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Subject: Direct confrontation in family games rss

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Alexander Linkov
Russia
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Hello board game designers.

As I heard from more experienced designers and publishers in different podcasts and articles that direct confrontation is not popular in family oriented games. I am designing one of such game and think that if I get rid of direct confrontation, the game will lose a lot of fun.

So I am interesting: Is it really so valuable to NOT have direct confrontation between players in family games? I am most interesting in publisher's point of view.
 
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Carel Teijgeler
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Not a publisher, bu for what it is worth:

IMHO, a good family game should have players' interaction.

If your "direct confrontation" is in the line of:
Quote:
what they do to you, you can do to them
and not too harsh, then I think it is OK in my book.
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Alexander Linkov
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To be more specific.

In my game a player can use a gun or other item to kill another player. Well.. Not kill, but send his character back to its base.

And if those two players in opposite teams, of course.
 
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Beth Robinson

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I'm not a publisher, but as a mother I would be hesitant to buy a family game with diract confrontation, not because I think it is bad, but because I dont want to deal with the drama.

When my husband and I play games with my nine year old daughter we can never predict if she will feel in a cutthroat mood or in a "I don't want to stop you because that is mean" mood or in a "I cant believe you did that to me you meanir" mood. Munchkin usually brings out some of the first and some of the third, for example. She can PLAY the game, but its those emotions and that black/white sense of fair that are unpredictable and can suck a play experience into dooooooom quickly.

We can more consistently enjoyably play something like the DC deckbuilder with less drama because there is minor interaction that isnt going to tip the game.

If we are at game night outside the house she is much more emotionally stable. She loves trying to get other kids and grownups and takes it much better when they go after her than if we do. So maybe siblings or friends playing a family style game together would be different.

Also we have found that even without drama the direct attack style games end up more lopsided. One of us wins too far ahead of her for her to feel like she had fun. If I had her and a 7 year old, for example, I would want something billed as a family game to allow all of us to play with some chance of success for everyone.

Now, things like this might not be what the publishers are thinking, but if I was buying something only for the three of us to play together that is what I would consider and other customers might also. (Of course, kids cheerfully play pokemon too, which is sll about eliminating the opponent, but that also has a deep friendly storyline...) The team aspect might also mitigate drama.
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maf man
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eh, depends on age and family I guess. My family prefers direct confrontation as long as the kid is older than 8 or so.
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B C Z
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Fill_Freeman wrote:
To be more specific.

In my game a player can use a gun or other item to kill another player. Well.. Not kill, but send his character back to its base.

And if those two players in opposite teams, of course.


Gun - shoot - send back to base: Not family friendly

Hand - tag - return to home: Family friendly


I think the non-family friendly thing you have is "Gun"
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Laura Creighton
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I don't think that the desire for/against direct confrontation is specific to family games. The people who hate the stuff, hate the stuff when selecting games to play, period, whereas the people who enjoy it also want it, whenever, and indeed often find games that have very little of it on the boring side.

It is a mistake to think that family harmony is guaranteed when games more closely resemble multi-player solitaire. All it takes is one crack of 'I won because I built a better engine, because I am smarter than you are!' for family harmony to go right out the window.
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Beth Robinson

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Yes. That word "tag" removes a lot of drama all by itself. Nice simple answer whistle
 
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Craig Stockwell
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I'm not a publisher, but I've pitched games to dozens of them.

As Carel pointed out, it's player interaction that's desirable -- not necessarily a "take that" or direct confrontation. Some argue that if there's no player interaction, there's no multiplayer game -- you're all just playing a solo game at the same time.

For example, if resources are limited (or their venues for acquisition are), and you can see an opponent wants a particular resource, you can [try to] get it instead. In a board game about tag, maybe there's one drinking fountain, and that's how players remove fatigue -- and while going there removes your fatigue counters, it also means you can't score points in that round.

Another way is to make the set-back very mild or very temporary. For example, the 'attacked' person doesn't lose the game or miss 1+ turns -- instead they don't get what they want this turn, but they get something else [possibly] useful ... or instead of re-starting in a bad position after getting "tagged" they show up somewhere that's "not bad" or perhaps even randomly, which is neutral (or even good).

And, as mentioned above, how you frame/describe the confrontation matters -- "tagging" versus "shooting", for example.
 
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John Burt
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Think of this as a business decision. Listen to the advice of experienced designers and publishers, and if you can, pitch the game to some of them and ask if it's got too much conflict. They are the experts, not random boardgamers on BGG.
 
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Man thinks, the river flows.
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Fill_Freeman wrote:
Hello board game designers.

As I heard from more experienced designers and publishers in different podcasts and articles that direct confrontation is not popular in family oriented games. I am designing one of such game and think that if I get rid of direct confrontation, the game will lose a lot of fun.

So I am interesting: Is it really so valuable to NOT have direct confrontation between players in family games? I am most interesting in publisher's point of view.


    I'm not a publisher, but I'll tell you this -- The original version of The Game of Life sold very well and had some really brutal direct confrontation. If your game is geared towards gamers on this web site I'd exclude direct confrontation, if it's geared towards casual family players I'd leave it in. The people reading here are not a good representation of the general public's views on what's good in games.

    Some of the most iconic boardgames in history have direct conflict. Monopoly has financial conflict, Parcheesi and Backgammon let you crunch pieces, The Game of Life lets you slam someone for $100,000 for no particular reason. (And it's a hell of a lot of fun by the way!) They've all sold exceptionally well. Most people in the "real world" play games that are larger than life, so you need to decide who you're marketing your game to and cater to them.

             S.

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Necessary Evil
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Glen Arm
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Fill_Freeman wrote:
Hello board game designers.

As I heard from more experienced designers and publishers in different podcasts and articles that direct confrontation is not popular in family oriented games. I am designing one of such game and think that if I get rid of direct confrontation, the game will lose a lot of fun.

So I am interesting: Is it really so valuable to NOT have direct confrontation between players in family games? I am most interesting in publisher's point of view.


Give me an example of a successful family game that does not have direct player interaction/confrontation?

For every one you give I'll give you 2 back that do.
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Alexander Linkov
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Many thanks to all of you!

Most replies confirm my point of view that it is OK to have such mechanics if it appropriate to the game and not too painful for a child (when he or she totally loose a game).

The fun is the most important think.

I think I keep it in my game.

Thank you again.
 
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