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Subject: Imagination in game design rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I finally wrote the article about the impact of imagination on games and it indirectly explains why euro game have no focus on the theme.

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/index.php?n=DesignArticle.Art...

Enjoy!

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Nagato Fujibayashi

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In case you like some feedback, I have to say I disagree with the biggest part of your article. There is a lot of things one can argue about.

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Matt Riddle
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good article, do not agree with all of it, but well written
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Justen Brown
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WotC conducted a worldwide survey and found that 59% of roleplayers were 19+ years old with 25-35 being the overwhelming majority. That was in 1998 and one of the biggest concerns with the past decade is that all the kids of today have moved on to video games. There was a big video game survey conducted a year or two ago that found the average age of gamers is something like 33. Kids are definitely in the minority when it comes to nerdy, expensive hobbies.

Kids tolerate bad things because they don't know any better. I still own all the video games from my youth and 90% of them are garbage compared to games now. Still, I beat every single one of those titles not because I enjoyed them (maybe I did?) but because there was no alternative. As an adult I have the capital to buy whatever I want and I have less tolerance for trash. It has nothing to do with imagination at all, I'm just not patient like I was as a child.
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Edwin Tait
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Like several other readers, I disagree with the claim that Euro games don't appeal to the imagination. They do so in a thinner and more austere way than "heavily themed" games, and yes, if I could only have one I'd prefer the latter (if I could only play one board game for the rest of my life, it would be War of the Ring, unquestionably). But I would argue that actually an imaginative person can find theme in even the "driest" Euro. The art, the names chosen for the pieces and actions, and the tense, dramatic way in which the mechanics interact all create a sense of theme, even if it isn't as immersive as in a game like WotR.

Puerto Rico, Caylus, and Tigris and Euphrates are the three prime examples I'm thinking of here--none of these would be generally considered highly themed games, but all of these appeal to my imagination.

Edwin
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Ben Draper
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shinobu wrote:
In case you like some feedback, I have to say I disagree with the biggest part of your article. There is a lot of things one can argue about.



Truth.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
In case you like some feedback, I have to say I disagree with the biggest part of your article. There is a lot of things one can argue about.


You have the right to argue, this is what the thread is for. I want to get feedback on the ideas.

As for RPG gamers beign older, I agree with that. I might have not explained my self correctly. Let just say that when people grow up, they might continue to play RPG (that was no the case for me). But bringing new adults to RPG who never experienced with the concept before might be harder.

Quote:
I still own all the video games from my youth and 90% of them are garbage compared to games now.


Old video games in the NES era are awesome, it's todays game which are crappy. Too much cinematic in my point of view. Would rather see a movie instead.

Quote:
But I would argue that actually an imaginative person can find theme in even the "driest" Euro.


There are some games like Catan and puerto rico which are not really bad theme wise. This is why I like these euro games. But for very dry games, I am not sure I can get in the theme.
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Paul DeStefano
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Looks like lots of speculation and off the wall opinion.

As with everyone else here - I disagree with most of it.
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Justen Brown
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larienna wrote:

Old video games in the NES era are awesome, it's todays game which are crappy. Too much cinematic in my point of view. Would rather see a movie instead.


Sure, if you purposefully remember the good ones. But video games back then, especially in the NES days, were 1 of 2 things: an arcade port or something original. Majority of those games were #1 and arcade ports on a home console were largely garbage because arcade games were designed to eat quarters, not provide adequate challenge. Everyone quotes Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania as the pinnacle of gaming but those titles were few and far between while being overshadowed by crap. The higher requirements to make games now means more effort has to be put into them. You can't fart out a bad game and hope to break even like in the 80s and 90s. I'll argue any day of the week that there are more downright awful games 20 years ago than now. Even the worst games now are playable.

And this carries over into the board game conversation. Board games several decades ago are garbage compared to what we have now. Why play Risk when there are dozens of better alternatives? Mouse Trap? Monopoly? No, thank you. Kids don't have better imagination, they just tolerate crap easier than adults.
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Nate K
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larienna wrote:
But bringing new adults to RPG who never experienced with the concept before might be harder.


That's true. You can convert young people to board games or RPGs. I've never heard of a grown person being converted to role-playing games unless they were already hardcore gamers.
 
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Samo Oleami
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I'll try to give a more thorough reply.
My take comes from me being a philosopher and an artist (yes there are osme of us, I'm even a theatre critic) and a gamer.

work + recipient = experience
If you want to talk about imagination, you're basically talking about a specific kind of gaming experience that can happen when you have a game that enables that experience with a players willing to put effort in that experience.

It's similar to (contemporary) art or literature really. A piece of art is nothing on its own, without it's recipient. Only art with recipient can created artistic (or reading, or whatever) experience. The trick to get the best out of a piece of art is trying to go into a dialogue between what the art provides and what you bring as a spectator. Thing is, an art piece is made to be perceived in a certain way. That certain way is "ideal reader" in case of writing (original term by Umberto Eco from the 1960s) or "ideal spectator" or "ideal gamer".

In terms of boardgames and "imaginative" experience
So in order to get "imaginative gaming experience" you need a game that provides for that experience and for gamers willing to invest in that experience. As boardgames tend to be abstracted in terms of theme immersion, a gamer's investment in terms of "imagination" is an investment into willing suspension of disbelief.

However you also have games or art pieces made for entirely different spectator / gamer. As contemporary art demands for a different approach from the viewer than let's say impressionism or 1950s modernism, and as you won't go reading detective novel with the same attitude you'll be reading a modernist novel (unless you're reading Dürrenmatt), similarly you won't go into wargame with the same attitude as you would with an euro. In a way boardgames nowadays are made to provide for different gaming experiences. There are games made that primarily focus of brain to brain competition with direct or indirect interaction (contest of skills with more or less stress), then there are games made for emotional and social competition a.k.a. "drama" (dudes-on-a-map ameritrash), then games made not for competition but for socialisation (party games and communicative games like trading and negotiation games), then there are games made for escapism or theme immersion. The article on blog is implying that games should be made for "imagination", which is just ignoring that not all gamers game for reason of "imagination", hence not all designs cater to that need.

theme in different game design paradigms
One aspect is that a theme has a different function in different design paradigms. In euros it seems to me, that theme is mostly there to make the rules more intuitive and easier to grasp hence shortening the learning curve and the "weight" of a game. This sort of stylization requires some afterthought - you may notice some connections between theme and mechanics only after, but it's not so important during the game. Ameritrash on the other hand can apply for cases where the game as such wouldn't work without the flavour text and illustration that together with rules enable a frame for immersion (Arkham Horror).

narration in different game design paradigms
Second aspect to look at is narrative: how and with what means does a game create narration. Ludology podcast had an interesting episode explaining what narration means in euro in terms of how you distribute tension through the game with relation to beginning-middle-endgame structure (exploring in the beginning, building in the middle, tension and race to the finish). This is of course looking at it through stylized approach to theme (as described above). Games where turns are samey (you do the same thing every turn) are not good for creating narration, though they might create something else.

examples 1 - your actions make sense performatively not necessarily thematically: Genoa, Diplomacy
Genoa for instance has no narration - you're a trader doing trading, but after 2 hours of screaming, wheeling and dealing you truly feel like you were a trader - in a sense what you were actually doing and what you supposed to be doing (theme) was the same thing. No suspension of disbelief required. A lot of economic games has that feature, that there it's hardly any space for theme or imagination, but you are doing what exactly you're supposed to be representing. Task you're given makes sense within the theme. Similar one would be Diplomacy: the game is very abstracted yet the game creates a lot of tension within familiar thematic frame (WW1), plus you are doing what you should be doing - talking, bluffing, hiding, lying and attacking. Hence you get plenty of narrative as a result.

One could go deeper into this issue of "does playing the game feels like what the theme of game describes".

examples 2 - game made for immersion VS game made for strategic thought:Arkham Horror VS Middle Earth Quest
Another case are games where you have to invest into suspension of disbelief - if the game allows for it.
Back to Arkham Horror: if you compare that game to say Pandemic, AH is structured in a way to enable in-character immersion by giving you choices that only make sense in that context. In Pandemic all choices you have lead to solving the game. In AH however there are choices available that don't directly lead there - half of locations doesn't have anything to do with the problem solving directly and you're free to go there and explore, find some items, have some encounters and so on. Of course the game gives a lot of visuals and text to support this structure, but to play AH the way it's meant to be played requires players to create this tension between solving the world and creating their characters narrative. As a lot of people reported - if you play AH solely for solving the World, while ignoring the flavour text and character's narrative, the game falls apart. So in AH investment in characters is required and the game allows for it.
Opposite case would be Middle Earth Quest which looks kinda similar to AH, but requires totally different attitude. Going into MEQ with thirst for immersion you soon realise, it's tough to get your fix on, because the game requires much more strategic thought - in particular the conflict resolution is not as simple as in AH (roll of dice), but instead a minigame with cards you must use for travel and combat. With this the game demands much more "abstracted" thinking about the way the game goes (mechanics) making it nigh impossible to stay in immersion (at least it was for us) .


conclusion (kinda)

If you want to have a gaming experience into which you can invest your imagination, you need a game that allows or enables this and you need people willing to play it in that way. You can have narrative also in games made for another purpose, but I'd say there it performs a different role and comes across in a different way. This is how it would ideally work, but as not always all goes as planned, one may end up with a game that seems to kind of experience while it actually creates another one (Android is also notorious for this, it's not always designer's fault, maybe the game creates the wrong kind of anticipation from players). Another factor to consider in gamer meets game mishaps is that different designs allow for a wider or narrower "margin of error". In art as in boardgames you come across works/games that can be enjoyed in a bit different way that intended, while still functioning. (I like playing RFTG for the story and narrative, not for winning. It's made possible because there is no direct interaction and artwork is rather neat which both allow you to happy build you empire in your own private bubble). And there are games that must be played with precisely the right intent (I think this are the games they call "fragile").

--------------------------------------------

Just some comments:
Quote:
This is exactly the problem with euro games. They are designed for players with no imagination. So the only thing left is the mechanics, and they place the focus entirely on them. They add a theme just to make sure there is a theme, but making sense with the theme is not a priority for them, because even if it could add an imagination layer, they will not be able to perceive it.

These euros are not made to provide players to imagine. You can have all imagination you want, but the gameplay will require some other skills and the game is made for using those skills. My take on mechanics is that you have two kinds of euros in that regard. Those where mechanics create a puzzle you have to solve most efficiently and those that with simple rules create an open enviroment for multiplayer interaction in which you have to devise creative solutions (creative not being anything to do with immersion or imagination of that kind). Theme in these euros can be there: a) to make rules intuitive, b) to make your tasks intuitive (you're doing what you should be doing). Or c) the theme can just be there to make families and nongamers want to play it, and hey, you need willing players if you want to game. And even that still is a valid reason to have a theme. Nothing inferior about it. It's like saying - why don't the newspaper crosswords provide the same imagination as newspaper comics. Because they're made for a different kind of investment from readers.

Quote:
Now you might be wondering, is it important to allow the game to have an imagination layer. In my point of view, I would say yes, because I have that skill. It's like taking a movie and adding 3D effect, vibration and surround sound. You can still watch the movie without these effects, but having them enhance the experience.

Yes, yours is a position of a particular kind of audience searching for particular kind of experience. That's fine and all, but it doesn't mean that other experiences are inferior, they might be to you, doesn't mean that those experiences are not fulfilling to people willing to experience them. However gaming is a social hobby, meaning you must find a group that shares your reason for gaming.

Btw. your notes on RPGs and imagination-less adults are a bit well rubish. Some of your comments are on the mark, but the prevalent subtext how "imagination games" are of higher value than "non-imagination euros" is well discriminatory and not in a good way.

EDIT 2: must not write lengthy texts during the night. Corrected typos, changed some sentences to make them clearer, added titles.
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Joe Mucchiello
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Can't say I enjoyed it. So there are adults who need imagination to play games. They are more likely to be RPG players. And they can't enjoy games that break their Suspension of Disbelief?

What a bunch of hooey! The thing you fail to consider in this article is that some people look for fun in various different ways and don't expect every activity to engage them in all these way at once. Your article makes it sound like choosing how to have fun is a zero-sum choice. One either likes imagination or one does not should not be a strictly binary choice.

For example, I play RPGs. I love Brain Burner board games. I don't give a rat's ass if a board game has theme or is abstract or if the game has a big neon sign reading "pasted on theme, inquire within". This is a contradiction according to your article.

The reason? When I want imaginative immersive gaming, nothing beats RPGs. So I get that enjoyment there. And I like board games where you want an extra turn or you need to accomplish six things and can only to three of them. Those kind of brain burner games are awesome (especially Kramer games).

Likewise if I just want to kill things, I turn to video games. For each kind of fun, there is a proper "tool".

Finally, I disagree with this sentence in your article vehemently: "adults do not have imagination abilities". It is not true at all. Adults engage in imaginative play nearly in the same way children do. It is just that adults are able to suppress this activity when there are more important things to do. One way they do this is through people watching. Put an adult on a long line at their local motor vehicle department and, assuming they aren't busy thinking about "adult things", their minds will wander and create imaginary worlds with what is around them. These imaginary worlds could be sexual (bet she's hot in bed) but they don't have to be (bet that guy's an accountant, he looks like an accountant).

Similarly, have you ever been driving and pretended you were driving something other than the actual car you were in? This would hopefully not reach the level of Calvin and Hobbes' Spaceman Spiff adventures. But the concept is the same and adults do it. Only the frequency is different.
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Nate K
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jmucchiello wrote:


Similarly, have you ever been driving and pretended you were driving something other than the actual car you were in? This would hopefully not reach the level of Calvin and Hobbes' Spaceman Spiff adventures.


So, funny story. I once nearly crashed my car because I was pretending I was flying a TIE Fighter. I don't even know what I would have told the insurance company. "I'm sorry, but that damn X-Wing juked down and right!

I no longer pretend to be driving anything but a beat up used Honda.
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Derry Salewski
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kurthl33t wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:


Similarly, have you ever been driving and pretended you were driving something other than the actual car you were in? This would hopefully not reach the level of Calvin and Hobbes' Spaceman Spiff adventures.


So, funny story. I once nearly crashed my car because I was pretending I was flying a TIE Fighter. I don't even know what I would have told the insurance company. "I'm sorry, but that damn X-Wing juked down and right!

I no longer pretend to be driving anything but a beat up used Honda.


The problam is, you pretended to drive a starfighter without shields!!
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Joe Mucchiello
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kurthl33t wrote:
I no longer pretend to be driving anything but a beat up used Honda.

That's those "adult concerns" getting in the way of your imaginative play.

I thought up another example. Teens and adults both do sports related imaginative play: pretending to hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, catching or throwing a Hail Mary touchdown pass in the Superbowl, hitting a 3 pointer at the buzzer, etc. Anytime you find yourself saying, "And the crowd goes wild..." you were probably involved in imaginative play.
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jaybeethree wrote:
Everyone quotes Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania as the pinnacle of gaming but those titles were few and far between while being overshadowed by crap. The higher requirements to make games now means more effort has to be put into them. You can't fart out a bad game and hope to break even like in the 80s and 90s. I'll argue any day of the week that there are more downright awful games 20 years ago than now. Even the worst games now are playable.


You obviously are out of touch with modern video gaming. There is an endless stream of steaming manure out there on store shelves, and more every day. A fair amount of it breaks even too.

I'm not even just talking all the Deer Hunter crap and Cabela's Shoot Unaggressive Animals In A Slightly Different Backdrop.

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/03/opinion-why-w-1/

The Wii is especially prone to it, but it happens on PC as well. Absolutely atrocious games, worse than most of the crap I played as a kid.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Yes, yours is a position of a particular kind of audience searching for particular kind of experience. That's fine and all, but it doesn't mean that other experiences are inferior,

They are not inferior, in fact they are perfectly designed for an non-imaginative audience. It's just that I now understand why I hate most board games out there. I first thought that I could bee too picky or be somewhat depressed an hate everything I see, But no it's because most board games are missing something I am looking for.

But if designer would be aware of the impact of imagination, they might be able to design better euro games that feels less dry.

For each kind of fun, there is a proper "tool".

That is true, but in my point of view all game types are the same, the medium should not change the content. Sure there are physical limitation that board games have compared to video game. But for me, it's like comparing a Book to an E-book. They both have the ability to give the same experience what ever the medium used. But it's true that it might be easier for example to make a scary video game than a scary board game. But board games could be scary up to a certain degree if the designer put some effort into it.
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Nagato Fujibayashi

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OK, so you happen to hate what other people love. That's the whole issue here. You like lots of theme and mechanics built in accordance to it, while others don't need it to enjoy their games. OK, then go for it... look for the games you like, buy them or design them.

That's one point.

What bothers me though is this annoying feeling I get every time I read your article and your posts, and I hope it's a mistake I do just because we communicate through an internet forum and here one easily gets misunderstood. What I get from your texts again and again is the following thought:

1. I am an adult.
2. I happen to like economic eurogames, somewhat poor in theme. I also like numerous games with no theme at all, such as chess and go. I even prefer abstracted wargames far, FAR more than those that have 80 page rulebooks and "drip with theme".
3. Since I like them, it's fair to say that they are designed "for me". I belong to their "audience" as you call it in your last post.
4. So, according to your writings, I am an unimaginative person.


Please tell me that my impression is wrong and I misunderstood you.
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palmerkun wrote:
jaybeethree wrote:
Everyone quotes Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania as the pinnacle of gaming but those titles were few and far between while being overshadowed by crap. The higher requirements to make games now means more effort has to be put into them. You can't fart out a bad game and hope to break even like in the 80s and 90s. I'll argue any day of the week that there are more downright awful games 20 years ago than now. Even the worst games now are playable.


You obviously are out of touch with modern video gaming. There is an endless stream of steaming manure out there on store shelves, and more every day. A fair amount of it breaks even too.

I'm not even just talking all the Deer Hunter crap and Cabela's Shoot Unaggressive Animals In A Slightly Different Backdrop.

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/03/opinion-why-w-1/

The Wii is especially prone to it, but it happens on PC as well. Absolutely atrocious games, worse than most of the crap I played as a kid.


I agree that there's plenty of crap on the market today, but the first point about selection bias is the more relevant one. When people talk about the great games from the past, they're cherry-picking the very best games, and comparing them with games that they dislike today. Not a fair comparison.

I think it's reasonable to believe that there are more talented people, more money, and more creativity in the game industry than every before, and more information and reviews about games than ever before. This has turned video games into a hit-driven business where one big hit pays for a dozen flops or more.
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Samo Oleami
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larienna wrote:
They are not inferior, in fact they are perfectly designed for an non-imaginative audience experience.

ftfy

What hints at inferiority is you calling the audience non-imaginative. If you don't want to use imagination in your gaming it doesn't mean you have none. I'm a rational guy, capable of processing information with attention to every detail - when I work. When I game I like chaos and talking a lot. And there are people whose social needs are competition, they might not be very competitive otherwise, but they are in gaming. And so on.

larienna wrote:
It's just that I now understand why I hate most board games out there. I first thought that I could bee too picky or be somewhat depressed an hate everything I see, But no it's because most board games are missing something I am looking for.

Just don't hate the gamers.

Frankly also hating is not required, I just don't play those games. If anybody wants my rant about Le Havre they can check my collection. It's a solid design that's just opposite to everything I want out of gaming. Doesn't mean it's anything wrong for the people who like it, though they game for a different reason and motivation to mine. I probably wouldn't want to play with them, but nobody is forcing me to do so.

Your "hate" might be something to do with the people you game with. I'm lucky enough that my friends and GF share my taste (I'm more tolerant than they are). If you game with people who don't share your tastes or take BGG mainstream too seriously, then I imagine you might be frustrated. Anyhow, what the hell you're still doing here, go vent on: http://fortressat.com/ There are "trashtalk" forums for exactly that.

larienna wrote:
But if designer would be aware of the impact of imagination, they might be able to design better euro games that feels less dry.


I find this comment a bit out of place. Maybe euro games can not be made less dry while still being euros, becuse it's a particular style of designing games for a particular purpose. And making games that can really immerse you in theme or character I think requires for a completely different approach. But what can be done with euros is already being done.

The last two or three years the ameritrash and hybrid games have been on the rise and those both genres now combine theme with the influence of euro simplicity. I think it happened because the audience changed (people coming from RPGs and CCGs, but with less time on their hands) and the euro hunt for new mechanics became a bit stale so finding new themes for same mechanics seemed to be a way out. Another strong reason I think is that there's more and more games coming out and in order to carve their niche designers and publishers look for theme as a way to distinguish them from competition. In particularly small publishers are putting out hybrids, euros with more integrated theme, and thematic deckbuilders - new US publishers, french publishers, dutch, and basically all non-german europeans as well (one Finn in particular is of note). So if people want euros with theme and german publisher won't publish that, kickstarter helps a lot - getting to the audience what audience wants. Also after Dominion and RFTG (which was a risky theme at the time!) card games are everywhere, deckbuildiers offered a combination of simplicity and variety/complexity which allowed a lot of CCG style of design approach to return to mainstream and publishers embraced them as they're cheaper to make than regular boardgames.

Some examples of "euros that make sense" (picked from Tom Vassel's video series, if he doesn't throw it of the roof then it must make some thematic sense) - they're all worker placement games
Magnum Sal - polish publisher
Belfort - small US publisher
Lancaster - generic theme that "works" plus conflict, Queen
Philippe Keyaerts is also on the rise, prettier than ever - Smallworld was a repainting of Vinci and now also Evo is retouched. Sure it's just eyecandy, but imagination loves eyecandy (at least nongamers do)

waitaminute

if I recall some debate about components and eyecandy, usually the argument goes that it's the spoiled ameritrashers who need eyecandy, while serious gamers can imagine much better thankyouverymuch. Old wargames have all the theme with none the eyecandy. I wonder what's your take on this matter.


larienna wrote:
That is true, but in my point of view all game types are the same, the medium should not change the content. Sure there are physical limitation that board games have compared to video game. But for me, it's like comparing a Book to an E-book. They both have the ability to give the same experience what ever the medium used. But it's true that it might be easier for example to make a scary video game than a scary board game. But board games could be scary up to a certain degree if the designer put some effort into it.


This I have to strongly disagree with. Not only as a gamer but from the point of theory of art and communication. The medium is much more important in delivering content than the "content" itself. The audience already comes with awareness of the medium's context so the same people will expect different things from one "content" as a book, boardgame, theatre piece, film or a video game. I think it's more accurate to describe content as material, which is shaped by the nature (form) of the medium.

personal story:
two years ago I decided to transform the material from my theoretical article about art theory from slovene neoavantgarde group (late 1960s, visual art) into a contemporary dance performance crossed with lecture performance. Yup. The process was a nightmare, because the logic or organizing material is completely different in an article than it's in a performance medium, also the material itself had it's own logic and refused to cooperate unless on its own terms. In the end we thrown all the logic of the article out of the window and found a logic inherent in the material we could adapt to the logic of the audience watching a performance. The piece succeeded in creating something that made sense the way it was, but I wouldn't do it again and wouldn't recommend anyone of trying a similar feat.


The limitations of format are real - you can make things in video games that are nearly impossible to do in boardgaming, because a computer can calculate and look up tables in a glimpse of a second and a human might need a couple of minutes. Euro games have been influential precisely because they showed there are simpler, more streamlined ways of doing things. And if you look at Eclipse (which I see you rate highly) it works because it acknowledges the limitation of the boardgame format (or the players to be honest).

larienna wrote:
That is true, but in my point of view all game types are the same, the medium should not change the content.

Now if you mean by this that theme should come across in euro design paradigm the same as it does in ameritrash you've clearly not read my previous post. Theme has a different function in euro than it does in AT.

Just compare Arkham Horror to Witch of Salem, both inspired by same or similar fantasy writing, but the theme comes across differently because the designs want to achieve different things. In euro theme will help you get the rules faster as the game tend to be family oriented with limited amount rules to grasp and played in a reasonable amount of time. Ameritrash has different aim, but still tries to do in one sitting things a RPG campaign would need some sessions. Not to go into lighter Elder Sign or buy me expansions Mansions of Madness which is not only a game design but a marketing plot as well.

edit: small typos, writing during the more normal hours helped
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I think the main tripping point I have with this article is "imagination". It's one of those words everybody is familiar with, yet so overused that it has no definite meaning.

Sure, a kid can pick up a block and imagine it's a truck. But what about those commercials telling the adult viewer to "image the future"? This sort of imagining has a different connotation than the one with the kid and the block. For the kid, imagination allows the kid to accept that the block is a truck. For the adult, the commercial slogan is an inspiration to visualize a particular future.

Then there's Lennon's "imagine all the people". This isn't the same imagination as the kid's block. It's there to make a profound statement, which a young child *cannot* even understand.

I'll agree that, in a Call of Cthulhu RPG, the Keeper, through use of good descriptions, force the players to imagine indefinite horrors. Meanwhile, I don't think any Eurogamer has played Agricola and imagine the room full of pig poop. (OTOH, Primordial Soup often *does* inspire adults to make the frequent poop joke!)

But you didn't say that. The essay not only needs specifics (the first rule of writing) but makes wide generalizations that, since I can't agree with *them* either, makes my reading of the rest of the essay more and more difficult. There may be a good point in there, but surviving the rest of the ones I disagree with keeps me from getting there.
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palmerkun wrote:
You obviously are out of touch with modern video gaming. There is an endless stream of steaming manure out there on store shelves, and more every day. A fair amount of it breaks even too.

I'm not even just talking all the Deer Hunter crap and Cabela's Shoot Unaggressive Animals In A Slightly Different Backdrop.

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/03/opinion-why-w-1/

The Wii is especially prone to it, but it happens on PC as well. Absolutely atrocious games, worse than most of the crap I played as a kid.


And you are obviously out of touch with the games available when you were a kid or did you block out the myriad of bad sports games (before EA dominated the field and literally anyone could license a game), poor arcade ports, even poorer PC ports, and horrible licenses after horrible licenses that were ported to every console and PC under the sun. And we're not talking about mediocre-yet-playable games like the worst of the worst that comes out now. The bad games of yesteryear were practically unplayable.

And you can't convince me otherwise because I have nearly every console from now dating back to the 70s with hundreds of games in my collection. I have "Bad Game Night" with my friends where we just play random games from old consoles and it's pretty unbearable. Last night was Aztec Adventure, Taz Mania, Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, Robotica, and Astyanax. Case in point, we don't have FMV games anymore. Remember when pressing one button while watching a thirty minute movie was in itself a $50 game? And there were hundreds of the damn things! At least QTEs now are just an annoying inconvenience. We haven't had this generation's failures like Sega CD/32X, Virtual Boy, Atari Lynx, 3DO, or Jaguar. The worst this century has seen was NGage and Nokia stopped pretending it was a console after the remodel.
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larienna wrote:
They are not inferior, in fact they are perfectly designed for an non-imaginative audience. It's just that I now understand why I hate most board games out there. I first thought that I could bee too picky or be somewhat depressed an hate everything I see, But no it's because most board games are missing something I am looking for.

You did not respond to my statement that all adults have the same imaginative qualities children do. And thus I can't understand this "non-imaginative audience" you are talking about. Party games are all about imagination. You can't succeed at Charades without one.

And if you hate most board games, why play them? I hate gardening. So I don't maintain one. Simple. Life is too short to spend trying to force yourself to like something just because you enjoy something else that is similar.

Quote:
For each kind of fun, there is a proper "tool".

That is true, but in my point of view all game types are the same, the medium should not change the content. Sure there are physical limitation that board games have compared to video game. But for me, it's like comparing a Book to an E-book. They both have the ability to give the same experience what ever the medium used.


This makes no sense. The medium SHOULD change the content. It's not comparing ebooks to books it's comparing film to dinner theater. Both film and stage involve watching an acting performance. But the staged performance can play off the atmosphere of the audience. The film will only give you what the film maker created. The dinner theater actors can react to the audience and tailor it to external forces. The next time you play a video game, try to add a few house rules. The board game can do things the video game can never do and vice versa and that will create different experiences that the other cannot duplicate.
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sgosaric wrote:

waitaminute

if I recall some debate about components and eyecandy, usually the argument goes that it's the spoiled ameritrashers who need eyecandy, while serious gamers can imagine much better thankyouverymuch. Old wargames have all the theme with none the eyecandy. I wonder what's your take on this matter.



I want to hear the OP's response to this. This is all I could think about the whole time I read this article, and even while reading these comments.

If "imagination" (in the sense we're using it here) is being able to imagine a truck out of a block of wood, wouldn't Euros demand at the very least this same sense of imagination?

Take, Dominant Species, for instance. I think this certainly qualifies as a Euro. Or at least a "game that sheds imagination for more adult things, like making points and difficult decisions." (Which is kind of what I'm reading into the OP's definition of Euro.)

However, when I play it, I feel totally threatened by those grey bird species about to eat my lonely, nearly-extinct spider species that forgot to migrate this round... (Poor spider species...)

I feel like I'm very in touch with my imaginative side, and the drier the game, the more active my imagination gets. Because when I'm no longer forced to see the pictures, I make them up all on my own!

And isn't this what imagination really is, as described by the OP?

(Geez, 2 edits: like one lousy grammatical error each time!)
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iidhaegn wrote:
I feel like I'm very in touch with my imaginative side, and the drier the game, the more active my imagination gets. Because when I'm no longer forced to see the pictures, I make them up all on my own!

And isn't this what imagination really is, as described by the OP?


As far as I am concerned, case here is closed.
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