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Playing your OWN game

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questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

This question is about something that @Roger has made me think about with his 600+ page "game".

Specifically I would like to know: "Do you ENJOY playing your OWN games?"

I know, I know - it's a STUPID question. But I've played many of my unsuccessful prototypes and hated those games enough for me to stop working on that design. At least until I could come up with a better design.

Having playtested my own WIP "Tradewars - Homeworld" for an ENTIRE day (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM), I realize that I was never bored playing the game. To be real honest, I wish I had a local game group to play the game with.

I don't think my game "is the greatest" - but I admit I enjoy playing it with other gamers. And I've played it with gamers who are experienced and have played many games. Everyone agreed, they had FUN and the experience was enjoyable for them.

Since it's no surprise that playing the game is FUN ... I guess this means that to play the game is probably "enjoyable"!

Is there some kind of "double-edged" sword here? I mean with no ego, take it aside that IF someone else had designed the game, would I still be as interested in the game??? IDK to be honest. But whenever I play, I get SURPRISED ... considering all the other cr@p I've tried to design - I really don't know!

Your feedback and comments are welcomed. Please tell me what you think!

Adam Leamey
Joined: 02/23/2017
It's hard to solo play my co

It's hard to solo play my co op game I prefer when I have people to play with but love running it with playtesters

Evil ColSanders
Evil ColSanders's picture
Joined: 12/08/2010
People ask me if I love my

People ask me if I love my games. I reply "Nope, I hate them." When you play them as much as I do and revise and revise and revise, you come to resent them in a way. I mean, any game is fun, but when you play it 20 times in a weekend... you've just had enough. I don't care how much you love something, there's a point where it is just too much and you fall out of love with it.

BHFuturist's picture
Joined: 11/01/2008
Interesting question

I am sure this greatly depends on the type of game you design, the reason you designed it, the people you play it with, and whether you are always the only one to explain the rules and teach it to new players... much of that is not fun to do all the time.

So far I love to play my games, and if asked to play them I will jump at the chance.

I think the most I have played Dominance in one day was about 40 times and I was still having fun at the end. But that was all about who I was playing it with and why I was playing it with them. In that case, it was a friend of mine who I can't beat. I have never won my own game against him (still to this day).

There have been other times I did not like playing it even once.

I think the further I get from the design and playtest phases with all the iterations and changes, the more the games grow on me again. They are like old friends or family... at times I may not like them all that much, but I still love them.

For me, the games I have designed have been a labor of love. But so far I have been designing games partly for myself (In that players like me are part of the target audience).

I am sure that if I was designing a game solely for mainstream players I might feel differently.

Everyone is different and an opinionated question will always get you an opinionated answer. This is not about, wrong or right and I don't think anyone needs to love their games. It just is what it is...


ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
I've started enjoying playing

I've started enjoying playing my own game after it was released. Since now I can just relax, play the game and have fun, without actively trying to improve.

Frank West
Frank West's picture
Joined: 11/25/2016
This is an interesting

This is an interesting question and like others I feel this is very dependant on the type of games you are creating and why you are making them.

Personally I've made a lot of games (as prototypes) that haven't lasted more than a few weeks as I haven't enjoyed them enough.

The City of Kings however was designed to be the game I wanted to play and I've been in love with it for the last 2 years. Even when the majority of playtesting finished I found myself setting up game nights just to play it more as I genuinely love to play it. I even designed a 12+ hour variant which I find myself playing often as well.

As someone who owns over 300 games with very few of them being played more than once or twice a year it's unnatural for me to play a game this many times. It's made easier by the fact many of my friends love the game too, there have been times where we've finished a 6 hour session at 11pm and whilst I'm grabbing a drink they've decided to reset the game to start over.

With that said, this is a very specific game that's been designed around replayability. So each of those sessions feels very different, sometimes focusing on combat, other times roleplaying and other times worker management. I don't think I could have designed a small game I could enjoy this much, after this many plays.

I'm really intrigued to see how I feel about my next game and whether I can fall in love with it the same way.

radioactivemouse's picture
Joined: 07/08/2013
Not a stupid question...

It's actually a pretty legitimate question whose answers will depend on the person.

For me? It's back and forth. I love playing my games, but, as most designers, I can get sick of the game...usually due to overthinking/over-designing the game and/or I'm just distracted by other things (like playing with my baby, lol).

But...when I play my game again after a while, I realize how fun my game is and I instantly get inspired to design more. Maybe that's a testament to my original design or a testament to its uniqueness, but I end up wondering how I did this in the first place.

Which, to no surprise, is how I rate my game collection...if the game continues to bring its magic despite the element of time.

I think...that a game has potential if, after being away from the game, it brings its magic back to you when you return to it. It may be the reason why a lot of my designs don't get very far...when I return to it, the magic is not always there.

But that's me.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
The only moment when I hate

The only moment when I hate playing my game would be when I have found something that I don't like about it.
Then I try to fix it. And if this "fails", I tend to hate, that part.
Other than that, the game has so much complexity in various area's. I never get tired, trying new things.

Rick L
Rick L's picture
Joined: 08/22/2016
Answering this question for a

Answering this question for a work in progress might be different than answering if for your "finished" game, although I've enjoyed play tests of my game even while using some rules I wasn't too happy with. Those rules have all been tossed out, and better ones are in place, but there were a few rules that I tried where we just ended the game early, they were so bad lol!

An old friend of mine, Alf Seegert (who sent me to check out this forum) had an interesting comment in an interview:

"What are your all-time favorite tabletop games?

Perhaps it’s immodest to say this, but (speaking to fellow designers here) if your own designs aren’t among your very favorite games, then you might need to work harder to design games you like… My favorite tabletop game is Fantastiqa, and yes, I’m thoroughly and egregiously biased in saying so! (I’m not saying it’s the best game, but just our favorite, and the most-often played on our table, even a few years beyond its initial release.)"

Alf has several published games, and worked a lot with Ryan Laukat. But I agree wholeheartedly with what he said, & with what many of you have also said. If you're not getting paid to design, why would you put so much effort into a game you don't enjoy playing?

- Rick (formerly known as "Mokheshur")

Adam Leamey
Joined: 02/23/2017
Hmm some interesting comments

Hmm some interesting comments to this question I like to playtest and run my game as I'm usually teaching and like lots of playtesters I don't play it that often myself. As for if it's a favourite game it's hard to say as it's still in early development and I need to add a key element once the core rules have been tested.

The Odd Fox
The Odd Fox's picture
Joined: 01/19/2017
Banished to the Not Active File

I love to play about 50% of my designs. Those I don't absolutely love go into a "not active file" to sit until I can figure out what's not fun about them. In my opinion, if I'm not having fun on my 50th or 100th playtest then the game needs to go away for a while until that barrier is removed.

Gabe's picture
Joined: 09/11/2014
I only design games that I

I only design games that I want to play. So, if I get to a point in a design where I've played a game a bunch of times and don't really enjoy it, I move on to something else.

And if your game ever gets picked up by a publisher, you're likely to play it a TON--playtesting, conventions, teaching the game, etc--so if you don't enjoy it, it's likely to be a slog.

Joined: 04/08/2012
I love playing

I love playing my games I have designed. My nephews and niece would come over to hang out and ask if we could play a game I just designed a few days or a game that was designed a year or two ago, along with my Dymino Monsters game.

To one day these games that we have all designed will be merited has genius games or unique in their own right. Let the game talk for itself. All of these games are extensions of our way to communicate from what we see and interact from the story, characters or the abstract worlds or puzzles we image and want to see what our peers will say. Good or bad. If the game fails, it not broken. We seek a balance in our lives and designs to make or create or write a balanced game or story or world. Have fun on the journey and adventure.

If you get lost in the world of the design, step back, relax and reeanact the game or storyline or the puzzle. We all seek balance in our creativity. Don't give up. Keep going.


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Mostly how I feel

radioactivemouse wrote:
...But...when I play my game again after a while, I realize how fun my game is and I instantly get inspired to design more. Maybe that's a testament to my original design or a testament to its uniqueness, but I end up wondering how I did this in the first place...

@Jay couldn't have explained it better.

I too am "surprised" on how well the "mechanics" work together. I know this because I've tried to put together other games - and things don't seem to be as "smooth" as with my WIP.

But what it makes me think is this: "Will I ever be able to design a BETTER game?" And obviously my WIP was designed for change (and Expansions) but I'm talking about a whole *new* design.

To me, even if I have a harder time explaining the game (sometimes), playing still seems to make me "wonder"!

Cheers everybody... And thanks for your responses. If anyone else wants to share/comment/give feedback - feel free to do so!

lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009
Design for others

Many designers design games that they want to play. I design games for other people to enjoy. My tastes are unusual.

I play them solo when I first get together a playable prototype, then rarely play them, because that skews the testing.

I virtually never play one after it's published.

The following applies to games as well as books:
"Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public." --Sir Winston Churchill

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
very interesting question, in

very interesting question, in fact, I might be scared of my own answer.

I design game according to my tastes, because I am always in a situations where I think I could do better or fix the other games out there. So in a way, I am creating, adapting a game to fit better to my taste.

Now do I enjoy playing the game, well at the beginning maybe not because it's not mature enough, and at the end maybe not either because I just polayed too much and my vision became biassed. There could be small moments through solo play that could be enjoyable.

One thing to do is to take a 6 month break and play your own game later to see if you actually like playing it. That is the only way to know if you really enjoy playing your own game.

Because for baord games, it seems that when you know too much a game, it lose it's flavor and just become a series of mechanics and interaction which makes the game feel bland and boring.

All this ask the question: WHy design board games if desiging them is not fun, and playing them is not fun? I still did not found an answer, still a certain level of addition to game design remains preventing me from not to think about game design.

On the other hand, for video games, it's almost the opposite. I really enjoy what I am playing, in fact, a bit too much that sometimes, I don't want to stop playing and and continue programming.

Part of it is due to the feedback loop of seeing your code work, but it might not be related to the design process itself.

So in the end, I do seem to have more fun making video games than board games. It's a shame that it has to be this way. This is why I am moire aiming towards video game. Not sure if doing board games as a digital version could make board game design funnier, well see.

Glass shoe games
Glass shoe games's picture
Joined: 02/28/2017
Party games I create I am

Party games I create I am always down for! My main game Smelly Seth I have played over 200 times
When it comes to longer games sometime not as much. I play them so much and a lot by myself. It's a double edged sword tho.

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