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Subject: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fiddley" rss

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Rory
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....or fiddly or fiddley or any derivative of the basic term. I see it used in a lot of game reviews and critiques but honestly don't know what it means. From what I can tell, it seems to imply that its when a game requires a lot of nit-picky and otherwise unnecessary action that doesn't really add anything to the game. Am I on the right track here?

Thanks.
 
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Sean Dooley
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
That's always been my understanding Rory. I also take it to mean "stupid rules that require you to look back in the rulebook because they're so ambiguous."
 
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Mark Mahaffey
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Fiddly [adj.] A game design that requires excessive (or worse, unnecessary) bookkeeping and/or complex/long processes that overshadow the strategic decisions of the game. syn. inelegant
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James Smith
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A game can also be fiddly if it has a lot of moving of chits and rememebering of positions or where small margins make a difference. Wings of War can be fiddly as a nudge or two in one direction can cause a plane to be in range when previously it wasn't.

It has alot of meanings for one word. I love the fact that the word fiddly sounds fiddly or fiddely.
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Jim Cote
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
Specific examples:

Power Grid: Game "steps" which require changes to rules as you play and slight adjustments to the game state at various points in the turn order.

Arkham Horror: Environment cards that randomly and temporarily modify abilities. "I'm at 5, the check is at -2, then I add 1, and subtract 1, and oops there are 2 cards in effect..."

Compare these to Reef Encounter or Die Macher where the game turns are complicated, but are always the same flow.
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MSV Burns
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
To me, something's fiddly when you have to spend a bunch of time farting around. It can be either rules, or components, but mostly for me it's components. Examples:

Let's say you're playing orginal Squad Leader, and you've got a stack of units that includes three squads, a pair of MGs, a leader and a prep-fire counter. Then let's say they're all riding on a halftrack that gets hit by an artillery barrage. Yes, that's fiddly in spades.

There are degrees, too. The payment mechanism in Caylus is on the fiddly side. Having to deal with paying/collecting the deniers one at a for all the players is a bit of an annoyance. Minor fiddly.

The cut out paper megabucks in the old version of Illuminati were pretty fiddly, given how you had to keep them all straight and move chits from here to there so much.

Exchanging cubes for five-pointers in T&E is minorly fiddly (but fun!)

Dealing with oodles of drones while looking up the rules for a wild weasel shuttle in Star Fleet Battles was pretty damn fiddly, as was the damage allocation system.

And on... robot
 
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Rory
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I guess the only experience I've had with a game being "fiddly" was having to constantly flip over and move and replace the fatigue tokens in Tide of Iron.
 
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David Turner
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
roboman wrote:
I guess the only experience I've had with a game being "fiddly" was having to constantly flip over and move and replace the fatigue tokens in Tide of Iron.

Yup, thats fiddly.

My wife loves fiddly games, so she gets to deal with all the mucking about.



 
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J.L. Robert
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fid-dly [adj.]: See Star Fleet Battles.
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Alexander B.
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I'm fine with fiddlying with chits for an hour in one turn, if all of the fiddling is meaningful, adds to the game, and is intentional and requried for the design.

It becomes fiddly when there is no good reason for the fiddling. As stated above, it is *unnecessary* bookkeeping or processes that make for a fiddly game.

Antiquity has a ton of chits, but all of the moving of them is part of what makes the game great, so it isn't fiddly by my definition.

Fiddly is the d20 version of grappling. I played the game for 2 straight years, and had to look it up every single time it came up in a game... it didn't make sense, was confusing on the face of it, had too many steps for what it provided the game, and was just plain... well... fiddly!
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Daniel
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
I always thought fiddly was a term used to describe bluegrass music...

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Stephen Maywalt
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
So I'm hearing that there's "fiddly games". With unnecessary and extra rules that make it tedious to play.

But I am also hearing a clear definition for "fiddly bits" or pieces, chits, etc. that in certain games seem to bee too much to deal with and detract from the overall enjoyability of the game. In contrast to the intentionally fiddly bits of a dexterity game that intends for the fiddly-ness of it's bits to be part of it's appeal.

I love this stuff!
 
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Alexander B.
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I'm not on-board with the "fiddly bits" definition. In Poker, for example, you are constantly having to fiddle with chips, cards, shuffling, etc... doesn't make it a fiddly game, because it is all needed to make the game what it is.
 
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Stephen Maywalt
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
diamondspider wrote:
I'm not on-board with the "fiddly bits" definition. In Poker, for example, you are constantly having to fiddle with chips, cards, shuffling, etc... doesn't make it a fiddly game, because it is all needed to make the game what it is.


No no... I agree thats why I used the example of a good dexterity game, or yes poker with it's chips, cards, shuffling, dealing, flopping, etc. So there are definitely games with fiddly bits that don't influence it's likability and are actually part of it's appeal.

I was just saying that there is a sub category of fiddly I'm hearing that refers directly to the bits as opposed to the overall game play, rules, etc.

Plus I like saying "fiddly bits" it sounds fun!
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
roboman wrote:
I guess the only experience I've had with a game being "fiddly" was having to constantly flip over and move and replace the fatigue tokens in Tide of Iron.
You ain't seen fiddly. Try Formidable Foes.
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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Fiddly seems to be a term that comes up when describing anything that's not a Euro. Examples:
"I found moving the 5 infantry into Germany as being fiddly."
"The control mechanism for the Ezoghoul was pretty fiddly."
"Rolling dice is pretty fiddly".

Etc.
 
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Richard Irving
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
It is probably best seen by example:

A combat system where Divide Attack Strength (1/2 strength if the unit moved earlier in the turn) from Defender strength, round down, to figure out which column to roll under. Roll dice but add to the value the leadership rating of the leader and perform a column shift for the defensive terrain. Read the result. Now: if the result is KIA, then they are all dead. If the result is a P#, you have to perform a Morale check on each unit to see if the are pinned one at at a time, modifying for leadership and cover in the Hex and the number on the chart. If the result is R#, all units perfrom a Morale check to see if they retreat.............

Another example of fiddly is something like this: The following counters are stacked in the hex in this order AND the order in which they are stacked MATTERS certain counters modify the status of the counters immediately under:

Smoke
leader (unpinned)
Wound counter
squad (pinned)
jammed counter
LMG
fire team
2nd Floor counter
squad
panzerfaust
squad

So when you play you are constantly looking through the entire stack. If I want to fire the panerfaust, I have to unstack rather tall stack of counters in the hex.

Fiddly can refer to recordkeeping (including stacking of information counters), rules with lots exceptions, special cases or modifiers, components that are require frequent adjusting, etc. especially when the effort to manipulate the pieces/imformation/rules does not get paid off in realistic, challenging or entertaining gameplay.
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Ernesto Cabrera
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
mikoyan wrote:
Fiddly seems to be a term that comes up when describing anything that's not a Euro. Examples:
"I found moving the 5 infantry into Germany as being fiddly."
"The control mechanism for the Ezoghoul was pretty fiddly."
"Rolling dice is pretty fiddly".

Etc.


I find the rules of shipping of Puerto Rico really "fiddly", and the Power Grid plant removal. Of course Euros are also filled with "fiddly" rules, Shogun for example...

I also find the term "fiddly" as "baddly produced" or with "not so good components". Puerto Rico again comes to mind, I find the colonists rather "fiddly", such as the really small cubes in Shogun, of course that what makes it so good .

For better examples, on "fiddly" Euros:

Perikles: The combat system is really difficult to learn.
Tikal: The 10 points makes really hard to remember what the last opponent did, even more when you have 3 guys before you
Catan: Cities & Knights: Again, is really hard to keep up of what your opponents did last turn.

I like all of these games, but is just to say that a lot of games are "fiddly" but that doesn't make them bad.

AT is filled with "fiddleness" (or whatever that is spelled). Arkham Horror being the best example... But a lot of AT games are developed around the theme, and that's what make them so "fiddly", lots of rules make the experience more tense...
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
Quote:
Perikles: The combat system is really difficult to learn.


But this is not why it is fiddly. The placement is part of the game and handled smoothly. Not fiddly.

However the resolution is dragged out, no decisions are made, and require a lot of mucking about with the pieces. Fiddly.

Quote:
Tikal: The 10 points makes really hard to remember what the last opponent did, even more when you have 3 guys before you


I would contend not fiddly, just irritating.

Fiddly seems to me to be some sort of action marked by a repetitive and non-decision making action (refilling in power supply), minutia of rules, or having to constantly shuffle through pieces (Titan comes to mind).

I don't think something is actually fiddly even if it meets the definition, though, because if it requires a thought or decision, even if it is minute, then it's part of the game. So placing fatigue tiles in ToI is fiddly, but in some alternate ToI where every turn you can place 3 fatigue markers on three enemies at the start of the turn alternating between players, that's not. But picking them up would be.

On Tuesday.
 
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James Ludlow
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
mikoyan wrote:
Fiddly seems to be a term that comes up when describing anything that's not a Euro.


You've apparently never played Roads & Boats. It's a great game, but the term certainly applies.

Since you've played Agricola, that might be a better example. The process at the beginning of each round where the various actions need to be reloaded would be a decent example of "fiddly bits."

 
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Walt
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
You own Puerto Rico. PR's setup is fiddly: sort out the buildings and put them on the mat, mix and stack the plantations, count out the right number of workers, pick the right ships, count out the right number of VPs. PR is worth it, but the start is fiddly.

A game where you buy stuff and have to make change every turn is somewhat fiddly, especially with poor paper money.

The key is that the mechanical processes of running the game are taking too much time from playing and enjoying the game.
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Michelle Zentis
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steevil wrote:
But I am also hearing a clear definition for "fiddly bits" or pieces, chits, etc. that in certain games seem to bee too much to deal with and detract from the overall enjoyability of the game.


This is the context in which I most often hear this term. Of course, that could have something to do with the facts that one of my favorite games is Antiquity and that several of my potential gaming opponents are old grognards with fingers the size of my big toe.
 
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Russ Williams
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
wittdooley wrote:
I also take it to mean "stupid rules that require you to look back in the rulebook because they're so ambiguous."


Rules ambiguity is a separate orthogonal issue that has nothing to do with fiddliness per se. A simple clean game can also have an unfortunately stupid ambiguous rule.
 
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Joseph Betz
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I always think of quite a few of the old avalon hill games being fiddly.Take for example Gladiator which is not a bad game but you need to play it a bit too get a feel of how the movement works but there are a few fiddly things like when 2 gladiators run into each other you have to look up different modifiers on a chart "one gladiator is kneeling minus 2","gladiator has large shield +1" etc.. then you have to figure all these modifiers in to get your dice roll modifier.It seems that maybe there could be a more streamlined chart of some sort.Too me that is a bit fiddly.I also use the term "clunky" to describe this experience.
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Russ Williams
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Re: Can Someone Explain What It Means For A Game To Be "Fidd
jbetz45453 wrote:
I always think of quite a few of the old avalon hill games being fiddly.


In the specific case of old AH games, I often call it "Avalon Hill disease".
 
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