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Subject: When people say it feels like work rss

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Duncan Russell
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Hi all

When people complain that a game "feels like work" are they simply saying the game is too difficult for them, it makes them think too hard and so isn't fun?

Or is it the specific nature of the thinking task that classifies it as feeling like work to some people? For example, is it possible for someone to say a game with a complexity rating of 3.5 feels like work but a game rated 4 doesn't feel like work?

The reason I ask is because I think Lewis & Clark is a great game and I love the way it challenges me to be efficient. But some people say it feels like work. I know some say the race feels too slow, but I'm talking about the number of choices each turn.

L&C is a 3.3 complexity which I don't consider to be that complex.

Thoughts?
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Ian Williams
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Everyone's different. A 3.3 is too complex for some, too simple for others.

Complexity may be irrelevant. Theme could also be a factor. If you're not interested in what's happening, I could easily see it feeling like a chore.
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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There is no definitive answer, that kind of appreciation varies from one person to the next.
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Duncan Russell
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celdom wrote:
Everyone's different. A 3.3 is too complex for some, too simple for others.

How about this example. Tom Vasel loves Le Havre (it's in his top ten of all time) and its complexity is 3.7. Pretty complex. He also hates L&C and calls it like doing work. And that is less complex. So although I agree everyone's different and likes different levels of complexity, there's more to it, otherwise Tom shouldn't think L&C feels like work.
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Barmybee wrote:
celdom wrote:
Everyone's different. A 3.3 is too complex for some, too simple for others.

How about this example. Tom Vasel loves Le Havre (it's in his top ten of all time) and its complexity is 3.7. Pretty complex. He also hates L&C and calls it like doing work. And that is less complex. So although I agree everyone's different and likes different levels of complexity, there's more to it, otherwise Tom shouldn't think L&C feels like work.


Tom is a human being, and has things he likes, and things he don't, independant of weight. Munchkin feels like work to me, because it forces me to do stuff I don't like and interact with others in ways I don't like. Yet it's a light game. But it's not fun, it's not rewarding. L&C is rewarding. But it's mathy, and requires careful planning.
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Duncan Russell
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Razoupaf wrote:
There is no definitive answer, that kind of appreciation varies from one person to the next.

OK, so what are some of the factors that make a game feel like work while another one with a similar complexity doesn't feel like work to the same person?

I know many people don't like games where you have to calculate and do maths. I can understand that. But there's no maths in L&C.
 
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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Barmybee wrote:
Razoupaf wrote:
There is no definitive answer, that kind of appreciation varies from one person to the next.

OK, so what are some of the factors that make a game feel like work while another one with a similar complexity doesn't feel like work to the same person?

I know many people don't like games where you have to calculate and do maths. I can understand that. But there's no maths in L&C.


But there is. You have to calculate the amount of turns it takes for you to gather resources, then the progress you'll make, then the number of goods and indians you'll have left and how far it will take you back.

It's more about the rewards you get for the work you do. If what you get for what you did is fun, then fine but if it not enough, then it feels like work. And it has nothing to do with weight or complexity. It's up to taste.
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Duncan Russell
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I can see that. You want to see the benefit of your turn and if there is none or very little, you'd be a bit depressed.

When I don't move far on a turn in L&C it irrtates me a bit but that just adds to the challenge for me! Yes everyone's different, and for some not making rapid progress in a game may turn them off.

Most Euro games need strategy and tactics to succeed and surely you can't do well on every turn in most games.
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Robbert Vervuurt
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Barmybee wrote:
Razoupaf wrote:
There is no definitive answer, that kind of appreciation varies from one person to the next.

OK, so what are some of the factors that make a game feel like work while another one with a similar complexity doesn't feel like work to the same person?

I know many people don't like games where you have to calculate and do maths. I can understand that. But there's no maths in L&C.


It really differs from person to person. There is no one golden rule that says "this feels like work, that doesn't". Give me a worker placement game with a weight of 4+ and I will probably feel there's too much to keep track of, and the "relaxing" part of gaming (for me) is gone.

Give me a co-operative, story telling game with a weight of 4+ (no idea if it exists) and I would probably love playing it and it won't feel like work the slightest bit.

I am not really sure why you feel like asking this question, as it's completely different from person to person, depending on their interests, level of energy and state of mind at that very moment.
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Duncan Russell
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I suppose I started thinking about it because I wanted to understand why a game that doesn't feel lile work to me (though it does make me think) feels like work to others who like complex Euros like Le Havre.

With Tom V, state of mind or energy level can't be factors because he simply says he doesn't like L&C because it feels like work. That sounds like he dislikes it in any situation.
 
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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rvervuurt wrote:
Give me a co-operative, story telling game with a weight of 4+ (no idea if it exists)


Kingdom Death: Monster?
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Christian Gienger
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If someone says games feel like work, they have a great job!
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Duncan Russell
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So can you all tell me what games feel like work to you or are there too many to list??!!

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What's your job?

That might help explain it a little.

I think though when people say it they mean:

-it feels like HARD work, or
-it feels like BORING work, or
-it feels like THANKLESS work.

The first one - it might be about the mental concentration required. "I deal with spreadsheets all day... I don't want to do it at home too!"

The second one - it might be about the repetitive nature of the game - a "rinse, repeat" scenario.

The third - the reward (winning, satisfaction, enjoyment) is not big enough to justify playing the game.


In any case, the weight measure is almost irrelevant. As others have said, theme, combinations of mechanisms, opponents, all can have an impact on whether it feels like "work". And that's leaving aside the worth of the measure anyway, based as it is on people's votes who aren't necessarily thinking about all games when they make their judgement.
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Duncan Russell
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Locu wrote:
If someone says games feel like work, they have a great job!
since Tom Vasel's work is playing and reviewing games, all games should feel like work to him!
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mortego
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I never heard anyone say that but I'll accept that many others have. That's a stupid saying and I would never say that, I'd be damn glad I was playing a board game than being at REAL work any day!
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Duncan Russell
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casualcasual wrote:
What's your job?

That might help explain it a little.

I think though when people say it they mean:

-it feels like HARD work, or
-it feels like BORING work, or
-it feels like THANKLESS work.

The first one - it might be about the mental concentration required. "I deal with spreadsheets all day... I don't want to do it at home too!"

The second one - it might be about the repetitive nature of the game - a "rinse, repeat" scenario.

The third - the reward (winning, satisfaction, enjoyment) is not big enough to justify playing the game.


In any case, the weight measure is almost irrelevant. As others have said, theme, combinations of mechanisms, opponents, all can have an impact on whether it feels like "work". And that's leaving aside the worth of the measure anyway, based as it is on people's votes who aren't necessarily thinking about all games when they make their judgement.

I work with words so maybe that goes part of the way to explain why I like thinky games. It's the opposite of my job!

I should say though that I love being an editor.

I think 'thankless' is a good word. As we said above, people want to see progress on their turn ie a reward. When you don't feel you get a reward, it feels like work. That feeling is quite likely with L&C.
 
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Barmybee wrote:
When you don't feel you get a reward, it feels like work.

I wasn't aware we had so many slaves on BGG.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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For me it is when a game takes too long and is too hard.
 
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Russ Williams
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I've always understood it to mean that a game is somewhat complicated AND that the person does not like the game (for whatever reason, which really could be any reason).

They may not even be consciously aware of WHY they don't like the game, but saying it "feels like work" is an easy (perhaps lazy) way to try to explain why they don't like the game.

The same person may enjoy some other similarly complicated (or far more complicated) games, which involve doing the same amount (or more) of "work", but people normally won't complain that a game which they enjoy "feels like work".
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Trevor Taylor
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I work in programming, numbers and analysis.
There are a couple of games I probably won't ever play again as I've basically solved them (not to win every time, but to know exactly what the best thing to do is, it just takes concentration, not intelligence/skill). A perfect example is Asteroyds. My friend suspected I'd be good at this and I was. As you basically have a short time to assess 3 dice and check each asteroid to see where they'll all be and then program the movement of your ship. You don't collide with other players so this game is purely about making this analysis quick enough to see your route. Apart from a small chance of a possible scenario where you might risk going close to an asteroid to get ahead. So I made one mistake this entire game (as I got board towards the end) and I know that I could do well every time, but only because I was 'working hard' not because I'm playing.

A hard game is not work for me, but it might be if I will need to spend a long time teaching it to my group and I know some won't get it straight away. Obviously for different people, different things will be considered work. But without knowing the person well, I would struggle to gauge what's 'wrong' with a game when a person says this unless they elaborate or I know them very well (or both!).
 
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Whether or not a game will 'feel like work' to someone is very person-specific. In my opinion, it usually has to do with how well the player connects with the game, the level of their enjoyment and engagement in it, and whether or not they felt like they were an active participant or just going through the motions. Factors that can affect this for an individual are:

- theme / art / immersion
- weight / complexity
- game mechanics
- game type / category
- play duration
- player interaction

For example, if someone didn't like western-style themes, regardless of the weight or mechanics, they might really not connect well with the game. However, it is also possible for a person to not like western-style themes but still connect with the game because they love the mechanics, complexity, or player interaction enough to tolerate the theme. It can be highly person-specific.

There are games that have a theme/purpose out of touch with the rest of the game. The theme tends to be described as 'pasted on' and it seems to me like many people view these as more work-like because of it. On the other hand, there are people who really like abstract games, games that do not really have a strong theme, who would not be bothered by the theme and gameplay disconnect. It all boils down to how each person gets enjoyment from the game.
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A P
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Barmybee wrote:
Hi all

When people complain that a game "feels like work" are they simply saying the game is too difficult for them, it makes them think too hard and so isn't fun?

Or is it the specific nature of the thinking task that classifies it as feeling like work to some people? For example, is it possible for someone to say a game with a complexity rating of 3.5 feels like work but a game rated 4 doesn't feel like work?

The reason I ask is because I think Lewis & Clark is a great game and I love the way it challenges me to be efficient. But some people say it feels like work. I know some say the race feels too slow, but I'm talking about the number of choices each turn.

L&C is a 3.3 complexity which I don't consider to be that complex.

Thoughts?


The BGG weight rating is based on votes and seems to me to be a conflation of "How complex/detailed are the rules and how long the game takes to play" and "How difficult the decisions are to make and how hard you have to think to win the game."

A game like Power Grid has a relatively high weight rating (3.29) but is actually very simple in terms of mechanics and rules and I have successfully introduced it to non-gamers. I have also seen it induce crippling AP in people and myself resort to getting out a calculator most games.

I suspect it is the latter aspect that people have a problem with; after all, rules complexity tends to matter most on the first play.
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Kester J
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As others have said, different people mean different things when they say this, so it's hard to quantify.

To throw another definition into the ring, I usually use it to mean games where tracking the game state takes up too much time relative to thinking about actual strategy. I wouldn't call these games too much like work if I were playing a computer implementation that did this accounting for me, but in board game form they are too much like work.
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Dave Lartigue
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For me, feels like work:

* far too long
* theme is boring or absent
* what I'm doing is uninteresting
* I'm not having fun playing it. Not engaged, not caring about the outcome.

Russian Railroads felt like work. All I'm doing is dumb stuff to no interesting end. Boring, unengaging, long. I don't feel like I'm doing anything in the game except trying to work out a way to get 3 whatevers instead of just 2. If I thought about it and really applied my head I would probably do better but nothing about the game makes me care enough to do that.

Obviously this will be different for other people.
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