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Subject: Is a non-filler short game lacking? rss

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matheus cohen
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As the title says,
Do you feel that a non-filler game being 'short' a bad thing?

Like, if the majority of your bloodrage games being 30~45 min instead of 1hr+?

I understand that sometimes being short may result sometimes on the game ending when you finally started that engine/combo you may have been trying to do the whole game.

But let's assume that a major game (i used bloodrage as a example) takes you around 40 minutes a game, without making you feel cut short or incomplete. Would that be a problem?

Or maybe you feel that a game taking a bit more time(1hr+) but not too much (-3hr) is better?
 
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K S
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I hear the term "filler game" used, but it's not clear to me that the concept has any coherent meaning. I find that 45-60 minutes is the ideal duration for a "major" game with my playgroup. I rarely even consider games with an advertised playing time longer than 90 minutes, because I will have great trouble getting it to the table. I personally wouldn't mind tackling some 2-3 hour games occasionally, but I don't have the opponents to join me for that at this time.
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DB
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"Filler" is a useful concept but I've never been a fan of the connotation that weight = fun. That said, a game going long -- especially at night or on a fixed deadline -- is much more of a problem. If a game goes long then you're tired and/or you rush the last few turns and mess up the scoring, but if it goes short then you have time for another quick game.
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No.

Short games provide a different kind of fun to long games.

But while I personally prefer the latter, that isn't any kind of objective judgement.
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nat tact
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I always view filler games as those that take less than 20 minutes and have only a few decision points. Flux, zombie dice. and love letter fit this category.

I usually hate filler games unless I'm with non gamers.
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Christian K
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Absolutely not. Short games are fine. I can play a 7 player game of 7 Wonders in 30 minutes and get the same feeling I get from a 2 hour game. Filler games on the other hand, I do not care that much for, as they often lack depth and strategy.
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Kevin Jonas

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Interesting topic. I always thought something was considered a filler game because of it's length. I don't think weight has anything to do with it. Because I can think of games that are long but really simple and I wouldn't call it a filler because of the length.
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matheus cohen
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Ok maybe i can be a little more specific:
For the purposes of this topic treat a:

A filler game being a game with little decision or points of interest, like zombie dice as said before.

It's fun as any game can be, but its simple and fast.

A non-filler/normal/major game
Is any game that goes beyond that, normally over that time (and over 1 hr) with more to think about.
Of course there are light weight games that don't have that much to think about.

Of course this does not count to games as magic or dice masters that are made for quick matches
 
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Kenneth Lewandowski
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Games my group uses for 'fillers' include BLockers, No THanks, Clubs, TransAmerica which all have some decisions.

I have been gravitating toward shorter time games and have found several with a decent amount of decisions etc...

Imhotep, Star Trek Five Year Mission, Walnut Grove, Splender (Gravwell if no one has AP).

I am getting so that I would rather play 2 or 3 of these instead of one 'bigger' (longer) game.
 
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Alison Mandible
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These days, many of my favorite games are the ones which provide a relatively deep experience in 45 minutes or less. Tash-Kalar, Impulse, Mottainai, Catchup.

Then I can play several non-filler games in an evening, which I almost always enjoy more than playing just one, even if that one is wonderful.
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Nick Case
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I'm struggling with definitions here. I struggle with the term filler period. Those short games that people tend to call 'fillers' aren't like sandwich fillers between two big slices of bread, or plaster in a crack, they normally fill the time early in the session until the required people arrive or as a backstop to round an evening off. That period of time is elastic.

The last time I player Puerto Rico as a 3 player game, it took 28 minutes start to finish. That was a filler for us but few would class it as a 'filler'. It lacked nothing.

So what's a short game? Less than an hour, less than 90 minutes? I'm pretty sure there is no hard and fast definition per se, just a personal opinion. But regardless, why does a sub 60 minute game have to lack anything? A 60 minute game is designed to last an hour, that is it's design time. A skateboard isn't 'lacking' a steering wheel and a stereo compared to a car. Four wheels and a board is its design brief.

Which is a long winded way of saying, I don't think the OP's question really makes any sense.
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mortego
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I like a variety of games in any time length.
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matheus cohen
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
I'm struggling with definitions here. I struggle with the term filler period. Those short games that people tend to call 'fillers' aren't like sandwich fillers between two big slices of bread, or plaster in a crack, they normally fill the time early in the session until the required people arrive or as a backstop to round an evening off. That period of time is elastic.

The last time I player Puerto Rico as a 3 player game, it took 28 minutes start to finish. That was a filler for us but few would class it as a 'filler'. It lacked nothing.

So what's a short game? Less than an hour, less than 90 minutes? I'm pretty sure there is no hard and fast definition per se, just a personal opinion. But regardless, why does a sub 60 minute game have to lack anything? A 60 minute game is designed to last an hour, that is it's design time. A skateboard isn't 'lacking' a steering wheel and a stereo compared to a car. Four wheels and a board is its design brief.

Which is a long winded way of saying, I don't think the OP's question really makes any sense.



One sense you could take on my question:
Sometimes you are having the time of your life in a game and BOOM, its over. And you are asking yourself 'that's it? I was just starting my weapon of world destruction'

So i ask, do you think games that aren't too simple(e.g. zombie dice) lose somethibg by being short? That by being over 1 hour a game can be enjoyed more?
That those non-simple games lose something by being short? By not engaging you for hours and hours in the same world? (Mutiple sessions don't count)

Yes there are games that were designed to last 60 minutes, 40 minutes. And these questions may and may not be valid to them. Do you think that that 60 minutes game would have been better by being a little longer? 90 minutes perhaps. If not, probably its because they were designed that way but its a valid question.

Do you think that, as said before, bloodrage could be a better gsme by being fully playable in under 1 hour? Without losing anything



Its a point of view question, but it is a valid one. Just as asking what color do you like.
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Russ Williams
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tecocohen wrote:
Ok maybe i can be a little more specific:
For the purposes of this topic treat a:

A filler game being a game with little decision or points of interest, like zombie dice as said before.

It's fun as any game can be, but its simple and fast.

A non-filler/normal/major game
Is any game that goes beyond that, normally over that time (and over 1 hr) with more to think about.
Of course there are light weight games that don't have that much to think about.

So are you simply asking what we think of games with interesting nontrivial decisions which don't take a long time to play?

If so, I like them and often play such games. They seem like an obvious Good Thing, considering how often many people have trouble finding long periods of time to devote to gaming.
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matheus cohen
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russ wrote:
tecocohen wrote:
Ok maybe i can be a little more specific:
For the purposes of this topic treat a:

A filler game being a game with little decision or points of interest, like zombie dice as said before.

It's fun as any game can be, but its simple and fast.

A non-filler/normal/major game
Is any game that goes beyond that, normally over that time (and over 1 hr) with more to think about.
Of course there are light weight games that don't have that much to think about.

So are you simply asking what we think of games with interesting nontrivial decisions which don't take a long time to play?

If so, I like them and often play such games. They seem like an obvious Good Thing, considering how often many people have trouble finding long periods of time to devote to gaming.


Yes. Thats one way to see it. Thank you for your opnion

Another way would be if you actually think that having a slightly longer game may actually be a good thing.
For example, my sweetspot is 90 minutes. Is a lenght that i prefer over 60 minutes or 120, is where i think a game shine due to giving me eniugh time to create/explore/use all engines and mechanics before i get bored of it.
 
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tecocohen wrote:
So i ask, do you think games that aren't too simple(e.g. zombie dice) lose somethibg by being short? That by being over 1 hour a game can be enjoyed more?


No. I think it is the case that longer games can explore gameplay in a more extensive way. But shorter games can distill the gameplay down to its essentials. There's advantages and disadvantages to each.
That those non-simple games lose something by being short? By not engaging you for hours and hours in the same world? (Multiple sessions don't count)

Quote:
Yes there are games that were designed to last 60 minutes, 40 minutes. And these questions may and may not be valid to them. Do you think that that 60 minutes game would have been better by being a little longer? 90 minutes perhaps. If not, probably its because they were designed that way but its a valid question.


I think you've answered your own question. Games that were designed to last 60 minutes wouldn't be better if they lasted longer. Because that's not how they were designed. By making them into a long game, you'd turn them into an entirely different game.
 
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Russ Williams
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Analogy: there are some excellent thought-provoking short stories, and there are some excellent engrossing long novels. In principle, neither short nor long fiction is lacking anything: both types of fiction can be great. Sometimes I want to read a short story, and sometimes I want to read a novel.
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matheus cohen
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
tecocohen wrote:
So i ask, do you think games that aren't too simple(e.g. zombie dice) lose somethibg by being short? That by being over 1 hour a game can be enjoyed more?


No. I think it is the case that longer games can explore gameplay in a more extensive way. But shorter games can distill the gameplay down to its essentials. There's advantages and disadvantages to each.
That those non-simple games lose something by being short? By not engaging you for hours and hours in the same world? (Multiple sessions don't count)

Quote:
Yes there are games that were designed to last 60 minutes, 40 minutes. And these questions may and may not be valid to them. Do you think that that 60 minutes game would have been better by being a little longer? 90 minutes perhaps. If not, probably its because they were designed that way but its a valid question.


I think you've answered your own question. Games that were designed to last 60 minutes wouldn't be better if they lasted longer. Because that's not how they were designed. By making them into a long game, you'd turn them into an entirely different game.


i have answered my own question actually just a part of it, but i think i don't think i know how to express what i actually mean in english. that being the case, i will take what i got




russ wrote:
Analogy: there are some excellent thought-provoking short stories, and there are some excellent engrossing long novels. In principle, neither short nor long fiction is lacking anything: both types of fiction can be great. Sometimes I want to read a short story, and sometimes I want to read a novel.


yes but don't you think 90% of those 2 page novels are bad? i have read a couple of good ones(maybe the concept of a short novel is something weird in english? i'm not sure), but most were really bad. i think that novels under 15 pages lose some charm, while some novels over 100 pages are too much.

well, maybe i'm being rude on trying to force too much on one point? i'm sorry if that's the case, and i'm sorry if that's the case, the point that i'm trying to reach is something a bit abstract that my current english can't explain well.
 
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All in all, I'd rather play a non-filler short game vs. a filler long game. Latter being games that would be great if they ended in half the time, or an hour or half an hour sooner than their actual playtimes.
 
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Cris Whetstone
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I think the answer has a lot more to do with what the game is trying to accomplish than the actual time it takes for completion.

If a game is about a few simple decisions or break points then it should probably be very short. Say ~15min or less. Something you could play several times in a row for fun.

If it involves some stronger decision making or maybe tactical mechanism steering then you are looking at something that should probably go at least 30min depending on how many mechanisms are involved and what lengths they take to come to fruition. Probably up 1.5 or 2 hrs. Most Euros fall into this category to me.

Something that involves strategic thinking would require long term planning by definition. Games of that kind seem to need to last at least a couple hours for real strategy to develop in my experience.
 
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I think the important thing is that a game does not overstay it's welcome. The commonly reviled Munchkin got that way because it lasts too long. A game of Munchkin in twenty minutes is a fine way to spend time laughing with friends at the tongue in cheek humor (though I admit a lot of the jokes do get old, except the Gazebo) When I had a copy I used a few house rules to speed up the game, and it was fine.

Dominion lasts far to long IMO. In contrast, Star Realms takes 15-20 minutes,and it scratches the deck building itch. The time I want to spend repeatedly shuffling doesn't get irritating.

The one major weakness of star Realms is the dark side of it's length: Your deck does something really awesome, and you want to do it again, but you did it so well that the game is over.
 
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tecocohen wrote:
russ wrote:
Analogy: there are some excellent thought-provoking short stories, and there are some excellent engrossing long novels. In principle, neither short nor long fiction is lacking anything: both types of fiction can be great. Sometimes I want to read a short story, and sometimes I want to read a novel.


yes but don't you think 90% of those 2 page novels are bad? i have read a couple of good ones(maybe the concept of a short novel is something weird in english? i'm not sure), but most were really bad. i think that novels under 15 pages lose some charm, while some novels over 100 pages are too much.

I don't think 90% of the short stories I read are bad. Probably 90% of all short stories which exist are bad (Sturgeon's Law - similarly 90% of all novels which exist are bad...) but (just like with games), one can judiciously choose which stories one will read (based on reviews, past experience with authors, magazines, editors, websites, etc) to increase one's likelihood of choosing a good one to read. E.g. I subscribe to a monthly paper magazine The Sun which always has a few short stories in it which I usually enjoy a lot. And a couple months ago a friend whose literary taste I usually trust sent me a link to a SF story online (Ted Chiang's "Exhalation") which I thought was excellent.

I.e. if your point is that short stories and short games are somehow inherently inferior due to being short, I don't find that to be true.
 
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matheus cohen
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russ wrote:
tecocohen wrote:
russ wrote:
Analogy: there are some excellent thought-provoking short stories, and there are some excellent engrossing long novels. In principle, neither short nor long fiction is lacking anything: both types of fiction can be great. Sometimes I want to read a short story, and sometimes I want to read a novel.


yes but don't you think 90% of those 2 page novels are bad? i have read a couple of good ones(maybe the concept of a short novel is something weird in english? i'm not sure), but most were really bad. i think that novels under 15 pages lose some charm, while some novels over 100 pages are too much.

I don't think 90% of the short stories I read are bad. Probably 90% of all short stories which exist are bad (Sturgeon's Law - similarly 90% of all novels which exist are bad...) but (just like with games), one can judiciously choose which stories one will read (based on reviews, past experience with authors, magazines, editors, websites, etc) to increase one's likelihood of choosing a good one to read. E.g. I subscribe to a monthly paper magazine The Sun which always has a few short stories in it which I usually enjoy a lot. And a couple months ago a friend whose literary taste I usually trust sent me a link to a SF story online (Ted Chiang's "Exhalation") which I thought was excellent.

I.e. if your point is that short stories and short games are somehow inherently inferior due to being short, I don't find that to be true.



That's not what i meant, but probably it may have been what i wrote.

I'm not talking about short stories, but short novels.

I usually read a bunch of short stories per day, no problem with that. I love then. And sometimes i pick a book to read through the week, and when i pick a book i normaly expect some kind of epic tale or something like that...but then i openned this week book and it had only 2 pages. I may be good, and there is nothing saying that is not allowed....but probably it won't be

But i think we are talking too much about stories here. But i do get your point, it's a fair one thank you for taking your time to discuss this
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tecocohen wrote:
but i think i don't think i know how to express what i actually mean in english. that being the case, i will take what i got

Is the other part "do you feel dissatisfied when a game finished far quicker than usual? (e.g. a 60 minute game finishes in 20 minutes)"

Possibly - it depends on why & how it finished quickly and whether we still have time for another game. If I was planning on playing a 2h game and it finished in 45 minutes and no one wanted to start a second game as it was likely to take 2 hours then maybe.
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zabdiel wrote:
tecocohen wrote:
but i think i don't think i know how to express what i actually mean in english. that being the case, i will take what i got

Is the other part "do you feel dissatisfied when a game finished far quicker than usual? (e.g. a 60 minute game finishes in 20 minutes)"

Possibly - it depends on why & how it finished quickly and whether we still have time for another game. If I was planning on playing a 2h game and it finished in 45 minutes and no one wanted to start a second game as it was likely to take 2 hours then maybe.


Some games by design last a fixed amount of time (e.g. play 10 rounds, and then the high score wins) and some games by design last a variable amount of time which depends on what players do (e.g. when someone gets 10 points, they win and the game is over; checkmate the opponent's king and win; etc). Some of that second type can have very high variability (e.g. Titan - I've finished some games of it in an hour, and other epic games of it went through the night to the next morning, or Hellas which we usually finish in a half hour, but which will literally never finish if neither player explores...)

(Reading a normal book, front to back, is usually like the first type of game: you know that your total reading time is going to be proportional to the amount of text in the book.)

If you're trying to plan/budget time around a specific play of a game, then the first kind of game is more convenient. But usually I'm not doing that, so I personally have no problem with the second type of game, and indeed I like them very much! A sudden unusually fast victory in a game which usually lasts longer can often be quite interesting, surprising, fun, cool! ("Wow, I've never seen someone win in that weird unexpected way before!")

---

My wife and I play Shogi pretty often; sometimes one of us screws up and loses in less than 10 minutes; sometimes the game might last over an hour. This is perfectly fine because we're typically not playing in the framework of some formally scheduled budgeted gaming situation. And if a game ended quickly, we might simply start another one!
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