Saturday, 13 September 2014

lessons on re-playability

What Did the #BoardGameHour teach us about re-playability?

With a lot of things, people are usually split into at least two maybe three camps. However the community was mostly unified about what they think helps aid toward a well made game with lots re-play ability .

First lets see what the community agrees a game needs to classify as a game that is re-playable:

" it again through multiple days." @Stienf9
"...Replayable games either do not rely on the game tricking players, or have lots of scenarios." @morphologygames
"...different experiences..." @rhiochs
"Finish a game, and say lets play again..." @Stienf9
"...feels like a slightly different game each time." @SJGames
"...needs to be played over and over again once 'mastered'" @FZGames247

So without further ado, I give you the 6 top suggested tips for game designers to make their game more re-playable!

1. Length of time.

The most talked about matter was time. Either that it doesn't matter, that it does matter, or that it can be an obstacle. Needless to say this was a huge issue! What we've gathered from combing through all the comments are, that the game-play might not be the time that matters, so much as the ease to set up, clean up, and reset the game components. In addition it might be harder for a longer game to compensate for its time, and it can hurt it's re-playability.

At the end of the day, most people agreed that while game length has an effect, it shouldn't be a deciding factor. What to take from this is conversation is, that time does matter to a lot of the gamers out there, and if you want them to play your game lots of time, speed of play time might be important.

2. Variation

Variation is a very specific area, and it's important to note the difference from a lot of other factors of game play. Variation mainly deals with having different characters for people to play as & different scenarios to choose from. A game need many options.

This can be as simple as making the game have different play scenarios, or even creating alternative or faster play variants within the game. I would say though that from the discussion during the hour, core principles of the game can not be sacrificed to make the game have variety. Doing that alienates your base, and is probably the fastest way to kill your game's re-playability.

3. Randomized Play

Not to be confused with Variation. Variation is more about the core of how the game is played than Randomization is. Randomization would be changing up the course at which players take in the process of playing the game. Some suggestions people made during the hour was facets of the game that allowed for the game layout, items within the game, and even goals being able to be randomly assigned per game.

Another big issue which was raised during the hour was the cards within the game. Some noted that most cards shouldn't even be taken out of the box every play, and that no cards should have duplication to give true randomization of game play.

4. Different Victory Conditions

Tied with Number 5, different victory conditions are very important to the people within the #BoardGameHour. The idea that people could play the same game with another player, but be able to play it differently by choice was a major factor to re-playability. It gives a severe boost to the ability to play the game multiple times, because every time you can play by a different method than that of the other players.

5. Expansions

Much like Length of Play, Expansions split almost completely down the middle with negative and positive views of them. The general idea that most people had was that they should exist... except! The "except" is a major issue. The expansions must not be a part of the game that was sectioned off, and then sold back to the purchaser. A lot of people have been burned by that, and building a negative response to your game is going to kill the player's interest to pull the game off the shelf.

6. Audience Size / Marketability

This topic got linked in during the hour. Having a game / theme that can appeal to a wide audience is important to re-playability. Being able to take a game from one person to another is a big bonus for a game. If no one is offended, or disinterested in your game due to it's theme, then you are going to get a lot of re-playability from more people. If you can make a game that markets to a large audience as well, then you have an amazing game that bridges large groups of people!

Some of the other honorable mentions of the hour was:

Different Experiences for Each Player, Playing Till the Game is Masted, Enjoyment of the Experience, Ability for Cooperative/Competitive Play, High Strategy, Legacy Games, Price and using Player Defeat to Foster Interest.

Article by Eric Bryan Seuthe II or @Stienf9

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Thanks for adding to the conversation on Ministry of Board Games ;-)