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Thoughts on lifestyle boardgames?

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Drion22's picture
Joined: 04/20/2019

Seeing the current (and long going) trends in online games, where every game tries to become a part of your life by making you devote more time and resources into it (at the exclusion of others). I was wondering how could a boardgame fare by becoming a part of people's everyday lives. Along the lines of a family game that the children can keep developing strategies for and change the game state of, and the parents can still join in after they come home from work. A game you can keep doing and progressing solo then bringing together with other people. And something that keeps rewarding and engaging players.

I know this is more of an out there mind-dump, but it got my brain up, and wonder if you guys got any ideas from it.

Until then, have a great day!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Time as Currency

Time is the only finite resource. If someone can beat time, then they'll be infinitely wealthy (in a manner of speaking).

Meanwhile, we're stuck with devices that attempt to be an "all in one" machine to assist people in managing their lives. There's an insidious nature to the way smartphones and their apps are developed, with the goal of monopolizing time of their users.

The main advantage of smartphone tech is that it is portable. So if you wanted to go this route and develop a board game that is as addictive and integral to peoples' lives as a smartphone app, I would think that portability and convenience would be paramount in terms of design priorities.

Personally, I'm not interested in developing these types of games. But then, I'm just a hobbyist and not anticipating this as a way to make a living. Rest assured that Hasbro is doing its darnedest to make this kind of thing happen. :)

Drion22's picture
Joined: 04/20/2019
Just brainstorming

I understand where you're coming from, some games can be highly addictive and can suck your days and wallets dry. That is an abominable way of making games in my opinion.

I just wanted to get people's ideas if games could be something that last throughout a longer time and people can leave and come back to it, sorry for my overblown language :P

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
See here is where I DISAGREE!

If you can develop something that people say: "Oh Wow, that was cool, let's PLAY AGAIN!"... All the more power to you.

With "TradeWorlds", I was more focused on "re-playability" in terms of getting the game to the table. No so much "repeat play" in one evening... But maybe something semi-regular where player's would enjoy all the "facets" to the game that make the experience DIFFERENT from the last playthru.

However in terms of speedier game play and something lighter, "Quest Adventure Cards(tm) — Second Edition" I am looking at shorter games with higher level of asymmetry giving players the ability to PLAY HOW THEY WANT TO PLAY. And what this means is that the "Development" Decks allow you to choose one (1) of six (6) classes and off you go to the races with other players. Each Deck offering a different experience too...

For my current Work-In-Progress (WIP) of "Monster Keep" (MK), it's a quick 20 minute game for 2 players (or 40-45 for 4 players). The game comes as-is but allows "customization". So you can play a game right out of the box giving everyone an even playing ground. And you can take it to the NEXT LEVEL by actually customizing each player's Deck with cards you prefer using (that match your style of play, for example).

But easily for MK the idea is maybe to play 3 to 4 games in a sitting. And given the "customizable" nature of the game, it allows players to spend time "off-line" to acquire the cards they want to build their own deck (Deck Construction)...

So I think it's fair enough to want to DESIGN something that people (think gamers) LIKE and ENJOY playing. However complexe or lite the game really is. I don't think MOST "Board Games" or "Card Games" are very "addictive" but certainly the liter ones (if they offer sufficient "customization") could make for a quick in-between or before the meat of a gaming night.

I think that in all my games, I hope to add some kind of VALUE to the game. Aside from just being a FUN/Entertaining game... I want people to EXPLORE the product FURTHER. And I want to design games that ENCOURAGE that whole "exploration" aspect. Sure it makes for more VOLATILE products... that are affected by future sales. Obviously you want a BRAND to GROW and in the minimum maintain a level of sales too...

Is this ADDICTIVE game play? I don't think so. But it's more than let's just break out "Game X" to play tonight... I want something like let's bring out "Game Y" tonight and how do you guys want to play this session around...? Adding that QUESTION about HOW/WHAT it is the players want to play...

Definitely trying some asymmetry, exploring "expansions", having a "customizable" content, "pack-driven" sets, etc. To try to bring something which is more of a PERSONALIZED experience...

Joined: 06/09/2017
i can think of 3 ways to

i can think of 3 ways to attack this problem.
1) thinky thinky. ie theorise, negotiate and play a "ghost" game in the time between plays. an extended period of analysis but things can only be done during play. you can look at diplomacy for a (quite mean) example.
2) checking in. this is basically giving each player a mini solitaire game (this depends on the main game mechanics) players can progress this mini solitaire game as much as they like and it gives progression in the main game, but that progression only happens during group game sessions. this might be unfair on busier people.
3) time sensitive. this may be a bit of a stretch for a board game but... if certain actions can only be performed at certain times of day or after a certain amount of time. ie you can only collect gold between 5 & 6 pm or once you set a worker to mine it takes 6 hours to mine 1 gold.

Mosker's picture
Joined: 03/30/2014
Your opening may provide guidance...

You spoke of online games.

Explore hybrids: and this doesn't necessarily have to be an app. Look at older models such as play by mail or email, where players may have the boards set up, wait for opponents moves. You don't need custom network software (at least to start)--think of what you could do with Wordpress and simple free plugins for things like forums. Make asynchronous play your friend.

Concrete advice? Still working on that--sorry.

lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009

We might want to differentiate between games intended to "addict" via some compelling loop or design feature, and games that are so good people will play them in exclusion to any other: Bridge, Chess, Diplomacy, Magic:the Gathering (though I'd say there's an element of addiction there caused by the marketing scheme), D&D, etc.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Many of those online games

Many of those online games are not actually games. One of my friend said that one of the "game" was actually about making a progress bar grow. Which looks more like work than play to me.

My moto when designing/playing board games and video games is the "Play and Forget" philosophy. I rather play multiple instance of the same game, for example settlers on catan, than playing a single non-stop game. This is why I mostly check for digital version of board games on mobile platform because it follows the "Play and Forget" philosophy.

Also from an ethical point of view, who am I to dictate that from now one the only game you are allowed to play is my game. Why should I dilute the experience of my game to make you hooked. I think the free to play model encourage this because the more hooked you are, the more you are likely to spend in the game.

On the other hand if I make a game where you pay once, I don't really care if you played 10 minutes, or if you spend your entire day playing the game. The time you play only tells me if you like my game or not but I don't get to make more money.

Considering the huge amount of video games out there, again, while would I want to keep people captive of my game. I rather offer a short intensive experience to give players a chance to play again or play something else than keeping them hooked for even.

I think it's the designer's responsibility to consider the life of the people who play the game. We design games to make people happy not to make them slaves.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I 100% agree whole heartily...!

larienna wrote:
We design games to make people happy not to make them slaves.

This ^^^.

Note: I have seen some iPad games like "Cookies" which is a word game... It's not overly complicated: you have six (6) letters and you need to form words with them. Some word spaces are on a board and you must find the words to fill the board.

I personally find the game boring. I personally like things that can allow you to "unlock" things (for example). But some people LOVE "Cookies" as it challenges the player to use his/her vocabulary to solve the words.

But I can see how this kind of game which is FOREVER in nature... There are so many Levels and each Level has about 10 or so matches. Takes forever to FINISH the game (800+ levels)...

Here is the link (for reference):

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