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Subject: Party games don't count! rss

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David Boeren
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Has this ever happened to you?

You go to visit some family/friends, and bring some really good games along to introduce to them. You've spent time carefully researching to select the best possible games to bring based on number of players, experience level, player tastes, BGG rating, etc... Then, someone suggests you play a party game (Cranium, Taboo, etc). You go along with it to be a good sport hoping to play some "real" games later. Then, after the party game is done, everyone thinks that since they "played games" the gamer should be satisfied!

Dude, it's NOT the same thing! I am getting tired of being screwed out of playing something good just because people think they have already fulfilled my wish by playing some random brainless party game.

Sorry for the poorly written rant, but I just wanted to gripe to some people who will understand my suffering.
 
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Eric Jome
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You've got my sympathy.

Party games can only barely be considered games at all. Most are basically excuses for people to act silly or say silly things. The few that actually have a game in them are too easy because they must be "simplified" for anyone to play. I mean really, Apples to Apples? This is an activity, not a game. Pictionary? Trivial Pursuit? Monopoly is more interesting.

I'd much rather break into small groups for Cribbage or some such. And angels will descend from on high singing glorious hymns of reverence and praise before anyone at a family gathering or party ever volunteers to play something cool like Union Pacific, 1000 Blank White Cards, or ... God willing ... Puerto Rico.

At least people you know acknowledge your hobby and are willing to try to humor you. I'd be more accepted in my community and family if I said I was gay.
 
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Aaron Sapp
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me grouch
I've become a decided grouch about party games. I put my foot down hard about refusing to play them. I've even developed rude theories about people who will only play party games, but not try Eurostyle games. There are of course a lot of people who have never been exposed to really good games. The want to play party games because that is all they know. That type is usually willing to try other board games. I think that people who refuse to even try board games like party games for one of two reasons
1. It allows them to "play a game" without having to do anything. They can visit and socialize, but just blend into the group. They get lost in the team
2. They like the fact that it is easy to get lost on a team and use that to stand out. They take control of their team to show how smart/creative they are and let the others just sit back and watch them win.
 
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David Stephens
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Been There
Been there too many times myself unfortunately. Taboo, Triva 90's edition, You think--I think--She said....blah!

Not that their horrible games or that they aren't fun -- I'll allow they can be under the right circumstances. But, playing a party game you don't necessarily enjoy with the hopes of breaking out a good game later and then having your hopes dashed is a real downer!

All I can say is hang in there!
 
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Shawn Christenson
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Wow, I feel really blessed!

I've succesfully introduced my family to Ticket to Ride, Modern Art, Werewolf, Bang, Settlers of Catan, Princes of Florence, Pirate's Cove, Carcasonne, 1000 Blank White Cards (they love this one), Traders of Genoa, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Domaine, Talisman, Citadels and more.

The most requested are now Modern Art, Werewolf, Princes of Florence (my dad loves this one) and Citadels. When I do a game night every month, the amount of epople just gets bigger and bigger. Our night coming up for December 29th will have about 25 people there. I'm still not sure how I'm gonna cope with it, and make sure all have a good time.
 
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Shawn Christenson
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I do not consider 1000 BWC's a party game because of it's requirement for more creativity than normal. Pictionary or Charades are different, they are telling you what you need to do. 1000 BWC's needs you to think totaly on your own for your cards. Plus it has less structure so some people would be put off by that too.
 
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David Boeren
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Party games
You know, it's not just that people want to play party games, but also that people want to play the same 1 or 2 party games EVERY TIME. I'm so sick of Cranium from having to do it OVER and OVER. I'm not totally against party games, just please let there be some variety and don't count it against my game quota. (If I had to pick one, my favorite would be Guesstures. It's only barely team-based and rewards creative thinking and acting skill).

Aaron hit it right on the head. Most people don't want to DO anything. They are so afraid of looking stupid or coming in last place that they would rather play something which features no skill and no decisions to make. Even when I get forced to play Cranium, I'm usually the only one on the team who actually performs. Nobody else wants to act, draw, spell, or whatever because they're afraid to mess it up. It's frightening, but people would rather sit and let a die roll play the game for them because then they aren't put on the spot to make a decision for themselves.
 
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Mark Taraba
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Then, after the party game is done, everyone thinks that since they "played games" the gamer should be satisfied!

who think that they are "doing me a favor" by guilting me into a game of Cranium or Pictionary.

Maybe I have the wrong friends and family, but I often find that when people want to "do something you want to do" they really pick something they're willing to do. This way they have control over the situation. This can happen in all aspects of life. So, if the only game they like is Cranium, they'll do you a favor by playing Cranium when really they figure a game is going to be played tonight and they're just trying to prevent any other game from being played.
 
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Mark Taraba
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Aaron hit it right on the head. Most people don't want to DO anything. They are so afraid of looking stupid or coming in last place that they would rather play something which features no skill and no decisions to make

My take on Party games is that people just want to laugh at something and party games give them ways to laugh. That's why they're not really games. People who like Apples to Apples like it because they laugh, not because there's some deep strategy.

Also, some people don't like to think. That's something that was beat out of them in school. They like the games where they throw down a card and then everyone laughs or they draw/sculpt something and everyone laughs at what a crappy looking bird they made. No thinking required.
 
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David Seddon
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Hmm...
Thankfully, David, I don't have your problem. This is mainly because I thoroughly enjoy party games. I consider them to be as one of the courses that should be offered up at a meal. Of course, in terms of the gaming analogy, this "meal" may come over several days or weeks. To have the whole meal on one night, would indeed be celestial.

Frankly, I enjoy wargames; light, middling and heavy Euro Games; games with my kids and Party Games almost equally - I have only a small preference for Euros and Wargames, but take away any one of the four, and I'll feel starved.

I have no desire to impose Euros on some of the folks I play Party Games with, or Family Games on some of the folks I play Wargames with. Of course, amongst the 12 or so folks who I may play a game with at least once a quarter, several are happy to play any of these.

As for Cranium - as I've said here many times, just because a game is popular, liked by those who don't play games regularly* and comes onto the table a lot doesn't make it a bad game. In fact, though I know that I'm swimming against the tide here, I think Cranium is excellent at what it is designed to do - let people have a laugh, enjoy themselves and (for some) use their untapped creativity.

Of course, too much of anything is not good. Love them though I do, I wouldn't want to play Midway or Wallenstein every night. Unfortunately, with Cranium though, there is the extra element of the it's not "a gamer's game" syndrome (not my phrase) and thus it is looked down upon. I suspect that if it were a game that hardly anyone outside of BGG had played, it's ratings would be hugely different.

*though concise, "non-gamers" is a phrase I don't like and tend to avoid, smacking as it does of having been made up by some sort of religious sect to describe excluded non-members, or of an exclusive golf or gentlemen's club looking down on those not within the hallowed walls.

 
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Peter Donnelly
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Lighten up, guys. It's a party. Of course people don't want to put their heads down over some strategy game where they have to think and plan. They want to party! So they play party games!

Personally I would never submit to another game of Trivial Pursuit, having suffered through it once. But on Thanksgiving I brought a copy of Time's Up to a gathering of people I didn't know very well. It was a great icebreaker and everyone enjoyed it, including the bystanders.
 
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Danny Webb
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Another take...
Conversely, the people I gathered with on the holiday, family and friends, are the same people I game with on a regular basis. We played party games all night for two straight nights (with very little sleep in between) and I had a blast, without one "designer" game. I especially enjoyed about 8 of the 12 games of Catch Phrase we played, but I could have done without all the games of Werewolf. Anyway, I like the analogy above, as long as you get some real food, there is nothing wrong with a bit of dessert.
 
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♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
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It's hard for me to get my family to play games with me, because I always want to drown them with rules and strategic options and depth and challenge ... hey, they're not as much into this as I am, and it overwhelms them. I've succeeded a couple of times on this front, but if someone brings out a copy of Cranium or Scattergories, I'm up for it. Why? Because it's a GAME.

I think part of a person's insight into this sort of thing is what you play games FOR. I play them for fun, and since party games inevitably create a social atmosphere and a lot of fun, I enjoy the experience, even if I'd rather be playing something like Amun-Re. Plus, I know that one day I'll bring one of my games and get someone interested in playing them. It all evens out in the end.

Now, this doesn't count toward games like Uno or Phase 10. I simply cringe and say, "Can't we play something else?" I despise those games. There's no control, and it gets tedious after too long. I reserve a veto right for those games, just on general principle.
 
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David Boeren
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Cranium
You know, even when we play Cranium (at someone else's suggestion) there is usually only 1 person per team actually playing the game. On my team, that would be me. Nobody wants to be the one to draw, sculpt, act, or whatever, so the same one person on each team ends up doing 80%+ of the actions while the rest of the team hides.
 
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John So-And-So
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Games as booze
I think of it like this.

There are your hard games - Wallenstein, Die Macher, War of the Ring or such. These are like sitting down to drink a whole bottle of Jager - man, ou've got a long night ahead of you, and you better steel yourself. Once you're done, you're gonna want to lay off for a couple weeks.

Then you've got your beer games. Most of the Euros I enjoy fall in here - Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, maybe Acquire or something. Like a six-pack of beer, you're gonna spend a while on them, but after a night's rest you might feel up for them again tomorrow.

Party games are the wine coolers and Bacardi malt beverages of the boardgame world. You're not even going to get a buzz off a dozen games of This Or That, but hey - the girls enjoy it, and now we can all have some fun. But make sure to call me when it's time for the beer.

Just my ramblin' 2 cents.
 
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Chester
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Cranium is more like the NyQuil of gaming, by your metaphor.
 
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Negativity
Ooh, smell the negativity in the air! angry

C'mon folks, party games are games. They may not be the kind of games that you enjoy, but they are games. Winning or losing may not be the hugest thing in the world when it comes to Pictionary, Cranium or Time's Up, but if people are enjoying playing the game, what's the fuss about?

I may dislike Settlers, St. Petersburg and War of the Ring, but I still consider them games despite the luck factor involved. (I'll even play if a good friend twists my arm enough.) I don't see how this is different with party games.
 
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Nate Sandall
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I'd rather play a crappy game and hang out with the people I love rather than play the coolest game in the world with people I can't stand. Fortunately, I get to play the greatest games in the world with the people I love the most. That's pure heaven!

I pulled out Times Up for the first time ever on Thanksgiving after owning it for two years and never trying it.
blush
I swear I haven't had that much fun playing a party game since I was 13! Hit your family with a few really great games like Time's Up and then eventually you'll start arriving at family get togethers and hear "what games did you bring?" which is pure music to my ears!

Sometimes you have to nurture the potential gamers longer than you really want to. But you gotta try! The more willing you are to play their favorites, the more willing they will be to try yours.
 
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Adam Deverell
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Party Games are Games Too
Who gets the rawest deal on BGG - party games or Steve Jackson Games? At least the latter deserves it.

I love party games. Yes, I prefer euros, but euros tend to be very dry. If there's a large group of non-gamers I can't understand why you'd want to put them through a euro first. You want group dynamics, laughter and fun. That's where Absolute Balderdash and Apples to Apples comes in.

Party games may be basically activities. Most of the time I don't even use a board or scoring. But they rely on creativity, outgoing behaviour and lateral thinking. Euros don't. They use the skills and abilities that other boardgames leave in the box.

However, I recently played Absolute Balderdash with my students (mature age) and they loved it. Then I bought out Take 6. I was surprised how much they got into it. I find it a rather tedious game now, but I saw their eyes light up. Half of them asked where they could buy it. If they played Settlers, the response would be the same.

I would always play party games first with a large group of people I consider "non-gamers". But I certainly wouldn't give up getting them to play something where they have to use their cerebal problem-solving abilities. People are reluctant to play something that requires hard work - but keep at it. I've found they enjoy euros just as much as party games.


 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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A party game is to a strategy game the way a doughnut is to a meal.

You are simply defining a "game" as something that involves people enjoying the thinking it takes to win. Party games don't fall under that definition, since winning is besides the points, and thinking is besides the point.

The next time they come over for a meal, offer them doughnuts and break out Operation: Normandy.

Yehuda
 
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David Seddon
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Hmm...
Well, I don't know about doughnuts! I'd say more chocolate cake. Sure you can't live just on it, but life'd be dull if there wasn't any.

Tonight, my friend is throwing one of his inveterate games nights. I've no idea how mnay will be there, but he's asked me to provide the games. We get a real mix of folks there.

I'm taking, TtR, Bang (plus expansions), Cranium Hoopla, Apples to Apples, Time's Up (my doctored card set slanted towards English people) and Cairo (if it arrives today which I hope it will). What we play depends on the numbers and who turns up.

Any of those will go down well and I'm happy to play all of them. TtR may be the most interesting, but the others are just as much fun.
 
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Chuck Uherske
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Go with the Flow
I feel your pain, but I guess my advice would be, when in a big group, to recognize that any one persons's individual control over activities is pretty minimal, so a lot of compromising is involved. Sometimes the compromising can lead to more fun than you'd expected.

My fiancee's family are pretty much non-gamers, though a gamer or two is developing among them. For the last Thanksgiving break I packed a few "gamer's games" as well as a few party games.

I didn't really want to play the party games -- I wanted to teach them Traumfabrik, I'm the Boss, and Daytona 500, which I regarded as light enough for non-gamers.

They indulged me, but my honey kept coaxing me to get out Wise and Otherwise. And you know what? That turned out to be the most fun of every game we played. A good party game that flexes the brain's creative side can be a wonderful time.

It reminds me of the previous Christmas when I was coaxed into playing Taboo, and found that, while it wasn't my favorite game, it was a fully worthy game to spend time playing. I've had a lot of games of El Grande, T&E, and Puerto Rico I've enjoyed less.

There are good party games after all -- trivia games like Stage Two, bluffing games like Wise and Otherwise, and clue-giving games like Taboo and 25 Words Or Less.

My advice: take half a loaf.

 
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Bernd Wechner
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Pack of whingers ...
Football, Chess, Pictionary, Tiddly winks, Pin the tail on the donkey, Ticket to Ride, Napoleanics, Warhammer, D&D, Pac-man, Roulette, Hide and seek, Table tennis, courting and flirting ... they're all games, and they're all played by real people who love playing games. So you like one genre more than the other and are frustrated that the people in your life son't share that passion? - a shame I grant you, but belittling their passions and playing a pathetic elitist gamer games game isn't kosher at all or going to win you any favour with them.

Kudos to the defenders of party games so far against these unjust rants.
 
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