pure competition. The two camps often don't see eye to eye.


Never heard that - though a wargaming mate of mine in Australia called games like Modern Art "fluffy games".
 
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Never heard the term in the context of boardgames until this thread.

First heard it in the context of "hippy" tendencies in the mid-90s when I was in my early 20s.

If someone called a boardgame "crunchy," until today I would've thought it meant an alternative, all-natural, "green" boardgame. That didn't shave its legs.
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Derry Salewski
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You can't bite into crunchy things!! Stop saying that if that's the analogy anyone is going for.
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