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Subject: Board games are to video games as books are to movies? rss

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Wanda Davies
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tscook wrote:
You mean they're two different mediums that accomplish different goals, each with their own set of discrete merits and flaws? OK.

I definitely agree with the above, but books can be more complex and detailed than movies while video games can be more complex and detailed than board games. Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game gives a good Civilization vibe, but it pales beside the PC game. Any economic board game pales beside the better PC economic games.
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Wanda Davies
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Tall_Walt wrote:

I definitely agree with the above, but books can be more complex and detailed than movies while video games can be more complex and detailed than board games. Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game gives a good Civilization vibe, but it pales beside the PC game. Any economic board game pales beside the better PC economic games.

Good point. In terms of sheer complexity of the medium's expression of information, then, the comparison does not hold up. But then, if you consider that a film contains not only the plot line, but all the visual information, which, while easily parsed by us as a visual species, is perhaps, a contender in terms of quantity with all but the more eloquently written works- especially when you figure in the audio information as well. I was thinking about it in another way- the way that board games ask something of the imagination, a filling in of the blanks, more akin to books. A good book can beat a good movie in terms of experience not because it contains more information, but because it draws on all the information and other stuff in the mind of the reader. Movies can't do that as well. I'd submit that board games have the capacity to do the same thing, and, by such an integration can create a more vivid experience (although not as consistently) in some respects as a video game.
Digital technology has yet to be able to replicate the human experience.
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Hello Gregor wrote:
Good point. In terms of sheer complexity of the medium's expression of information, then, the comparison does not hold up. But then, if you consider that a film contains not only the plot line, but all the visual information, which, while easily parsed by us as a visual species, is perhaps, a contender in terms of quantity with all but the more eloquently written works- especially when you figure in the audio information as well. I was thinking about it in another way- the way that board games ask something of the imagination, a filling in of the blanks, more akin to books. A good book can beat a good movie in terms of experience not because it contains more information, but because it draws on all the information and other stuff in the mind of the reader. Movies can't do that as well. I'd submit that board games have the capacity to do the same thing, and, by such an integration can create a more vivid experience (although not as consistently) in some respects as a video game.
Digital technology has yet to be able to replicate the human experience.

The part I bolded is one reason I think books tend to provide a richer experience than books. However, another point is that books tend to be about human experience and communication, so a book where I have 100,000-200,000 words, maybe 10% dialog, that I can read at ~300 words per minute while a 100 minute movie would have at most 15,000 words. And I don't really have a time or size limit on a book, while we have practical limits on movies--though things like the Harry Potter series are exceptions. Still another factor is that movies tend to be third person--you're watching; while many books are essentially first person (even if written in third person)--you're the hero.

I think board games are too erratic to be truly immersive. Down time, fiddling with bits, even thinking about strategy tend to distract from theme immersion (though they may help game immersion).

Digitally technology has some advantages over real life. You can see differently, in many different ways, especially with added information presented with your "vision" and seeing multiple scales simultaneously. A video game can present huge amount of absolutely precise information that would bore you to tears in a book. A major advantage is immersive interactivity, which you just can't get in books, movies, or games. Then there's the arguable advantage of non-permanent death....
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saltis wrote:
Geeks are to nerds as emo's are to goths


When I first read that line I thought it said "emu's".
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The same people who hate books hate board games.
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Matt S
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As mentioned above, books really draw on the imagination to fill in what you can't see and hear as in a movie. A movie simply does that for you. In a way this makes books more interactive because instead of just receiving information as in a movie, you are actively participating with your imagination. We all know that reading books has been proven to use more of your brain.

In this way the board game to video game comparison works as well. Video games spoon feed you all the information you need, and you make the decisions. In a board game there is again that extra interactivity of using the imagination. Not to mention the fact that with board games you get the feel of physical components, and you are physically there, face to face, with the other players (except for the occasional solo game). So again you are using a larger percentage of your brain, as well as probably using your social skills
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John Hereward
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I think you have all missed the question.
Films made from books can not compare. Computer games made from boardgames can not compare.
To take the simple fact that a computer can not be random.
Example; monopoly on a computer plays well but is calculated. The programme "cheats" to enhance the game.
Chess on a computer is multi-faceted, complex, but calculated.
 
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Quandary wrote:
I think you have all missed the question.
Films made from books can not compare. Computer games made from boardgames can not compare.
To take the simple fact that a computer can not be random.
Example; monopoly on a computer plays well but is calculated. The programme "cheats" to enhance the game.
Chess on a computer is multi-faceted, complex, but calculated.


Not random??

1d20 = (13) = 13
1d20 = (1) = 1
1d20 = (18) = 18
1d20 = (19) = 19
1d20 = (15) = 15

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John Hereward
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Not random, no, a computer is programed for example to throw dice in a complex number of set calculated ways only within it's memory capacity, and only according to it's imput. To throw dice in reality is far more complex.
 
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David Boeren
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Quandary wrote:
Not random, no, a computer is programed for example to throw dice in a complex number of set calculated ways only within it's memory capacity, and only according to it's imput. To throw dice in reality is far more complex.


I'm not sure if this sentence means anything or not, but I think at the least it misunderstands or misrepresents what random number generation on the computer is.

Computers don't keep a list of random numbers in their memory for one thing, and secondly if you're worried about the purely theoretical difference between a "true random" number and a number generated by an algorithm that exhibits all the necessary characteristics of a random number you can always sample the real world and get "true randomness" from that. For instance, reading microphone values, camera values, timing between user inputs, all these things are completely outside the digital/algorithmic realm and commonly used.

Going back to earlier in the thread, there is no innate reason why a computer boardgame needs to cheat at anything. Cheating is only a way to make AI writing easier, of cutting corners. You can choose to write it that way, or you can choose not to.
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Ted Groth
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Quandary wrote:
Not random, no, a computer is programed for example to throw dice in a complex number of set calculated ways only within it's memory capacity, and only according to it's imput. To throw dice in reality is far more complex.
While it is true that random functions on a computer aren't purely random, any decent random function today is easily good enough that it makes no practical difference over the course of a game. Further, it is a bit preposterous to say that the computer "cheats" since it simply executes whatever program is provided.
- - - -

As for the OP, yes I can see the comparison, because of the imagination required with both books and boardgames, and the interruptible human pace of both experiences, while a film or videogame presents you with a rich presentation, but it is a produced image, and they both control the pace of that presentation.

The counter-argument about superior interactivity of a videogame isn't that strong. A film isn't interactive, but a book is interactive only to the degree that it requires your imagination. Yes, a videogame responds to your actions, but a boardgame also reacts to your actions. The response in the videogame can possibly be more varied than a workable set of boardgame rules could provide, and the videogame may have a very rich presentation compared to what the boardgame can offer, but the interaction possible in a videogame is actually very rigid, and limited to what has been programmed. You can't make a little pyramid out of resources in a videogame becase they are just numbers, but almost everyone does this at some point in their life while playing a boardgame. Not part of the game you say? Well making a meeple pyramid isn't technically part of the game but it is part of the possible experience of playing a boardgame, yet it is not a possible experience in a videogame unless it HAS been pre-programmed to BE part of the game.
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John Hereward
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Thanks you have both expressed this matter far better than I. But I did say that the "programme" cheats (in other words the imput) not the computer.
 
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Ethan Larson
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I don't agree.

Movies are shorter, and have to compress the story into a small space compared to books.

Video games can in general be longer and more detailed than board games, since you can save and come back.

Video games also happen on a completely different timescale, as you can interact 60 times per second, while board games allow you to interact a few times per minute at most.

Video games can deal with very complex formulas for things, while these make board games difficult to manage.
 
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Given that this question is so clearly put neutrally and precise enough to give a good answer too, I will agree. Indeed, board games are to video games as books are to movies.

Just yesterday I read Twilight, a tale for the ages, clearly written by one of the greatest minds of our time, nay, ALL time! Then I watched a few minutes of that uninspired Citizen Kane movie crap, Orson Welles was such a hack, no cultural influence whatsoever, and rightly so! Then I got together with my friends to play some LCR, pfoooh, real brainburner, they tried to convince me to play something about Europe and the Universe or something like that, but I put my foot down! All video games are Farmville and about murdering helpless people! I know that because I've seen a thirty second clip in the news and they told me that all video games are the same. I won't have that kind of nonsense in my house!

Therefore I have, as a board gamer on a board game specific website, in unfailing objectivity and through rigorous application of the scientific method, concluded that indeed, we as board gamers are demonstrably the smartest, coolest and best looking people around by virtue of our hobby, and that indeed it is high time for us to pat ourselves on our collective backs and congratulate each other on how great we are (As we are wont to do).

Now I'm pursuing the age old question as to whether chewing gum is to cloud patterns as home pregnancy tests are to the third Stooge.

Edit: Nothing against you personally, but you probably know yourself that every time a question like this is discussed on here, someone comes to this "conclusion", either overtly or slightly rethorically dressed up. You can already see that someone (who, while we all missed the question, was busy missing the computer science classes - all of them) has taken the opportunity to come to some rather questionable conclusions based on rather shaky "evidence".

Also, the question as it stands really is impossible to answer in any meaningful way
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Walt
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Quandary wrote:
I think you have all missed the question.

Let me take these points one at a time.

Quandary wrote:
Films made from books can not compare. Computer games made from boardgames can not compare.

This is pretty true. Different media have different strengths. What makes Blade Runner so good is that it plays to movies' strengths, not just trying to mimic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? In the other direction, the novelization of Star Wars: A New Hope--meh.

Games are a little different. The only real strengths board games have over computer games is socialization and tactile characteristics. But while someone else was shuffling and dealing Tichu a couple friends were playing a Scrabble variant on their iPods, trash-talking each other (nicely). Computers have a different set of tactile abilities: if you want something close to an aircraft joystick to control a plane, you have to go to a computer.

Quandary wrote:
To take the simple fact that a computer can not be random.

This is just not correct. A computer can be truly random (not use pseudo-random calculations) if so designed. As a practical matter, the circuitry to generate true randomness is rarely used since pseudo-random numbers are so good a replacement for random numbers. Even the worst current random number generators will produce nearly 4.3 billion different numbers (2^32) before repeating, and you don't have to worry about bias as you do with true random numbers. I would expect a typical current generator to generate 2^64 numbers, or over 18 billion billion (or quintillion if you prefer--18 with 18 zeros after it). And it is possible to generate longer sequences easily. This part of computer science has been very well understood for a very long time.

Pseudo-random number generators can be misused, but I have never heard of an AI taking advantage of their misuse--though in theory an artificial neural net AI could do so without the programmer knowing.

Quandary wrote:
Example; monopoly on a computer plays well but is calculated. The programme "cheats" to enhance the game.

Not all computer games cheat to win. That's the lazy way out. All or nearly all of the games in this list do not cheat to win: Sebastian Sohn's SoftBoard Games: Free, Commercial, and Abandoned Computer Version of Board, Card and Role-Playing Games with Computer AI (Artificial Intelligence) Opponents with Screen Shots

Quandary wrote:
Chess on a computer is multi-faceted, complex, but calculated.

Chess is always calculated. That's the game. It is true that computers do more look-ahead while humans do more pattern recognition, but any player plays to his strengths.

Welcome to BoardGameGeek, by the way!
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I totaly get it. Im designing a board gamt that uses this philosphy. It gives you free range of movement and control of the outcome in a way that gives the player a virtual experience, like a video game. But nothing is really moving ir happening. You just IMAGINE the mivement.

Movies are structured from books and storyboards. They give the reader a way to imagine a story as though its playing out or actually moving.

I use this analogy in my pitch, so when I saw this link I had to chime in.
 
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