Thursday, 4 October 2012

A Revelation

I have come to realize that there are two types of board games: slow, quiet strategy games (Type A); and loud, fast party games (Type B).

Type A revolve around strategy; they require a certain amount of knowledge of the game to do well at it; they have a lot of strategic depth; the amount of players can vary, but most veterans prefer playing with only 2 players (or 2 static teams) per game; they do not rely on any physical skills; politics among the players is minimal, non-existent, or managed by the rules; chance may play a factor, but strategy is a far greater one.

Type B games are more socially oriented. They are simple to learn, quick to play, and rely heavily on player interaction. The ability to read the players is as important as knowing the rules; they generally favour a large number of players, often requiring at least 3 players. There is usually large amounts of chance involved, mitigated in some way by player interaction.

Many games have properties of both; you end up with a spectrum of games. The purpose of this article is to make you aware of this spectrum, and to induce mindfulness of it into your design ventures. It is also useful  to note when hosting a gaming party, as it allows you to pick the right kind of games for the social atmosphere.

In crowds where lots of the people do not know each other very well, type B games are usually preferable. This is especially true of large groups, or groups including lots of casual or inexperienced gamers. It allows everyone to interact and get to know each other, and allows everyone to have a good time without making a rift between veteran gamers and newbies.

In a group where everyone knows each other, and everyone has at least some experience with gaming, type A games come into play. They are usually what you want to play when you meet regularly, as their depth and variance game to game allows them to remain fresh week to week. They are also often popular when made into computer games when you can find an opponent on the internet (i.e. dominion); as it allows skilled players to come together quickly and conveniently. If you have a dedicated group of 2 to 4 players, you will probably find some Type A games that you really like.

The Spectrum: (a list of my games sorted from A to B, divided into sections)

Super Heavy Games:
These have enough depth to require some amount of experience in order to enjoy it. You can spend years learning all the aspects to it and perfecting your play.
Enthusiasts only:
These are complicated enough to scare away newbies, but very approachable for experienced gamers.
    Middle Ground:
    These are the hybrids, they are fun for new players and veterans alike. These were the most difficult to categorize, but generally speaking, they are very easy to understand and enjoyable for new players and veterans alike.
    Introductory Games:
    These are the right mix of easy to play and socially interactive that tends to appeal to new players.
    Party Games:
    These are games that are incredibly easy to teach, support a large number of players, and involve social interaction in some way. 

    Having presented the spectrum as so, you must ask yourself: where does my game fit into this spectrum? And what type of games do I generally prefer? Such things can make decisions easier for you, as well as tell you about yourself; but more about that later.


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