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Subject: Weekly Gaming Topic of Discussion - Player Count rss

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bryden
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Stow
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Game scaling … plays different for each player count? or provide a consistent experience?

If you have been around long enough you have noticed that games often times have these wide ranges of player counts noted on the box, 2-5 for El Grande, for example. You may think “that’s great, I usually play with 2 and now I can play a “great” game!” When you break it out you are left a bit wanting and maybe wonder “what all the hype is about, that game was not that great”.

This is a tricky thing. Games that list a very specific player count like 3 only or 3-4 etc while being very honest may be significantly limiting its sales potential. Are the publishers forced or forcing the designers to ensure that the game can be played with other player counts?

Many years ago I had an on-line discussion with the designer of Endeavor, a game that I enjoy greatly, and I stated that I did not feel that the game was playtested for 3 players because the full breadth of the game did not open up. It felt like the game needed more turns or an alternative setup. The designer insisted that the 3 player game was intended to play differently. After a few more attempts to enjoy the 3 player normal game, I abandoned that as too boring and reduced the shipping tracks to create the same experience as the 4 and 5 player games. To me the fun in the game happens when everything is possible and not just a subset of the experience.

So what do you think? If a game states that it can play 2-6 players should all of the player counts provide the same experience? Should games state the range of player counts but then state that it plays best with X players?

Edit: Correction El Grande plays up to 5 players Replace all 6's with 5's in the poll.

Poll
How would you like publishers to note on the box the player counts that the game plays? [Using El Grande as an example to explain the answers]
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Like it the way it is regardless of how it plays (El Grande, 2-6 players)
25.0% 3
Should state the "plays best with" count on the box (El Grande, 2-6 players plays best with 4-6)
25.0% 3
Should show only the best player count for the expected gaming experience on the box (El Grande, for 4-6 players)
0.0% 0
Should note adjustments to play with the expanded player counts for a consistent experience(El Grande plays best with 4-6, variants for 2-3 players included)
50.0% 6
Other (please explain)
0.0% 0
Voters 12
This poll is now closed.   12 answers
Poll created by NoDicePlease
Closes: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:00 am
 
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Matt Brown
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Okemos
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Nitpick: El Grande plays up to 5.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Boxes lie. I always check the geek anyway.
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bryden
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Stow
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matthean wrote:
Nitpick: El Grande plays up to 5.

Edit noted (polls can't be corrected), I should have known that but having only played with 5 once it did not come to mind.

Thanks
 
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bryden
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Stow
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Thunkd wrote:
Boxes lie. I always check the geek anyway.

Agreed but not everyone uses the Geek (shame on them).

The issue for me is with gifting as those buying the game don't know games (well enough) let alone about BGG. I have led the horse to the water but when it comes to making the order, they order out. I now insist that no one buy me games as a result.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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NoDicePlease wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Boxes lie. I always check the geek anyway.

Agreed but not everyone uses the Geek (shame on them).
Sure... but you're not going to get publishers to limit the player count in a way that will lower sales. They'll continue to lie.

As long as a game isn't completely absolutely horribly broken with two players they'll say you can play it with two players, even if it is dull and boring with two. They know that there's a market for two player games and that they'd be losing money if they didn't. And technically... it does play two, just not well.

So no matter what consensus you get in your poll, the publishers have no financial incentive to fix the problem. So we'll continue to have to rely on the geek to tell us the best and worst player counts. And the casual two player gamers will continue to get burned by publishers because they don't know there's an online resource available that could tell them the truth.
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