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Subject: An article about getting video-gamers to TRY boardgames rss

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Keith Burgun
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Hey guys. My new article is called "Video Games and the Fear of Learning". I outline this sort of screwed up philosophy that has been fostered through years and years of corporate propaganda in the minds of video gamers, which holds them back from wanting to try boardgames, even though it will definitely be good for them.

Check it out:

http://www.dinofarmgames.com/?p=630
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And of course there are many more types of videogamers than just FPS gamers, too.

That being said, I think you're in for a tough sell, really. Videogames offer so many more advantages than Board gaming and only one real limitation.

Videogames:

1. Little to no rules-reading or learning (my biggest gripe with board games at present)

2. Can always play - don't need to find other gamers who like the game you want to play AND who might know how to play it AND who are available to play. Most videogames have a strong SP component and/or great MP features.

3. Better graphics and presentation (generally speaking there's more that can be done with digital animation and graphics than just some art on a board or cards). I've enjoyed art in Tabletop gaming, too, but full-moving, beautifully animated armies blow away even the best painted minis in any game, imho.


Board Games:

1. Great face-to-face interaction
2. Portable
3. Don't require electricity


Each has its strengths but you'll have a hard time selling videogamers on going backwards (as they might see it) from tabletop gaming - I've seen it myself in my group already, sadly. And heck, even I've grown wearier in recent years of board gaming due to the stuff I mentioned above.

Still, at least you made the effort. Good for you!
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Harald Korneliussen
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What's wrong with dramatic paragraph breaks?

Nothing.
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Andrew
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To Anthony's list I'd add that board games have better mechanics, and are a more demanding intellectual challenge. Video games lean heavily on providing a cinematic experience or the rush of real-time reaction.
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William Ford
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I wonder if there is any other hobby where the members spend as much time as board gamers convinced that most non-members want to join the hobby, but just don’t realize it. Back in the pre-Eurogame era, I doubt many role-players, wargamers, and Ameritrashers thought this way. Like other wargamers, I was unhappy about the shortage of opponents (finding players for RPGs and Ameritrash was always easier), but I didn’t imagine that most people really wanted to play Avalon Hill games, but were held back by corporate propaganda or something else that tricked them into preferring other activities, including video games.

Role-playing games, wargames, and even Ameritrash games are long and complicated, at least compared to the popularly known board games. It was obvious many people would not be interested. I’m pretty sure I didn’t think I knew better than other people what they wanted to do with their leisure time. Now many excellent games are simpler and shorter. It's plausible these games should have a wider audience, but many posts on this site ask how to cajole others into playing these games, convinced that people really want to play them without knowing it. You have gone so far as saying that the people who don’t want to play a hobby board game have been brainwashed by marketing propaganda and deception.

I’m sorry you didn’t discover board games beyond Monopoly, checkers, and Chutes & Ladders until recently. I recognize that, like you, there are other people who would enjoy hobby board games, if they were exposed to them. Many won’t. That’s fine. Try to explain why many new board games are interesting. Try to sell people on them. I think that’s great, and that’s partly what you did in your two blog posts. But don’t insult people by asserting that they don’t really understand what they want and that you know them better than they know themselves.

Based on what you said in your two blog posts, one of my favorite video games of recent years -- BioShock -- shouldn’t be any good. The appeal of it is significantly (but not exclusively) tied to the technical capabilities of the Xbox (or PS3), which allowed the designers to create a unique visual world that was not possible on the Atari 2600 or Sega Genesis. Apparently, it’s just about the game mechanics for you. I liked the game play, but I also liked the graphics. I liked the story too. Many people, including me, only played through BioShock to the end one time. You say, "[I]f a game isn't interactive and dynamic enough to have multiple interesting play-throughs, it isn't really even worth playing through once." Well, I had a great time -- once. We like different things.

"Got some paper and pencils available? You can make a board game right now - a totally playable, fun board game. . . . The only thing that makes your board game stand out is its game design."

I do like board games with nice components. Have I been brainwashed by the non-print-and-play portion of the hobby game industry?
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Keith Burgun
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Thanks, glad you guys enjoyed the article. It's funny how much vitriol and anger I got from video-gamers over this, yet you guys are all like "yup".

Anthony, with regards to your claim that:

"1. Little to no rules-reading or learning (my biggest gripe with board games at present)"

is an advantage to video games? That is actually only true when the video game is not creative and original. Which is sadly, most of the time. But my point is, that's not really an upside. If all boardgames were roll and move, draw a card and resolve, boardgames would have the same "advantage".

Also #2 isn't really necessarily true either... I play the SHIT out of Tropic Euro (Puerto Rico), Samurai, and Androminion (Dominion) versus computers. I play versus computers way more than I do against humans! But maybe you'd like to argue that those are video games now because they're digital versions of board games, dunno.

>>I wonder if there is any other hobby where the members spend as much time as board gamers convinced that most non-members want to join the hobby, but just don’t realize it.

It's true that board gamers feel that way, but that's because it's TRUE! Video games are in a very, VERY weird place after this insane rush to outrageous commercial success. They have not yet had a maturation period, while boardgames have. It is not hard to see why boardgamers feel the way they do.

>Bioshock...The appeal of it is significantly (but not exclusively) tied to the technical capabilities of the Xbox (or PS3),

Firstly, I don't think Bioshock is even a little bit fun. It's a less interesting clone of System Shock 2 anyway, but regardless, if you're saying that its value is tied to the technical capabilities of the Xbox, then maybe you don't agree with me now, but you'll certainly agree with me in 20 years when we see the Xbox's capabilities the way we look at the original Gameboy's capabilities now (if not worse).

Puerto Rico on the other hand, will be just as good 20, 30, or 1000 years from now as it is right now.

>I do like board games with nice components. Have I been brainwashed by the non-print-and-play portion of the hobby game industry?

"Liking nice components" or "liking fancy graphics" is fine. But if you were playing nothing but shitty games for the sake of nice components, over good games with bad components, then I would tell you that you were not acting in your own self-interest.
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Garcian Smith
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Haha, yea I think you have really good posts Keith or ahem Dinofarm.

I think the comparison of Puerto Rico to Bioshock isn't a fair one. Both are games, but PR is a competition, while BS is more of a movie with interactive segments. William's point is that BS has a more immersive experience due to an involving plot, realistic graphics, a haunting theme. However, as Keith would say, any story eventually gets old, while as competitive activities such as PR or even basketball are still played as each play will be different.
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Doom didn't allow you to aim with your mouse! The first big game that allowed you to do so was Quake and most people used a keyboard since the single player game was build around that.


I disgree that people don't play boardgames because they don't want to learn new rules. Yeah, perhaps your average brogramer wouldn't ,but I found that the main reason why gamers don't play boardgames is simply because they don't know about them! Even I didn't and I'm a huge geek who goes to conventions and stuff. Getting my friends to play boardgames with me was piss-easy after that.

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You seem to suppose an awful lot about why people play what they play.

As to why people here agree with you: Well of course. You're talking about board games to board gamers. That's preaching to the choir.

Quote:

Puerto Rico on the other hand, will be just as good 20, 30, or 1000 years from now as it is right now.


I enjoy playing classic Super Mario Bros. I even downloaded it on my Wii. And if I had a NES, I'd probably break it out and play on it. In fact I did, when my wife had her NES. I still found it enjoyable.

Will Puerto Rico stand the test of time? Who knows. Oh I'm sure 1,000 years down the road you'll find someone who enjoys Puerto Rico because its retro and "classic." And there will probably be some new board game mechanic out there that is all the rage.

Isn't that how it goes? Dominion starts this deck builder craze, and all of sudden its a whole new set with some good and some bad.

Your "values" that we were taught to appreciate.... proof? Evidence? I certainly don't look to those on how I pick what is fun or not.

I'm sorry, but I just see a very opinionated blog with nothing substantial. Heh, kinda like those video games you talk about.
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Keith Burgun
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>Doom didn't allow you to aim with your mouse!

Wrong. It did allow you to aim with your mouse, but it was just restricted to one axis. By Quake, I assume you mean it was the first game to allow you to aim on the Y Axis. That's wrong too, though, because Heretic, Duke Nukem 3D and Hexen all came out before Quake and had a mouselook feature.

You're also wrong again in saying "most people used a keyboard" for Quake... super-wrong, because Quake was the first FPS to be all about the multiplayer, with the inclusion of Quakeworld. And anyone who tried to use a keyboard online was QUICKLY dispatched.

>simply because they don't know about them!

That one is true. However, this article was about people who *do* know about them, and even that know they are awesome, but won't give them a shot.

>I enjoy playing classic Super Mario Bros. I even downloaded it on my Wii. And if I had a NES, I'd probably break it out and play on it. In fact I did, when my wife had her NES. I still found it enjoyable.

Well, Super Mario Brothers is a FAR better game than anything that has come out in the digital world in the last 10 years.

It is true that I have a philosophy about why things are fun - apologies.
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General Norris
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keithburgun wrote:
Wrong. It did allow you to aim with your mouse, but it was just restricted to one axis.

It did? What the hell was I doing playing with the keyboard back then? I suck

Quote:
By Quake, I assume you mean it was the first game to allow you to aim on the Y Axis.

No, I said it was the first "big" game to do so. Arguably of course, depending on how big you think Duke Nukem was. Surely not the first to allow you to do so. The earliest game I know with free look is Dark Forces but probably it wasn't.

Quote:
You're also wrong again in saying "most people used a keyboard" for Quake... super-wrong, because Quake was the first FPS to be all about the multiplayer, with the inclusion of Quakeworld. And anyone who tried to use a keyboard online was QUICKLY dispatched.

In multiplayer, not in single player. Single player is clearly built around keyboard and most people played it with one. Being killed over and over again by mousers later changed that.

Tough it took a while to gain traction and become the only way to play. It's funny to read about QWTF history and people talking about keyboarders and how long it took them to change.

Quote:
That one is true. However, this article was about people who *do* know about them, and even that know they are awesome, but won't give them a shot.

Indeed, I'm just focusing on a tangent. I can't really comment on what the majority of gamers think since all the people I know would gadly play boardgames and aren't afraid of any rules or learning.

Quote:
Well, Super Mario Brothers is a FAR better game than anything that has come out in the digital world in the last 10 years

Aww, c'mon it's a great game but many awesome games have also been released in the meantime. Civilization IV/V, Team Fortress 2, Portal ,Tetris TGM 3, Starcraft II and Ikaruga are at the very best of their genre and released in the last 10 years.
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Keith Burgun
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Duke Nukem 3D sold many more copies than Quake, according to Wikipedia.
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keithburgun wrote:
Duke Nukem 3D sold many more copies than Quake, according to Wikipedia.

It could have sold more tough I'm extremely wary of Wikipedia as an indicator of sales, I have found it grossly innacurate and often only including US sales, in depth research would need to be made to reach a conclussion.

Anyways, if we are talking about who was first, neither was, so yeah...
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Aaron Potter
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keithburgun wrote:
Duke Nukem 3D sold many more copies than Quake, according to Wikipedia.


According to wikipedia, I invented badminton. In the 1890s. In Swaziland.

The blog entry is an interesting opinion piece, but just that: one opinion. It ignores many other reasons people avoid boardgames, or admire video games, it's factually inaccurate in many of its assessments, and isn't likely, given the ranting tone, to convince many to switch allegiances.





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Stijn
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Seeing the title I was hoping for interesting piece on getting friends to join you in your new found hobby and basically have fun together.

Guess I didn't get what I expected. Personally I found the entirely article an obnoxious rant. If you're already such an extremist when it comes to games, wow.

The moment you act like you can tell what someone else's preferences and likes are, you lost me. Let people decide for themselves, instead of forcefeeding them your Innovation rulebook.

Don't make it seem like you're going to clubber them on the head if they disagree. Show them how much fun you have boardgaming. Fun's contagious, they'll join (or not, but then you won't care because you're already having fun).

I once had a friend who quit smoking. I was happy he quit. I never was a fan of the stink. But then he spent the next 3 years of his life campaigning to outlaw tobacco, and the only thing out of his mouth were half-insane rants. *sighs* You know what they say about 'reborn' people.
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fateswanderer wrote:
To Anthony's list I'd add that board games have better mechanics, and are a more demanding intellectual challenge. Video games lean heavily on providing a cinematic experience or the rush of real-time reaction.


I'd rather you didn't add that to my list because I don't consider those points to be even remotely correct or accurate. Videogames have as many mechanics as board games and though they're buried in programming code, they're no less clever or impressive.

I've also found way more intellectual challenge playing videogames, myself. Most board games either regurgitate other game mechanics that I already know and have mastered fairly well or they have one or two main paths to victory - which once learned, lead to stagnation (SEE: Euro gaming).

No, I can't agree with those points at all. Just my opinion though.
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Angelo Nikolaou
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Keith, I feel that you came to conclusions on Jarvis through a huge leap.

Many are bored/tired/mindboggled at some point to say 'I don't feel like learning new rules now'. I sure do and I bet pretty much everyone feels that way at some point. It has nothing to do with propaganda or mindframe, sometimes you've had a long day and you're just not ready to tax yourself, so you prefer the comfort zone of something familiar.

I bet that asking Jarvis to play Innovation some other hour would get a completely different response and your article would have no exterior justification

Edit: Clarity
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keithburgun wrote:
Thanks, glad you guys enjoyed the article. It's funny how much vitriol and anger I got from video-gamers over this, yet you guys are all like "yup".


Actually, I'm not really saying "yup" all that much. I consider videogaming to be superior in every way but one - face to face interactions. However, I wouldn't categorize my remarks as being full of vitriol and/or anger.

keithburgun wrote:
Anthony, with regards to your claim that:

"1. Little to no rules-reading or learning (my biggest gripe with board games at present)"

is an advantage to video games? That is actually only true when the video game is not creative and original. Which is sadly, most of the time. But my point is, that's not really an upside. If all boardgames were roll and move, draw a card and resolve, boardgames would have the same "advantage".


It's an advantage because it doesn't matter whether a videogame is creative or not, it's still a jump-in-and-play experience without the huge annoying hassle of having to read the rules and teach them first. And yes, some board games (very few that I can think of) have simplistic enough rules that they can mitigate that advantage but VERY few, in my experience.


keithburgun wrote:
Also #2 isn't really necessarily true either... I play the SHIT out of Tropic Euro (Puerto Rico), Samurai, and Androminion (Dominion) versus computers. I play versus computers way more than I do against humans! But maybe you'd like to argue that those are video games now because they're digital versions of board games, dunno.


For every great digitized board game out there, there are a thousand more that don't exist (sadly) in that format. This point is still hugely in favor of videogaming, imho.

keithburgun wrote:
>>I wonder if there is any other hobby where the members spend as much time as board gamers convinced that most non-members want to join the hobby, but just don’t realize it.

It's true that board gamers feel that way, but that's because it's TRUE! Video games are in a very, VERY weird place after this insane rush to outrageous commercial success. They have not yet had a maturation period, while boardgames have. It is not hard to see why boardgamers feel the way they do.


You lost me here. Board gaming has only VERY recently matured (to use your term) if it really has yet. It was only in the past 10 years that we saw the rise in popularity of Euro gaming which spurred on a ton of other stuff. Videogames have been commercially popular and successful much farther back than that - arcades have been around since WAY back when, for example.

keithburgun wrote:
Firstly, I don't think Bioshock is even a little bit fun. It's a less interesting clone of System Shock 2 anyway


This is where you lost a lot of credibility with me - disparaging an amazingly great experience like Bioshock helps me set the bar for your perspective - which seems a bit skewed to me if you couldn't enjoy this incredible game and story. Each to their own, though, I guess. shake

keithburgun wrote:
Puerto Rico on the other hand, will be just as good 20, 30, or 1000 years from now as it is right now.


Except that you'd have gotten bored with it a LOT sooner. And that you'll need opponents for all those sessions. And that you'll probably have to teach the newcomers (oh joy!).


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wytefang wrote:
That being said, I think you're in for a tough sell, really. Videogames offer so many more advantages than Board gaming and only one real limitation.


You forget the one real advantage that boardgames have over video games - I can crow about my victory to real people and rub it in their face. mwahahahaaaa devil
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elgin_j wrote:
wytefang wrote:
That being said, I think you're in for a tough sell, really. Videogames offer so many more advantages than Board gaming and only one real limitation.


You forget the one real advantage that boardgames have over video games - I can crow about my victory to real people and rub it in their face. mwahahahaaaa devil


Mario Kart...
Golden Eye....

I'd say those were two big ones for me where we played split screen.

People look at multiplayer video gaming online and seem to completely forget that there was a multiplayer component before XBOX or PS.

Another point about Puerto Rico being good 1,000 years from now....

Look at all the hub bub over reprints of "classics." some claim that the game was fine as is. Others claim the mechanics were clumsy and dated, that updated/upgraded versions are better, and people only pine for the original due to nostalgia.
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I would never deny there aren't people who screw up their lives over videogame addiction.

Playing videogames excessively is of course bad for you. But the key word in that previous sentence is excess, and not videogames.

Even water is poisonous in excess. (cliché, I know)
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COMPNOR wrote:
elgin_j wrote:
wytefang wrote:
That being said, I think you're in for a tough sell, really. Videogames offer so many more advantages than Board gaming and only one real limitation.


You forget the one real advantage that boardgames have over video games - I can crow about my victory to real people and rub it in their face. mwahahahaaaa devil


Mario Kart...
Golden Eye....

I'd say those were two big ones for me where we played split screen.


Big for me, too. Boardgames remain superior to videogames face-to-face although I do still enjoy a bit of Mario Kart from time to time.
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Angelo Nikolaou
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Board games are fun, video games are fun. I fail to understand why there is a distinction. Of course, each scratches a different itch.

For the social take-that effect, I find most Wii multiplayer games perfect
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Mainstream videogame development is dominated by sequels and franchise tie-ins, with the majority of funds spent on art assets and marketing. Setting aside the narrative components, the better games are usually engaging due to strong level design (eg a series of clever puzzles) rather than particularly well-designed underlying mechanics - hence the "play once" thing.
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fateswanderer wrote:
Mainstream videogame development is dominated by sequels and franchise tie-ins, with the majority of funds spent on art assets and marketing.

And this is different than boardgaming...how, precisely?
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