Peter O
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I don't think I'm going out on a limb here thinking I'm the only person who doubles the listed box time for playing a game for the first time. I'm sure this phenomenon varies over the genres, but for the longer, meatier games that I enjoy, it almost always holds true.

So, can we please get a "First play" time listed on the box AND an "Experienced play" time as well. Not such a big deal for someone like myself who expects the longer time, but what about all those folks new to the hobby that think Game X takes 2 hours and play it to find their time is 4?

I would also be happy to have advertised the rare gem of a game that beats my rule of thumb concerning time.

Just saying...
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Paul DeStefano
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Define "experienced".

Sure - you can play it in only 8 minutes by your 140th game.
 
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David Boeren
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The players can matter much more than the experience level. There are serious AP people out there that take forever no matter how simple the game or how many times they've played.

I think the best they can do is list typical play time with people who have moderate experience, which is probably what they try to do now except they round it off horribly (often to the nearest 30 minutes unless the total time is quite short).
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dboeren wrote:
The players can matter much more than the experience level. There are serious AP people out there that take forever no matter how simple the game or how many times they've played.


This. So much.

A first play always takes longer because you are referring to rules and a lot of questions come up from the players. That's just how it is and everyone should build in a buffer if they are concerned about play time.

But, with a few exceptions, I've found that the time estimate on the box is fairly accurate for familiar players.
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I think someone posted a geeklist about "real" play times for games.
 
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p55carroll
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If the game is really good, players don't notice the passing of time anyway, so it's a moot point.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
If the game is really good, players don't notice the passing of time anyway, so it's a moot point.


Unless you only have a limited time for gaming. Some of us have to work in the morning!
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Joe Huber

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tranenturm wrote:
I don't think I'm going out on a limb here thinking I'm the only person who doubles the listed box time for playing a game for the first time. I'm sure this phenomenon varies over the genres, but for the longer, meatier games that I enjoy, it almost always holds true.

So, can we please get a "First play" time listed on the box AND an "Experienced play" time as well. Not such a big deal for someone like myself who expects the longer time, but what about all those folks new to the hobby that think Game X takes 2 hours and play it to find their time is 4?

I would also be happy to have advertised the rare gem of a game that beats my rule of thumb concerning time.


I find the opposite - the time listed is usually reasonably accurate for a first play, but is much longer than the game takes with experienced players. I don't find the ratio of actual play time to first play time to be fixed, either - sometimes it's 1/2, sometimes it's 3/4, and sometimes it's 1/4 or even less.
 
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Peter O
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huber wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
I don't think I'm going out on a limb here thinking I'm the only person who doubles the listed box time for playing a game for the first time. I'm sure this phenomenon varies over the genres, but for the longer, meatier games that I enjoy, it almost always holds true.

So, can we please get a "First play" time listed on the box AND an "Experienced play" time as well. Not such a big deal for someone like myself who expects the longer time, but what about all those folks new to the hobby that think Game X takes 2 hours and play it to find their time is 4?

I would also be happy to have advertised the rare gem of a game that beats my rule of thumb concerning time.


I find the opposite - the time listed is usually reasonably accurate for a first play, but is much longer than the game takes with experienced players. I don't find the ratio of actual play time to first play time to be fixed, either - sometimes it's 1/2, sometimes it's 3/4, and sometimes it's 1/4 or even less.


We're clearly not playing the same games then. I can't imagine someone blitzing through Dungeon Petz on a first play and then taking more time later on.

Unless people play the game without trying to really win, but more going through the motions.

So I guess I can imagine someone doing.

So maybe we are playing the same games.

Except I tried to see what you play and your for trade list is a lot of things I never heard of.

So maybe we're not playing the same things.

But ...
 
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Peter O
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MyParadox wrote:
dboeren wrote:
The players can matter much more than the experience level. There are serious AP people out there that take forever no matter how simple the game or how many times they've played.


This. So much.

A first play always takes longer because you are referring to rules and a lot of questions come up from the players. That's just how it is and everyone should build in a buffer if they are concerned about play time.

But, with a few exceptions, I've found that the time estimate on the box is fairly accurate for familiar players.


There will always be exceptions. But it doesn't take too much play-testing to see what the general trend is. I'm talking 2 square inches of additional box space for something that can help people get a much better idea of what they're getting into.
 
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Richard
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I would guess that there's wider variation in "learning to play" speed than "we all have the game down now" speed.

Not counting players that take 10 minutes to chose their move in Sorry, once rules are down most game groups probably play in a somewhat similar time. Groups that don't probably know they're with people that take twice as long due to chatting or roleplaying or distractions.

But learning to play? It all depends, did people read the rules first? Do people learn by reading or by playing it through step-by-step and double-checking the rule book at every decision.

I know my friends generally play at what the box says if about 10-20% slower so I can take this into account. As long as the numbers mean the same thing box-to-box, each group can apply their adjustments as needed.
 
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Ryan M
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The problem here is that no matter what, they are really just offering an "average" time no matter what. Not all groups will take the same amount of time, experienced or otherwise. Especially if some test groups have players prone to really bad AP while others don't. And what about number of players? Surely the number of players, as well as whether they are all new or all experienced or some mix in the middle, will also make a difference in play time.

Best just to look at the time as an estimate, or an avergage over a number of plays and leave it at that. It is usually close enough for my needs when deciding which games I will purchase or not.
 
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Dan Has
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I think a more useful play time would be a time per player. Since most games I play take longer with more players.
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dboeren wrote:
The players can matter much more than the experience level. There are serious AP people out there that take forever no matter how simple the game or how many times they've played.


This nails it. You can never get a proper time because of that.

Also, first time plays vary wildly by a LOT of factors.

Here's the biggest one.

Lets say the game says 60 minutes.

I read the rules. I set up the game.
People sit down. I teach them as we go along. Total play time is about 75 minutes.

Bob sets up the game. People sit down. He explains the setup. Bob makes his first move. He checks the rulebook. Makes his second move. Checks the rulebook. Ends his turn, and then reads the "end of turn" process out loud. Chuck goes. Reads the rulebook before his first move...

Total "play" time is 120 minutes or more.

Funny how that works
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This would be too much noise... just know it will take longer your first game... especially if you're learning it from the rules.
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Shaun
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I think there will be problems even with 2 listed play times. If I buy a game that has a learning game time of 90 minutes, and experienced game time 60 minutes, I'll probably play it within 90 minutes on my first play, as long as people don't suffer from analysis paralysis. BUT, I'm a gamer, and I can catch on to rules fairly quickly. A non-gamer may take 120 min for their first play. I guess you could put on a time for non-gamers, but that would involve a lot of guess work. If I'm play testing a game with people, those people are probably gamers themselves.

Also, I can see higher game time, even if it's for a learning game, as a deterrent for some people thinking about buying a game. It's the difference between $.99 and $1.00, but often perception is stronger than reality. I'm guessing most people, if they've played a couple different games, will accept the fact that a listed game time is an average play time for people that know how to play.

Non-gamers might not have much basis for comparison any way. When I was growing up I played a lot of games, and none of them had a listed playing time.
 
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Joe Huber

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tranenturm wrote:
We're clearly not playing the same games then. I can't imagine someone blitzing through Dungeon Petz on a first play and then taking more time later on.


Apparently I wasn't clear.

I find that the first play takes approximately the time listed on the box.

I find that with more experience, it takes somewhat to much less time to play the game.

Acquire is most recently listed as taking 90 minutes; I find that 30 minutes is more typical, with experience.

Amun Re lists a play time of 90 minutes, which is reasonable for a first play - but with experience, I find that 45-60 minutes is more accurate.
 
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Markus A
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Just take the time with a grain of salt.
Everyone plays different and the time listed will vary.
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Richard
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MarkusA wrote:
Just take the time with a grain of salt.
Everyone plays different and the time listed will vary.


Correct. There's no way to list accurate play time for all groups. The important part is that the times on the boxes are consistent so that groups can know what to expect.

So while a game listed as 60min may take your group 30 and another 90, the important part is that if those groups see another game listed at 120 min, they both know it'll take roughly twice as long to play as the 60 minute game, be it 60 or 180 minutes in actuality for those two groups, respectively.

It's like car gas mileage. You don't truly expect to get what's listed but you can use them to compare the relative gas efficiency between cars. One listed at 22mpg and another 40mpg will tell you an important piece of information despite no one single driver probably achieving those numbers.
 
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BeanThere wrote:
I think a more useful play time would be a time per player. Since most games I play take longer with more players.


For some game, that would works. For most, it wouldn't matter. I'd use discretion for that.
 
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The problem is that the vote of the person who is playing while caring for their infant/toddler is going to count as much as the person who sits down to play a game without interruption. That as you could well imagine could create a lot of variance. So it's still best to simply ask and allow people to describe the situations that they play in and what their play time is.
 
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