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Agressive Moves and Family Games

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Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008

Does anyone think that perhaps aggressive actions might be a bit off-the-mark for a family game?

The space game I'm working on allows players to 'go after' each other, even attack their ship, even though in most cases this comes with a penalty. My feeling is that this might be too confrontational.

The more work I put into it, the more it seems to be drifting away from family material. Not that this is bad, per se, but I might have to re-think my audience.

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
It would depend

It would depend on how harsh these actions against the other players are and if the game encourages it.

I see competition as a good thing as long as it is not vicious in nature. If it turns out to be more beneficial to attack the other players most of the time rather than building yourself up you may have an issue from a family values standpoint.

On the other hand if there is a balance were it is only beneficial to attack at certain times and that attack is not devastating to the other player it could work in a family game, especially if there is the lesson to be learned that attacking someone might be as bad or worse for you then working together. It all depends on target audience.

adagio_burner
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Joined: 07/30/2008
Aggressive moves have to be

Aggressive moves have to be strategic and motivated to be received well.

If I am able to say "I am a pirate, and yours is the closest ship, and you definitely lack proper defenses", then my attack is unlikely to be vewied as personal and create negative emotions, even by the youngest players.

On the other hand, if I can attack anybody with about equal effectiveness, this is not good. It is not that kind of choice that fits well in a family game.

Of course, if there are aggressive actions, some young players will play overly aggressively just because they can. As long as the game discourages that, and they will lose, I don't think it's a big deal.

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Dread Pirate

I just played "Dread Pirate" and then saw you're post. It's pretty confrontational and it claims to be the big family adventure game. If I want to battle with your ship, I will still do it in the game if you are short on treasure. I can even sink your ship if you don't have enough to give me and will be out of the game. Or you can declare surrender and you become my prisoner and have the chance to escape with my treasure and enter the game again. In my experience woman tend not to like these kinds of games, especially if they are not bored game people. I'm not speaking for all woman. I played the game with my partner and she just wanted to raid and trade my ports but wouldn't engage me in any pirate ship skirmishes. I really need to find a gaming group.

Anyway, speaking of Dread Pirates, I did like the adventure in this game. I did have some fun and adventure. It's produced of fine quality materials and has plenty of fun to match. There is so much randomness to it though and less choice recarding outcomes. It's mostly luck and choosing your engagements. I wonder, are the dice neccessary to resolve everything? Is there another way for it's style? Without being "pirate chess"?

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
Thanks everyone. You gave me

Thanks everyone. You gave me a some new ways to think about the subject.
I was mostly worried about younger kids feeling picked on if they repeatedly became the target of someone playing a pirate role. However the consequences of losing a battle seem to be much less than that of Dread Pirate.

@ The Magician
Interestingly, my girlfriend who I get to help me test stuff, ALWAYS wants to be a pirate, or aggressive PvP, if given the option. Be it board games or video games. Then again, she's not your typical female, either.
"So I'm making this game where you can take on different roles, like a trader, explorer, military..." (cuts me off)
"I wanna be a pirate! I'm gonna nom people! Nom nom nom."
"..."

The Magician
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Joined: 12/23/2008
Desprez, this sounds like a

Desprez, this sounds like a really interesting idea for a pirate game. Like it has a lot of demension to the game expereience. I understand your concerns perfectly. I don't know how I could design a game that was targeted at families because what I would want and what would be family safe would just clash too much. I can understand this is a huge challenge.

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Zombie pirates? Haven't I seen that in a movie?

Desprez wrote:
"So I'm making this game where you can take on different roles, like a trader, explorer, military..." (cuts me off)
"I wanna be a pirate! I'm gonna nom people! Nom nom nom."
"..."
So she wants to be a zombie pirate or a cannibal pirate?

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
It's a metaphorical

It's a metaphorical noming.
Though I just put the question to her, and she said she was a dinosaur pirate. Which, of course, gives rise to a whole host of new game themes.

brisingre
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Hells yes

I would play ANY game where I could be a dinosaur pirate. Just saying.

@The Magician
I have female friends who game. They are about as mean-spirited as my male friends. Of course, geek girls tend to break stereotypes left and right. Actually, so do geek guys. (I'm realizing that those stereotypes probably go back to hunter-gatherer roles on some level, and geek culture, idealizing intelligence and creativity over physical prowess, is about as far from hunter-gatherer culture as you can get.)

As far as aggressive actions in family games, most are multiplayer solitaire for that reason. The only aggressive family game I know of is Risk, and that's the game that gets flipped. Even family games where the only way to win is to eliminate players do so indirectly. Monopoly is effectively a zero-sum game. The bank very rarely gives out money, and so the only way to get it is from other players. However, all of that is indirect. When someone is eliminated, they don't curse the person whose property it was. They curse the dice. Now, here's the secret. Monopoly is a terrible game. Aggressive actions add a ton to a game. Most families have too much internal politics to separate it from the games they play, and so cannot play good games. I would recommend leaving your aggressiveness in, and calling it a 'light' game rather than a 'family' game. Pictionary is a family game. Monopoly is a family game. Munchkin is a light game. (Not necessarily a good game, all it's got going for it is humor, but still a good example of a light game.)

monica99
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Playing nice or rough

I have the same problem with my own game. Playing nice or rough. I'm glad you brought this up. I have been torn to go one direction or both!

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