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New game fascination

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larienna
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When playing a new game, most of the time people are intrigued and facinated by the game. Once they played, if they like the game, the fascination might still hold on a couple of games. But when the players have intensively played the game and know all the strategies, all the facination is gone and the game is a simple mathemanical puzzle.

When designing a game, the process is simillar. When you get a new idea and start designing, you are facinated about your own design. Even if you succeed your design, you would have playtested and analysed your game so much that in the end you lose any fascination you had.

For a game designer not beign facinated about his own game seems a bit more normal to me even if I would still loved to be fascinated about a game I made. Beign able to analyse a game deeply prevent the possibility of having a badly designed game. So losing facination is the price to pay for making a better game.

But would it be possible for the players to always keep the fascination what ever is the number of time they played the game?


Now you could ask yourself, what makes people lose fascination?

Personally I think that players lose fascination when they know how the game works. When they know all the strategies and the odds.

Now would it be possible to make the game harder to analyse or make it pointless for the player to take the time to analyse. Like creating some sort of cloud over the game that the player cannot see throught but that the designers should be able to take a look.

variety: My first idea would be to have a large amount of variety. For example, I Arkham Horror, you use around 10 to 20 mythos cards in a game, but the game supplies around a 100. So each game will be different and it will take a lot of time before you can see the events again. And if you do, there are expansions. So forget about remembering cards and be surprised all the time.

Surprise: Yes, Surprises are very important. If the player could be surprised all the time, that could increase the fascination for the game.

Complexity: In games like Battle tech, where the system is very complex, there is so much rules that are used in rare situations that it adds variery and novelty to each game.


Do you have other ideas? Is it all about variety and replay value?

Taavet
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Surprise

How exactly does a game surprise someone?

Do they just not understand the rules? If this is the case I think the novelty wears off when you understand all the rules.

Does one of the players find a new way to combine things to produce a different outcome? This plays into what you are saying about variety, the more variety the longer it will last but eventually it could all be known. MtG being a great example because I doubt anyone has all the cards memorized. However, it can still lose that surprise aspect because instead of A doing such and such its just B doing such and such.

When I think of surprises I think of hidden information. If players have all the information availble to them then they can't ever be surprised. I think that is one of the reasons many designers are looking for a good game AI to control stealth characters/movement. If that could be accomplished and properly managed without a GM that would open up a ton of new avenues.

Hidden: Vicotry Conditions, Victory Points, Resources, Secret Missions, or any opportunity or mechanic to allow bluffing.

I think it would be a good research project to find the most played games and then determine why. Not a game like monopoly that sells millions and everyone plays it a few times then it collects dust, but a game that some people would play daily or multiple times a day. It could just be because they are a hardcore fan of the genre, could be the social group/activity, could be the fascination with the game or some of its mechanics.

How is good at pulling that type of info out of the BGG database?

Pastor_Mora
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On fascination

I can't sleep, so I might as well devote to online philosophy... ;)

Regarding fascination, I would look to Poker, or personally, Black Jack. It has its share of variety and surprise.

In terms of complexity, I disagree in a sense. I don't think complexity itself is appealing. Maybe the depth of the game is what may draw your attention (at least mine). Depth and complexity are elements not totally related to each other.

Then, I notice two more elements to sum to the fascination keeping aspect. The first is randomness, commonly mistaken with luck, or worst, die rolling. I don't see it fitting your variety description as there is not much to memorize about it. Randomness can add to your variety and surprise factors, and it is widely resorted to.

The second are players. Which also add to all the elements you listed. Different players or different groups of players can add (or take) variety, surprise and depth to a game. This I think is part of why the multiplayer solitary games are found lacking to many people.

As a final note, I think a theme can be detailed so as to favor some kind of bonding between the player and some particular game element. I don't quite understand why people just love meeples, but personally I tend to attach to particular characters in games (like heroes). Sometimes I set a game to see that character in action. I relate to him/it.

As for designing. I'm not fascinated by almost any of my games, I just like them and feel good about them. But I just have one that I cherish deeply, and I don't expect loosing interest in it (and its various remakes) in this life at least.

Keep thinking!

bielie
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bluffing

Is there a list of bluffing mechanics somewhere? The only good examples I can think of are Poker and secret agent mechanics, like Werewolf or Battlestar Gallactica.

RogueKoi
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emergence

Something that I would like to see more in games that would bring out the "surprise" factor is called emergence... or emergent game play... basically new things that happen based on the rules of the game... CCGs do this to probably the greatest extent in the tabletop realm but it seems to be a yet unexplored area in the land of board games. Though if this is because of physical limitations or what not I am unsure.

genericm
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Newness

Unfortunately you cannont add newness back into a game you have already 'Discovered'.

Thats why a a superhero's origin story is always better than the sequel...

In my opinion the other players provide the best opportunity to bring something 'new' back to the game, so allowing balanced player interaction and a variety of strategic options are the best ways to increase the re-playability.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
Should I . . .

. . . ever get a game published, somehow, it will be one that I absolutely want to play and am totally in love with.

But, I tend to create things for myself, not really for others. If any of the screenplays I've written were made into movies, they'd easily be in my favorites.

My music is the most played on my itunes by a long stretch.

I'm not really sure why this is. I bet it depends on the person though. Some people are totally in love with the stuff they make. Some are critical. Some never want anything to do with it after they're done.

*shrugs*

/endramble

scifiantihero
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genericm wrote: Thats why a a

genericm wrote:

Thats why a a superhero's origin story is always better than the sequel...

And that's what Villain origin stories are for!

:D

Ewain
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Old and new games

larienna: Personally I think that players lose fascination when they know how the game works. When they know all the strategies and the odds.

I believe you've got it in one there.
We bought Smallworld a few days ago, and as usual we play the new game with abandon.
My daughter (7) is obsessed with the game. She can't wait to get home and get to pick another odd race/ability combo and bash dad...

As with chess, monopoly, go fish, and a number of other games we occasionally return to, I am resigned to the fact that once she (and the rest of the family, n.b.) have had her fill of different ways to win or lose more or less gracefully, it will be a while before I can even mention Smallworld again without risking a minor revolution in the household.

This is how we approach games.
They rise and fall in and out of fashion, often without any warning. And all the games we keep have the qualities you listed; there is Variety, Surprise, and surprisingly (as we involve small children in our games) Complexity in most of them.

While a game may be as fascinating as you could ever want, what we thrive on is Replayability.
A game that gather dust and never get played again is sold off eventually. A game that - for whatever reason - make us want to play it again after a while is kept. Dusted off and replayed, time after time.

Variety, Surprise, and (a bit of) Complexity. That's all it takes.

Taavet
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Peter Pan

Ewain wrote:
Variety, Surprise, and (a bit of) Complexity. That's all it takes.

and a little Pixie Dust!!

genericm
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genericm wrote: In my opinion

genericm wrote:

In my opinion the other players provide the best opportunity to bring something 'new' back to the game, so allowing balanced player interaction and a variety of strategic options are the best ways to increase the re-playability.

I think Cosmic Encounter is a great case study for this. Lots of variety, every game is different, and who your playing with adds another level of unpredictability.

The only cons for that school of thought is in order to incorporate that much variety the designers had to start my giving the players absolutely no decisions, no power. (you can't even decide who to attack) This base game state combined with all that variety makes for a chaotic game. The saving grace is it's short. Still I love the game, and it always seems new.

Thoughts?

larienna
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Quote:This base game state

Quote:
This base game state combined with all that variety makes for a chaotic game.

Variety could be added as optional or advanced rules. An example that comes to my mind is Agricola (OK, I hate agricola). When playing with beginners, some people said you do not use special cards. But later you can use the cards and then you can add expansion cards. So the learning curve is better and when you add variety, the players already know where thay want to go.

So replayability seems to be important. Good for me since that is one of my objectives in my design. In games like arkham horror where tons of expansions are added, I think it is a way to keep the replayability. Still, on my point of view, a good design should have an relatively good level of replayability without adding tons of expansion stuff.

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