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Subject: Solitaire Board Game or Single-Player Computer Game? rss

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p55carroll
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Suppose you're at a point where you're fed up with people and determined to become a hermit. But you still love games. You're not going to play with other people, even online; you're simply done with that. But you are going to play games.

If you were in such a situation (and I know it's hard for some people to even imagine), do you think you'd play more computer games or more board (and card) games?

And why one instead of the other? What would you expect to get from one kind of game that you couldn't get from the other?

Poll
If you were to become strictly a solitaire gamer, what kind of game would you prefer?
Board/card games
Computer games
      195 answers
Poll created by Patrick Carroll
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p55carroll
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I'm torn myself. I'd like to believe I'd play more board/card games, but the computer is so tempting and convenient.

I don't like being "plugged in" all the time; I like getting away from electronic devices. But if I'm practicing a traditional game like chess, the computer AI is indispensable.

However, I dislike real-time computer games. And I can do without 3-D graphics, animation, sound effects, music, and all that. I prefer to do without those things. They're part of what I want to get away from when I say I like to get away from electronic devices.

There are plenty of designed-for-solitaire board/card games that I could get into. In addition, as a longtime wargamer I'm content to play both sides of a good wargame against each other.

So, my preference would be for board/card games. But I'd no doubt end up on the computer much of the time anyway.
 
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Wade Nelson
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Definitely board games. I've been a computer gamer for years, and there are a lot of computer games I love, but I get a better "accomplishment" feeling from board games. I also like the idea that I don't need to upgrade anything or worry about component failure.

There are single-player computer games (like the Civilization series) that are probably infinitely replayable, but not many. The same could be said for board games and replayability, but for a great many games you can always create new scenarios and storylines.

I also enjoy the tactile feel of board games and the little bits and masp they come with. The pace of board games tends to be slower, and I feel like I put more thought into my actions. When I play Civilization for the PC, I put a few guys on auto-explore and don't worry to much about what they're gonna find by the time I need to build a new settlement. When I play Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game or Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game I put a little more thought into whether I want to flip that next tile over now or hold off a turn. When I used to play a lot of the Command and Conquer RTS series on PC I would often crank out as many units as possible and split them into groups with different strengths for different tasks, but I didn't micromanage every unit. When I play a game like BattleLore I do concern myself with every unit. I know there are more tactical PC games out there, but I haven't found one I like as well as my tactical board games yet.

Maybe you should just drive on over to the Twin Cities area and play some multiplayer games
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McDog
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I voted Computer games because one I find fun and one I find work mostly.
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Chris Thomason
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I voted for computer games I think by and large because those games are built with solo play in mind. Most board games are not. Some are and many have solo rules, but the level of depth in those boargames seem shallow compared to a solo computer game.
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Mike Schmidt
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I really haven't had a computer/video game hold my interest as long as some board games. This may be because I don't get to play the board games as often. I would definitely be getting into wargaming more if I was only to play solitaire.
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Jordan Lownds
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Paul Clegg
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Board games on the computer FTW. Not sure which of the two choices that is.

I loved 1830 on the PC, and played the hell out of it. I've played a ton of Catan and Carcassone and Ticket to Ride on the XBox. Played a bunch of Magic: The Gathering, too, though was disappointed it wasn't really "collectible" on the XBox. I found "Androminion", a quick Android port of Dominion and have played that a ton, too.

That said, I've also played a ton of Civilization. In fact, that might be the best of it -- games that work like board games in that they're turn-based, etc, but which take advantage of the computer's ability to manage all the fiddly bits, calculations, housekeeping, etc, to make a really really deep game.

...Paul

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p55carroll
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Redstarny wrote:
I also feel like most computer AI's cheat. I'd rather be faced with an impossible situation than know the AI is getting more movement points or assets than me in a seemingly fair game.

I've never thought or worried much about AIs cheating. But that brings up another reason I shy away from computer games: as a player, I usually don't know how they work; there's too much hidden under the hood.

That's not the case, however, with computer implementations of regular board games. I do like those. As I said above, playing chess, checkers, or backgammon against a good computer AI is just like playing face-to-face to me, only more convenient in many ways.
 
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p55carroll
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Rastak wrote:
I voted Computer games because one I find fun and one I find work mostly.

So, did you vote for the fun ones or the ones that feel like work?
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George Buss
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I'd have to go with Board Games.

If I was living as a hermit, I'd be using my computer to write. So I'd want to have a break from the computer to have fun... otherwise, i'd be tempted to tinker and work... or play while I'm working...

So I'll keep em separated.

ALSO I love the feel of a tactile game. Rolling the dice, flipping the card... give me tactile any day over keys and joysticks.
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Scott Davenport
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I have to go with Computer Games since they can simulate certain aspects of board games that can not be easily accomplished otherwise. AI opponents, hidden knowledge / fog of war, huge variety of options (boards, pieces, difficulty,etc) and a few others I am sure I have missed.

Now, with tablet computers on the rise, how soon will we be able to place a tablet on the table and play a board game with others or alone?
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Andrew L.
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When I first started gaming, I was primarily a wargamer that played soloable only (usually games with a solo mechanism of some sort).

Now that I have found an established gaming group, I would rather game with people. In fact, I set up a solo mission in Gears of War: The Board Game, but couldn't get past the first turn because I liked it so much more when I played it in our group.

That's why I picked the computer. Plus, it would take up less space, although, if I was a hermit, I wouldn't have to worry about my wife getting upset when I leave games out... ninja
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X Topher
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Yep, computer games all the way. I play board games mostly to enjoy a more strategic and meaningful evening with friends. Solo board games are there just to give me my 'cardboard fix' but board games are far more engaging with others.
Video games however are custom tailored for solo play. An evening alone with Skyrim is more vivid and interesting than an evening alone with Magic Realm. (Not counting the sense of accomplishment from actually learning the MR ruleset!)
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Mark T
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Living in BFN where my only gaming friends moved away I do play solo. A major factor for picking boardgames over computer games is the carpel tunnel in my mousing wrist. I just can't play most games for more than 45 minutes (although I will occasionally get sucked into Civ for 12 hours, pain be damned).
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When a boardgame gives me as much solo pleasure as OpenTTD, Civilization, XCOM, Portal, OutRun 2006, Beatmania IIDX, Doom and Tetris TGM3 I might consider briefly that option.
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Phil
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No option for a bit of both?

Until now it's been computer games for me, but lately I've been surprised how good some board games are when played solitaire, especially after a day spent looking at PC displays.
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Paulo Augusto
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Where is the option for both?
I really have enjoyed all the times i played Arkham Horror solo. I really love all the extras and convinience of playing Hearts of Iron III.
 
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p55carroll
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PauloAugusto wrote:
Where is the option for both?

It'd be out of place. The question is which kind of game you'd prefer, or which kind you'd play most.

It's not exclusively one or the other; you're free to play both in any case.
 
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Obsidian Man
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Computer games, of course.
Because i have access to a wider spectrum of games genres: action games, role playing games, driving games, fighting games, sport games, real time and turn based strategy games etc.
And most of the above aren't even available for a solo boardgame.
Computer games have a deeper interaction and are created to be solo games (even Mmorpgs are just a multiplication of a single player rpg formula, and some of the latest ones like Star Wars: The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 are gonna include mechanics to make the game more "soloable" even if they are games designed to be played totally online).
And solo boardgames are a minority in the boardgames market. Boardgames are created to socialize, to interact with other human beings (no friendship guaranteed! )
So it is normal for a computer game to have a powerful A.I. while most solo boardgames force you to double-thinking.
While i find to solo play computer games to be absolutely the standard, i find playing solo boardgames to be sad, but this is my point of view.
The only thing that boardgames can give you that computer can't offer is a certain pleasure in shuffling cards, rolling dice and moving counters. And on the contrary i find sad the tactile interaction from the latest console system (Wii etc.) like swinging an invisible lightsaber in front of the TV.
For the same reason i won't read a virtual book on a tablet pc. I want to shuffle pages and feel the real paper under my fingers.

(sorry for my bad english)
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Johannes cum Grano Salis
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Solo board/card game. I'll do either the "play against the game" approach for something like Agricola/Le Havre, or I'll set a game up for 2-4 players and play all the players. Not all games work this way (auctions don't really work), but there's not always much difference between multiplayer solitaire games with and without other people.

Not only do I like to shut off the computer at the end of a workday, but I've got vision/depth perception problems. Computer games make me dizzy (I am the oldest 33-year-old you will ever meet). Though I have recently (re)discovered Boardspace, which is probably as close to computer gaming as I'll ever get.

J
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Ted Groth
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Really very close call on this one!

I like "seeing what is under the hood" as you can in a boardgame, and also trying out variations. Both are difficult with computer games. I also like that boardgames can be interrupted and resumed in a way that is sometimes difficult to do with a computer game, particularly one with real-time action.

But the flip side of seeing what is under the hood in a boardgame is the tedium of maintaining all the accounting, and the difficulty of playijng anything with hidden strategy or information, or bluffing. Computer games can take care of all this and provide AI opponents.

I have spent more hours playing computer games than I have spent playing boardgames solo. But in the last two years that ratio has been reversed and I've spent almost no time with computer games, but taken the time to learn a number of new games through solo play.

I voted computer games. but might change my vote back and forth at any moment.

The one thing I don't like is a computer version of a boardgame. That makes me feel like I'm getting the worst of both worlds.
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p55carroll
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Obsidian Man of Urik wrote:
Computer games, of course.
Because i have access to a wider spectrum of games genres: action games, role playing games, driving games, fighting games, sport games, real time and turn based strategy games etc.
And most of the above aren't even available for a solo boardgame.

That's true. However, I personally only care about turn-based strategy games (and traditional games like chess, which are also turn-based). So most of that variety is wasted on me.

Quote:
Computer games have a deeper interaction and are created to be solo games (even Mmorpgs are just a multiplication of a single player rpg formula, and some of the latest ones like Star Wars: The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 are gonna include mechanics to make the game more "soloable" even if they are games designed to be played totally online).
And solo boardgames are a minority in the boardgames market. Boardgames are created to socialize, to interact with other human beings (no friendship guaranteed! )
So it is normal for a computer game to have a powerful A.I. while most solo boardgames force you to double-thinking.

That's where I'm torn. I do appreciate the powerful AI (and I usually dislike having to deal with a manual AI in solitaire board/card games). But the "double-thinking" in solo boardgames (e.g., playing both sides of a two-player wargame) is something I'm used to and have learned to enjoy. In fact, when I get to play both sides, I gain insights into how a scenario looks from two points of view. In a way, the game is twice as interesting!

Then again, it does feel odd to be playing a game by myself when it's designed for two players. I feel I have to rationalize it by telling myself, "I'm only doing this to learn the rules and mechanics. Someday, when I'm ready, I'll find an opponent and play this with someone else." That's satisfying, though, because I do feel I'm preparing for future games against other people. Some designed-for-solitaire games can't ever be played with anyone else; in those, I sometimes feel I'm just wasting my time--getting stronger at the game, but for what? I'll never get to test my ideas and playing strength against anyone.

Quote:
While i find to solo play computer games to be absolutely the standard, i find playing solo boardgames to be sad, but this is my point of view.
The only thing that boardgames can give you that computer can't offer is a certain pleasure in shuffling cards, rolling dice and moving counters. And on the contrary i find sad the tactile interaction from the latest console system (Wii etc.) like swinging an invisible lightsaber in front of the TV.
For the same reason i won't read a virtual book on a tablet pc. I want to shuffle pages and feel the real paper under my fingers.

I've gotten used to reading e-books; they're the same as any other book to me now. I've never tried a Wii, and I don't especially want to. But I've never liked real-time games much anyway; they're all like Pong to me--amusing for a little while, but forgettable.

I guess I've long-since learned to do without the tactile aspects of board/card games, though. There's nothing that special, to me, about shuffling cards or rolling dice. I'm happy to let the computer take care of such drudgery--and take care of all the accounting too.

What I do still like about board/card games is that I can always fully comprehend the rules and mechanics. I know just how the game works. There are no hidden algorithms or undocumented computer routines; everything is explained in the rule book. And because I have to memorize the rules and apply them, I feel I'm more in control of the game.
 
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p55carroll
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rarevos wrote:
Not only do I like to shut off the computer at the end of a workday, but I've got vision/depth perception problems. Computer games make me dizzy.

That reminds me of a reason board/card games don't work as well for me as they used to: my eyes don't work as well as they used to.

Ever since I was in my twenties, I wore glasses to correct for nearsightedness. But now that I'm in my fifties, I have to take off my glasses to focus on anything up close. A board game on the table is just far enough away that I can't see it clearly; but if I put on my glasses, it's just close enough that I still can't see it clearly.

So, I usually end up playing without my glasses, but I have to hunch over the board and get pretty close to it. When I want an overview of a big wargame or something, I step back and put on my glasses to see it.

Computer games are less of a problem. I wear my glasses to use a PC or laptop; I take them off to use a handheld console like the DS or my smartphone.
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p55carroll
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Tradewinds Ted wrote:
But the flip side of seeing what is under the hood in a boardgame is the tedium of maintaining all the accounting, and the difficulty of playijng anything with hidden strategy or information, or bluffing. Computer games can take care of all this and provide AI opponents.

Luckily for me, I've never liked those aspects of games much anyway. A few surprises are nice, but I don't care for games with a lot of hidden information (e.g., wargames with hidden units and concealed movement), bidding, bluffing, negotiation--all that kind of stuff. I don't need a computer to do facilitate that, because I don't want to do it anyway.

I do appreciate the computer's help with the tedious accounting, though.

Quote:
The one thing I don't like is a computer version of a boardgame. That makes me feel like I'm getting the worst of both worlds.

Really? It makes me feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds. I'm playing a game I can comprehend (nothing "under the hood"), and I can practice it on the computer (playing as often as I like) and then also play it with other people someday.

It's especially good for studious games like chess and go. I enjoy reading books on those games and doing exercises. With a good computer program, I can practice what I learn in a safe, comfortable environment. Later--someday when the opportunity comes up and I feel ready and willing--I can also play the game with another person.
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