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Subject: Please help! Short survey into board gaming rss

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Krister Nielsen
Sweden
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Hello everyone,

This is my first post and i was hoping to get an insight into what you, more experienced gamers like and dislike about board games. I am posting this survey because i have a bachelor's degree in game design and have been thinking of trying my hands in designing a board game. The program i graduated from was mainly focused on video games, but as it stands now it is extremely hard to get into the business. Since many of the processes and rules of design are the same, i thought i might give board games or a card game a serious attempt.

So this survey is my first step and the questions are:

1. What aspects or functions do you really like and dislike about any board or card game? (Explain what the aspect/function is and from which game. This could be anything from the coolness of a well put together single player game to a game with advanced negotiations.)

2. What do you feel is missing in todays board or card games? (Is it longevity? Or is it lack of dimension? Or maybe perhaps better graphics on the boards?)

I would appreciate any input since i'm somewhat of a newbie. I've played a lot of card and board games but not that many different ones, mostly the same, so i lack a broader perspective.

Thanks for you help!
Krister Nielsen
Stockholm, Sweden
 
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Greg r
United States
TROY
Michigan
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Your never going to get a game that appeals to everyone, look at some of the fights that have started in the Agricola threads.

I like some of MY games short, 45 min to a hour, and some of them around 2 hours long but some war-gamers have not even set up their boards in that amount of time. 4 hour games appeal to a good amount of people. I like variety, that is why I have different games, sometimes negotiations, sometimes just an aggressive game, sometimes race games but more often than not I like to just sit back and enjoy a friendly game with good friends.

Good graphics and bits count. You can play any game with rocks, pebbles and cut up old pizza boxes, but we drop $$$$ for good game play and good boards and bits.

My advice is go and find some of the games that are rated here in BGG above the 50 rank, read the reviews and get a feel for what the people that like them like them for. Purchase a game or 2 (probably need 7 and cover the categories) and play them, figure out what makes them appealing. Then start thinking what you can do to make it a better game (not more complex BETTER) then come up with a theme. In essence there are probably only 6 or 7 "types" of games out there and all games will fall into those main categories (yes you can break it down into hundreds, but their are only a few groups) hence the popular phrase "Pasted On Theme". Do not take the idea of the theme lightly, Look at Richard Borgs series, BattleLore is a BIG hit, but the exact same mechanic's are in several of his games, but the Battle Lore theme appeals to the masses.

Well that is my 2 bits. ( meeple bluetrain )

Give it a go, don't become discouraged.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
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Before I answer your questions, I'd like to make a few suggestions.

First, realize that there are a lot of people who would love to make a living by designing boardgames, but very few succeed at it.

If you really want to design boardgames, I would advise you to play a bunch of different games multiple times, to see what's out there. Try out the various types of games (CCGs, wargames, family games, party games, American Games, German games).

BoardGameGeek has a lot of information on games, especially euro/German/designer games; read the info that's here. But be sure to try out games that have high rank here. You can find a list of games by BGG rank at this URL: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=game&sortb...
The top 200 or so is probably a good place to start, as those game have a combination of popularity and high individual ratings.

In terms of boardgame design, check out http://www.bgdf.com/tiki/tiki-custom_home.php
and
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/forum/15/forum/1

On to your questions:

I enjoy interacting with people and objects.

There are a variety of mechanics I like in individual games, including the following:
Trading and building (Settlers of Catan)
Exploration (Settlers of the Stone Age)
Card Drafting and Influence Markers (Notre Dame)
Cooperating (Lord of the Rings)
Area Majority (China)
Hand Management and Set Collection (Ticket to Ride)

I tend to like games that play in under 2 hours and don't require me to look in the rulebook every time I play them.

I am sometimes more likely to a play a game if it looks really nice.

I don't like player elimination in games that last more than 15 minutes. I don't like long games that entail lots of luck.

What's missing in today's boardgames? I think there are a lot of really good games out there, so I don't think anything is missing. There are a few ideas that I'd like to see someone turn into a game; if you're interested, send me a message and I'll let you know what I have in mind.

I guess there is one thing that I would like to see in the boardgame area, and that's something to help people who don't play boardgames very much, as they are making decisions about which games to buy. This site has a nice gift guide, but not everyone buying a game will find this site before going shopping. What I mean is something in the store to help people figure out whether they (or the recipient of a gift) would enjoy a game, before they buy it. Store employees sometimes do a good job with this. Information on game boxes can be very misleading, as the boxes are essentially advertisements.

Hope that helps. I wish you success in your search for work. :)
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Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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Hi Krister, it's good to see a game design student keen to learn more about non-electronic gaming. I've done several lectures on board/card game design for games students and sadly I mostly just see blank faces and bafflement as to why board games still exist!

1.
Generally, I think the 2 hour length from start to finish of most board games is their strongest point. I see board games to completion almost every time, but I only ever complete a minority of computer games.
Replay value is extremely high and there is a lot of breadth for a variety of strategies.
Not really a game design issue, but board games retain their value pretty well. Computer games are almost worthless after 6 months, so despite relatively high costs, board games are *significantly* better value as play experiences.

2.
I think the writing in board games is generally poor. The characters that do exist are stereotypical, and the story is often limited to the flavour text on cards. Board game designers are mostly interested in mechanics, but I think there is a lot of room for better narratives (above what you create for yourself through imagination I mean).
From your examples: longevity, dimension and graphics; I don't think you will find anyone that things these are issues with board games. The opposite is true in my opinion - board games have all these things in spades.

Good luck and all the best for the project!
 
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