Skip to Content

A matter of time...

6 replies [Last post]
Anonymous

In the continuing series, "A matter of [blah]..." we ask:

What seems to be the sweet spot for game play time that can attract the maximum number of players?

And, if players are given the option of playing two versions of a game, the quick and simple, or the slightly longer but more complex, which will they more than likely go fo?

As I've mentioned in the "A matter of scale..." thread, my game idea has taken a new twist. I could make the game quick and really simple. But the ideas I want to have in the game could just as easily be added to make the game more advanced if the players chose.

lar
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: A matter of time...

fishfuzz wrote:
In the continuing series, "A matter of [blah]..." we ask:

What seems to be the sweet spot for game play time that can attract the maximum number of players?

I'm sure this will be all over the board, but I think the max time for the maximum players is probably between 45-60 minutes, depending on the game. If you kick players out while playing, then maybe shorter to keep interest. But for the masses (ie, not the serious game players) I think they want to at least have several chances of winning in a gaming night.

On a different note - if you see the game selling in a hobby store and not for the masses, then game time can increase to maybe 1.5-2 hours, as your market for gamers is a little more serious.

fishfuzz wrote:
And, if players are given the option of playing two versions of a game, the quick and simple, or the slightly longer but more complex, which will they more than likely go fo?

I think it's great to adjust the game for various players, or to slowly add rules or concepts for new players. For example, if you have a wargame that has 20 pages of rules for advance play, but maybe 5 pages of rules for basic play, that would be great. But if you are only talking about a handful of rules, I wouldn't pull them out. Especially if they add to gameplay.

Lar

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
A matter of time...

My preferred playing time hugely depends on the game. Some games are really fun, but shouldn't last more than, say, 30 minutes because there's a lot of luck in the game, or because some players get eliminated before the end.

Then there are the more strategic heavy weights with little luck. I don't mind playing a heavier game that lasts 2 hours, but that is probably the maximum amount I'm willing to dedicate to a game.

I'm personally not too fond of games with multiple rulesets, or that come with a lot of optional variants. I'm lazy. I want the game designer to present me the ruleset that he thinks is best. I don't want to spend multiple gaming sessions to come up with the combinations of variants that suits me best.

Variants also presents a problem when you play a game for the first time with people outside your regular playing group, because you first have to establish which set of variants to play with. Or, worse, halfway through a game you get a rules conflict because it isn't clear which rules variant you play by.

I do see the advantage in having a basic and an advanced ruleset. If you have a pretty complex game it makes it easier to get into the game. However, don't drown the game with all kinds of optional rules.

- René Wiersma

Trickydicky
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
A matter of time...

I really think that this is completely a matter of opinion. I actually wouldn't spend 3-4 hours playing a game. But the game has to keep my interested for that entire time. If each individual turn takes so long that I could get up and watch a sitcom before I'm needed again, I don't like that and I wouldn't want the game to last long at all.

I personally really enjoy a ruleset with beginner, intermediate and advanced rules. If you don't like the possible confusion just make the way the game is won somewhat determined by the players. For example in one of my games (which will hopefully be on the GDW in Oct-Nov) at the beginning of the game the players determine the number of score cards that must be drawn from a random deck before the game is over. If the players want a long game they could decide on 5-7 score cards. If they want a medium long game they can choose 4-5. Anything less than 4 would probably be a 1-2 hour game with players who knew what they are doing. (lolo, I guess 1-2 hours isn't really considered a short game for most people). Another game has mission cards that must be fulfilled. The players decide how many mission cards must be fulfilled for someone to win. I like these kinds of games because the rules are the same for either game, but the players can decide, how long they want to spend playing it at that moment. It is also interesting because it changes the strategies of the game if it is going to last a long or short time.

Scurra
Scurra's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/11/2008
A matter of time...

Length is entirely subjective. My group sometimes play "The Traders of Genoa" but we factor in four hours for a full five-player game of that because we are all negotiators and almost every deal is haggled out to its fullest extent. But we don't care, because that's how we like it.
OTOH a short, random game like "Fluxx" can badly outstay its welcome, and sometimes a game just doesn't seem to want to end, which affects its reception no matter how much fun it is (one game, beginning with "M" and ending with "nchkin", comes to mind here... :-)

I prefer a game to last between 60 and 90 minutes, with no direct player elimination and decent interaction all the way through. I don't really like to read a ruleset with multiple variants included, unless it's really obvious that they improve the game - and this is rarely the case. For some reason, I object to this less when it's done by means of expansion sets. My canonical example is Knizia's Lord of the Rings game, which has an amazing number of combinations of variants available through adding in different aspects of the expansions. If they'd been presented as part of the original game however, I think I'd have thrown up my hands in horror! My own personal counterpoint to this is with Settlers, which I always felt was incomplete in some way and yet although Seafarers certainly filled all the holes, in some ways it made it an inferior game. Very odd.

Anonymous
more subjectivity...

Well, I think in my experience a game needs to last under 2 hours.

I'd play the same game all day if it was interesting enough, but others that I play games with won't.

I think the aspect of how the game evolves is important as to how long it is. Is the beginning of the game the same as the end? Do I do the same thing over and over and over no matter how late in the game it is? Does the tone or strategy of the game shift at all?

Better the game "leave 'em wanting more" than leave them wanting to just have it over with.

Anonymous
A matter of time...

Take risk for example.
It is one of the longer playing games on the market, but fairly recently to help accommodate those players with not so much time they added mission cards to the game, which adds the perfect solution.

But if you cant have two or more variations of the game to Accommodate the time, the best thing to do personally is use this formula. I think it really does depend on the game though and your target customer. Look at your target customer and think to your self, how much spare time do they have, then how much of that spare time do they want to devote to a board game. Your final answer + or - a little should be your final answer of how long the playing time can be.

Hope I could help,
Aaron l

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut