Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
37 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: What makes a board game fun? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ben Goodman
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The question in the subject may sound simple, and it probably is, but I believe people have a variety of answers to this question.

My answer to the question is the following:

Having fun playing a board game for me, means the company is social enough to have a good time with. Obviously the game being good is very important, but without the good company, a game is worthless to me. If I have a game of Cash n Guns where nobody says anything, or someone is being a jackass, or people are taking the game too seriously, I am not having fun. I have the best time playing board games when I can laugh and have interaction amongst the people I play with. I enjoy competing, strategizing and working together as well (the latter of which requires communication). But I always have the most fun when others at the table are willing to make silly jokes. I want to have fun with the people around me more so than the game itself.

Just to be clear, obviously having a great game really helps. My family would not like playing a more serious game like Sentinels of the Multiverse (which to people around here is simple), so with them I play games like Cash n Guns. Whereas with gamer friends I prefer to play more serious games. If you pick the right games with the right group, people who are willing to joke around while playing games in a manner which doesn't slow the game down, then board gaming becomes an absolute blast for me.

See... my answer was longer than I thought it would be. What side of the fence are you on? Do you prefer long games and competition? Do you prefer games with less strategy? What makes games fun for you and what types of games are fun for you?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John
United Kingdom
Southampton
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If the game is terrible I might have fun anyway, but I'm probably going to get fed up with the game fairly quickly. If the people are horrible then I'm not going to have fun at all - however since I play games with friends & family the people are not usually a problem.

Obviously picking a game that everyone will enjoy is sensible, but sometimes I hear the argument of "it's the people you play with that matter" as a defence of games that I think are bad & when there are better alternatives - and sometimes the better alternative would be not playing a game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Saddleback, covered by a blanket of winter snow
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I help organize, so I see lots of types of gamers, and blends of these types:

Social: the game doesn't matter, just the people.
Doing something: they're gaming do so something; they could be knitting.
Imaginer: they want a theme to imagine they're living it.

Winners: if they aren't going to win, they don't want to play.
Players: they want to play as well as possible, better than before; if they still don't win, that's fine.
Casual: make legal moves; see what happens.

Timid: be sure not to do anything wrong.
Gambler: they want to take chances and throw dice and have as good a chance of winning as anyone else.
Thinker: they want meaningful decisions; too much luck is bad.
Analyst: they want the heaviest, most complex game possible.

Aesthetic: if the game isn't a work of art, it's not worth playing; often want painted minis.
Counters: if the game doesn't have hundreds of bits, it's not worth playing.
Mechanics: if the mechanics aren't good, it's not worth playing.

Butterfly: they want to do this, do that; they get bored easily.
Middleweight: 60 to 90 minute games; rarely more or less.
Epic: they want the longest game possible, days if possible.

This is not exhaustive and definitely off the cuff.
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcus
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wargamer: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Look on my works ye mighty and despair
United Kingdom
Huddersfield
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whenever a new game is proposed one of my group always asks:

"Will I be able to dick people over?"

That's a pretty good starting point for us.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Fitzpatrick
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Several great answers - I especially liked the one detailing the different types of gamers.

For me, I don't want to think TOO hard but just enough to keep it interesting. Viticulture was PAINFUL for me to play - too many factors. However, I'm fine w/ other worker placement games that have 2 processes to consider (or so). I'm fine w/ some luck but I also like a touch of control. I'm also fine losing based on a die roll - life happens.

And I don't care if I win or not but I always want the possibility to accomplish my goals. I lost Ticket to Ride many times before I finally started winning, and I loved every one of those losses. It was still fun and anxiety producing (another aspect of what makes something fun).

wf
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Space Trucker
Germany
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pretty different for me from time to time, depending on mood and playgroup.

Sometimes I play light games and fillers with the family or nongamer friends - here it's important that everybody has a good time, a nice activity together. If knitting mentioned above wouldn't be a tad to solitary and too boring it would be okay, too.

When I play with gamer friends it's also the most important that everybody has a good time. But here it's more important to me that we have good and interesting games on the table and that everybody tries to win (some slight competition).

Lately I also played some competetive games online (Terra Mystica ). Here I don't know if the other players somewhere around the planet do have a good time. Sometimes there's a few lines of chat, sometimes not. Here I 'm happy to find strong opponents for interesting games with many decisions to think about and here I want to play well and enjoy the competition. I don't really care about losing to better players, but I'm a bit annoyed when I make silly mistakes.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Lewis
United States
Cumming
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
For me I think it all boils down to how well the game allows me to immerse myself when I play it. It doesn't matter how long the game is or how cutthroat, or even how simple the game is. I want to be able to forget the real world for a short time and enter the "world" the game has laid out for me. The better the game does that, the more fun I am likely to have.

If I can't connect with a game's topic, theme, subject, etc... I am probably not having fun.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete
United States
Northbrook
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Games are contests of wits. If the game presents an interesting contest of wits, it is fun. If it also provides an entertaining narrative, tension or suspense, and a aesthetically pleasing visual experience, that is a bonus. But fundamentally, the contest of wits is the essence of a game.

Pete (thinks, therefore he plays)
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Louie
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
plezercruz wrote:
Games are contests of wits. If the game presents an interesting contest of wits, it is fun. If it also provides an entertaining narrative, tension or suspense, and a aesthetically pleasing visual experience, that is a bonus. But fundamentally, the contest of wits is the essence of a game.

Pete (thinks, therefore he plays)


But is it the wits used to complete the actions and compete in the game that is important, or the wits used in the interaction with your friends that is more important?

30 minutes after everyone leaves the table and has gone home for the night, I don't remember who won the 4-5 games that we've played, but I remember the crazy comments and laughter that ensued over specific interactions...

I admit, I will remember if a game is particularly boring/tedious, fiddly, or hard to understand..
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
What Pete said, but games are also a kind of formalized debate among the players. Each player is seeking to establish the premise "I win" by employing various arguments (moves) to advance his case.

I do not see games as conflicts but as intellectually stimulating discussions that culminate in unambiguous outcomes. When I play a game, I argue according to the rules of debate set out in the rule book, engage with others in a meeting of minds and then the rules afford some unbiased feedback at the end about the success of my approach to the discussion.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Netherlands
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
For me it is the people that can allow me to have fun on a game night regardless of the game.

However, to assess the game itself, I have to agree with the wits statement when viewing only the game and game mechanics...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If I can say it at least doesn't suck
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edward Uhler
United States
Commerce City
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For me, it's being around, fun, great people and sharing the experience of tough, meaningful decisions within the game and the competition of decision making. It works for our group!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's different kinds of fun.
Quote:
If I have a game of Cash n Guns where nobody says anything, or someone is being a jackass, or people are taking the game too seriously, I am not having fun.
That's a game that's fun to me because it's a light social game and it's all about being silly and laughing.

But I also have fun playing deep thinky games. And in some of those situations what I want are players who are thinking about the game strategically, playing seriously and being very competitive. If there are players who are just not taking it seriously and chatting and laughing and not paying enough attention to the game, it won't be as fun an experience for me.

The idea that there's only one way to play a game, or only one way to have fun is ridiculous. You might as well say that the way you should approach riding a rollercoaster and watching an art film in the same way. The way we should approach different experiences is highly dependent on the nature of that experience. There's no one way that works for every situation. And likely, it differs from person to person.

So while you might view Cash'n'Guns as a light game that ought to be taken lightheartedly (a view I share) there's probably someone out there who would have more fun playing it as a deep social deduction game taken very seriously. Neither of you is right or wrong... but both of you should be aware of your preferences and try to make sure that everybody is on the same page up front.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete
United States
Northbrook
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
glouie wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Games are contests of wits. If the game presents an interesting contest of wits, it is fun. If it also provides an entertaining narrative, tension or suspense, and a aesthetically pleasing visual experience, that is a bonus. But fundamentally, the contest of wits is the essence of a game.

Pete (thinks, therefore he plays)


But is it the wits used to complete the actions and compete in the game that is important, or the wits used in the interaction with your friends that is more important?
Since the latter can be readily obtained without playing a game, the answer is that the fun of the game is obviously the former.

Pete (thinks the fun of the game cannot be the fun you could have without it)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam P
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Tension is what makes games fun for me. It is the anticipation to perform well in a given context:
- social gaming, am I going to play a big surprise? can I make people laugh?
- strategy, am I going to pull off my big move?
- auction, do I bid or pass?
- puzzle, how do I do this move in 3 turns or less? can I solve it?
- physical, will my body perform this next move as well as I want?
- gambling, how long can I not roll sevens in a craps game?


I emphasize "given context" because the people you play with can shape that context of playing well. Playing well doesn't always mean playing to win.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Goodman
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SpaceTrucker wrote:
Pretty different for me from time to time, depending on mood and playgroup.

Sometimes I play light games and fillers with the family or nongamer friends - here it's important that everybody has a good time, a nice activity together. If knitting mentioned above wouldn't be a tad to solitary and too boring it would be okay, too.

When I play with gamer friends it's also the most important that everybody has a good time. But here it's more important to me that we have good and interesting games on the table and that everybody tries to win (some slight competition).


This goes along with my experience a bit as well. As for the person who mentioned knitting, there is a reason we choose to do board games over knitting, and it's because board games are more than having conversation while partaking in a hobby (also I would find knitting boring). Board games are small competitions which enforce interaction among players and strategy. Board games force people into strange social situations.

Having a good game on the table is important, but the more important thing is having the right good board game on the table for your particular group.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Goodman
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ackmondual wrote:
If I can say it at least doesn't suck


Haha... yeah I disagree here. I have had games that didn't suck but the overall experience was lackluster for me and I felt less inclined to play with that group again.

Not sure if this comment is just a joke, I think it is. But if I play a game and I think I would've rather been at home alone watching TV or if it was comparable, then that game wasn't fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
United States
Pearland (near Houston)
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What makes a board game un-fun is when other people are having a terrible time. I feel like I'm torturing them by making them finish the game. These same people will suggest we play the game again. Why, when they hated it?

So, fun games for me are when everyone else is having fun. Then I can enjoy myself.

But I do fall into some of these cateories:
Tall_Walt wrote:

[x]Social: the game doesn't matter, just the people.
[x]Doing something: they're gaming do so something; they could be knitting.
[x]Imaginer: they want a theme to imagine they're living it.

[_]Winners: if they aren't going to win, they don't want to play.
[x]Players: they want to play as well as possible, better than before; if they still don't win, that's fine.
[_]Casual: make legal moves; see what happens.

[_]Timid: be sure not to do anything wrong.
[x]Gambler: they want to take chances and throw dice and have as good a chance of winning as anyone else.
[x]Thinker: they want meaningful decisions; too much luck is bad.
[_]Analyst: they want the heaviest, most complex game possible.

[x]Aesthetic: if the game isn't a work of art, it's not worth playing; often want painted minis.
[x]Counters: if the game doesn't have hundreds of bits, it's not worth playing.
[x]Mechanics: if the mechanics aren't good, it's not worth playing.

[x]Butterfly: they want to do this, do that; they get bored easily.
[x]Middleweight: 60 to 90 minute games; rarely more or less.
[x]Epic: they want the longest game possible, days if possible.


I know I marked most of them. The thing is that I like different things at different times.

I want a good balance between luck and having my decisions make a difference so I'm between Gambler and Thinker.

I love works of art but it's not a must have although bad art is ... well bad. I love hundreds of bits but not every game needs them. Hundreds of bits will attract me but I won't turn down one that has no bits at all. I assume Mechanics matters to me. I'm not sure I totally understand that vocabulary word yet so I might be wrong. But I think Good Mechanics is like Good Art, all in the eye of the beholder.

Butterfly, Middleweight, Epic, I'd like to play a few of each. I'm not really a butterfly but I like short, "we have time to play again" games as much as the middleweight games and I'd like an annual epic or so.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Saddleback, covered by a blanket of winter snow
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rainbowrose wrote:
I know I marked most of them. The thing is that I like different things at different times.

Nothing wrong with that! I often play a light game after a heavy game to relax, and to think about the heavy game. Sometimes I'll play a game with just a deck of cards; sometimes a map and loads of bits.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eugene Panferov
msg tools
designer
the first and the foremost: THE ABSENCE OF THE SOLUTION.

if a game is solved, nothing could make it fun again.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
DJ Wilde
United States
Monroe
LA
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"What makes games fun?"

Boy do opinions and tastes vary.

I like random chance and surprises. I like fantasy adventure and imagination. I like zombies and superheroes. I like strategy too.

On top of all that I find fun, I do my best to keep my options open and not knock it until I've tried it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Andersson
Sweden
Rimbo
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Friends.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Electro Rush
Poland
Warsaw
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Negative interaction.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.