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Changes in the boardgaming hobby

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  • pulsiphl_2000
    I have just joined the group, and looked at some of the recent messages discussing changes in the hobby. In the early 1980s, about the time I became a computer
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 14, 2004
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      I have just joined the group, and looked at some of the recent
      messages discussing changes in the hobby.

      In the early 1980s, about the time I became a computer professional
      (my training was in history), I "left" the game hobby, no longer
      writing articles, no longer designing games, ignoring it completely.
      (Britannia was finally published in 86 or 87, but I'd finished it in
      83.) For nearly 20 years the only game I played was Dungeons &
      Dragons, which is a very social game (as we play it), and also is a
      non-competitive game (about this same time I gave up playing games
      "against" someone, preferring cooperation). I thought that
      role-playing on the one hand, and computer games on the other, would
      destroy the boardgames hobby. I was wrong, though we all know that
      the boardgames hobby was "on the ropes" and has only revived (some)
      because of German/Euro games. (10,000 copies of Dragon Rage were
      produced at first printing; nowadays very few non-Euro games see a
      print run so large.)

      While the hobby did not disappear, it's certainly changed. I'm trying
      to figure out why.

      Hobby boardgames tend to be less complex than they used to be. (I
      leave out traditional family games such as Monopoly . . . Americans
      expect family games to be both simple and easy to be good at (high gyp
      factor).) Why?

      First, many people who prefer complex games have moved to computer
      games. There's no doubt, a computer game can be much more complex
      than any playable paper game. Anyone who likes high complexity can
      save a lot of time by playing computer games.

      Second, people are much more visually oriented than in the early 80s.
      There was no World Wide Web then, cable TV was much less "big" then,
      there were three broadcast networks instead of four, computers still
      used monochrome or four-color screens and no sound, and so on. A game
      with cardboard counters, which limits the visual aspects considerably,
      was still accounted an attractive piece of work in the 80s. Now,
      games need tangible pieces--pieces you can easily see and feel--
      colorful cards, and colorful boards (and hexes tend to "ruin" the
      look). Such pieces to not contain as much information as cardboard
      counters, which tends to limit the complexity of games they're used
      in. Cards can carry much more complexity, so to speak, and sometimes
      do in the collectible/tradeable card games, but the cards in
      boardgames tend to be fairly simple.

      Third, people are much less word-oriented (which is almost the same as
      more visually oriented, but not quite). I teach in a community
      college, and my wife is in a PhD program at present at a major
      university, and we find the same thing: students don't read much. If
      they *really* get interested in something they'll read for hours, but
      otherwise, forget it--even graduate students. Those of you who have
      looked into Web usability know that the typical advice is to write a
      lot less than you normally would, and use bullets rather than
      narrative. Give young people a narrative and a lot of them will miss
      vital parts because they're skimming rather than reading.

      The result: rules had better be pretty simple, so that the one person
      who does read them can comprehend them, because they may not put much
      effort into it. And the other players won't read the rules at all, so
      there's no check on the first one's comprehension.

      Fourth, people are less competent mathematically. This stems from
      using calculators and computers. I (at age 53) can calculate simple
      math in my head much more rapidly than most young people, simply from
      experience and intention (kids often won't even try). I see kids (and
      young adults) who ought to know better actually adding up the pips on
      two dice rather than automatically recognizing the total from the two
      results. This is not a matter of "brain power", it's a matter of what
      people are used to and expect from themselves. Insofar as this is
      true, some of the complexity that we could once put into a boardgame
      is better avoided, if possible.


      I think it's also true, as someone said, that many young people simply
      haven't been exposed to board wargames, or boardgames of any sort
      beyond Monopoly and perhaps Risk. I've introduced a number of
      twenty-somethings to boardgames during my playtesting, and they are
      often quite enthusiastic. The trick is to get people to play in the
      first place. This is probably a reason why teachers had free
      admission to Origins in Columbus, an effort by GAMA to get
      (non-computer) gaming introduced into schools.

      Look at the people playing the monster hex wargames at a convention.
      Most of them are middle-aged and older.

      Boardgames (and RPGs, and CCGs) all have one advantage over computer
      games: they are (or can be) social events. That's what has made
      "German" games, as I understand it, families who like to play games
      together in Germany, and want something less dumbed-down than
      Monopoly. Most of my friends play non-computer games, and most of the
      people I know who play non-computer games are my friends. Of course,
      with the advent of Internet play, computer games are becoming social,
      up to a point. One of my friends plays Everquest, and can get in
      gangs of 70 people to go on big adventures. Yet this is still a lot
      different than playing face-to-face.

      To me, then, the way to promote non-computer games is to emphasize the
      social attractions as well as the mental and other attractions.

      I will be teaching an "Introduction to Gaming" class this fall, which
      will lead students to a Game Programming and Design certificate. It
      will be interesting to see how many of the computer game fans who come
      to the class will turn out to be boardgame fans as well, both when we
      begin, and when we finish.

      Lew Pulsipher
      Britannia, Dragon Rage, Valley of the Four Winds, etc.
      pulsiphergames.com
    • Neal Sofge
      I think you left out the most important factor - spare time. Americans no longer have four hour blocks of time (or at least don t think they do). Old-style
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 16, 2004
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        I think you left out the most important factor - spare time. Americans
        no longer have four hour blocks of time (or at least don't think they
        do). Old-style wargamey boardgames need an entire evening to set up,
        play, and put away, and that level of commitment is hard to organize in
        the chaotic realm most of us now live in. To paraphrase my wife's
        analysis of FMG sales figures, "people didn't have email or the web
        when you started."

        > [Lew]
        > This is probably a reason why teachers had free admission to Origins
        > in Columbus, an effort by GAMA to get (non-computer) gaming introduced
        > into schools.

        That's right. I was a panelist for that program, and what struck me is
        that most of the interest in school gaming comes from elementary
        teachers. High school life is already too busy, I suppose.

        > [Eddy]
        > I would argue that some modern
        > games have a considerable amount of strategic and/or tactical
        > complexity
        > even with relatively simple rules

        Yes, the richness of gameplay is not necessarily related to rules
        complexity. I think that the fidelity of simulation is on an entirely
        different measurement axis, only tangentially related to gameplay; it's
        this fidelity that's linearly related to rules complexity and thus
        largely missing in eurostyle boardgames. As I've said before, whether
        or not this matters to you depends on your itch.
      • Greg Aleknevicus
        ... I wonder if this is really the case. It seems to me that people have *always* complained that they don t have as much free time as people did 10 (or 20, or
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 16, 2004
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          Neal Sofge wrote:

          >I think you left out the most important factor - spare time. Americans
          >no longer have four hour blocks of time (or at least don't think they
          >do).

          I wonder if this is really the case. It seems to me that people have
          *always* complained that they don't have as much free time as people did 10
          (or 20, or 30) years ago. I'm sure that people in 2014 will look back in
          fondness at the lazy, carefree days of 2004.

          --Greg Aleknevicus
          http://pacificcoast.net/~greg/index.html - Wood Cubes & Cardboard
        • Steven Woodcock
          Nah...I *really* don t have as much time as I used to any more. Setting aside several hours for a game is pretty tough...heck, my bigtime gaming friends and I
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 18, 2004
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            Nah...I *really* don't have as much time as I used to any more. Setting
            aside several hours for a game is pretty tough...heck, my bigtime gaming
            friends and I only get together every few months or so. We've all got a lot
            of things to do with work, houses, etc.

            Back in college I didn't have anything to worry about outside of
            homework and making sure my $$$ lasted to the next payday. Games (and the
            library) were a great way to maximize my time and $$$ and meet people at the
            same time.

            Now I've got a new fence to put up, a lawn to mow, groceries to buy,
            ferrets to take care of, books to read--and oh, yeah, that work thing......

            Steve

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Greg Aleknevicus" <greg@...>
            To: <microgame@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 4:11 PM
            Subject: Re: [microgame] Re: Changes in the boardgaming hobby


            > Neal Sofge wrote:
            >
            > >I think you left out the most important factor - spare time. Americans
            > >no longer have four hour blocks of time (or at least don't think they
            > >do).
            >
            > I wonder if this is really the case. It seems to me that people have
            > *always* complained that they don't have as much free time as people did
            10
            > (or 20, or 30) years ago. I'm sure that people in 2014 will look back in
            > fondness at the lazy, carefree days of 2004.
            >
            > --Greg Aleknevicus
            > http://pacificcoast.net/~greg/index.html - Wood Cubes & Cardboard
            >
          • Greg Aleknevicus
            ... Anecdotal evidence counts for but a single data point and as such is almost worthless as proof of anything. When you were back in college there was some
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 18, 2004
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              Steven Woodcock wrote:

              > Nah...I *really* don't have as much time as I used to any more. Setting
              >aside several hours for a game is pretty tough...heck, my bigtime gaming
              >friends and I only get together every few months or so. We've all got a lot
              >of things to do with work, houses, etc.
              >
              > Back in college I didn't have anything to worry about outside of
              >homework and making sure my $$$ lasted to the next payday. Games (and the
              >library) were a great way to maximize my time and $$$ and meet people at the
              >same time.

              Anecdotal evidence counts for but a single data point and as such is almost
              worthless as "proof" of anything.

              When you were back in college there was some working man who complained
              that "people don't have as much free time as they did when *I* was going to
              college". Now that you're a working man, there are college students with
              just as much free time (and no money) as you had back then. These same
              college students will no doubt be complaining in 10 years how "people don't
              have as much free time as they did when *I* was in college".

              --Greg Aleknevicus
              http://pacificcoast.net/~greg/index.html - Wood Cubes & Cardboard
            • The Maverick
              ... I think Greg may be on to something here - I don t have as much free time as I used to have back in high school and college, but I would think that the
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                Greg Aleknevicus wrote:
                >
                > When you were back in college there was some working man who complained
                > that "people don't have as much free time as they did when *I* was going to
                > college". Now that you're a working man, there are college students with
                > just as much free time (and no money) as you had back then. These same
                > college students will no doubt be complaining in 10 years how "people don't
                > have as much free time as they did when *I* was in college".

                I think Greg may be on to something here - I don't have as much free
                time as I used to have back in high school and college, but I would
                think that the amount of free time available to students is still the
                same as it was then - and I especially hope that law students still
                don't have any free time! ;-)

                the Mav



                --

                "Never give up -- never surrender!" Commander Peter Quincy Taggart
              • dwtulloh@zianet.com
                ... But this morphs back into the question of Why don t today s college students pick up the hobby? And, Is the majority of the boardgame audience supposed
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                  The Maverick writes:

                  > Greg Aleknevicus wrote:
                  >>
                  >> When you were back in college there was some working man who
                  >> complained that "people don't have as much free time as they
                  >> did when *I* was going to college". Now that you're a working
                  >> man, there are college students with just as much free time
                  >> (and no money) as you had back then. These same college stu-
                  >> dents will no doubt be complaining in 10 years how "people don't
                  >> have as much free time as they did when *I* was in college".
                  >
                  > I think Greg may be on to something here - I don't have as much
                  > free time as I used to have back in high school and college, but
                  > I would think that the amount of free time available to students
                  > is still the same as it was then - and I especially hope that
                  > law students still don't have any free time! ;-)
                  >

                  But this morphs back into the question of "Why don't today's
                  college students pick up the hobby?" And, "Is the majority of
                  the boardgame audience supposed to be college students?" If
                  it is the latter, then you would expect to see much fewer people
                  of my age (ok, 42) involved in the hobby than would people of
                  college age. Personally, I think the focus of the average
                  college student with a gaming bent has changed - they are much
                  more interested in card-based games (including CCGs) than
                  boardgames. What the reason is for this, I don't know, but I
                  have a couple of ideas:

                  1) I think the educational system here in the US has really
                  let our students down: most of them are mathematically challenged
                  (especially in the field of probability) and they don't like
                  to read for leisure. (Essentially what someone else said, was
                  it Lew?) This means that they are put off by rules that go on
                  for more than a few pages and that they aren't good at quickly
                  calculating attack odds ( ie, 45-20 .. ok, thats a 2-1 ).

                  2) Boardgames of any appreciable size can take a while to finish
                  and are slow at building up to the climax - thus, they aren't
                  seen as being exciting. Then too, boardgames usually have a
                  limited amount of associated socialization - players tend to
                  spend a lot of time optimizing their moves rather than kibitzing.
                  ( or arguing about the rules ).

                  3) Card games, on the other hand, are fast moving and have a
                  high amount of associated socialization, thus they are seen to
                  be fun.

                  I dunno, thats my 2 cents.

                  Dan
                • Dave Boyd
                  ... I have some ideas too. ... I think there s always going to be nerds and jocks . By which I only mean that some people will always enjoy thinking more
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                    At 10:25 07/19/2004 -0600, Dan Tulloh wrote:
                    >But this morphs back into the question of "Why don't today's
                    >college students pick up the hobby?" And, "Is the majority of
                    >the boardgame audience supposed to be college students?" If
                    >it is the latter, then you would expect to see much fewer people
                    >of my age (ok, 42) involved in the hobby than would people of
                    >college age. Personally, I think the focus of the average
                    >college student with a gaming bent has changed - they are much
                    >more interested in card-based games (including CCGs) than
                    >boardgames. What the reason is for this, I don't know, but I
                    >have a couple of ideas:

                    I have some ideas too.

                    >1) I think the educational system here in the US has really
                    >let our students down: most of them are mathematically challenged
                    >(especially in the field of probability) and they don't like
                    >to read for leisure. (Essentially what someone else said, was
                    >it Lew?) This means that they are put off by rules that go on
                    >for more than a few pages and that they aren't good at quickly
                    >calculating attack odds ( ie, 45-20 .. ok, thats a 2-1 ).

                    I think there's always going to be "nerds" and "jocks". By which I only
                    mean that some people will always enjoy thinking more than others do. I
                    don't think you can blame the educational system for any lack of interest
                    in games; I don't think it's even a related issue. Supposing my thesis is
                    right, that there is still a proportionate number of "nerds" in the
                    population, the question is, why don't they pick up boardgaming as a
                    hobby? My answer is, they either perceive it to be less fun than the
                    alternatives, or aren't aware it exists/exposed to it.

                    >2) Boardgames of any appreciable size can take a while to finish
                    >and are slow at building up to the climax - thus, they aren't
                    >seen as being exciting. Then too, boardgames usually have a
                    >limited amount of associated socialization - players tend to
                    >spend a lot of time optimizing their moves rather than kibitzing.
                    >( or arguing about the rules ).

                    In other words, the fun is seen to be less intense/more spread out over
                    time. Which is probably a fair assessment.

                    >3) Card games, on the other hand, are fast moving and have a
                    >high amount of associated socialization, thus they are seen to
                    >be fun.

                    All fun is perceived fun. Fun is subjective. They find card games more
                    fun and more attractive than the boardgames they've played, and expect that
                    this is almost always the case, as people tend to do. They are therefore
                    un-interested in board games.

                    I often go into stores which cater heavily to CCGers and play board
                    games. I sometimes lure kids with no opponents into playing a board
                    game. Almost without exception, they are attracted to the more visually
                    appealing games, like Blokus, or miniatures. Our (other) games look boring.

                    My observation is that when we were kids, video games were primitive (and
                    not often found in the home) and board games were mature. When
                    college-agers were kids, video games were mature and omnipresent in the
                    home, and had few of the perceived flaws of board games (long learning
                    curve, lack of visual appeal, delayed payoff, none of their friends were
                    playing them, etc.) And they've been playing them since they were little
                    kids, finding better and deeper games available as they grew up. The
                    players we lost went to video games and computer games (and CCGs). Can
                    there be any doubt?

                    It's completely natural that the time for the hobby is mostly
                    passed. Stamp collecting is mostly over, too, a victim of the world's
                    postal services desires to make money off of it. Sad, in a way, but maybe
                    it's time to step outside the problem, look at it dispassionately, and
                    decide that we will almost certainly never see the numbers we had in the
                    eighties again.


                    --
                    Dave Boyd
                    "If I was Superman, I'd make sure I had all the Magic cards."
                    -- Al Lavoie, Age 37
                  • Steven Woodcock
                    With ALL respect due to such a dismissive retort, it was a single anecdotal story which started this. A series of anecdotal stories makes for a trend, sooner
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                      With ALL respect due to such a dismissive retort, it was a single
                      anecdotal story which started this. A series of anecdotal stories makes for
                      a trend, sooner or later, one way or the other.

                      Regarding the free time/working man issue, you're pretty much couldn't
                      have missed the mark more. I've never complained at not having the free time
                      I used to have, as I *do* things I didn't used to do. YOU may find it
                      something to complain about but I don't, nor did I say that I did--just
                      noted it as a definite reason why I don't play boardgames very much. I'd
                      prioritize boardgames more if there was more reason to but, frankly, there
                      ain't. Can't help it if the message is unpalatable but don't beat the
                      messenger for it.

                      And frankly (this has been said in another thread), boardgames aren't
                      generally worth the trouble compared to computerized games. I can play
                      head-to-head, with multiple opponents, at any time day or night, pretty much
                      any game (that supports such things) of any complexity that I wish today.
                      Boardgames require much more coordination, finding a place to meet, a huge
                      setaside of time, agreement on both the game to be played and the rules to
                      be used, etc.

                      It's kinda like driving a horse and buggy to work every day. Yes I
                      *could*, and I might even find the experience pleasant from time to
                      time....but it ain't gonna be something I do much.

                      Steve

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Greg Aleknevicus" <greg@...>
                      To: <microgame@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2004 11:30 PM
                      Subject: Re: [microgame] Re: Changes in the boardgaming hobby


                      > Steven Woodcock wrote:
                      >
                      > > Nah...I *really* don't have as much time as I used to any more.
                      Setting
                      > >aside several hours for a game is pretty tough...heck, my bigtime gaming
                      > >friends and I only get together every few months or so. We've all got a
                      lot
                      > >of things to do with work, houses, etc.
                      > >
                      > > Back in college I didn't have anything to worry about outside of
                      > >homework and making sure my $$$ lasted to the next payday. Games (and the
                      > >library) were a great way to maximize my time and $$$ and meet people at
                      the
                      > >same time.
                      >
                      > Anecdotal evidence counts for but a single data point and as such is
                      almost
                      > worthless as "proof" of anything.
                      >
                      > When you were back in college there was some working man who complained
                      > that "people don't have as much free time as they did when *I* was going
                      to
                      > college". Now that you're a working man, there are college students with
                      > just as much free time (and no money) as you had back then. These same
                      > college students will no doubt be complaining in 10 years how "people
                      don't
                      > have as much free time as they did when *I* was in college".
                      >
                      > --Greg Aleknevicus
                      > http://pacificcoast.net/~greg/index.html - Wood Cubes & Cardboard
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • The Maverick
                      ... Wow - I couldn t disagree more. First of all, for me, an online head-to-head game will never replace a relaxed, social evening of gaming face-to-face.
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                        Steven Woodcock wrote:
                        >
                        > And frankly (this has been said in another thread), boardgames aren't
                        > generally worth the trouble compared to computerized games. I can play
                        > head-to-head, with multiple opponents, at any time day or night, pretty much
                        > any game (that supports such things) of any complexity that I wish today.
                        > Boardgames require much more coordination, finding a place to meet, a huge
                        > setaside of time, agreement on both the game to be played and the rules to
                        > be used, etc.
                        >
                        > It's kinda like driving a horse and buggy to work every day. Yes I
                        > *could*, and I might even find the experience pleasant from time to
                        > time....but it ain't gonna be something I do much.

                        Wow - I couldn't disagree more. First of all, for me, an online
                        "head-to-head" game will never replace a relaxed, social evening of
                        gaming face-to-face. Being able to play computer game at the drop of a
                        hat with (typically) a bunch of strangers is "convenient", but it seems
                        a sad replacement for socializing and gaming with a regular group,
                        face-to-face.

                        As for board games not generally being worth the "trouble" compared to
                        computerized games - this is purely a matter of taste. I think it really
                        has to do more with conformity than with board games presenting that
                        much trouble (although the amount of trouble may vary depending on the
                        type of games you are talking about.)

                        As for the suggestion that face-to-face gaming is analogous to driving a
                        horse and buggy to work, I think if you tried the latter you'd revise
                        that claim. ;-)

                        the Mav


                        --

                        "Never give up -- never surrender!" Commander Peter Quincy Taggart
                      • Edward Lipsett
                        To me this seems somewhat analogous to the situation I frequently encounter in RPGing. Some people feel that the rules are the ultimate good, and believe that
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 19, 2004
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                          To me this seems somewhat analogous to the situation I frequently encounter
                          in RPGing. Some people feel that the rules are the ultimate good, and
                          believe that die rolling, manual referencing and massive stat sheets are the
                          key to a fun evening. Other people (me, for one) believe that the
                          story-creation element is of primary importance, and rules and stats are
                          covenient props to be used, modified or ignored freely in favor of a fun
                          game.
                          In other words, (perhaps simplifying too much), socializing is more fun than
                          lecturing.

                          > Wow - I couldn't disagree more. First of all, for me, an online
                          > "head-to-head" game will never replace a relaxed, social evening of
                          > gaming face-to-face. Being able to play computer game at the drop of a
                          > hat with (typically) a bunch of strangers is "convenient", but it seems
                          > a sad replacement for socializing and gaming with a regular group,
                          > face-to-face.


                          --
                          The true university of these days is a collection of books.
                          - Thomas Carlyle, "On Heroes and Hero Worship"
                          --
                          Edward Lipsett
                          Intercom, Ltd.
                          Fukuoka, Japan
                          Tel: 092-712-9120
                          Fax: 092-712-9220
                          translation@...
                          http://www.intercomltd.com
                        • Steven Woodcock
                          ... From: The Maverick To: Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 12:45 AM Subject: Re: [microgame] Re: Changes
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 20, 2004
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "The Maverick" <themaverick@...>
                            To: <microgame@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 12:45 AM
                            Subject: Re: [microgame] Re: Changes in the boardgaming hobby


                            > Wow - I couldn't disagree more.

                            Hey, fair enough. I never said my preferences were everybody's....but
                            they are definitely wide spread
                            amongst the boardgamers I know personally.

                            >First of all, for me, an online
                            > "head-to-head" game will never replace a relaxed, social evening of
                            > gaming face-to-face. Being able to play computer game at the drop of a
                            > hat with (typically) a bunch of strangers is "convenient", but it seems
                            > a sad replacement for socializing and gaming with a regular group,
                            > face-to-face.

                            I disagree utterly with it being a sad replacement, though I agree
                            wholeheartedly that getting face-to-face is
                            different. My friends and I greatly enjoy some of the Mayfair railroad games
                            (Empire Builder, British Rails, etc.)
                            and while there IS an online version that we all have, we get together when
                            we play. It's a chance for us to goof off,
                            joke, eat tons of chips and unhealthy foods, argue politics, etc.

                            Online gaming isn't sad at all (for me, anyway), though it's definitely
                            different. It's very good when I want to *play* *a* *game*
                            rather than goof around waiting for the last guy to show up to a
                            get-together. It's great for discussing strategy and, if it's a turn-based
                            game such as Empire Deluxe, one can quickly give each other references and
                            such while one's playing. It's just a different experience,
                            frankly.

                            > As for board games not generally being worth the "trouble" compared to
                            > computerized games - this is purely a matter of taste.

                            Agreed....I was trying to make that clear. The retorter (?) to my
                            original post didn't leave that impression though.

                            >I think it really has to do more with conformity than with board games
                            presenting that
                            > much trouble (although the amount of trouble may vary depending on the
                            > type of games you are talking about.)

                            I would argue that, frankly, boardgames demand FAR more "conformity"
                            than the computer games my friends and I play
                            online. I reckon it depends on the games you play.

                            >
                            > As for the suggestion that face-to-face gaming is analogous to driving a
                            > horse and buggy to work, I think if you tried the latter you'd revise
                            > that claim. ;-)

                            My dear Mav, I would wager that I've driven probably more miles in horse
                            and buggy than anybody else on this newsgroup! Grew up in Missouri in
                            the country, bailing hay and feeding horses. I am fairly qualified to judge
                            the relative worth of horses vs. cars.


                            Steve
                          • Steven Woodcock
                            ... From: ... I think the hard fact is that card games are the new microgames ...they re fast to play, simple to learn, difficult to
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jul 31, 2004
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                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: <dwtulloh@...>

                              > But this morphs back into the question of "Why don't today's
                              > college students pick up the hobby?" And, "Is the majority of
                              > the boardgame audience supposed to be college students?" If
                              > it is the latter, then you would expect to see much fewer people
                              > of my age (ok, 42) involved in the hobby than would people of
                              > college age. Personally, I think the focus of the average
                              > college student with a gaming bent has changed - they are much
                              > more interested in card-based games (including CCGs) than
                              > boardgames. What the reason is for this, I don't know, but I
                              > have a couple of ideas:

                              I think the hard fact is that card games are the "new
                              microgames"...they're fast to play, simple to learn, difficult
                              to master, and fun for everybody. It's hard to beat a deck of cards,
                              essentially, over a little box and a die (did anybody
                              remember to bring a die?!?), a bunch of little cardboard counters, etc.

                              >
                              > 1) I think the educational system here in the US has really
                              > let our students down: most of them are mathematically challenged
                              > (especially in the field of probability) and they don't like
                              > to read for leisure. (Essentially what someone else said, was
                              > it Lew?) This means that they are put off by rules that go on
                              > for more than a few pages and that they aren't good at quickly
                              > calculating attack odds ( ie, 45-20 .. ok, thats a 2-1 ).

                              I think this is nonsense for what it's worth. If you play a game with
                              CRTs all the time you figure out what it means
                              to have 3:2 odds...it sure as heck wasn't something covered in school.
                              College students today are every bit as good
                              at figuring out odds as we were.....watch a good game of Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh
                              and you'll see realtime math flying around.

                              > 2) Boardgames of any appreciable size can take a while to finish
                              > and are slow at building up to the climax - thus, they aren't
                              > seen as being exciting. Then too, boardgames usually have a
                              > limited amount of associated socialization - players tend to
                              > spend a lot of time optimizing their moves rather than kibitzing.
                              > ( or arguing about the rules ).

                              Amen. This is a big factor, IMO.

                              > 3) Card games, on the other hand, are fast moving and have a
                              > high amount of associated socialization, thus they are seen to
                              > be fun.

                              I think that's the nub of it. Personally I can't stand card games
                              (though I rather liked Illumanati), but that's me.

                              Steve
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