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Subject: How do you choose what game to play? rss

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fortheloveofdice
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I find when we're planning a game night no one wants to decide what to play ahead of time, so people with cars bring some games, and somehow we decide on something at the last minute based on what a couple of people brought in. But the people who walk or take transit never end up getting to play their games, because it doesn't make sense to lug something in 'just in case.'

When I'm playing solo games or bringing a game to a friend's house, I can get overwhelmed by choice.

Right now I'm using the 10x10 challenge to try to focus on playing a handful of games frequently enough to learn them better, and it has the added benefit of helping me choose a game when I'm looking around at all the choices wide-eyed.

How do you choose what game to play on a given day or game night?
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Reed Dawley
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Thunderdome.

Actually I don't really have a game group so it is always my job to bring a game to friends houses that I think people will like. This requires a lot of pointless agonizing about what I think people will be able to absorb and have a good time playing.
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Michael J
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My group used to vote, argue, beg, plead, and negotiate to decide what we were going to play. It was tiring to go through the process every week, and sometimes be disappointed because you were outvoted on a game you liked and couldn't rally enough enthusiasm for it. But now, we do it differently.

Now, everybody gets points for showing up at game night. And you spend those points picking games. Pick a longer game, or a game you have to teach, you spend more points. And each week, the order of game choosing is most points remaining to least points. Points are tracked for 7weeks max.

The end result is that everybody gets to pick games. No one has to argue for their favorites. No one is disappointed by being outvoted. And no one complains when people pick games. It's their points, their picks, their choice.

For those who are interested:

When you show up for game night, you get 2 points. If you show up every night for 7 weeks, you'll earn the 14 point max. Game points are generally about 1 per hour with 4 point max. That seems to work well in our group. It rewards showing up, and also makes new games more expensive to play, encouraging people to pick older games a bit. Also, we don't track fillers or "group" picks when we are near the end of the night.

EDIT: Each player only gets one pick per night. So hoarding does you no good. Even if you lead other players in points by far, you still only get one pick. The pick system applies only to the "first" pick of the night for each player, and isn't used for fillers and time-wasters. And since points are only tracked for the previous 7 weeks, no one gets a crazy amount of points unless they are passing on their picks, in which case everyone else is picking games anyway.

Also, we change our points thresholds occasionally. Here are our current point costs (note we are pretty lenient on this stuff; it's more a "gut" feeling):
Approximate Playtime Point Cost
< 75 Min 1
75 - 150 Min 2
150 - 225 Min 3
> 225 Min 4
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Jason
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If someone has purchased a new game, we usually play it that week. If it's fun, it'll gets replay for a few weeks.

Number of players plays a big role. We usually have four players which eliminates a few games that we enjoy playing. If we have five players, we let the extra player decide. With larger groups, we trend towards higher player games that fit the group - party crowd vs. gamer crowd.

When there's nothing new, there's only four people, and no one has a preference we have a few games we usually fall back on. If someone isn't in the mood for a chosen game, we simply pick something else.

Overall, the group is pretty easy going so we've never run into problems with choosing a game. And, we tend don't tend to play the same game for more than 2-3 weeks in a row to keep things fresh.
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Dwight Stone
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That points system sounds awesome! I wish I had enough regulars to actually implement this.
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Marco
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I look at the current challenge that I'm doing (10x10, 33x3, play all etc.) and then I choose a game to play. Easy as that. If some one doesn't want to play one of the games from one of the challenges I choose a game using an app I created that helps me choose.
 
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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Benevolent dictatorship primarily. I tell people what I'm bringing and see who's interested.
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Pasi Ojala
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See who will be coming to play and choose a game suitable for all. Indicate beforehand which game you'll prefer to play first (in other words, uninvite players who don't like that game).

Prioritize any gaming challenge games, occasionally push one on the players to get the challenge(s) finished. Arrange extra gaming days with suitable players to get the challenge(s) finished.
 
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Anthony Simons
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
Benevolent dictatorship primarily. I tell people what I'm bringing and see who's interested.

Same!

Actually, a few of us do this in the groups I play in. On occasion, I/we try to set something up before the session; it's almost a requirement for longer games, where the playing time might come close to the entire session.
 
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" I dunno, what do you want to play?"
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Bob Watson
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S/He who hosts game night gets to choose (and can make requests for members to bring specific games). Choices are always made ahead of time, and that way everyone can learn/relearn rules ahead of time, which is a huge help. It's only backfired a couple of times, when a few members didn't show because they hated particular selections, or when someone forgot to bring a game that was requested, and in either case, it was no big deal.
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Waspinator
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I just follow the voices in my head.
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fortheloveofdice
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valknut79 wrote:
and that way everyone can learn/relearn rules ahead of time, which is a huge help.

Amazing! I used to send out a link to the pdf of the rules, sometimes even a video, so people could familiarize themselves with a game before we played it. Not learn it inside out, but at least get an idea. I don't think anyone did it once, ever.
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Klaus Gunther Herzog
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I like this one...

1. Everyone put one game they want to play on the table. One person (host, or random) gets to select an extra game, so number of games on the table are number of players plus one.

2. Every player gets to remove one game they DON'T want to play from the table. What is left is the game that gets played.
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fortheloveofdice
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PlowStr8 wrote:
I like this one...

1. Everyone put one game they want to play on the table. One person (host, or random) gets to select an extra game, so number of games on the table are number of players plus one.

2. Every player gets to remove one game they DON'T want to play from the table. What is left is the game that gets played.

This is a neat idea but could potentially require 7 people to carry games all the way there that didn't end up getting played.

Still, it would limit players complaining that they had to play the game they didn't want to.
 
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When we can't agree on what to play, my game groups have come up with this:

Each person picks 2 games they want to play and places those games on the table.
Then one by one each player vetoes 1 of the games up for consideration.

Next, each person is then given 4 different colored/shaped tokens/chits/coins/meeples/etc. Each token is given a value (we usually use cubes or poker chips with the darkest being 4 points, next darkest 3 points, lighter 2 points, and lightest 1 point).

We then go around placing our tokens one by one on the games remaining until all tokens are placed and the scores for the games are added up.

Game with the highest score is what we play and the process ends up being a mini-game in itself.
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fortheloveofdice
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ubidubium wrote:
Each person picks 2 games they want to play and places those games on the table.

You people all have cars don't you?

Or I guess play at someone's house who has a ton of games... but this is most an issue for me with after work gaming at the office.
 
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Melody Hill
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Just whatever I'm in the mood for. How deeply I want to be immersed in a game. What I feel like getting from a game that day. And how long I have to play. If feel like farming I play Agricola, if I want to go sci-fi I play Race for the Galaxy. If I want some relatively quick deck building I choose Dominion. If I want to trade sheep for wood I choose Catan.
 
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fortheloveofdice wrote:
ubidubium wrote:
Each person picks 2 games they want to play and places those games on the table.

You people all have cars don't you?

Or I guess play at someone's house who has a ton of games... but this is most an issue for me with after work gaming at the office.


Actually, no, living in DC the majority of our group uses the metro or Ubers/taxis.

Nevertheless, you all could possibly go through a similar process beforehand over email.
 
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fortheloveofdice
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ubidubium wrote:
Actually, no, living in DC the majority of our group uses the metro or Ubers/taxis.

Nevertheless, you all could possibly go through a similar process beforehand over email.

I guess I'm just lazier

With office boardgame night trying to arrange online is like trying to get people to decide where to go for lunch - painful. Half the time we end up in the parking lot with half the people refusing to have an opinion about lunch.

I have some friends who get together once a month for beer, and the 'where' rarely gets decided before 4:30 pm day of.

Maybe we need to get a manager to join us or something, herd the cats.
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Jordan Booth
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fortheloveofdice wrote:
But the people who walk or take transit never end up getting to play their games, because it doesn't make sense to lug something in 'just in case.'

To me this just sounds like they don't really care that much about getting their game played. I don't have a car, but I always bring a shopping bag full of games (4-5) to a game night even though I know we couldn't possibly play them all, just to have the choices.
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Carl Frodge
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fortheloveofdice wrote:
I find when we're planning a game night no one wants to decide what to play ahead of time, so people with cars bring some games, and somehow we decide on something at the last minute based on what a couple of people brought in. But the people who walk or take transit never end up getting to play their games, because it doesn't make sense to lug something in 'just in case.'

When I'm playing solo games or bringing a game to a friend's house, I can get overwhelmed by choice.

Right now I'm using the 10x10 challenge to try to focus on playing a handful of games frequently enough to learn them better, and it has the added benefit of helping me choose a game when I'm looking around at all the choices wide-eyed.

How do you choose what game to play on a given day or game night?

In your situation, I think someone needs to step up and be the coordinator. Talk to everyone who's planning on coming and ask them if they want to play a certain game, then, figure out what everyone wants to bring and figure out what will work within your time frame. That way, people only bring what they planned and everyone gets their game played (hopefully. If not, they only brought one game, so it's no big deal.)

As for me, My friend and I are the two in the group who have the games. I host, so my friend has to lug their games to my house. Beforehand, I ask them if they have anything in particular in mind, and I'll plan around that. The other members of our group are pretty much up for anything, so whatever we pick is usually fine for them.
 
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Chris Mcpherson
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My game group is my family. Long-Time GF, 12 yr old daughter and myself. We usually just have a quick look at the games and everyone says a few that they are interested in playing, if one of them matches we go with that. We also went awhile taking turns picking a game each night(we play everyday) but got out of that routine because we were travelling so much.

Lastly, if we are playing with people that we are introducing to the hobby I will pick the game myself but tailor fit the choice to the player or players that are joining us. I have a wide range of gameplay mechanics and playtimes so it is easy to pick something to suit different personalities and experience levels.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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fortheloveofdice wrote:
I find when we're planning a game night no one wants to decide what to play ahead of time, so people with cars bring some games, and somehow we decide on something at the last minute based on what a couple of people brought in. But the people who walk or take transit never end up getting to play their games, because it doesn't make sense to lug something in 'just in case.'

When I'm playing solo games or bringing a game to a friend's house, I can get overwhelmed by choice.

Right now I'm using the 10x10 challenge to try to focus on playing a handful of games frequently enough to learn them better, and it has the added benefit of helping me choose a game when I'm looking around at all the choices wide-eyed.

How do you choose what game to play on a given day or game night?


I have a couple of thoughts on this topic:

First off, I don't have any duds in my collection. Every single game is a game I either want to play, or really want to play. My collection is fairly small (by some standards) and all my games I've rated a 7 or higher.

Secondly, when I go to game nite or a friend's house, I only take a handful of games, not too many - usually anywhere from 3-5. Some people bring entire duffle bags, not because they want to play them all, but because they are offering "choice" to others who may be interested in any of those games.

Lastly, I pick one game for each portion of the night and hope that my game can fill the niche for the evening: I bring one (maaaaaybe two) "big" games, a filler, a card game, etc. This way, if I play any of my games, I'll consider it a success because I played a percentage of the games I brought.

As far as the actual decision process goes, it's pretty whimsical, I usually just pick the games that I either "feel" like playing lately, or perhaps unplayed or newer-ish games that need more plays, sometimes I'll bring games that I think the people I'm gaming with will enjoy.

Hope this gives some insight. I will say this - I feel, personally, it helps to start by having a pretty lean collection. It helps with NOT feeling overwhelmed when making decisions.
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Carl Nyberg
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In my gaming group, usually we just play the first game someone suggests.
 
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