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Subject: Could Pandemic Legacy be the ultimate gateway game? rss

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Kasper Lauest
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Usually when we talk gateway games, we talk about games that are easy to introduce to non-gamers (low rules-complexity), yet will still give them a taste of what modern boardgames can do, and will hopefully make them interested in the hobby in general.

However, my experience with the usual crop of gateway games is that most people enjoy them, but they aren't necessarily drawn to the hobby itself. Games like Ticket To Ride, Carcassone, Catan, etc. are fun games, but not necessary games that lead to an "awakening". Usually, I have found that the awakening occurs when they are pursuaded to take the next step upwards in complexity.

Anyway, I have been thinking that Pandemic Legacy might be that game that is easily accessible AND will lead to an awakening, because it is such an absorping experience that really draws you in. Furthermore, you can't keep playing it, so when it is over, it would be natural for those players to look for something else to play. In that way it is almost genius in its design.

Of course there are two main hurdles:

1) The game is too expensive for a casual or nongamer to pick up.

2) The fact that it is a legacy game will further scare off casuals.

This means that basically, the game should be picked up by a dedicated gamer, who gets casuals and nongamers to play it with him/her.

This would be a good thing to do in 2016. Buy PL, if you haven't already played it, and pursuade 3 newbies top play it with you. Avoid alphabehaviour and you could well have turned three people into boardgamers.
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Steve B
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Definitely has potential. Only issue is that Pandemic Legacy is one of the most replayable games of all time. You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have (see the facts here: https://boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame?last30=1).

So a newbie needs to be committed to playing the entire thing, because if they drop out after game 4 or 5, it kinda ruins the experience for the other players who want to continue playing (eg the newbie may have been playing a certain character who has built up a bunch of different abilities, relationships etc, but now a character has left the building). And you can't really have someone just join the game half way through. Half the stuff on the board would make no sense to them - you need the backstory of the previous months to know what's going on ("where did all these xxxx come from?!! (no spoilers!)")

I know regular Pandemic is an absolutely fantastic gateway game. Have had really good gaming sessions with people who never played games before. They even sell it in bookstores over here. It's a pretty normal "family game".
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Mav
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No, it is not even close to a gateway game.
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I don't think it's a good gateway game because it's a campaign. Gateway games are great because you can sit down, play them, and be done. People are smart enough to know if they liked the experience or not.

But with a game that is a campaign you have to sit down, take the time to learn the rules (which will probably change as they play, in Legacy's case) and then, win or lose, they will need to keep coming back.

It's like trying to get someone into Lord of The Rings. If they didn't enjoy the first movie, why would they come back for the other two?

I would never ask a newcomer to make that kind of a commitment.
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Kasper Lauest
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Shuko wrote:
I don't think it's a good gateway game because it's a campaign. Gateway games are great because you can sit down, play them, and be done. People are smart enough to know if they liked the experience or not.

But with a game that is a campaign you have to sit down, take the time to learn the rules (which will probably change as they play, in Legacy's case) and then, win or lose, they will need to keep coming back.

It's like trying to get someone into Lord of The Rings. If they didn't enjoy the first movie, why would they come back for the other two?

I would never ask a newcomer to make that kind of a commitment.

I wouldn't ask them to make the commitment, just hope that they would like to play on, but I do realize that it is a big gamble.
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Russ Williams
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bradelli wrote:
Definitely has potential. Only issue is that Pandemic Legacy is one of the most replayable games of all time. You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry that a game you play up to 24 times would be considered one of the most replayable (and for some people one of the most played) games of all time.
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Sebastian Roehrig
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I dont think, that this is good gateway either.

Vanilla Pandemic suits this requirements way better. Even the manual says, you should play it at least one time normal, before applying the lagacy rules.

I guess it`s just to much and noobies wont predict this strong gameplay, that lies beyond the first two or three games. They just wont see why you think this is a great game and shall draw them into the hobby.
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John
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bradelli wrote:
You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.


I find it somewhat odd that Pandemic Legacy with 24 plays could be the most played game of more than a tiny fraction of BGG. I have 8 games and two expansions with more than 24 logged plays (it'd be 9 games if you count expansion plays with the base game). There are probably 5-10 more games I've played more than 24 times before I logged plays. I'd expect most people who were interested enough to join BGG to have played at least one game more than 24 times.
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zabdiel wrote:
bradelli wrote:
You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.


I find it somewhat odd that Pandemic Legacy with 24 plays could be the most played game of more than a tiny fraction of BGG. I have 8 games and two expansions with more than 24 logged plays (it'd be 9 games if you count expansion plays with the base game). There are probably 5-10 more games I've played more than 24 times before I logged plays. I'd expect most people who were interested enough to join BGG to have played at least one game more than 24 times.


BGG is a small proportion of gamers who are game geeks and play loads of games. For "normal people" playing 1 board game 24 times is almost unheard of. Find some "new gamer", give them Pandemic Legacy, and I guarantee it will be their most played game. New gamers will not have played any other games more than 24 times. Probably just a few random board games a couple of times each.

I also recommend checking out the monthly Top 50 played games list on BGG. You will find that people who log their plays usually log between 2-3 plays of a game per month. To get to 24 plays of 1 game therefore takes a long time and is not very common, even amongst BGG users.
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bradelli wrote:
New gamers will not have played any other games more than 24 times. Probably just a few random board games a couple of times each.


It depends what you count - lots of people will have played one of Uno, Top Trumps, Chess, Draughts, Scrabble, Connect Four, or a traditional card game more than 24 times. Maybe most people won't have done this, but the people who are likely to be interested in playing board games will probably have played something at some point.
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russ wrote:

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry that a game you play up to 24 times would be considered one of the most replayable (and for some people one of the most played) games of all time.



Look at the facts.
https://boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame?last30=1¨

Second most played game with 10504 plays in the last 30 days. The 3rd game has nearly half that (6617 plays). Number 1 is Codenames because it takes 15 minutes to play.

I know many of us here on BGG play some games hundreds of times. But the real life facts are that a game you need to play up to 24 times (Pandemic Legacy) will statistically become one of most played game in your entire collection for the average BGG member who logs plays.

Pandemic Legacy will have more plays than almost any other game, and that is a pretty big commitment for a "newcomer" to get into. Feel free to laugh or cry.
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Matt Brown
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Campaign based games are by default anti-gateways. If you aren't doing the campaign, you might as well play Pandemic. Gateways ask next to nothing from a gamer outside of merely trying it. Campaign based games are asking for investment from the start and non-gamers won't be willing to commit to something sight unseen.
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Gamer : Lets play Pandemic Legacy
New gamer : Ok
3 rounds in
New gamer{ I don't like this have you got another game?
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bradelli wrote:
russ wrote:

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry that a game you play up to 24 times would be considered one of the most replayable (and for some people one of the most played) games of all time.



Look at the facts.
https://boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame?last30=1¨

Not surprisingly the total number of plays summed over all players is high; it's a hot bestseller game!

If we're talking about total number of plays summed over all players, that number of plays is a drop in the bucket compared to far more popular and more played games like Chess, Bridge, Go, Shogi, etc, or mass market games like like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Apples to Apples (even though those latter games' plays are not all logged at BGG). (We're not equating logged plays at BGG with the true number of plays in the world, right?)

If we look at individual users' logged plays of Pandemic Legacy, I see:
https://boardgamegeek.com/playstats/thing/161936
i.e. about 50 users have played it more than 24 times - the highest number is 63 plays for one user.
Many of those logging PL many times seem to also have various other games they've also played more than 24 times, some of them many times more than they've played Pandemic Legacy. I.e. among many of the 50 people who actually logged it more than 24 times, playing a game more than 24 times is not so unusual.

Plenty of other games have many more than 50 people who have played than 24 times. (Granted many of them are significantly older games. We'll have to wait and see what happens with Pandemic Legacy over a longer period of time.)

Quote:
I know many of us here on BGG play some games hundreds of times.

Also many people who are not on BGG play some games hundreds of times! They just don't care about logging them at BGG!

(But implicitly those games don't count at BGG because they are non-BGG-style games like Chess, Go, Bridge, Backgammon, Poker, Mastermind, Monopoly, Cranium, etc...)


Hmm, thinking about it now, I would not be surprised if in fact typical "non-hobby" gamers have a higher average number of plays per game than many typical BGG members: A typical BGG member seems to be continually buying new games and playing them once or twice, then moving on. Many BGG users have even explicitly said that they usually only play a game once or twice. (Probably the more active & involved one gets at BGG - e.g. logging one's plays - the more likely one is to get used to frequently buying and playing new games.)

In contrast, someone not actively into "the hobby" is more likely to have a few old classics (either real classics like Chess, or mass market "classics" like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity) at home which they play more regularly than many hobby gamers play any given title.


In any case, it just struck me as kind of funny that 24 plays would be considered such a large number (since looking at my logged plays, I see over 100 titles I've played more than 24 times), and sad that so many active gamers are disinclined to explore any games more deeply than a couple of plays. (I.e. even though I laughed and cried, I do agree with you that for many people 24 plays is a huge number.) :/
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M M
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russ wrote:
bradelli wrote:
Definitely has potential. Only issue is that Pandemic Legacy is one of the most replayable games of all time. You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry that a game you play up to 24 times would be considered one of the most replayable (and for some people one of the most played) games of all time.

And technically speaking, you will have replayed it 0.

But no, this would be an awful gateway game. No one who doesn't have an interest in this is going to commit to 8-10 game sessions. On the unlikely chance that they agree to it, they'll quit on you by March.
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zabdiel wrote:
bradelli wrote:
You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.


I find it somewhat odd that Pandemic Legacy with 24 plays could be the most played game of more than a tiny fraction of BGG. I have 8 games and two expansions with more than 24 logged plays (it'd be 9 games if you count expansion plays with the base game). There are probably 5-10 more games I've played more than 24 times before I logged plays. I'd expect most people who were interested enough to join BGG to have played at least one game more than 24 times.


I have been here for a few years and have yet to play a game more than 24 times. There are only 5 games that I have played 10 or more times.
 
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I don't see any advantage to using Pandemic Legacy over regular Pandemic. If anything, the prospect of being stuck in a series of games might scare someone off.

Also, new gamers are still assimilating game mechanics and ideas into their vocabulary. They aren't used to learning new games all the time and may not have developed the ability to quickly pick up new games. Throwing them into a situation where things change every game or two may be pushing their ability to adjust.

As experienced gamers we've learned how to approach a new game and incorporate it into our schema of how games work and quickly grasp how to play that game. Some new players, although not all, lack this ability, and struggle with new games... at least until they have more experience and recognize common game mechanisms, recurring themes/goals in games, etc. and are able to see how games are largely similar instead of being overwhelmed by how a particular game is different. I wouldn't want to make the assumption that a new gamer is ready for a game where new rules are added every play or every other play.
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I think it's an interesting idea. I think it could work as a gateway, but my concern is that it potentially sets expectations too high.

If the new players really got into it and completed the whole campaign, would they be looking for their next game to replicate the experience of PL? Would they assume that all modern board are legacy games? And would they be disappointed to learn that there is only one other game (at the moment) that can truly offer the legacy experience?
 
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BlueSwan wrote:
Usually when we talk gateway games, we talk about games that are easy to introduce to non-gamers (low rules-complexity), yet will still give them a taste of what modern boardgames can do, and will hopefully make them interested in the hobby in general.

However, my experience with the usual crop of gateway games is that most people enjoy them, but they aren't necessarily drawn to the hobby itself. Games like Ticket To Ride, Carcassone, Catan, etc. are fun games, but not necessary games that lead to an "awakening". Usually, I have found that the awakening occurs when they are pursuaded to take the next step upwards in complexity.

Anyway, I have been thinking that Pandemic Legacy might be that game that is easily accessible AND will lead to an awakening, because it is such an absorping experience that really draws you in. Furthermore, you can't keep playing it, so when it is over, it would be natural for those players to look for something else to play. In that way it is almost genius in its design.

Of course there are two main hurdles:

1) The game is too expensive for a casual or nongamer to pick up.

2) The fact that it is a legacy game will further scare off casuals.

This means that basically, the game should be picked up by a dedicated gamer, who gets casuals and nongamers to play it with him/her.

This would be a good thing to do in 2016. Buy PL, if you haven't already played it, and pursuade 3 newbies top play it with you. Avoid alphabehaviour and you could well have turned three people into boardgamers.


That is why I think that Dominion is the ultimate Gateway Game. It is simple to learn but can easily become an addiction that pushes someone into the hobby. Catan, Carcassone, and Ticket to Ride could easily become like Monopoly (a game people own and play a couple times a year at family gatherings).
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mlcarter815 wrote:
zabdiel wrote:
bradelli wrote:
You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.


I find it somewhat odd that Pandemic Legacy with 24 plays could be the most played game of more than a tiny fraction of BGG. I have 8 games and two expansions with more than 24 logged plays (it'd be 9 games if you count expansion plays with the base game). There are probably 5-10 more games I've played more than 24 times before I logged plays. I'd expect most people who were interested enough to join BGG to have played at least one game more than 24 times.


I have been here for a few years and have yet to play a game more than 24 times. There are only 5 games that I have played 10 or more times.


I have played Uno more than 24 times but don't claim its better than PL. Comparing number of plays for games doesn't prove much for example does it make sense to compare how many times you played a 5 minute filler to twilight imperium?
For a new gamer you have to try a variety of light games to see what sort they like rather than tell them you have to play this for at least 12 times.
 
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bradelli wrote:
zabdiel wrote:
bradelli wrote:
You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have.


I find it somewhat odd that Pandemic Legacy with 24 plays could be the most played game of more than a tiny fraction of BGG. I have 8 games and two expansions with more than 24 logged plays (it'd be 9 games if you count expansion plays with the base game). There are probably 5-10 more games I've played more than 24 times before I logged plays. I'd expect most people who were interested enough to join BGG to have played at least one game more than 24 times.


BGG is a small proportion of gamers who are game geeks and play loads of games. For "normal people" playing 1 board game 24 times is almost unheard of. Find some "new gamer", give them Pandemic Legacy, and I guarantee it will be their most played game. New gamers will not have played any other games more than 24 times. Probably just a few random board games a couple of times each.

I also recommend checking out the monthly Top 50 played games list on BGG. You will find that people who log their plays usually log between 2-3 plays of a game per month. To get to 24 plays of 1 game therefore takes a long time and is not very common, even amongst BGG users.


I'm not disagreeing with your assertion, however a lot of people simply don't bother logging plays. I wouldn't rely on those stats for a conclusive argument.

As far as Gateway....hmm.

I'm going to try and get my wife to play this one with me. She plays a few light games occasionally with me now, Dominion, Hive, Lords of Waterdeep, Crokinole etc so it'll be interesting to see whether PL gets her to elevate the level of games she plays a little.

I've already purchases PL and just waiting for it to arrive (Likely another week or so being in Australia), but I'll come back and post the results if this topic is still active.
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Patar Absurdus the Shananigator
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bradelli wrote:
Definitely has potential. Only issue is that Pandemic Legacy is one of the most replayable games of all time. You need to keep playing it up to 24 times. It ends up being some people's most played game they have (see the facts here: https://boardgamegeek.com/plays/bygame?last30=1).


I am not sure what you are trying to assert with this data. The link just shows that it is being played a lot right now.

Any good game will become "some people's most played game."

It would be interesting to see what games people play the most or spend the most time playing but the data in your link doesn't really get us much closer to finding that out.
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When I was glancing at the thread title, I read "ultimate getaway game" and took that to mean that it will drive you away from boardgames. Maybe my prejudice against Pandemic Legacy shining through?
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Ratatoskr72 wrote:
When I was glancing at the thread title, I read "ultimate getaway game" and took that to mean that it will drive you away from boardgames. Maybe my prejudice against Pandemic Legacy shining through?


 
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I agree with most of the people that have replied, PL would be a bad gateway game. I haven't played it (but have played Pandemic) so can't comment on the actual game play.

If I play with some non-gamers and I use Carcassonne for example, they don't like it but want to play another game I can show them something different. I can repeat this until they find a game they do enjoy. With PL they either love it straight away or risk ruining the rest of the campaign for the other players and that puts pressure on them.

It could work as a next step. If someone is interested in moving past simple games and has already played and enjoyed Pandemic. I assume as more rules are changed and added the game slowly becomes more complex without them needing to learn a whole new set of rules. I would still probably play enough other games first to make sure they will have fun and keep playing until the end.
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