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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mechanism

Hmmm. Least favorite mechanism.

This actually gave me problems, as I don't normally focus on the mechanism of a game. I just go with my gut feel, either I like the game or I don't. I can like one game with a particular mechanism, and dislike another that uses the same mechanism. Theme, components, presentation, all are factors in liking or disliking a game, and there are always other facets of the way a game works that adds to the base mechanism that muddies the waters somewhat.

Then again there are some games I dislike, although I'm beginning to wonder if that's just more a point of principle than a real dislike. I'm talking about Party Games.

I have never liked party games. They seem to focus on speed of thought, not something that I'm very good at (as those who know me will attest), hence my dislike. Plus they're just plain silly. No real strategy, tactics, forethought, planning. Leave your brain cells behind and let the first thing that hits your gob just spew out.

And yet.......

I went along to Chris' SimplyFun party the other week. I disliked all the games, as they were all party oriented. Well, except Walk the Dogs. Almost. It had some elements of strategy, tactics, whatever, but still mostly pure blind luck. However, I had a great time. True, not the games that I would choose to play given a choice. However, as I've always maintained, this is a social hobby, and the social part comes first and foremost. I would far rather play a game I disliked with a group I liked than vice versa, any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

And yet......

The whole SimplyFun experience forced me to re-evaluate my attitude to party games. A while back, in game session reports, we were discussing Cave Troll, a game I rated highly. Doug (or Dug) stated that he disliked it, and couldn't see why we liked it so much. I retorted that we always had a blast playing it, a fun experience. Ah, he replied, but does that necessarily mean that it's a good game? Ppff, pshaw, and ptui, I responded, of course it's a good game because we had a blast. Now I'm having to rethink that position. The two are not necessarily connected. The amount of fun you have is (largely) a factor of the company, not the game you're playing at the time.

So, where does that leave me wrt party games? Do I dislike them because of nothing more than prejudice? I'm still not sure.

Anyway, back to the subject for this week. Of the various mechanisms listed on BGG, the ones I'm least likely to be interested in are those involving singing and acting, very much party attributes, especially when the drink has been flowing. Then again, the former is because I'm being nice to everyone. You really don't want to hear me sing, trust me on that one. As for acting, I'll leave that to just being part of the audience at a decent movie, play, whatever.

OK, enough blethering from me for this week. Go play some decent games!

3 Comments:

  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger Jon said…

    Are you having fun in spite of the game or is the game facilitating the fun?

     
  • At 5:35 PM, Blogger Dug said…

    As the guy who hates Cave Troll, I will say that the game is providing two functions: first, it acts as a social lubricant. With a game, you rarely have to come up with things to talk about with people you barely know.

    Second, it acts as a Bowflex for your head. OK, that sounded odd. It acts as a StairMaster for your head, giving you the chance to test your wits.

    A party game is really more about the first than the second, but you still have to have your wits about you. For someone like me who thinks out loud, they are great fun. For someone who wants to have a more considered approach, they only make you feel like a freakin' idiot. In my case, I am a freakin' idiot, but I don't feel like one playing a party game!

     
  • At 7:04 AM, Blogger Henry Rhombus said…

    Alan Moon said that the original rules for Walk the Dogs allowed players to either draw a card or play a card during their turn. SimplyFun simplified this rule by having players do both.

    Add the original rule back in, and you have a nice hand-management aspect to this simple game: play now and reduce future options, or draw and bide your time.

     

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