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Subject: Fear of Long Games rss

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Carl Frodge
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I have some friends who are new to the gaming hobby, and I want to introduce them to some games, but after telling them the length (2-3 hours), they get turned off, and say "not this time, maybe another time."

When I was first starting in the hobby, I also had a fear of long games. I thought, "what if I don't like it and get stuck playing it for 3 hours?" I thought any more than 2 hours was just too much, and I wouldn't want to waste my time playing only one game during a meetup.

I don't have this fear anymore, game length is almost not even a factor unless I have a time limit.

I know there are a wide variety of gamers here, some are new to the hobby, and some are veterans, and there's plenty of inbetween too. So I wanted to ask you guys a few questions on this topic.

1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

2.What do you consider a long game?

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).
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Steve C
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1. 2-3 years?
2. 3+ hours
3. No, but I recognize that I don't have 3+ consecutive hours to game, so I don't play them or plan to play them.
4. Because they think it won't be fun for the entire time and do not want to commit to spending time with something of questionable entertainment value.
5. Gigantic barrier to entry (6-8 hour playtime, millions of fiddly bits, forty five pages of rules explaining most, but not all, special exceptions, or artwork that I find unacceptable


For your friends, why not start out playing 15-30min games, so that they see how fun games are. Then, introduce some 60min games. Once they see that the 60min games are still a lot of fun (or they don't and then you also have your answer) you can bring back that 2 hour game.

Don't expect them to willingly jump off the deep end and take a 3-hour risk, let them start in the shallow end and become more comfortable with games leading up to that mark.
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Carl Frodge
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1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?
-Maybe 5 years, I don't honestly remember.

2.What do you consider a long game?
Probably something like an 18XX or TI3. The longest game I've played, though, is Eclipse.

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?
-Not usually, in fact, I'd really love to try an 18XX and TI3, as mentioned above. I think as long as I enjoy the game, I want to continue playing it.

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?
-I think there's a lot of possible factors. Maybe they don't have a lot of time, maybe they're not comfortable with doing the same thing for a long period of time, or maybe they're afraid they won't like it and will get stuck doing something they don't enjoy for a long time.

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).
-When Five Tribes first came out, I was turned off by the use of slaves in the game, but after finally playing it, I realized the slaves weren't as big of a deal as I thought they were, and then they were replaced with Fakirs and I didn't even have to worry about it anymore.

I'm also turned off by campaign-based games, but I'm willing to try them.
 
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Carl Frodge
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Akado wrote:
For your friends, why not start out playing 15-30min games, so that they see how fun games are. Then, introduce some 60min games. Once they see that the 60min games are still a lot of fun (or they don't and then you also have your answer) you can bring back that 2 hour game.

Well yeah, that's what we're doing right now, playing shorter games, I'm not pushing the bigger stuff on them, just suggesting it every now and then. But generally we play stuff like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Ticket to Ride, Tokaido, slowly pushing the boundaries, ha ha. I know it's all vert new to them and it's not fair to expect them to be as excited to play longer, more involved games like I am.

Quote:
Don't expect them to willingly jump off the deep end and take a 3-hour risk, let them start in the shallow end and become more comfortable with games leading up to that mark.

Yeah, definitely! Thanks for your response.
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Nestor Ivanor
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Quote:

1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

Only about 6 months

Quote:
2.What do you consider a long game?

Anything exceeding 3 hours

Quote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

I'm afraid that I won't like the game but the time frame isn't an issue for me.

Quote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

Not liking the game and being bored. The amount of thought involved.

Quote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

I would say complexity in not knowing the rules and not being competitive in the game. I'm a rules reader and if I play a new, long, complex game that is being taught to me I won't feel as comfortable if I haven't read the rules.
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Frank McNally
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Though I sometimes enjoy short games, <1h, they sometimes feel abrupt. Games that have a true beginning, middle and end have an arc I find satisfying. This usually takes 2h or more. I grew up playing longish risk games, 8h AH Civilization, 1830, Squad Leader and other AH titles so this conditioned me to think of Acquire and Feudal as a short game.
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Pete
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agentkuo wrote:
1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

Forever

Quote:
2.What do you consider a long game?

Anything in excess of 3 hours

Quote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

For the most part, the longest games are the ones I enjoy the most.

Quote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

I think in theory my game group likes long games, but in practice we all have kids and jobs and so on now, so a 6-hour block of time is not really manageable for us, and we don't like to play over two sessions.

Quote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

If there's a turnoff for a longer game, it's that new players will spend hours and hours getting massacred. Learning curve is steep and unpleasant.

Pete (had a lot more free time when he was single, and even more when he was a student at a university)
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Trevor Taylor
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agentkuo wrote:


1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

About 3-4 years

agentkuo wrote:

2.What do you consider a long game?

Anything over 2 hours

agentkuo wrote:

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

If it's more than a couple of hours and I know enough about a game to make an informed decision, I will quite readily choose not to play it. In my gaming groups, I'm the only one who really has such long games and so this is rarely an issue for me. If a more open group (say a convention), even if I'm not sure I'll like it, I'll probably give it a go (but not if I know I'll hate it) if it's under 2 hours. But for a longer game, I'm not going to risk committing so much time to something unless I know I'm going to get at least some enjoyment from it as my leisure time is precious to me.

agentkuo wrote:

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

A large portion of people (especially those in my gaming groups) aren't as into games as me, so they don't investigate and generally know games as well. Rarely have I had people duck out of longer games we play, but for those we discuss them far in advance to accommodate all and I give them detailed descriptions of the game before people commit. I imagine many are like me though, that too long a game isn't worth the 'risk' of 'wasted' time if they might end up hating such a long game. I think a more informed gamer is a happier gamer and more likely to take 'risks'.

agentkuo wrote:

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

I've played games that I've mostly enjoyed, but felt would have been better if something was (or wasn't in it). So, unless the game is good enough besides this to warrant playing, or there's a simple variant that we can agree on to solve that issue, then I likely won't waste my time on it in favour of games I enjoy more. I moved on the game Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy as I just didn't like the child-birth mechanic. Too easy to upset people AND to a lesser extent I didn't like how randomly punishing a game mechanism it could be.

Edit: Also, for 5. I have moved on games that I really enjoy, simply because the maintenance (be it in-game, setup or take-down) is too long for the amount of overall enjoyment I get out of them. If I can mod the game (or the storage) to 'fix' this, then great. but when it's not possible, I just move them on.
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mortego
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1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?
A: since 2013 (I will assume you mean in this hobby as it currently stands because otherwise I think I played Trouble & Sorry! since my childhood)
EDIT: I thought the OP's question was about modern hobby board gaming. My answer is now since I first played any board game (circa 1965)

2.What do you consider a long game?
A: in hours, 3+ (but much shorter if I'm not enjoying the game).

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?
A: No, I played Empires: Age of Discovery this past December and I knew it would be long but I really enjoyed myself.

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?
A: Fear of being engaged for a long period of time in a game they know nothing about.

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).
A: Yeah, theme for me, if it's going to be a long game I'd want to enjoy playing it and for me I know even if it's a "good" game but the theme isn't right for me then in all likelihood I won't enjoy it.....mostly.
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Chris
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1 - 4 years

2 - 2.5 hours+

3 - yes

4 - others, no idea. Me... I feel intimidated. I get anxious about my ability to survive in them. The longer they go on the more I am concerned I will let the other players down, feel lost and overwhelmed etc. BUT... I keep buying them!! I have SO many games longer than 3 hours... that gather dust.

5 - cobblers to the theme, I just think I'd suck at them, regardless of the truth.
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Bryan Thunkd
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agentkuo wrote:
I have some friends who are new to the gaming hobby, and I want to introduce them to some games, but after telling them the length (2-3 hours), they get turned off, and say "not this time, maybe another time."
Maybe start with some lighter, quicker games that will hook them on the gaming experience. Once you've sold them on how fun games are, you can start bringing in slightly longer games and work them up to a three hour game. Some people are fine being thrown in the deep end, but most people prefer to slowly wade into deeper waters, getting used to the cold water a bit at a time.

It's like if you said "Hey, let me introduce you to my friend Bob" except you've neglected to mention that Bob will be interviewing them for a job. That might be more of an "introduction" than they were looking for.

Quote:
Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?
Because it's unclear how much fun a game will be from the outset and being stuck in a three hour or longer game that's not fun can be the complete opposite of anything enjoyable. Most people have been scarred from long games of Monopoly... where once it's obvious that you have no chance at coming back, the game is just a long slog until you're knocked out.



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P Santos
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agentkuo wrote:


1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

2.What do you consider a long game?

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).


1. Since childhood, but 'modern bgs', I suppose since 2000.
2. 2 hrs or more (1.5hrs is no longer short)
3. Yes, concerned/worried (not afraid) esp of games I've never played/don't know yet.
4. I can speak for myself. I ask myself why should I waste 2-3 hrs playing a long game which I might get stuck in and not like it when I could be playing many short 30-1hr games and enjoying them?
5. Basically, long games tend to have more and complicated rules, which might not be easy to digest right away, esp on first try. So, most often I lose, partially not remembering/understanding all the rules their significance and partially due to learning curve handicap vs experienced players.

My new big gaming group have separate smaller groups during game day and I notice everytime I get suck in one long game, I do not really enjoy it. I felt like I just wasted my time, when I could have played shorter ones that would have enabled me to play other ones right after.

My 2-cents worth, don't push long games on your group. If they ask for it, the try, if not, be ready to have shorter alternatives, and no hard feelings.
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Carl Marl
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Quote:
1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

40 years or so.

Quote:
2.What do you consider a long game?

6 hours or more

Quote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

No

Quote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

People who are turned off have shorter attention spans and can't focus that long on the strategies needed to play a long game.

Quote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

I would hesitate to play a long multiplayer game with lots of down time.
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J H
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agentkuo wrote:


1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

Probably 8 years or so

2.What do you consider a long game?

4+ hours

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

A little.

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

I think people feel like a long game is going to be so rules heavy that the first hour of the game is a long, drawn-out rules explanation. Who wants to sit through that when I could be actually playing another game?

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

Bad artwork can be a turnoff.



 
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Jerry Schippa
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1. 5 or 6 years.

2. Anything over 2.5 hours because that usually excludes it from our 3hr game night.

3. Absolutely not. However 6 hrs is my Max unless the stars align on a rainy day and we can get a group together for a really long game.

4. I think people who don't play games have a preconceived notion that boardgames should last 30-45 minutes. Even my wife, who plays games and enjoys going to game night thinks anything over 45 minutes is a long game.

So when you say 2 or more hours, that seems like going from jogging casually to entering the a marathon.

5. I find it hard to justify playing anything over 2-3 hrs on a nice day.

I think it's just something new people have to be eased into, then one day you'll find the right game for them. It was Power Grid and Agricola for me.
 
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Carl Frodge
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Thanks for all these responses. After hearing what you guys had to say, I wanted to ask a few additional question:

6.Is whether or not you think you can win a factor when deciding to play a longer game?

7.Is there anything that would make you more interested in or excited about trying a longer game?

8.Would you prefer to play a shorter game several times, for 3 hours, or one 3 hour game? (assuming you enjoy both games.)

 
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David Stigant
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1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

12ish years?

2.What do you consider a long game?

3+ hours, I guess

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?


I like to keep things under 2 hours. 1-1.5 hours is probably my sweet spot. I game once a week from 5-10, so 1.5 hours allows 2 decent length games with some fillers or shorter games and socializing. I don't mind a 2-3 hour game, but I prefer games that are a little shorter. Mind you, if you're actively playing for most of the 2-3 hours, that can make it pass much more quickly. (Cute girl, hot wall, relativity!)

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

Speaking for myself, I don't want to get into a game for the first time, get crushed in the first hour or so because I made a rookie mistake and then have to sit there for another 3 hours. I had that happen in a large game of Grand Prix a few months ago, and I don't see myself ever playing that game again.

I also had an experience recently where we played a game of Yokohama. There were four of us and I think only one person had played before and only once. Three of us were playing reasonably quickly, but the guy to my right was taking forever on every one of his turns. He ended up winning by about 10 points, so it's hard to criticize him for taking his time - it probably made a difference to the outcome of the game - but on a first play through, we were probably 2 hours over the advertised run time (and that's not counting rules time), and that's just not fun. I enjoyed the game anyway, but... gah.

Long games tend to be long because they're complicated and have lots of juicy decisions to be made. But on a first play through, that usually leads to horrible AP which creates a sort of feed back loop of dislike for long games.

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

No, I'm pretty open to trying anything once.
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Quote:
1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?


~15 Years (Started as a Teenager, but on and off in High School)

Quote:
2.What do you consider a long game?


7+ Hours

Quote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?


I don't mind. Like you said if I have the time and know the game (know it as in I've heard good things about it). I will avoid long games that I have never heard of before though.

Quote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?


Its a long investment for any activity. Specially if is one you are casually doing or are not as invested as the host. I'm sure if your friends get into gaming more they'd be fine with it. But some people like gaming for at most an hour and then want to do something else, which is fine, because not everyone will like board gaming as much as most people that use BGG.

Quote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).


Especially if its a longer game. The people that I play them with. I have a very close friend who is very bad at handling getting targeted or doesn't handle the pressure the game puts on him. I try to avoid playing long and punishing games with him, which sadly are my favorite. Otherwise I'm always up for playing, and don't mind teaching a game either.

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Gary Heidenreich
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1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

40 Years, give or take.

2.What do you consider a long game?

Now, 3+ hours. Years ago it used to be longer.

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

No, I'm not.

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?


I really can't pretend I know, probably just the commitment.

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

Theme is usually the big one. People playing.

6.Is whether or not you think you can win a factor when deciding to play a longer game?

Never is. I enjoy the process.

7.Is there anything that would make you more interested in or excited about trying a longer game?

The theme, mechanics.

8.Would you prefer to play a shorter game several times, for 3 hours, or one 3 hour game? (assuming you enjoy both games.)


This one is really dependent on my mood, and the mood of those I'm gaming with, as well.
 
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Michael Coniff
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agentkuo wrote:
1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?


Since the beginning of 2015

agentkuo wrote:
2.What do you consider a long game?


A game that lasts over 3 hours is a long game. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to playing it.


agentkuo wrote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?


Am I fearful of sitting at a table for a long time playing a game with good friends? No. If I enjoy the company and the conversation, I could be sitting there eating cheese and I'd have fun.

agentkuo wrote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?


Because they are lazy. A less common possiblity might be their lack of time.

agentkuo wrote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).


I'll try any game at least once. If I like it, then I'll try it again.

agentkuo wrote:
6.Is whether or not you think you can win a factor when deciding to play a longer game?


No. Honestly, I don't think I can win anymore these days. Between my wife's uncanny ability to always win (And my friends for that matter), and my uncanny ability to lose... well I think we know the statistics on this one.

agentkuo wrote:
7.Is there anything that would make you more interested in or excited about trying a longer game?


a free beer

agentkuo wrote:
8.Would you prefer to play a shorter game several times, for 3 hours, or one 3 hour game? (assuming you enjoy both games.)


Depends on the game and the people I'd be playing with.
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1. 40 years (wargamer here)

2. Anything over 4 hours would be a long game.

3. If I'm playing in my home and can leave the game set up over multiple sessions then I have no qualms whatsoever about playing a long game. If I'm playing in another venue, I simply fear that we might not finish the game before everyone has to leave.

4. Many people, especially younger people, seem to have short attention spans and lack patience.

5. Long complex rules and/or other players who I don't know and turn out to be annoying once the game begins.

6. My estimation of my chances to win have no impact whatsoever on my decision to play any game. I just like playing.

7. The theme, or who is playing (e.g. Friends I haven't seen in a long time)

8. Totally depends on my mood on the given day. Generally though, I'd prefer to play one 3-hour game rather than three 1-hour games, because the longer game tends to be more immersive and produces more memorable experiences.
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Also:

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agentkuo wrote:
1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

Since I was 5. I had older brothers playing D&D and sometimes they played with me.

agentkuo wrote:
2.What do you consider a long game?

over 6 hours

agentkuo wrote:
3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

never

agentkuo wrote:
4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

Other than the time commitment, I wish I knew...
I can't get investing in the quickie games. They're over too fast. (I do own and play filler games, they do pass the time, but aren't "OMG I gotta play this!" games.)
I like building up over the course of the game and getting invested in the game.

agentkuo wrote:
5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like? (for instance, a game that has a lot of mechanics you enjoy, but there's just one thing, maybe the theme, that you don't think you can get behind).

Poor, hard to understand rules.
Unnecessary fiddliness - Shadows of Brimstone suffers from this really really badly.
 
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Jim Cavallari
United States
Connecticut
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1.) I've been gaming since the early '70's.

2.) I would say anything 4 hours and up to be a long game for me. If I start a game at 7:00 and finish by 10:00, that seems normal to me.

3.) Well, it's hard for me to say. It depends on the game, who I'm playing it with, and what time we start. Basically, I started playing War games (and still do) which generally take longer to play. I'm not afraid of longer games.

4.) Primarily attention span and/or a dislike of excess downtime between their turns.

5.) I prefer games with a pretty heavy theme, but there are exceptions of course. I don't like certain game mechanics like pre-plotted movement, bidding/auction for example.
 
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John
United Kingdom
Southampton
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1.How long have you been in the board gaming hobby?

4+ years depending on how you count (4.5 years of regularly playing lots of games, I've been on BGG for nearly 9 years, have played some board games for ages.

2.What do you consider a long game?

Over 90 mins

3.Are you afraid of playing long games (especially ones you've never played before)?

Not really, I just rarely have time

4.Why do you think people are turned off from, or turn down long games?

Lack of time, not being sure if they'll like the game, preferring to play multiple quick games, lack of opportunities to play the game again (why learn a game I'll only get to play once every 6 months).

5.Are there other factors that would turn you off from playing a game that you otherwise think you would like?

Theme, artwork, table space required, setup time, number of players, whether other player will enjoy the game.
 
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