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Subject: How complicated do you want your games and why? rss

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DJ Wilde
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It just seems to me that people want their games more and more complex and complicated. Do you want moves inside of moves with multiple effects for each one? Or does it not matter to you so long as the game is fun to play? What are your thoughts on how complex a game needs to be?
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Kyle
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I just want to make interesting decisions. It had nothing to do with the complexity of the moves, but the level I'd required thought. I like heavy games, but want heavy like Caylus or dominant species, not a fiddley mess with 8 effects to resolve after each action.
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Michael Debije
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I don't consider caylus or Dominant Species particularly heavy. Give me Europa Universalis, Republic of Rome, Fields of Fire or games of this ilk. Now we're talking. Make 'em as complex and convoluted as you like!
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Bryan Thunkd
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darthain wrote:
I just want to make interesting decisions.
This. Although I do find that adding complexity, especially when it opens up the number of possibilities, tends to lead to interesting decisions.
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Kyle
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Thunkd wrote:
darthain wrote:
I just want to make interesting decisions.
This. Although I do find that adding complexity, especially when it opens up the number of possibilities, tends to lead to interesting decisions.


It definitely can, and when it is well done it is glorious, when it is done poorly it is a hot mess. Kind of as steam lined as possible but no further if you will. There is also that fine balance between having way too much accounting or too many damned components.

 
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GeekInsight
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I'll join the chorus for interesting decisions. Complexity tends to provide more options and more potential outcomes to consider. So complex games tend to be more interesting.

That said, I want a game to be as complex as necessary, but no more so. Occasionally I find a game that has some really fiddly stuff tacked in or a whole sideboard of nonsense. I dislike complexity for the mere sake of complication. It's especially distasteful when there is no thematic reason for the rule.
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Jordan S.
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Personally, I like games that have a very simple core structure to them but where the depth, challenge and complexity come from the way different effects interact. Blue Moon Legends, Cosmic Encounter and Wiz-War are good examples of this, where the objective and mechanisms of the game are simple but different cards and effects can ignore or invert those mechanisms in clever ways.

IMHO, this sort of design creates the kind of games that are "easy to learn, tough to master", support very high replayability and require you to think carefully and creatively each and every time you play.

Of course, at the end of the day the game needs to be fun to play...otherwise it's no longer a game, it's a chore.
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Sometimes I want checkers, sometimes I want chess.

But I don't want to play chess against a grand master, at the end of a long day, or when I have just woken up. Checkers I can handle in all of those situations, so you have a good idea of what I play more.

Some people who get into a hobby are always trying to push towards the extremes - craft beer drinkers go for the most hops, hikers go deeper into the mountainous forests, gamers go for the most complicated games they can find. I'm content with not doing that.
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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It depends.

Obviously, complexity isn't necessary for all games.

But when I'm in the mood for something heavy there's a level of detail and variables I want that can only be achieved by complexity (and game length).

I differentiate between weight and depth; I think a non complex game can have lots of depth, but I don't think it can be truly heavy. Because elegance and weight are conflicting design goals.
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Kyle
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cornixt wrote:
- craft beer drinkers go for the most hops,


That's a really bad analogy, beer folk I encounter avoid the awful hoppy beer fad like the plague. They tend towards bitterness without body, or at best are unrefined swill. Hoppy beer drinkers are now akin to cult of the new, if we want to compare it to board gamers. (Or you live on the left coast I suppose)
 
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Brent Case
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There are some games I like that are higher on the complexity scale, but most of the games I buy are lighter games because most of my friends are casual gamers who are much more interested in playing games like Ticket to Ride than Die Macher.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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I'm of the "it depends" camp. Sometimes all I have time or mental energy for is a lighter game, so that's what I want. Other times I've had too much of the light stuff and am itching for a longer, more complex game with those interesting decisions. So, a nice balance of both.
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Greg
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Some of the most satisfying moments in a game for me, is when there is something that I want/need to do and there is no readily apparent way to get there. I'll sit there and puzzle it over in my head and then, sometimes, I have a revelation. I see another path to where I wanted to go, but it's through some obscure side alley. I have to make a certain move elsewhere, to get something that allows me to do this something else, and so on. I've created a chain of events that works in my favor. I'm not sure if any of that makes sense.

Anyway, for those moments to happen, a game needs to have certain level of complexity I feel. There has to be a ton of options for me to choose from. I'm OK with a game being as complex as necessary. Though, I particularly enjoy it when all of those complex systems are still interacting with one another. I'm not as big of a fan when the complexity is there because the game needs a ton of exceptions or there's all these side systems that really don't affect anything else. Those games just feel like one of those mini-game collections.
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I am clearly in the minority, but I prefer less complex games. I don't mind tough decisions, but the basic structure needs to be clean. The heaviest game I enjoy is probably Hansa Teutonica, for example. In general though, I enjoy games that are on the lighter side, probably because gaming is first and foremost a social activity for me, and so I want to be able to verbally spar with my friends while playing. If a game is too complex and I have to spend the whole time planning and calculating, then there isn't enough time for banter or trash talking.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I differentiate between weight and depth; I think a non complex game can have lots of depth, but I don't think it can be truly heavy. Because elegance and weight are conflicting design goals.
What do you mean by heavy? I get that you're distinguishing it from depth, but I'm not sure where that leaves you. Are there heavy games without depth? What keeps a deep game from being heavy?
 
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Brian Rush
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I love games that have rules that are simple to understand, but which are complicated to implement. Maybe deep or thoughtful or strategic might be a better word than complicated. I'm think, for example, of Cinque Terre. The rules are very simple, not much beyond Ticket to Ride. But the decisions about how to optimize one's route over a few turns can keep your braining burning.
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Jordan S.
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Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I differentiate between weight and depth; I think a non complex game can have lots of depth, but I don't think it can be truly heavy. Because elegance and weight are conflicting design goals.
What do you mean by heavy? I get that you're distinguishing it from depth, but I'm not sure where that leaves you. Are there heavy games without depth? What keeps a deep game from being heavy?

If I may...

I have always associated "weight" with "operational complexity". That is, how complex a game is to get all of its pieces moving. "Depth" on the other hand, is more about how clearly and frequently important the decision points are for a player.

A good example of "heavy but not deep" games for me would be something like Arkham Horror or Firefly: The Game. There are a lot of moving parts involved in tracking the progress of the game from turn to turn. Yes, there are lots of little decision to make in those games but the importance of those decisions is often hard to judge due to high elements of chance and the protracted scope of the game's end conditions.

By contrast, I'd call games like Blue Moon Legends and Summoner Wars "deep but not heavy". The rules are straightforward and simple but every turn involves decisions with immediate and tangible consequences and you can often trace victory or defeat directly back to certain crucial decisions made over the course of the game.

Just my 2 cents.
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Chris
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Webhead123 wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I differentiate between weight and depth; I think a non complex game can have lots of depth, but I don't think it can be truly heavy. Because elegance and weight are conflicting design goals.
What do you mean by heavy? I get that you're distinguishing it from depth, but I'm not sure where that leaves you. Are there heavy games without depth? What keeps a deep game from being heavy?

If I may...

I have always associated "weight" with "operational complexity". That is, how complex a game is to get all of its pieces moving. "Depth" on the other hand, is more about how clearly and frequently important the decision points are for a player.

A good example of "heavy but not deep" games for me would be something like Arkham Horror or Firefly: The Game. There are a lot of moving parts involved in tracking the progress of the game from turn to turn. Yes, there are lots of little decision to make in those games but the importance of those decisions is often hard to judge due to high elements of chance and the protracted scope of the game's end conditions.

By contrast, I'd call games like Blue Moon Legends and Summoner Wars "deep but not heavy". The rules are straightforward and simple but every turn involves decisions with immediate and tangible consequences and you can often trace victory or defeat directly back to certain crucial decisions made over the course of the game.

Just my 2 cents.


Not on board with any of that tbh. Heavy and deep should be broadly synonymous. You're distinguishing the amount of stuff you can do as I read it, which I'd call "width" as opposed to depth. I think it fits really well when it's about lining all your options up side by side. Sounds daft out of context though, but probably mostly because it's not a commonly used expression. All that width doesn't necessarily relate to a heavy game at all, but width * depth * length = volume, and therefore have something of a weight as a combination of them all.

I mean technically IT doesn't have a weight, it'd have a notional mass, so you'd still need a gravity like function to apply to it.... time to stop

Personally I like a lot of depth, but not much width. I like having a few selected entry points, and for those to become interesting from the mechanics they trigger, not a million this to try to evaluate and compare to each other every turn.
 
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Jeff Finazzo
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I don't really equate complexity with interesting/tough decisions. I think the more complex the mechanisms, the less you are predicting the outcome of any particular choice. I've won games like this because of unexpected good results that I didn't foresee. People are saying "Good move!" and I'm thinking "Yeah, not what I expected at all."

Tigris & Euphrates is an example that I like to use for a game with fairly simple rules, but meaningful decisions.
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Alex Johns
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I want to look at a game when it is my turn and think, "I want to do all those things.", but can only do one. meaty decisions that make or break a strategy if done wrong, or in wrong order, or blocked out of doing. that's what I want in a game. it can be simple or complicated, long or short games, doesn't matter. I don't want a game that pigeonholes you into one or two actions, I want the need to do all or most actions, but only able to do one or two per turn.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Webhead123 wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I differentiate between weight and depth; I think a non complex game can have lots of depth, but I don't think it can be truly heavy. Because elegance and weight are conflicting design goals.
What do you mean by heavy? I get that you're distinguishing it from depth, but I'm not sure where that leaves you. Are there heavy games without depth? What keeps a deep game from being heavy?

If I may...

I have always associated "weight" with "operational complexity". That is, how complex a game is to get all of its pieces moving. "Depth" on the other hand, is more about how clearly and frequently important the decision points are for a player.

A good example of "heavy but not deep" games for me would be something like Arkham Horror or Firefly: The Game. There are a lot of moving parts involved in tracking the progress of the game from turn to turn. Yes, there are lots of little decision to make in those games but the importance of those decisions is often hard to judge due to high elements of chance and the protracted scope of the game's end conditions.

By contrast, I'd call games like Blue Moon Legends and Summoner Wars "deep but not heavy". The rules are straightforward and simple but every turn involves decisions with immediate and tangible consequences and you can often trace victory or defeat directly back to certain crucial decisions made over the course of the game.

Just my 2 cents.
With that definition, I'd consider heaviness that didn't lead to depth to be undesirable. I'd first try to maximize depth and then minimize heaviness. My ideal would be, and is, Go, which has very deep play but is largely not "heavy" in the sense you're using it.
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Jay Sears
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I don't like overly complex games. I prefer a balance. I haven't got time to study rules for hours on end unless I think the game will be epic. Aqua Sphere I thought was awful in my opinion and my wifes, poor graphics and poor mechanics with an overly unnecessary icons.
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Jonathan Challis
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The complexity and how to navigate through it, and optimise through it, is what makes a game interesting. I want lots of this, and hate simplicity...
 
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I like my games easy enough. Easy to learn easy to teach, but still some depth to it. Most of my games touch my this philosophy.
 
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Billy Totty
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Complex enough that your choices have significant impact on how well you will perform in the game, but not undue complexity that just saps the fun out of it.
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