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Subject: Long games =/= Good games rss

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Matthew Chhay
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Well, it seems that the Airing of Grievances has started here on the forums. I guess Festivus came late this year, huh?

Anyway, this complaint is about many of the non-gamers, and even a few gamers, that I know. These people like to play looooooooong games. I think something about the large amount of time spend makes them feel like they've accomplished something epic. And when I say long games, I don't mean heavy euro games or even war games.

My non-gamer friends like Risk - World Domination style. It takes them hours, and they always have a LOTR movie on in the background as well to keep them entertained since there is a lot of downtime multiple people (and distractions from the movie). I can't stand this because it feels like I am investing too much overall time when most of it is downtime, and too much time for how little depth Risk has. I've tried to get them to play the mission based win-conditions, but they don't care for strategic goals and don't like how short the game is.

I also have a few gamer friends who are mainly into RPGs and MTG, but are willing to play strategy games with me when available. The problem is that they like to play huge 10-person 8-hour battle-royale games of MTG, where aggro and early player elimination are frowned upon. They want everyone to be able to play for the entire time, so they always spread the damage around evenly instead of trying to eliminate the weakest target. This causes people with slow, sub-optimal decks to still stick around until they become threats, and causes the game to drag on forever. I stopped playing MTG with them after experiencing one of these.

I feel like it's the same concept as a many common house rules in Monopoly: rules made so that little Timmy doesn't get eliminated and get his feelings hurt, or so that the parents can keep all their kids distracted together for as long as possible.

Do any of you guys have experience with these type of gamers? I can understand playing a long game if it's a complex Euro or War game, but I die a little inside whenever I'm invited to one of these boring, time-wasting gatherings.
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Richie Freeman
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Have you tried inviting your non-gaming buddies to play other stuff? I've not played it but Risk: Legacy might be a good suggestion. If they still want the pseudo-epic feeling you could bolt a few sessions together, but the legacy aspect might force their hands into playing "optimally", rather than just dragging a game on for the sake of making it last ages.
 
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Matthew Chhay
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Cardboard Conundrum wrote:
Have you tried inviting your non-gaming buddies to play other stuff? I've not played it but Risk: Legacy might be a good suggestion. If they still want the pseudo-epic feeling you could bolt a few sessions together, but the legacy aspect might force their hands into playing "optimally", rather than just dragging a game on for the sake of making it last ages.


We've played party games and social games, but unfortunately they just don't seem to have the attention span for strategic games. I'm not actively trying to convert them into gamers, it just makes me cringe to know that they like killing time for the sake of killing time by using games. I spend my time on games because I think they are fun. These people play games in order to spend time, and as much as possible.
 
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Daniel Krauklis
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Length can be a quality in itself, imo, because it allows for greater depth of play and power shifts - but not when you stretch out an already thin game forever. Can't really tip you off on any long, light title. Games generally tend to be either or. One solution might be to convince your group to give A Game of Thrones (not a huge step up from Risk, really) or Twilight Imperium a go, selling them on epicness and playing time. Instead of holding back, they can enjoy a marathon game that isn't necessarily super complex. Neither is as massive as, say, World in Flames, but they do tend to take 5-12 hrs to run through.
 
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Greg
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I think an important thing for a group to do is have a measure of what sort of downtime they're expecting.

If everyone pays attention and plans their turns ahead, turns tend to be rapid, watching them is more interesting because you're not just staring at someone who's thinking and your turn comes up before you know it. Everyone's happy.

If everyone doesn't pay attention and spends time between turns watching a movie or playing with their phone or talking shit about something else that's going on turns take much longer and sometimes the first few minutes of someone's turn will be them dealing with irrelevancies - however everyone's engaged with *something* all of the time, it's just often not the game. Everyone's happy.

If half of the people focus on the game and half of people focus on the movie then the game focused people get mad at the movie focused people for gumming things up and the movie people get mad at the game people for getting all het up during their relaxing time. Nobody's happy.

There's no a right or wrong way to play a game or to extend a short one into a long one (or even play a long one comparatively quickly - we used to do short evening twilight imperium and have time for a few light games afterwards when everyone was practiced) - but you gotta get everyone on the same page to make it good.
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John McD
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That sounds wholly bizzare, not a situation I've ever come across at all. There are plenty of good long games, why on earth would anyone choose to play a long bad one?
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When it comes to social interaction v game it seems they tend towards the social and you towards the game. I don't know how to narrow the gap a little maybe try something like codenames to get a foot in the door before the long sessions.
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Adrian Schmidt
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Shinako wrote:
Cardboard Conundrum wrote:
Have you tried inviting your non-gaming buddies to play other stuff? I've not played it but Risk: Legacy might be a good suggestion. If they still want the pseudo-epic feeling you could bolt a few sessions together, but the legacy aspect might force their hands into playing "optimally", rather than just dragging a game on for the sake of making it last ages.


We've played party games and social games, but unfortunately they just don't seem to have the attention span for strategic games. I'm not actively trying to convert them into gamers, it just makes me cringe to know that they like killing time for the sake of killing time by using games. I spend my time on games because I think they are fun. These people play games in order to spend time, and as much as possible.


Ever considered that they might not think of it as killing time? Maybe they just like to do something together, and prefer if the game they are playing isn't too heavy, so it doesn't require them to concentrate too much, and lets them do other stuff, like talk about non-game things and stuff, instead.

I mean, I can see your side of it, definitely, don't get me wrong there. It's just that I can think of at least a few reasons why they might enjoy what they're doing, and if you can't see their side of things, you're very unlikely to ever get them to see your side of things
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Matt Brown
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BlackSpy wrote:
That sounds wholly bizzare, not a situation I've ever come across at all. There are plenty of good long games, why on earth would anyone choose to play a long bad one?


Because it isn't bad for them.
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M Smith
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This is quite strange as when we first started gaming there was not as much variety and we used to play epic games over a few weekends .
Few beauties I can recall are War of the Ring , Pacific Fleet , The Three Days Of Gettysburg (first edition). I am not sure about the others but some involved large hex maps and micro army models. Heck even Talisman
With those cool expansions took all day. These were not all great games and not everyone involved like them . Sounds like it is the hanging out with buddies that counts in your case too.
All of it was well spent time with good friends ( I do not see most of them now. Moving, family etc..) and my dad (even fonder memories as he passed away a few years ago).

Perhaps it is the type of game and house rules involved . I would pop in the recommendations and ask for a game similar to what you already do but.. better , this site has the wisdom needed.

Daniel has a good suggestion with Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) , like by many but not all.
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TonyKR
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Jorath wrote:
When it comes to social interaction v game it seems they tend towards the social and you towards the game. I don't know how to narrow the gap a little maybe try something like codenames to get a foot in the door before the long sessions.

I think this is what it's really about. Your friends are there for a social activity, which happens to be a game. You're there for the game.
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Good games are as long as they need to be. A good game will not outlast its welcome or be to short to fully appreciate.

That being said, not every good game is a good game for you or your game group.
 
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Matthew Chhay
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Pugnax555 wrote:
Jorath wrote:
When it comes to social interaction v game it seems they tend towards the social and you towards the game. I don't know how to narrow the gap a little maybe try something like codenames to get a foot in the door before the long sessions.

I think this is what it's really about. Your friends are there for a social activity, which happens to be a game. You're there for the game.


Yes, that is definitely true of my non-gamer friends, and I understand the appeal of it for them.

And I guess it could be true of my geek friends as well. They definitely fall into the classic "geeks are social outcasts" rather than the newer "being a geek is cool" category.
 
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Shinako wrote:
Pugnax555 wrote:
Jorath wrote:
When it comes to social interaction v game it seems they tend towards the social and you towards the game. I don't know how to narrow the gap a little maybe try something like codenames to get a foot in the door before the long sessions.

I think this is what it's really about. Your friends are there for a social activity, which happens to be a game. You're there for the game.


Yes, that is definitely true of my non-gamer friends, and I understand the appeal of it for them.

And I guess it could be true of my geek friends as well. They definitely fall into the classic "geeks are social outcasts" rather than the newer "being a geek is cool" category.


Many of the hardcore gamers I play with enjoy the social aspect of gaming as much as the game. Others prefer the focus to be on the game. The importance of choosing the right game for the right situation is finding a balance of game type with the people you are playing with.

Risk is a game that is popular with both gamers and non-gamers alike. But house rules such as changing the victory conditions, reinforcement rules, or making an attempt to not eliminate players early both change the nature and length of the game. For example when playing Risk with world domination with non-gamers with escalating reinforcements is a 1.5-2 hour game. A few groups of gamers I play with house rules to limit reinforcements. This extends the game to 3+ hours, because all of the players are quite good at the game and there is less of a reward from eliminating other players on your turn.
 
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Ryan Morency
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You precisely described how my group used to play MTG. 2 of the 6 of us had decks that were tuned well for multiplayer, but as you said it was frowned upon actually trying to take a player out of the game so we had to spread damage around. The person who always won had slow decks that revolved around unstoppable combos or game locking conditions, but he never protected himself in the early to mid game.

I had to start looking at it as more of a social gathering than a game. I do miss those days of us hanging around the table, listening to music and just playing cards out of our deck. Yeah, they were bad games of MTG, but we had fun.
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Greg
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Yeah, it sounds like they are just getting together for a day of geekiness. Lord of the Rings movie marathons and long board games. I agree that would annoy me, but I understand why they enjoy it. It's just the association more than anything.

Unfortunately, I don't know that there is a whole lot you can do about it. The only game I can think of that might work in a group like that, with my shallow grasp of them, is maybe Diplomacy? Very simple rules with long negotiation periods in between actually doing something at the board.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Shinako wrote:
they like killing time for the sake of killing time by using games
I don't play games primarily to be social. Don't get my wrong, I enjoy being social and I like that aspect of gaming... but if my main goal was to be social, there are better ways to do it.

I play games because I love games. I love the competition. I love the challenge. I want to play games with other people who feel the same way. If I'm with people who don't love games, I'll socialize with them some other way.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Shinako wrote:
Well, it seems that the Airing of Grievances has started here on the forums.

It started 15 years ago. devil
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Trevor
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If you've tried suggesting or enforcing your strategic gaming love on groups like that and they don't react favourably, it's time to move on and find a different group for your gaming needs.

It's similar to a social gaming crowd. If they love getting together and playing Cards Against Humanity or Pictionary or Taboo, forcing them into a game of Dominion or Catan probably won't work. They don't want rules and strategy, they want an activity to provide some laughs without them having to think too hard.

In many cases it's worth a try, as I think most of us probably started with a game like Risk or Monopoly or party games before someone converted us to more hobbyist games. But we have to know when to cut our losses on converting or 'upgrading' people if they're really not into it.
 
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If you can find it, try Civilization or Advanced Civilization from Avalon Hill. Adv Civ is my favorite long epic game. The rules are pretty basic, plays best with a bunch of people. Bonus, it is actually good! There is some luck of the draw, but for the most part, if you are good at the game you will do well, if you are bad, you will not. Despite its appearance, it is not a war game. Player elimination is not a thing. If you aggro, you will lose and take someone else with you. Picking on the leader is what you do win. There is a fair amount of simulation play in the game, however, there are some spots of downtime, mostly during movement. But if you appoint yourself the task master and make sure someone is always moving, it shouldn't be too bad.

I think your friends would probably enjoy the Mega Man board game. It is long (what the box says is a lie), I don't think the rules were too difficult and has cool minis. Plus what geek doesn't love Mega Man. This game is defiantly something 14 year old boys would waste a entire Saturday playing. (no offence but that what you friends sound like) One aspect of the game is that you can play cards during another player's turn, which should keep them more engaged. If not, house rule it that if the person isn't paying attention, then they don't play anything (which would actually speed up the game). Not sure if you would like it, personally I think it is too long for what it is, but not a bad option if you are looking to get them to play something "not risk".

You could always try Descent / Imperial Assault type stuff.

I also second trying Twilight Imperium. (which is my third favorite epic game) I know it looks daunting, but the game comes with all sorts of variants, and the expansions add a lot more rules. If you just play with the basic stuff, it isn't too bad. [Note: look up the errata rules] Then as they get comfortable with it / complain that is too short, add more stuff.


 
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A single campaign of Descent: The Road to Legend took us about 90 hours to complete, over the course of a year. That's pretty long...and it sure felt epic!

But the trick was that we didn't play for too long at a time. Each session has to be done in a few hours. If a single session drags on... that can be a real problem.
 
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