09 January 2016

Why do I like the games I like?

I have joined the writers at Pinkfae.com. I will be posting weekly articles over there as well as what I write here. Some of those articles will be duplicates of what I've written here (sometimes, I'll be writing about a topic I've covered before on this blog, and other times, I may just copy an article directly to that site).

I just submitted my second post to that site. As I was working on it this morning, I was contemplating the question, 'Why do I like the games that I like?' Most of the games I enjoy playing are of what I call the 'thinky-thinky' variety. They involve a lot of careful thought, weighty decisions, deliberate planning, and consideration of the actions of your opponents (and how those actions might totally hose you if you make a mistake!).

But then there are those games I like that do not involve much thought at all. Games like Panic on Wall Street, or The Red Dragon Inn. Why do I like these games that don't require the use of grey matter?

This got me to thinking. So I sat down and made a list of my favourite board games (and one roleplaying game that lasts a few hours at most, because it seems to fit better in this category than with traditional roleplaying games). Then I sorted those games into the different reasons why I like them. Here's what I came up with:

Dominant Species
The Lord of the Rings
Scotland Yard
Settlers of Catan
The Three Musketeers:
The Queen's Pendants
Ghost Stories
Fetish games Balderdash (words)
Bananagrams (words)
Labyrinth (spatial reasoning)
Unknown Fate
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Social Interaction
Resistance (Avalon)
Panic on Wall Street
The Red Dragon Inn
Fandom games Firefly
Order of the Stick
Star Trek Road Trip

The 'Thinky-thinky games' category is obviously the largest, with 12 games. Fetish games (which, by the way, I'm talking about games that appeal to one of my particular fetishes; non-sexual fetishes, obviously) has three games; two that appeal to my lexophilia and one that is fun because it plays with spatial reasoning.

Unknown Fate games are those that include some element of not knowing what's going to happen in the future. For Betrayal at House on the Hill, that means not knowing which scenario you're going to play out until it actually happens. For Citadels, that means not knowing which roles are available to you in any given round until the character cards get to you. I find that sort of anticipation to be enjoyable; What's going to be the objective of the game this time? Which characters will I have to choose from this round? We don't know yet! We won't know until it happens! It could be anything! It's so exciting!

There are actually five games in the Social Interaction games category; The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon are almost the same game. Aside from the thematic elements, the only difference is the inclusion of Merlin in Avalon. There is no such aspect in The Resistance. But all of these games allow a structured way for me to interact with my friends, which is something that I (being a socially incompetent individual) often find to be very helpful. These games also allow me to behave in a way that I don't always get to do; Panic on Wall Street lets me be very rambunctious and animated, which I don't always enjoy doing, and The Red Dragon Inn is a very humorous game.

Then there are the games that appeal to my specific fandoms. These 'Fandom games' are ones that I might normally not enjoy, but because they're set in a fictional universe that I already enjoy, it makes it much more palatable to me.

And finally, of course, are the storytelling games, those games that are loads of fun to me specifically because I get to be involved in telling amazing stories.

Anyway, those are probably the six primary reasons why I'll likely enjoy a game. I'd love to hear from you; what reasons do you like to play games? Leave your answers in the comments below, and come back next week when I talk about more awesome gaming stuff! Until then,

Game on!

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