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Subject: Can the components make the game better or worse? rss

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George Louie
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Here's a question, Is it possible for a games components to make a break or game?

Any thoughts on this?

This questions is based on my experience playing Battlestar Galactica! It was one of the first games added to my collection, and I think its a great game. While my gamer group enjoyed the game, we've only played it a few times.

One of the post-game comments after the last time we played was that the "skills" cards were small, and hard to handle. And while that was annoying, the larger issue was the text font size on the skills cards was also very small, which made the "special" skills hard to read. While we did use the "special" skills, it was a bit laborious. I personally found myself not really using them to their full extent, because they were difficult to read. So, I think I mostly ended up using them for the skills check (voting) mechanism, rather than the "special" skills they provided.

So, in this instance, I think the design of the component itself really detracted from my enjoyment of the gameplay.

Any thoughts on experiences with BSG or any other games?


 
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Scott Nelson
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Both - it depends on the game.
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Pete
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Components can't make the game better or worse, but they can contribute to making the player enjoy the game a lot more, and ultimately, that's what we're after, isn't it?

Tic-Tac-Toe is a dumb game, and components won't make it smarter...but...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkemIJ2Yolg

Pete (would play that one)
 
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maf man
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I haven't seen one so bad to break the game but I think quality is a big deal.

One game I use as a example for the right amount of quality is King of Tokyo. Its a sweet and simple game that I like a lot. the components are a small board, rules, cards, little cubes, stand ups, character card, and dice.
I feel this has the correct amount of quality. I do not like cardboard stand ups but it works here because of them using cartoon art and the fact that they really aren't that important. You could play this game with a cheapo cube as your monseter, basic dice, and a slide rule marked 0 to 20. But they give you some very nice dice and a board (all its doing is showing if your in the middle or not, it's not important) and character cards that have nice counting wheels. The quality of it all just shows it was well thought out and it elevates this game in my opinion.

Bohnanza on the other hand has just this crappy art tone (my opinion and SOME of my group) and it actually detracts from the game. I didn't play it for months after I got it as a gift (I do feel ashamed of that). And the directions were just packed to tight I felt it just wan't well thought out. I think some more design time would have solved this for me. I am holding out hope on this game still because I have yet to play it with more than two people but I think it's worth noting that a better planned at and rule book would have done much better.
 
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GeekInsight
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glouie wrote:
Here's a question, Is it possible for a games components to make a break or game?


I don't know about being a make or break issue*, but components absolutely contribute to the relative enjoyment of a game.

If a game is intending to recreate a highly thematic setting and immerse the players in it, then shoddy components can really detract. It's hard to believe you are fighting hordes of orcs if such orcs are simply green cubes on the board.

By contrast, if a game is more focused on mechanical aspects, cubes may very well be sufficient. But, even in such a game, components that are fiddly or don't work well can mar the experience. Round pieces that easily roll off the table, or bits that are too small can be a detraction. So too pieces where the colors are hard to distinguish. For that matter, so can having hundreds of individual tokens (a la Fantasy Flight) for every possible condition when you will only use a fraction during the game.

So, yes, components do matter for game enjoyment. But I have yet to play a game where I thought - this game sucks, it's just the components that make it enjoyable. Nor the opposite - this game would be awesome, but the components are so bad I just don't want to play it.

*Color specific components with no other ability to differentiate the pieces (like Uluru) can totally spoil a game for colorblind players.
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