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Subject: What elements make a great game? rss

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Tony Ackroyd
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I'm working on an idea, but I just need to make sure I don't miss anything major. The following is a list of things that can come together to make a game great (or not). Please discuss or add anything I've forgotten:

Game materials
Theme
Game mechanics
Fun
Complexity
Competition
Co-operation
Intellectual Challenge
Replayability
Time to play
Randomness Level
Number of Players Spread
Value for Money
Ease to learn
Ease to obtain
Rules clarity
BGG support materials/extras
Mass appeal
Wide age range
Player interaction
Originality
Ease to expand/mod
Set up time
Play anywhere-ness
Excitement
Online play
Multiple Paths to Victory
Chrome
 
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Joe
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Mostly Carbon.. With a little dash of Hydrogen and Oxygen..
Maybe a little Silicon now and then to spice things up.

Wakka wakka wakka.
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Matt Tonks
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I think having the right players for a game is a notable omission in your list.

Having the wrong players for a great game can make it feel like a rubbish game if you're unlucky.
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p55carroll
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Might fit under headings you've already listed, but a couple things come to mind:

Pace--how fast the game moves along

Size--how much table space the game takes up


Basically, though, you seem to have it covered. To enjoy a game, one has to:

Find (or buy) it
Learn it
Get people to play it (or resolve to play it solo)
Set it up (and later take it down)
Play it
Store or transport it
Return to play it again and again

That last point implies success in the other six points, so you could say a game is great if it's highly replayable. Hence, a game that's widely popular--especially for a long time and in many places--is surely a great game.
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Colin Kameoka
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It always seems to be a combination of all of those factors. Players tastes vary. So what might be good for one person isn't for another.

I factor all the items on your list.


Here are my top 3 things.

1. Game Length - 2 hours or less. While the upper end might be 4 hours, Shorter is preferred.

2. Replayability - How many games of it can we play before it is no longer fresh?

3. Rules clarity - We don't want to end a game over a poorly written rule..Simple clear rules. Rules for the game should be explained in 10 minutes or less.

Bottom 3

3, Online play - I don't see how this helps a boardgame
2. Chrome - (is this referring to extras to make the game look nice or adding in unnecessary rules to spice the game up for no reason?)
1. Wide age range - nuff said. Games already have a wide age range
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Tony Ackroyd
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ColinK wrote:
Bottom 3

3, Online play - I don't see how this helps a boardgame
2. Chrome - (is this referring to extras to make the game look nice or adding in unnecessary rules to spice the game up for no reason?)
1. Wide age range - nuff said. Games already have a wide age range

Thanks for the feedback. Just to respond to these:

3: Online play could make a game easier to learn/test out different strategies/find players/make it to the 'table'
2: Chrome: fancy extras that don't really add significantly to the gameplay
1: Wide Age Range: some games are playable (fun) with young kids but not with adults, some are playable with young kids and adults and some are incomprehensible to younger kids, or maybe even anyone not at least a teenager.
Not sure if there is a better phrase for explaining 'Wide Age Range'?
 
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Simon Lundström
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Having "fun" and "excitement!" on your list seems to be a bit weird… they're just too subjective a concept, The others are also a bit subjective, but not as much.
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B C Z
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Size on the table
Mechanics used
Luck Factor
Skill Factor
Fun Factor (all UBERPLAY games are a 10!)
Availability
Availability of rules online
Quantity and Necessity of 'Errata' (Betrayal at House on the Hill I'm looking at you)

You have:
Setup Time
Play Time
but do not have
Strike Time

Air-to-Mass Ratio

Size / Portability
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Driver 8
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Replayability
Gameplay Options
Artwork/Quality components
2 Player capability
Tension
Player Interaction

Those are the first things that come to mind.
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Carc >> BSG
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Decision making vs. Randomness/Luck.

A guideline I have when I'm thinking up game designs is limiting the number of random elements to just 1, if possible.

But, of course, I'm unpublished, so take what I say with that fact in mind.
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B C Z
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Here's a cerebral one for you:

Number of meaningful decision points per player in a given game.

For example, Puerto Rico (5 player) has about 60-70 decision points per game {your role selections and your reaction to other player's roles}.

Agricola (player number independant) has about 50 decision points per game (where to place each of your workers, and how to allocate resources during harvest).

Race for the Galaxy (4 player) has
~10-14 role selection decision points
~20-30 reaction to other player roles
~ 5-10 choices about allocating goods into consumption powers
For a total of 35-50 ish in a 4 player game.

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benji
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You could add scalability to your list, the way the mechanics deal with a different number of players. (Of course, you can have a great game that targets only a given number of players)
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Tony Ackroyd
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Zimeon wrote:
Having "fun" and "excitement!" on your list seems to be a bit weird… they're just too subjective a concept, The others are also a bit subjective, but not as much.

Aha, thats because they will be used in a subjective way.
Actually I'm going to take "excitement" out and put in "tension" suggested by Diver 8, I think its a better term for a board game.
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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byronczimmer wrote:
Here's a cerebral one for you:

Number of meaningful decision points per player in a given game.

For example, Puerto Rico (5 player) has about 60-70 decision points per game {your role selections and your reaction to other player's roles}.

Agricola (player number independant) has about 50 decision points per game (where to place each of your workers, and how to allocate resources during harvest).

Race for the Galaxy (4 player) has
~10-14 role selection decision points
~20-30 reaction to other player roles
~ 5-10 choices about allocating goods into consumption powers
For a total of 35-50 ish in a 4 player game.


I like this but I don't think it is going to fit the purpose I am going to apply these elements for....
 
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Randy Cox
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I think you left out a very important element--opportunity for chit chat during the game (both game talk and non-game-related talk).
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Tony Ackroyd
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This forum thread was some pre-work for an idea for a geeklist which you can find -> here
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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Heres a thread for some discussion on setting up a standard poll-review format and questions using the factors above:

Setting up a Standard Detailed Poll Review for Games - Working Thread
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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So here are the results and analysis:

What Factors Make a Game Great? How do the Top Games Score Against them?: The Boardgames Decathlon
 
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Daniel Wilcox
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The number one thing i like to find in a game is the forcing of a dichotomy: "I really need more money, but if i don't kill the rats I could lose!"
 
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alan beaumont
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Elemental problem
I will answer, just as soon as I've discovered the length of a piece of string.....
 
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