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Subject: TGIF POLL 313 - Bits and Production Values rss

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kat costa
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There's a game in our house that I won't play because I don't like it. Since only two people live in our house, that game pretty much never sees play. My husband and I want to reclaim the shelf space it takes up, but this game has some really good bits inside that would be hard to say goodbye to. The bits, in my opinion, are the only good thing about this game. So it's been sitting on the shelf for about a year.

All that got me thinking about bits. Really, about production values in general, from the itty bitty tokens to the materials chosen for tiles and money.

Which are best? Which make the difference in whether a game makes it onto your shelf or out to the gaming table? I do realize that the answer to most of these questions will be "it depends" — on how the theme of the game and on its format (card game / miniatures game / paper-and-pencil game), but the questions are meant to be asked with an "all things being equal" assumption. Which material do you actually like best — which one would you choose if it somehow magically fit with whatever game you are imagining?

Enjoy.

Poll
What is your preferred material for bits representing players (or workers / characters under the players' control)?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
wooden pawns
16.5% 45
wooden meeples
58.8% 160
plastic pawns
7.4% 20
cardboard standies
0.7% 2
metal objects (e.g. wheelbarrow from Monopoly)
1.1% 3
metal figures (e.g. minis from Warhammer 40,000)
7.0% 19
Fimo/Sculpey/clay figures
4.0% 11
a different kind of form or material
4.4% 12
Voters 272
What form is best for bits that represent resources?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
cardboard chits (e.g. wares in Jambo or Jaipur)
3.3% 9
shaped wooden bits (e.g. Stone Age)
75.3% 204
abstract wooden bits (e.g. Puerto Rico)
12.2% 33
shaped plastic bits (e.g. treasures in Forbidden Island)
4.8% 13
abstract plastic bits (e.g. wound tokens in Lifeboat)
0.0% 0
metal objects
1.8% 5
Fimo/Sculpey/clay pieces
1.8% 5
shaped glass bits
0.4% 1
abstract glass bits
0.4% 1
Voters 271
When it comes to the money used in games, what form is best?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
cardboard chits
19.3% 53
thematic metal coins (e.g. the coins from Dominion: Seaside or those printed by Conquistador Games)
40.7% 112
real coins from a foreign country
0.7% 2
real coins from own country
0.4% 1
plastic coins
7.6% 21
fake paper money (e.g. Monopoly or Power Grid)
6.2% 17
real paper money from a foreign country
0.4% 1
real paper money from my own country
0.4% 1
playing cards
6.5% 18
plastic gems (e.g. Incan Gold)
1.8% 5
glass gems (e.g. Fist of Dragonstones)
2.2% 6
a different kind of money
13.8% 38
Voters 275
What material is best if a game has tiles?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
cardboard tiles (e.g. Carcassonne or Escape: The Curse of the Temple)
72.7% 200
wooden tiles (e.g. Qwirkle or Scrabble)
10.5% 29
Bakelite/clay tiles (e.g. Hive or Babylon)
13.8% 38
plastic tiles (e.g. Ingenious or Rummikub)
2.2% 6
another type of material
0.7% 2
Voters 275
If a game has dice, what material is best for them?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
plastic dice
84.0% 231
wooden dice
13.5% 37
metal dice
0.4% 1
a different material
2.2% 6
I won't play games that require dice
0.0% 0
Voters 275
Do you consider yourself to be a collector of bits?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes. I deliberately keep some bits separate from the games they came with / go into.
7.7% 21
Not really. I have some extra bits lying around, but I don't "collect" them.
48.0% 131
No. The bits I happen to have are in the boxes of the games they came with, and they'll go if that game goes.
44.3% 121
No, and none of the games I own contain bits.
0.0% 0
Voters 273
Do you ever buy games just for the bits?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes, and at retail, too.
5.5% 15
Yes, but only secondhand.
20.6% 56
No, but I would if there were one with appealing enough bits.
29.0% 79
No. The content is what matters / I don't care about the bits.
44.9% 122
Voters 272
How much do production values influence your decision to acquire games?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
I'll buy one game over another if it has good production values.
42.8% 115
I'll pass on a game with poor production values even if the concepts sound interesting.
40.9% 110
Production values do matter to me, but I plan on substituting my own, higher-quality, bits when a game I'm interested in appears to be lacking.
27.5% 74
Production values don't matter to me. It's all about the gameplay.
23.0% 62
Voters 269
This poll is now closed.   277 answers
Poll created by kataclysm
Closes: Fri Feb 6, 2015 6:00 am


Poll
Do good production values increase your enjoyment of a game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes, I enjoy a game more if it has good production values.
94.4% 251
No, production values don't matter to me.
5.6% 15
Voters 266
Do poor production values decrease your enjoyment of a game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Yes, poor production values get on my nerves.
74.0% 194
No, poor production values don't affect my enjoyment of a game.
26.0% 68
Voters 262
How do excellent bits influence what you'll do with a game when you've determined that the actual gameplay is not to your tastes?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
I'll keep the whole game to hold onto the bits.
16.7% 44
I'll save the bits and get rid of the rest of the game.
10.3% 27
I'll get rid of the whole game even though I'll miss the bits.
62.4% 164
I'll make a different decision not listed here.
10.6% 28
Voters 263
This poll is now closed.   266 answers
Poll created by kataclysm
Closes: Fri Feb 6, 2015 6:00 am


If you're a fan of polls, you can subscribe to the TGIF Poll Subscription Thread.

Tell us about the best bit you've ever encountered in a board game.
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Richard Smeltzer
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Somewhat germainly, I've just bought Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients, and discovered that I've got to remove the bits from the moulded plastic and glue the pieces together myself.

Had I realised this in advance it might well have put me off buying it. I don't mind applying a few stickers or popping out cardborad chits, but when I have to start messing around with scissors and glue before I can play that's going too far.
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GeekInsight
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Bits can definitely help enhance the game experience - especially for "immersive" ameritrash style games. I've never complained and said, "Dang. These bits are just too good and I wish everything was more abstract."

That said, I'm not always willing to pay the kind of money that a game full of minis costs. And, I'm perfectly happy to push wooden cubes. Ultimately, I want to play the game. The particular pieces that allow me to do so are just a bit of frosting. Nice on the cake, but no amount of frosting will save a stale cake.
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Christian Gienger
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As always it is such a "depends". In a euro I prefer meeples, but when pawns or discs are made that shape for a reason, they're great.
I prefer shaped resources if possible, but then again, the abstract shape of cubes or hexagonal prisms are sometimes necessary. I wouldn't want to deal with Puerto Rico's ships and market if I had to fit several sizes of goods onto them. Or I wouldn't want to play Nations with normal ressource cubes. Increments of 10 are necessary in the last age. And I buy games for the bits inside, but for prototyping, not for collecting or pimping games. And I bought Star Trek Catan for the little ships and think about D&D Attack Wing for the Dragons... And with the tiles. I wouldn't want to play Carcassone with bakelite tiles or Hive with cardboard tiles. Form follows function and Hive has great production value as you have to take up pieces all the time. With Carc they stay until the end of the game and there are so many I wouldn't want to carry a bakelite version of that game
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Jeff Wolfe
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Contrarian answers:

1. Plastic figures (e.g. minis from the D&D board games)
2. Looney Pyramids
3. Poker chips
4. Playing cards (e.g. Seven Dragons)
5. Glass dice
6. No, but I use extra bits to build prototypes.
7. Yes, and sometimes I buy bits separately.
8. Production values matter, but it's a balance between game play and production value.

I had (or at least considered) different answers to the first few items than the ones presented, so I decided to see if I could come up with an alternate answers to all the questions. I actually never chose "other" in the poll, but if these were presented as options, there's a good chance I would choose many (perhaps most) of them.
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kat costa
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jeffwolfe wrote:
Contrarian answers:

1. Plastic figures (e.g. minis from the D&D board games)
2. Looney Pyramids
3. Poker chips


Oh, yeah, I don't know how I missed putting poker chips in for money. It's so common! And plastic figures should have been an option in the first one. Looney Pyramids--I like those and have them, andI almost put them in, but then reconsidered since they fall into the category of "abstract plastic" pieces.

Edit: And where do you get glass dice?
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Jeff Wolfe
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kataclysm wrote:
Edit: And where do you get glass dice?

Yeah, that was a tough one to come up with an alternate answer. I was seeking to distinguish the translucent dice you see at casinos from the opaque dice you usually find in role-playing games. They're probably all made of plastic, but the former evokes "glass" while the latter evokes "plastic". In terms of preferences, I could certainly see someone preferring one over the other.
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Adam Alleman
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kataclysm wrote:
jeffwolfe wrote:
Contrarian answers:

1. Plastic figures (e.g. minis from the D&D board games)
2. Looney Pyramids
3. Poker chips


Oh, yeah, I don't know how I missed putting poker chips in for money.


I would say it depends on the money. If you want it to be hidden it should be cards, open money should be nice coins or chips.
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Tom Wright
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Bagpuss42 wrote:
I don't mind applying a few stickers or popping out cardborad chits, but when I have to start messing around with scissors and glue before I can play that's going too far.


That's why I've owned Forlorn Hope for several years but never played it. Cut and paste is not something I ever want to do.
 
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What form is best for bits that represent resources?
I could not vote b/c there was no "Other" option.
My top choice would be the Stonemaier games realistic resource bits, I believe they are made out of resin although some of them are made out of metal:

Treasure Chest by Stonemaier games

New Treasure Chests: Games That Use These Resources


If a game has dice, what material is best for them?

I chose "Different Material":

Bone! arrrh Roll dem bones! How could you leave that dice material off?
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Larry L
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Although technically wood, I choose other for tiles. The most pleasing tile components I've run across are laser cut mdf tiles:

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Stephen Miller
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1. Depends on the game - If they're generic workers, . If their are a ton of people who I need to figure out who is who (but not neccessarially what player they belong to, or which aren't always belonging to the same player) quickly; standees, if there are a couple of people who, then plastic minis. Overall, probably wooden meeples.

2. Realistic resin and metal molds, e.g. those found in the Stonemaier Game Treasure Chest. I guess that's Fimo/Sculpey/clay pieces on this poll? What material is best likely depends on the resource, though, the gold used both in the Delux Euphoria and the Treasure Chest is painted metal, for example, while the stone in Delux Euphoria is grey glass beads (I think it's resin sculpts in the Treasure Chest but aren't certain of that)

3. Thematic metal coins, though I think the poll is missing the obvious solution many people use to replace paper money of poker chips.

4. Depends on the game and exactly how you're using the tiles, but either Bakelite or [thick] cardboard tiles for me. Probably cardboard over Bakelite generally, since I think more games can use tiles with cardboard than bakelite, which seems to require more simple illustrations based on how I've seen them used.

5. Probably plastic generally, but... I do really like the pair of amber dice that I purchased on a school trip to Krakow.

6. No, but I do have a few generic replacement bits lying around. And dice. Lots and lots of dice.

7. No; but I have bought, e.g. the Stonemaier Games Treasure Chest, which is a generic 'upgrade kit' containing 26 realistic resources of each of gold, wood, stone, gems, ore and clay.

8. I buy Mayfair games from time to time. Does that answer your question? More specifically, I prefer games with better quality bits - The physical nature of board games is one of the things I like about them in this increasingly digital world we live in, but I don't think it's ever completely put me off a game. So, if I can get one game but I'm picking between two games that seem equally good otherwise, I'll get the game with the better bits, but I'll probably wind up getting the first game at some point later down the road anyway.

2nd round

1. I think my answer to 8 answered that question.

2. And this one, sort of. Something I'm increasingly noticing is finish on cards. Previously I just didn't like cards that didn't have any finish, but I've started to really value a good linen finish on a deck. Much nicer to shuffle, and to hold.

3. Get rid of the game along with the bits.

Bonus:

Best bit I've encountered in a board game... Discounting Upgrade Kits... Either the airship and the composite parts of in Forbidden Desert, the Stone/Clay/Gold tokens in the deluxe version of Euphoria, or the glass beads used to represent wine and grapes in Viticulture (A game where a non-abstract token simply wouldn't have been functional, sadly, because of the need to track the value and colour)

The worst are the unfinished paper cards in the Avalon Hill game Title Bout. Not 'that cheap feeling annoying plasticy finish' I was comparing to linen finish earlier, unfinished. As in, thin cardboard with no sort of finish, even lamination. Not even machine cut, stubble down the side as if it was in a sheet when packaged and the previous owner had to tear the sheet along the line like a cheque.
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Jack
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Nexus ops is one of my favorite games, but the childish bits means non-geeks never want to play it. I've tried to retheme it, but haven't finished that project yet.
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Andy
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1. Wooden pieces.. they don't have to be meeples, so I put pawns
2. Generally shaped wooden pieces are the nicest, but I do really like the glass cubes for Space Alert
3. I generally just use whatever comes in the game, but I do like Poker chips.
4. I like cardboard tiles, they have a nice chunky feel, often with nice artwork on.
5. plastic dice.
6. I don't collect bits, but I have a few additional bits.
7. Not often, but I have. I once bought a 2nd copy of Cosmic Encounter (Avalon Hill) to use the bits for a 5-6 player expansion. I've bought the odd second hand game too, just for the bits.
8. Production values matter somewhat... I've definitely bought games based more on the bits than the gameplay.
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Bryan Thunkd
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There wasn't a single option for wooden cubes?
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Stephen Miller
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Thunkd wrote:
There wasn't a single option for wooden cubes?


'Abstract wooden bits' would cover them.
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kat costa
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Thunkd wrote:
There wasn't a single option for wooden cubes?


I'm pretty sure I wrote "abstract wooden bits" whenever I meant "wooden cubes." My first instinct was to say "wooden cubes," but I wanted to include wooden hexes like from Puerto Rico and wooden disks like the clay from Agricola in the same category.
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Jerry Wilkinson
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1. wooden maples
2. shaped wooden bits
3. cardboard chits
4. cardboard tiles
5. wooden dice
6. Not really
7. Yes, secondhand (the only reason to buy DICEcapades is for all the dice)
8. Production values matter a little, but I substitute when I can.

9. Yes
10. Yes
11. I list it in the next USA math trade.
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Jimmy Hensel
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I acquire games for the gameplay, not the art or the bits. I do strongly prefer better bits for my games, and what I prefer in the way of bits depends on the game. For example I generally would prefer metal coins for money, but in games with money that is supposed to be hidden information paper money or cards would work better for me. In general I prefer wooden bits, but sometimes another material would work better. Thick cardboard usually works well for tiles, wood (solid or engineered), blakelite, or even plastic can be good too. I may canabalize a game for the bits if it was obtained without much expense and I would get much for it if I well to sell it.

Edit: I'd like to acquire some inexpensive foreign coins for use in gaming. I saw a thread about using old British coins for gaming, and I think that would be grand. However; I'm afraid those coins might be a bit too pricey for me now.
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Chris B
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Production values matter, but not as much as gameplay. A game with poor production values, even if a good game, leaves me feeling a bit "ripped off" - like the company could've spent a bit more on printing, components etc...

Lots of my games have some cool bits in them, but one of my favourite "bits" are the small plastic poker chips that I bought that we use for money in a number of games.
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Mike Jones
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kataclysm wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
There wasn't a single option for wooden cubes?


I'm pretty sure I wrote "abstract wooden bits" whenever I meant "wooden cubes." My first instinct was to say "wooden cubes," but I wanted to include wooden hexes like from Puerto Rico and wooden disks like the clay from Agricola in the same category.


But that was in question two. You didn't put it in Question 1. Which is why I put other in question 1. Wooden cubes like in El Grande and Dominant Species!

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Mike Jones
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1. Other = wooden cubes
2. Abstracted wooden bits
3. Paper money mb
4. Cardboard Tiles
5. Wooden Dice
6. Why remove pieces from a game? They stay with the game.
7. Yes, I buy 'retail', but I HARDLY EVER pay 'retail'
8. I love games with high production value, but that's not why I choose to acquire them.
9. They can 'increase' enjoyment
10. They don't 'decrease' enjoyment (Provided they work)
11. I don't understand this question mb

Basically all Fragor Games and LudoArt Verlag
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Michael Edwards
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The kind/types of bits that are "best" vary for me - but I went with what I generally have liked. For example, I've never made fimo bits, nor gotten a game that come with them, but I've seen great examples of ones on the geek.

The game is certainly primary to me, but production values also certainly enhance (or detract) from the overall enjoyment for me. I am a bit of a sucker for good bits, but a good game must be there as well.

I generally don't "rob" bits from games, but do like to pimp some games out. I have a kit that contains colored glass tokens, and will soon contain metal coins, for this purpose. I've also purchased after market stuff (animeeples for Agricola, for example).

I still have a weird desire to get In Teufels Küche, as I've always kind of lusted after the main mechanism, even tho I think the game wouldn't live up to be worth it.
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Matt Morgan
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Clay poker chips are a bit missing option for money.

As for the tiles question, all of the options are best for vastly different use cases. This one really depends on the type of game.
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Trevor Gillingham
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The only reason I have NOT bought Vegas Showdown is because of the production quality. If they ever decide to reprint it and really upgrade the components I'd buy it.
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