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Subject: Can Board Games make us cry, and (if they can) should they? rss

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I've played plenty of board games where I've laughed. I've played a few board games that have resonated with me emotionally.

I haven't played a board game that was intense as. . .

When the POW's are told to "stretch their legs", in the Great Escape.

The first five minutes of Pixar's Up.

Shadow of the Colossus

Dragon Age: Origins

Etc Etc Etc

Just because I haven't found a board game that hasn't had the emotional impact of some of these bombshells, doesn't mean it's not out there. What do you guys think? Is it possible?

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Mads Fløe
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Kittens in a Blender

Joking aside - I think it's all up to your imagination, as a boardgame will never be as stimulating in the sense of suspense and surprising moments (usually where we have overwhelming emotions) as a movie.
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Imagination is a good point. I think a lot of role playing games are already there (depending on the DM), and having a DM definitely creates suspense and surprise.


Though a lot of Coop games tend to have a bit of surprise and suspense. Drawing the last mythos card for a game of Arkham Horror is pretty intense, but maybe it can never be as good as a movie can do?
 
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Blorb Plorbst
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Obligatory

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Josh Powell
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theauthorm wrote:
I've played a few board games that have resonated with me emotionally.


I'm curious what games these were.
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Yeah, Dominant Species made me cry when I played it due to just how needlessly over-complicated it was and how un-fun I found it after getting the hang of it.

But otherwise, yeah, I can't see any Board Game making me "cry." laugh
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Laura Creighton
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I've laughed so hard I cried.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/881332/shortest-and-silliest...
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Betrayal at House on the Hill has had some really good moments. You can really build up a character throughout the game, and when they confront what seems insurmountable odds . . .there's a certain emotional resonance.

Not enough to provoke the same reaction as when
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the Great Deku Tree dies
, but something similar.

Last Night on Earth does it occasionally, though, oddly, Arkham Horror does not.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Can they . . . um . . . probably not in that way. Crying as far as I can tell is some sort of overwhelming empathy/understanding/appreciation. Often having to do with something sort of sad. Things just hit several points in our mind all at once, and we're overwhelmed?

Things that make me cry everytime: Showing up at Ben's Funeral in Scrubs. Kirk's Father dying in the beginning of the new Star Trek. Bradd Pitt's daughter playing the guitar in Money Ball. Probably others. I only read it once, but I cried when Doby died (but not dumbledore or sirius.) I enjoy crying when watching movies/reading.

But I think that the parts of the mind boardgames should be stimulating have nothing to do with that. Also, the script or what not is known in advance. Nothing should really come as a surprise when playing a game.

I could certainly see myself crying in a game that forced me to make hard choices about, say, the PTO. Being forced to let Pearl Harbor be attacked, or to throw the Brittish fleet away, or to dig in Japanese forces on islands. But I'd be more likely to be crying thinking about it before hand. And it might not have anything to do with the game, but just my thoughts in general.
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Chris B
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No and no. These are just games.
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Ralph T
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I doubt a boardgame will ever have enough character development for a player to cry. That is what is needed to form an emotional attachment to an imaginary thing.
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Dyego Alehandro
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If "crying because you lost" doesn't count, then no, I have yet to find a board game to reach that kind of emotion. (Do I cry when I lose? ...no...never...)

But I also think it's because this is something of an abstract entertainment situation. I play boardgames to relax and have a good time with friends. I have felt a tiny bit sad when my peeps die in Last Night on Earth, but that's the closest it's gotten.

Should they? In my personal opinion? No. I tend to avoid even movies that hit me emotionally in that area. I have enough problems in my life without my entertainment adding to it constantly. Games are an escape for me, usually.
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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It's hard to find pathos in cardboard, plastic and cubes. Do I really care that my meeple in The Village died? Yeah, he's worth points!

If a board game could make you vested in a character's fate and then dash all hope of victory then maybe. Android? Even then, you're reveling in the dystopic noir-ness of it, not mourning.

I think there were a couple sad character deaths in City of Chaos if you rolled badly.

Now I'll have to include some tragic moments in the game I'm working on...
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Ernesto Cabrera
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I've never cried over a board game in any kind of situation...

Roleplaying games on the other hand...

I once was playing "All Flesh Must be Eaten", a Zombie game, we were deep in the campaign (about 10, 4-5 hour sessions) and my brother got bitten. We got stuck in a mall surrounded with Zombies and they somehow broke in, we were running and my brother got left behind and wounded pretty badly, after a few moments of thinking what to do, he started to "transform". He told me:

"Kill me... I'm wasted anyway"

It was my brother and I had to leave him behind. It was a very tense moment and the mood was very realistic... I had to do it...

That was the last session and we got all killed.

That was the first time I ever cried over a game.
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Matt Brown
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I can only see it when getting rid of a game that one had a huge sentimental attachment to.
 
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Ralph T
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lestat2099 wrote:
I've never cried over a board game in any kind of situation...

Roleplaying games on the other hand...

I once was playing "All Flesh Must be Eaten", a Zombie game, we were deep in the campaign (about 10, 4-5 hour sessions) and my brother got bitten. We got stuck in a mall surrounded with Zombies and they somehow broke in, we were running and my brother got left behind and wounded pretty badly, after a few moments of thinking what to do, he started to "transform". He told me:

"Kill me... I'm wasted anyway"

It was my brother and I had to leave him behind. It was a very tense moment and the mood was very realistic... I had to do it...

That was the last session and we got all killed.

That was the first time I ever cried over a game.


Why didn't you kill him? Better than having him "turn?"
 
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Christian Link
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Without emersing yourself in the theme or getting sad because you are losing or lost; one could chop onions while they play or have a bad tripwow

On the other hand, some games may touch a contriversal topic making a player angry or edgy; why can't a player feel sad too?

Pure visual empathy generated by game art may be the most likely way to make a player sad. An example maybe Lunch Money.

From a personal experience, one of my many failed attempts at making a boardgame, I tried making a Vietnam War card game with actual photos taken from each warring side. While playtesting with the images the game took on an unsettling gory tone; instead of the 'cool...its Vietnam' tone. The bad mojo caused me to abandon the project entirely.
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Richard Ham
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We had to trade away Village even though we liked the gameplay quite a bit, because my wife would develop an emotional attachment to the workers as they aged, and didn't want to have to face the fact that they would die. It made her genuinely emotionally uncomfortable, so while not to the level of 'made her cry', this is an example of a game that went beyond 'moving wooden bits around some cardboard' (for us anyway).

Also, Dungeon Petz definitley illicits strong emotional attachment from both Jen and me, as we care for and raise cute little animals. We definitely feel pangs when they have to go hungry, and those 'cubes of sadness' have some emotional impact as well when we fail our pets and have to place them.

K2 can occasionally create strong emotional ties as well, as your climbers desperately cling to life on the side of a mountain, with the odds stacked against them, especially when they do survive, against the odds.

From the same designer, Drako is interesting as it's very easy to fall into sympathy for the dragon as it gets progressively more and more wounded, until it's literally limping around the arena just trying to survive as the dwarves continue to hound it.

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Stew Woods
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I've seen adults cry after playing Starpower, but that's pushing the definition of a board game quite a bit.
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Joe Salamone
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In the early 1980s I had a girlfriend who frequently cried over Scrabble. If I was winning, she would get mad, start crying, and fling the board and the tiles all over the room. If I was losing, she would accuse me of "letting her win." She would get mad, start crying, and fling the board and the tiles all over the room. Damn, I loved that girl. I wonder where she is now?

 
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rahdo wrote:
We had to trade away Village even though we liked the gameplay quite a bit, because my wife would develop an emotional attachment to the workers as they aged, and didn't want to have to face the fact that they would die. It made her genuinely emotionally uncomfortable, so while not to the level of 'made her cry', this is an example of a game that went beyond 'moving wooden bits around some cardboard' (for us anyway).

Also, Dungeon Petz definitley illicits strong emotional attachment from both Jen and me, as we care for and raise cute little animals. We definitely feel pangs when they have to go hungry, and those 'cubes of sadness' have some emotional impact as well when we fail our pets and have to place them.

K2 can occasionally create strong emotional ties as well, as your climbers desperately cling to life on the side of a mountain, with the odds stacked against them, especially when they do survive, against the odds.

From the same designer, Drako is interesting as it's very easy to fall into sympathy for the dragon as it gets progressively more and more wounded, until it's literally limping around the arena just trying to survive as the dwarves continue to hound it.



I've heard the K2 can have a pretty strong impact, and that's cool to hear.

Village sounds like it has a lot of potential as a mechanic, as it gives you the reigns on people's lives and it's possible you create someone who dies miserable and alone.

And those are just by products of the design. I have to wonder how potent they could be if emotional attachment were the designers intent.
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theauthorm wrote:

The first five minutes of Pixar's Up.


That's the only thing that has made me cry in the last ten years, and I had two grandparents pass away in that time. I must have seen the film about five times, but it gets me every time. I'm welling up just thinking about it.
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Jennifer Derrick
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If it's that emotionally charged that it makes you cry, then you're probably not going to play very well. The more your emotions get out of control, the worse your decision making becomes.

So, should they make us cry? No, otherwise you defeat the whole purpose of gaming which is to try to win by making the best decisions you can. If you're so worked up that you're blubbering all over the table and having to excuse yourself every five minutes to get a tissue, then you're going to lose.
 
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Ralph T
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I'm sure one could create a sad version of Apples to Apples or Dixit where the goal is to tell the saddest story. More likely the storyteller will be the one crying than anyone else.
 
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Jules
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This seems relevant

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