So here’s the second part of Picking Out the Perfect Game — the first part was a whole lot more about finding places to try games, and finding ways to learn games. This installment is about the introspective side of picking out a board game.
What Do/Don’t You Like About a Game
This is going to be a huge part of determining what your perfect game would be. If you played Blood Rage and you liked it, but you didn’t like everything about it, what did or didn’t you like? Did you really like the card drafting but not so much the combat? Maybe you really liked the area control but didn’t like the action point system. Knowing this is going to be really useful in helping you narrow down what you want to play. If you liked card drafting but didn’t like anything else about Blood Rage, maybe a simpler game like Sushi Go! Party would be good for you. Using this strategy even for games you didn’t really like that well can help you pick the next game to try off of the shelf. That’s one of things that I try to do in my TableTopTakes posts.
How Long Do You Want to Play?
Another way you can help narrow down the list when looking for your perfect game is to think about how long you want to play a game. Don’t use this as a hard-and-fast rule; play games that are shorter/simpler than you think you might like, or try a game or two that’s longer than you think you want to play. You might know that you really won’t ever want to play a game like Arkham Horror because you don’t want a game to go more than an hour or so, but if a game says it might take an hour and a half, still consider giving it a try to see if you like it. Or maybe you find games that take five or ten minutes to be too simple generally, look at some of the more abstract short games out there; there are some short games that can still be challenging and very puzzling. Also, be aware that though a game says it plays in 30-45 minutes, that is just an estimate; games are naturally going to take longer the first time you play them, and the number on the box is really just the game creator’s best guess, as compared to actual playing times. For example, a chatty group will always take longer to play through a game than a more focused group.
Who Do I Play With?
When you think about the group of people you’d play board games with, what is the makeup of that group? For more on this idea, you can check out one of my previous posts, about knowing your gamer group (http://nerdologists.com/2016/04/gamer-group/). Now, what you have available to play with your gaming group might not be your perfect game, or at least may not be what you play often. I tend to like pretty heavy and heady games. I’m not always the best at them, but I like them. However, I play more middle-weight and light games. Why? Because a lot of the times when I can play games is at our board game nights, or with my wife. She’s a much more casual gamer than I am, so while I might like to pull out Arkham Horror, I normally don’t have the right group or enough time to play it. So consider aspects like this, and consider how important a game is to get to the table before you buy it. You might really love the game, but maybe it’s one that you just play at the board game shop from time to time instead of one that you have sitting on your shelf eating up room.
What else do you do to pick out a board game? There are more things that I could write about, but thinking about these three aspects and the ones I talked about in the previous post should help give some direction. Finding the perfect game is also a bad way for me to put it; there is no such thing as the perfect game for everyone or possibly even for anyone. Games always have some sort of flaw to them, but it’s about finding games that you really enjoy.
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