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Subject: Fantasy or Sci-fi? rss

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This has been a subject I have often found myself asking and debating with friends/colleagues, what do people (Who are into boardgames) prefer to play, sci-fi or fantasy?

I personally believe it is not a matter of just "as long as the game is good", because you might have 2 very good games perfectly equal, just with different skins, and people will pick only one of these two (or in some rare cases both) but usually there is a pretty strong preference.

I grew up playing and watching fantasy, always disliked sci-fi, I find it very hard to follow and work with, because you got to explain everything with logic, that usually requires months of researches on what are the most popular theories that the public enjoys to read about, while with magic you can say "it's magic" everybody accepts it and understand it, and for some reason people do not bother questioning it.

That said, in recent years, I find myself enjoying both fantasy and sci-fi thanks to the many good videogames/movies out there, such as the Mass Effect series, XCOM, Avatar, W40k etc...

Ironically I find game mechanics for sci-fi much easier to make, but I struggle with "fluff", while for fantasy, I feel confident to come up with the best worlds and scenarios design, but game-mechanic wise they can be such a pain due to the fact that you have more games to compare it to compare it to, and you are trying to live up to them.

I would like to know your opinions and what would you prefer more to play in terms of a "dungeon crawler" style of game, fantasy, or sci-fi, and your personal suggestions on which direction to take.

Cheers!

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Noel Llopis
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How about neither? There are plenty of other subjects that are
a) much more approachable and relatable for a lot of people, and
b) not overdone to death.

Yes, they're harder to design for because you can't pull stuff out of nowhere and call it "magic" or "advanced tech", but the end result is much more unique and satisfying.
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Jessey
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Both.

I'm dreaming of a game right now, and it's a sci-fi/fantasy mash up (there's probably a lot more genre's in there if you want to drill down more -- western, Victorian, cyber-punk, traditional faerie tales, androids, aliens...).

Don't put your game in a pigeon hole, make a hole *for it*. If you want to make a Dungeon Crawler do it, but don't feel like you have to have Dwarves and Wizards - why not have androids crawling through underground complexes in search of ancient riches. Why not give the androids magic to compliment their pulse pistols and hacking skills?!

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David Sevier
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Both, either, neither, mix...in my experience board gamers like board games. Most will have a mix of games in their collection that include fantasy, science fiction, historical, abstract, etc.

So the answer really is 'make a good game'. Or, more precisely, make a good game that you want to play. It will get an audience no matter what.

Which audience depends a good bit. Plenty of people have a preference for Fantasy or Science Fiction over the other, but you also get people who'd rather do something historical. There are those who don't care about theme at all.

Don't make games for your audience. Make them for yourself and then let the game find its own audience.
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Mephansteras wrote:

Don't make games for your audience. Make them for yourself and then let the game find its own audience.


True, I always keep that in mind, however, I think this is a dangerous path in the long run that makes people arrogant, and forget that the opinion of others matters as much as theirs, that is why I am here, I am not at the beginning of this debate, I have been going on for months, and I wish to know what more people think/like.



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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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You forgot 'Trading in the Mediterranean" whistle
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Candi wrote:
Both.



I like Cyber-fantasy, it is very 80's, however, I do not want to risk copying the WH40k universe which does have its good share of fantasy mixed with sci-fi.

Star Wars is very much a sci-fi/fantasy too I think (At least episodes 4.5.6) when you had no clue on how the "force" and technology worked, and you simply went "well it works, who cares if it is real", then they explained it all in the sequels, and it lots parts of his original appeal.

So, not always Sci-fi has to be "Star Trek-know-it-all" to be successful I think.
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B C Z
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What's your market?

SciFi sells much better in the Americas than in Europe, in general.
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David Sevier
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GrimRabbit wrote:
Mephansteras wrote:

Don't make games for your audience. Make them for yourself and then let the game find its own audience.


True, I always keep that in mind, however, I think this is a dangerous path in the long run that makes people arrogant, and forget that the opinion of others matters as much as theirs, that is why I am here, I am not at the beginning of this debate, I have been going on for months, and I wish to know what more people think/like.





Well, to specifically answer that: I like both, plus just about anything else that's good.

My collection has Talisman, Eclipse, Village...all really good games. Very different themes.

I actively like both Fantasy and Science Fiction, so in my case it doesn't matter which way you go. At least for theme.
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Kent Reuber
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GrimRabbit wrote:
This has been a subject I have often found myself asking and debating with friends/colleagues, what do people (Who are into boardgames) prefer to play, sci-fi or fantasy?


For board wargames, I tend to prefer sci-fi, because I find that some magic systems really disrupt the game. Then again, I'm not a big fan of the sci-fi "giant robot" genre because I find it unrealistic.

For a dungeon crawler, I think I prefer fantasy just for the D&D nostalgia.
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kentreuber wrote:
GrimRabbit wrote:
This has been a subject I have often found myself asking and debating with friends/colleagues, what do people (Who are into boardgames) prefer to play, sci-fi or fantasy?


For board wargames, I tend to prefer sci-fi, because I find that some magic systems really disrupt the game. Then again, I'm not a big fan of the sci-fi "giant robot" genre because I find it unrealistic.

For a dungeon crawler, I think I prefer fantasy just for the D&D nostalgia.


Keep in mind that "dungeon" may refer to any kind of environment that involves exploration and enemies lurking about. Doom TBG for instance is the only type of sc-fi boardgame that comes to mind, along with maybe Gears of War. I would not consider Space Hulk dungeon crawling, simply because there is no real progression and loot finding or exploration (Still my favorite BG of all time up to this day).
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Carl Nyberg
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I like both fantasy and sci-fi. If a board game came along with either, and I liked the game, I would probably buy it.

However, if a good farming or railroads or war game came along and I liked it, I would probably buy that too...
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Nate K
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Sci-fi. Duh.
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Lance McMillan
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I'll play either, but tend to prefer SciFi. Too many fantasy themed games have a "cartoony" feel which makes them less believeable/immersive; while there are certainly a number of SciFi games with that same "cartoony" feel, it's a less prevalent problem.
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Brook Gentlestream
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
llopis wrote:
How about neither? There are plenty of other subjects that are
a) much more approachable and relatable for a lot of people...


I can't relate to trading coffee.


Spice, on the other hand, must flow...
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Eric Etkin
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BeansHarpoon wrote:
llopis wrote:
How about neither? There are plenty of other subjects that are
a) much more approachable and relatable for a lot of people...


I can't relate to trading coffee.


Especially when it's just a thinly-disguised eugenics experiment.








(I kid, I kid...)
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Brook Gentlestream
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I enjoy something I call "classic" fantasy, although I've been told that's a misapplication of the term. I like Tolkien-esque euro-centric fantasy, in the tradition of Lord of the Rings, the Authurian cycle, Dragonlance novels, AD&D Birthright, or Magic cards from 15 years ago.

I don't find it in many board games today. I even made a post called "Where have all the elves gone?" sometime back and although many people suggested games with elves in the name, very few of them were the tree-loving magic-wielding hippies I was looking for.

Too many people try to reinvent Fantasy. They produce things that look like AD&D Dark Sun or Weis' Death Gate Cycle. Too many people in the board game markets seem to be into "punk fantasy".

I enjoy stories of knights, kings, dragons, elves, warlocks, wizards, prophecy, and epic conflict. I'm also a sucker for the darker side of fantasy, ala AD&D Ravenloft, with vampires, witches, gypsy seers, etc. I also enjoy classical mythology.

In summary, I like the established, traditional, "over-used" elements of fantasy and don't like it when people use the term "fantasy" to just make up or change everything, especially if they keep the same names.


So I'm more likely to enjoy the themes in Defenders of the Realm, Battle Lore, Nightfall, or Thunderstone than I am to enjoy Blood Bowl, Ascension, Guardians of Graxia, Heroscape, or Yomi.
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Eric Etkin
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lordrahvin wrote:

I enjoy something I call "classic" fantasy, although I've been told that's a misapplication of the term. I like Tolkien-esque euro-centric fantasy, in the tradition of Lord of the Rings, the Authurian cycle, Dragonlance novels, AD&D Birthright, or Magic cards from 15 years ago.

I don't find it in many board games today. I even made a post called "Where have all the elves gone?" sometime back and although many people suggested games with elves in the name, very few of them were the tree-loving magic-wielding hippies I was looking for.

Too many people try to reinvent Fantasy for my tastes, and produce things like AD&D Dark Sun or Weis' Death Gate Cycle. Too many people seem to be into "punk fantasy", at least within the board game market.

I enjoy stories of knights, kings, dragons, elves, warlocks, wizards, prophecy, and epic conflict.


I think "high fantasy" is the term you're looking for. And you're right... there ain't much of it anymore. Strange considering this small movie coming out next month...
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lordrahvin wrote:
BeansHarpoon wrote:
llopis wrote:
How about neither? There are plenty of other subjects that are
a) much more approachable and relatable for a lot of people...


I can't relate to trading coffee.


Spice, on the other hand, must flow...


It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking is a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

What about just history? The Manhattan Project
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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While I personally love fantasy, its a real downer in my gaming group. I would look to the TV industry for a weather vane. While fantasy is on the rise, sci-fi has really become mainstream entertainment.
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James Hutchings
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GrimRabbit wrote:
I grew up playing and watching fantasy, always disliked sci-fi, I find it very hard to follow and work with, because you got to explain everything with logic, that usually requires months of researches on what are the most popular theories that the public enjoys to read about, while with magic you can say "it's magic" everybody accepts it and understand it, and for some reason people do not bother questioning it.


That's true of some science fiction. But most - and the most popular - isn't very different to fantasy.

To me, the distinction isn't fantasy vs science fiction - it's 'hard science fiction' vs 'other science fiction, and all fantasy'.
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Joe McDaid
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I love sci-fi, but I found a lot of Sci-fi tends to just be war between planets, where I have a more peacefull vision of the furture.

In that regaurd when I decided to my 'Windfall' series of games I decided it wouldn't be about the conflict of war, but the conflict of business and politics, and the wonder of exploration and discovery and the science of technology.

Thoes are what I enjoy about Sci-fi. Killing things with guns you can get from any era since the discovery of gun powder, so to me it's the least integral part of any Sci-fi series. So if you're making a game about warfare it really doesn't matter what you chose to go with, but I find exploration and discovery is best done through Sci-fi.
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I also like both.

But for some reason, if a game's set in space then I'm much less interested.

Spaceship combat? Trading spices between planets? Yawn. Cavalry battles? Stealing resources from neighbouring cities? Yay!

I do agree that I'd rather see new themes than just the same old done-to-death fantasy and sci-fi.
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Brook Gentlestream
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silverleaf79 wrote:
I also like both.

But for some reason, if a game's set in space then I'm much less interested.

Spaceship combat? Trading spices between planets? Yawn. Cavalry battles? Stealing resources from neighbouring cities? Yay!

I do agree that I'd rather see new themes than just the same old done-to-death fantasy and sci-fi.


I'm still waiting for a good "colonize an alien world" game.
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lordrahvin wrote:
silverleaf79 wrote:
I also like both.

But for some reason, if a game's set in space then I'm much less interested.

Spaceship combat? Trading spices between planets? Yawn. Cavalry battles? Stealing resources from neighbouring cities? Yay!

I do agree that I'd rather see new themes than just the same old done-to-death fantasy and sci-fi.


I'm still waiting for a good "colonize an alien world" game.


Now that actually sounds like a good theme!
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