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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

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lewpuls
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How to improve replayability in a game

Most of this amounts to "vary the experience", which of course is what provides replayabilty--varied experience.

Variable rather than set starting positions (players choose their starting positions)[drawback:lengthens the game]

More than two players (each player provides variability of himself)[drawback:lengthens the game]

Asymmetric game (starting position is not the same for all players)[drawback: makes it much harder to balance the game (give each player an equal chance of winning)]

Use of event cards (especially in symmetric games or games without other chance factors)[drawback--can be seen to increase chance]

Multiple ways to win/multiple winning strategies[drawback: makes it much harder to balance the game]

Scenarios (which amount to differences in positions or victory conditions (or both)). Used primarily in historical games. [drawback: more time-consuming to design]

Optional rules. Again seems most common in historical games. Alternative ways to play the game. At some point, many rule choices in a game design are largely arbitrary, that is, one choice leads to just as interesting a game as the other choice, but the designer must choose one. The other can become an optional rule. [drawback: virtually none, if the optional was tried sufficiently in playtesting]

Emphyrio
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

- Variable board (e.g., Settlers of Catan)
- Player-constructible characters/forces (e.g., deck-building card games, miniatures, RPGs)
- Meta-game competition -- standings, tournaments, high scores

johant
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

Player interaction
- trading

Luck
When there is an amount of luck involved ypu cant break the game and even more experienced players could loose.
Settlers of catan is a good example of how luck gives a game great replayability

(Iam in fact leaning towards the use of for example dices as a luck element in games just because of this) I didnt think i would ever say this, but as we are speaking of replaybility, its a must! It makes the game more fun!
The tricky part is to balance luck/skill

seo
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

I agree with all the ideas expressed so far, and I admit that those are pretty much the routes I travel when I'm thinking of a new game, but I think one important alternative is mentioned almost casually and generally avoided for the exact reason lewpuls mentioned (it makes it much harder to balance the game), but should be considered more carefully (at least by me):

- Freedom of choice for the players.

If you give enough freedom (without loosing game balance), you can create a great replayable game without the need of any of the other ideas mentioned in this thread.

Think of chess. It's undeniably replayable, but involves just two players, no event cards, no new rules, no luck, no variable board, works fine without meta-competition (although it obviously exists), has a fixed staring position, is pretty symmetric (so much that starting positions are mirrored).

Another thing that could also improve replayability is multiple winners. Most people like to win, and get frustrated when repeatedly loose in a game, specially if the game involves no or little luck, and they loose because on of their rivals simply is better. A game with several winners and just one looser can help reducing this from happening (as long as we're dealing with multiplayer games, of course).

Seo

Scurra
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

"What if...?" is an equally good form of ensuring replayability. If the player can only choose, say, one action from amongst several, then they will often be asking themself "what would have happened it I'd done Y instead of X?"

Ironically, this means restricting choice for the player, rather than giving them freedom of choice!

seo
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

I get your point, but I think it's just another way to say the same. :)

Maybe I wasn't clear, I see that now, but we're both talking about many options but the need to select one. The same principle applies to strategy and tactic. You have many alternative paths to follow, but must choose one. Hence the "what if..." feeling (specially if your choice doesn't lead to victory).

Seo

doho123
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

I think you are missing an important element here; the "enjoyable experience." You can sit there and list all sort of optional rules sets, and various player choices, and whatever, but if the player does not have an enjoyable experience, it doesn't matter.

This is why Chess has been around with only 1 of the 7 original aspects of the opening list; why kids can enjoy a game like Chutes and Ladders or Candyland, and why grognards enjoy spending hours and hours shoving little peices of cardboard around with tiny numbers and symbols. If it's not fun for the player, the rest doesn't matter; it won't get played again.

lewpuls
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How to improve replayability in a game--a brief list

Thanks for the comments so far.

Variable board is a version of variable setup, but should be explicitly mentioned. Ditto player-constructible characters.

Metagaming is another I should have thought of, but I tend to think in terms of boardgames these days, not CCG where metagaming is common.

Luck inevitably the variation of experience, but is not suitable for all games.

"Increase player interaction" (whether it's trading of auctions or something else) should be added.

Freedom of choice, at least as I first interpreted it, increases variabiilty, and at the same time is likely to lengthen the game. In fact, as I read the suggestions, I realize that most (if not all) methods of increasing replayability tend to lengthen a game at the same time, because they are increasing the number of choices available.

I'm afraid I don't see how restricting choice can improve "what if" or replayability.

"Enjoyable experience" is of course important, but depends almost entirely on the player. Some people want lots of plausible choices, some people want a few. Some people want as few restrictions as possible (which leads to longer games), some refuse to play a game longer than an hour regardless. Some enjoy "deep thought" (classical play), others enjoy "take that" (romantic play). Presumably if players enjoy a game they're more likely to replay it, but I don't see how we can alter a design on the basis of enjoyability because it varies so much by person. (Or to put it another way, if we could be sure what "enjoyability" was, we wouldn't have to worry about anything else in design.)

Lew Pulsipher

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