Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
54 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: What does 'Heavy' mean to YOU? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: single_word_in_CAPS_meme [+] [View All]
Palmer Eldritch
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When I look at the ratings on BGG sometimes I'm reminded of the great Steven Wright who, when someone pointed out he was wearing odd socks said, 'No, I go by thickness'.

I've had a few interesting discussions about the ratings here, what is or should be in the top 100 and why, and what 'heavy' means with regard to board games. BGG has its own suggestions for these things, but I think ratings and such are a hodge-podge of peoples' subjective and quite divergent views on what makes a game 'good' or 'heavy', rather than adhering to the BGG guidelines. Still useful, in relative terms, but obviously heavily dependent on people's preferences, experience and personal quirks. The concept of 'heaviness' I find to be the most interesting though, because it seems like a simpler thing to pin down, but I've not found that to be the case.

In terms of weight I would consider chess to be the heaviest game that I've played. But the community weight rating here is 3.76, whereas I'd rate it a 5. I've played many games that have a higher weight rating than chess, but I would rate them all lower on the same scale. So my view of heaviness revolving around the concept of 'most difficult to master' seems to be a minority one. But on further examination a '5' rating is in fact the most popular rating for chess. The reason it's lower than I expected is actually more to do with the number of people who rated it a 2(!) or a 1(!!). I'm no statistician so that spread may be normal, but the divergence of opinion on what constitutes 'heavy' that obviously goes along with those ratings is what I found intriguing.

Most 'heavy' games I can play competently after a play or two, and feel that if I played them often I'd be able to master them easily enough. Not so with chess. I know I'll never be able to master chess, and so unless I take up Go or something it will always have the highest weight rating for me. The amount of luck also plays a big role in how heavy I think a game is, but many people think there's a lot of skill in effective risk management or luck mitigation, and so may rate games with more luck higher on the heaviness scale.

My (possibly weird) definition of heaviness was not shared with the people I was talking with, and I'm sure will not be by many people here, but they were interesting discussions nonetheless, and I'd like to hear more thoughts on the topic. I know it's probably been discussed before, but there are new people tuning in all the time.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
flag msg tools
Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
badge
SANJURO: You're all tough, then? GAMBLER: What? Kill me if you can! SANJURO: It'll hurt.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think there's anything weird about your way of viewing heaviness. The problem is that everyone views it somewhat differently. I say "problem" but I don't really think it's a problem. It's a rating, we lump together a bunch of different people's ratings and we get something vaguely approximately reflecting how "heavy" game is. Sorta.

For me, I take the tack of heaviness being a combination of 'difficulty to learn' and 'difficulty to master.' That said, I tend to lean in rating heaviness based on 'difficulty to learn.' Examples: Chess is pretty easy to learn but pretty hard to master. I'd probably give it a 4. (In fact, I just went and gave it a 4!) The Gallerist is hard to learn but almost certainly not as hard to master as Chess (I don't know, since I haven't mastered either of them) so I'd probably give it a 4. (No, wait, I just looked, I gave it a 5. Wow, I'm a wimp. And inconsistent.)

I don't think luck, in the sense of rolling lots of dice, or other random elements, has much to do with heaviness. There are games with lots of random elements that are super light and games with lots of random elements that are super heavy (Case Blue anyone?). They key is again: How hard is it to learn, how hard is it to master. Third Reich, a pretty basic wargame, would be pretty hard for most gamers to learn and master, so it deserves something around a 4. (If you think wargames don't take a great deal of skill, play a few good ones with a good player. He/she will beat you every single game.)

I find the heaviness scale on BGG moderately useful. It helps me get a general sense if a game is suited for a particular audience. (I use it less for myself because I generally don't care how heavy/hard a game is.)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mortego
United States
New Kensington
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To me, "heavy" means a variety of things that could include length of time to play, the amount of rules (complexity/density), the number of choices vs.randomness, etc...

For instance, Terraforming Mars is heavy to me but to others it's not.

I am beginning to realize that these definitions may never have a standard.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Carter
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My definition would be more to do with 'difficulty of learning/remembering all of the rules' in which case Chess wouldn't be as heavy as a lot of others since it's easy to learn the rules and remember them
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
maf man
United States
Waunakee (madison area)
WI
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My personal weight scale for games focuses on how hard it is to learn a game and get through a session.
So in my mind chess isn't all that heavy because its easy to learn and play. The heavy portion of it is getting good vs masters of the game.

edit add: I do find the weight of a game more useful than its rank.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AJ Cooper
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
True, I don't always agree with the difference in weight rating between two games. And I do agree that anyone who has played chess seriously knows that it is a 5.

Still, the weight ratings are overall fairly useful. Usually close enough to accurate to work with.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curt Carpenter
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I pretty much use rules complexity as the first order factor, and game length as second order factor, ability to remember the rules as the third order factor. Or perhaps ore simply, the mental burden required to play the game correctly, not necessarily well, especially focusing on the ramp up of new players.

I generally view games as "better" (within their weighting) if they reward experienced/skillful play. Not heavier.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Under the paving stones, the beach
United Kingdom
Huddersfield
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've done this before but I differentiate between weight and depth.

Weight - The amount of initial investment needed to play a game.

Depth - The amount of investment needed to play a game well.

So by that metric, chess is deep but not heavy.

(For what it's worth, the few guidelines there are for weight would match this. It describes it as "complexity". "How difficult a game is to understand", not "how difficult it is to master a game".
22 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Woodman
Canada
Coaldale
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Boo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is an interesting question, and caused me to pause and think of what I mean when I say a game is heavy or light.

I have traditionally viewed weight as a combination of length, complexity and mostly how attentive I need to be to play it (please note I haven't done any weight ratings on BGG). So a short but mentally demanding game is heavier than a long dice-based game, and a game that I need to strategize multiple turns in advance is heavier than a reaction based game.

In this way Chess would be rated as a heavy game, so would Twilight Imperium (one of my favorite games) but most deck builders I view as fairly light, as you typically purchase from a limited pool of cards that may change before your next turn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry L
United States
Stockton
California
flag msg tools
He who games with the most dice wins.
badge
I + I = 0
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know that Chess is hard to master because of its reputation as is Go. But, I've never tried to master either. Should people only assign weights to games they've personally tried to master or should they rate games based on reputation?

If I did assign weights to games I would end up favoring rules complexity and situational complexity.

However, I might have assigned weights to a couple of games early on, but quickly stopped.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Hostetler
United States
Warminster
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I've done this before but I differentiate between weight and depth.

Weight - The amount of initial investment needed to play a game.

Depth - The amount of investment needed to play a game well.

So by that metric, chess is deep but not heavy.

(For what it's worth, the few guidelines there are for weight would match this. It describes it as "complexity". "How difficult a game is to understand", not "how difficult it is to master a game".


I like this. I"m using this from now on.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I think of weight as how many moving pieces are an important part of the game.

Argent: The Consortium, Eclipse, and Patchistory are some of the heavier titles in my collection, because they have the most things going on at once. There are a lot of rules, a lot of interlocking mechanisms, and a lot of complex ideas that require keeping track of at any given time.

Conversely, I would not call Eldritch Horror heavy, despite the number of pieces. While there are a lot of rules and things to keep track of, the core gameplay loop feels more reactionary and doesn't require the mental effort to keep moving.


Perhaps I mean to say that weight to me represents how much 'lifting' your brain has to do?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Hester
United States
Georgetown
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
meow
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GMT.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Hewitt
United States
Wexford
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Heavy is at least somewhat subjective, but I'll go with main factor being amount of focused attention required to play well, and secondary factors being complexity (special case rules and complexity of interactions) and length (because sustained attention is harder over a longer period of time).

But even that's very hard to judge - if your opponent in chess is a six-year-old novice, the amount of focus you need to play and win is minimal.

I do wonder how much of chess and go's heaviness is due to the sheer amount of time and history invested in studying these games, versus how much is built into the game mechanics. But it's hard not to have respect for games like Chess, Go, Bridge and Backgammon that have provided some people with essentially a lifetime of play.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Johnson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Main thing for me is how much effort do I need to put forth into playing it, with major emphasis on teaching players.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
VinegarBob wrote:
BGG has its own suggestions for these things, but I think ratings and such are a hodge-podge of peoples' subjective and quite divergent views on what makes a game 'good' or 'heavy', rather than adhering to the BGG guidelines.

What are "the BGG guidelines" for how "heavy" a game is? I don't recall ever seeing any.

As far as I know, "weight" is never really defined other than very vaguely, e.g. "how difficult a game is to understand" or "a combination of attributes related to how difficult a game is to understand. Lower ratings mean easier."

Note that "understanding a game" is itself ambiguous: understanding the rules of Chess is easy while understanding how to play it well is difficult.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Buckley
England
Bath
Somerset
flag msg tools
23rd June: Black Thursday :(
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My concept of a heavy game is a game that 'makes' me think hard. "weight" is something like the total amount of mental exercise. Eg some arbitrary combination of depth, complexity and playing time. I'm used to playing Chess as a casual game and as a tournament game so I'm a bit confused how to weight it. I can understand why some people give it a 5 and I can understand why some people give it a 2.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Carter
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
What are "the BGG guidelines" for how "heavy" a game is? I don't recall ever seeing any.

I'm assuming OP meant this:
https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Weight
Wiki wrote:
For different people weight means different things, usually a combination of things like:

How complex/thick is the rulebook?
How long does it take to play?
What proportion of time is spent thinking and planning instead of resolving actions?
How hard and long do you have to think to improve your chance of winning?
How little luck is in the game?
How much technical skill (math, reading ahead moves, etc) is necessary?
How long does it take to learn the rules?
How many times do you need to play before you feel like you "get" the game?

Etc...


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
IdleHacker wrote:
russ wrote:
What are "the BGG guidelines" for how "heavy" a game is? I don't recall ever seeing any.

I'm assuming OP meant this:
https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Weight
Wiki wrote:
For different people weight means different things, usually a combination of things like:

How complex/thick is the rulebook?
How long does it take to play?
What proportion of time is spent thinking and planning instead of resolving actions?
How hard and long do you have to think to improve your chance of winning?
How little luck is in the game?
How much technical skill (math, reading ahead moves, etc) is necessary?
How long does it take to learn the rules?
How many times do you need to play before you feel like you "get" the game?

Etc...

I linked to that page in my comment exactly to show that weight is not clearly defined, but rather means all kinds of different independent things to different people.

OP wrote "I think ratings and such are a hodge-podge of peoples' subjective and quite divergent views on what makes a game 'good' or 'heavy', rather than adhering to the BGG guidelines." But then he gives an example of low weight ratings for Chess which are easily explained by people interpreting weight as "How long does it take to learn the rules?", for example.

I.e. there is no clear definition or "BGG guidelines" of "weight" given, so it's not really surprising that of course different people have different ideas of what it means.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
So it goes.
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Heavy to me, is a game that invokes in me the feeling of:

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Carter
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
I linked to that page in my comment exactly to show that weight is not clearly defined, but rather means all kinds of different independent things to different people.

I didn't dispute that. Guidelines != rules
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
IdleHacker wrote:
russ wrote:
I linked to that page in my comment exactly to show that weight is not clearly defined, but rather means all kinds of different independent things to different people.

I didn't dispute that. Guidelines != rules

If you think that all those very divergent interpretations are "BGG guidelines" and that OP meant them, then I'm not sure how OP could possibly think that people aren't following "BGG guidelines". Giving Chess a low weight rating is certainly justifiable by some of those "guidelines".

But those are not BGG guidelines in any sense at all officially supplied by BGG. They are just my empirical observations from seeing many threads like this about "weight" in the past. (I was the original author of that BGG wiki page weight.)
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Buckley
England
Bath
Somerset
flag msg tools
23rd June: Black Thursday :(
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
VinegarBob wrote:

Most 'heavy' games I can play competently after a play or two, and feel that if I played them often I'd be able to master them easily enough. Not so with chess. I know I'll never be able to master chess, and so unless I take up Go or something it will always have the highest weight rating for me.


Perhaps Chess is harder to master than most 'heavy' games but it's very hard to assess this objectively. Chess has a large tournament scene featuring players that have studied the game extensively, and played 100s of times. If this were true for "most 'heavy' games" would you still feel that you could play those competently after a game or two?

Quote:
The amount of luck also plays a big role in how heavy I think a game is, but many people think there's a lot of skill in effective risk management or luck mitigation, and so may rate games with more luck higher on the heaviness scale.


I'm inclined to agree with this but not because the role of luck means there is less skill involved but because a no luck game has concrete variations to calculate and that will usually cause my brain to work harder.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thom0909
United States
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
VinegarBob wrote:
The reason it's lower than I expected is actually more to do with the number of people who rated it a 2(!) or a 1(!!).)


I have chess rated a '1' on the light-heavy scale. I rated it strictly based on rules complexity. If there was a consensus on what weight is supposed to mean, i'd change it.


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Stokes
United States
North Augusta
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Duck Season!
badge
I also believe that you met the King of the Forest, Mei, and meeting him is a sign of good luck.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I contribute heavyness to its accessibility or how easy it is to learn. Chess can be taught and played by elementary school kids. I don't see some games in the top 100 being played by 5 and 6 year olds.

Is playing a game well, a characteristic of heavyness?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.