Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Six Characteristics of a Good Game

As I was writing last week's review of Rampage / Terror in Meeple City, I started thinking about how I had only just recently introduced into my board game reviews the Six Characteristics of a Good Game. More to the point, I was thinking about how those six characteristics don't always map exactly to how well I like a game.

So, I thought that today, I would take a quick look back at all of the games I've reviewed on this blog in the past. I want to do this for two reasons:
  1. I want to go back and add these characteristics to those games that don't yet have them, on account of I wrote their reviews before I started including the characteristics.
  2. I want to compare the characteristics to my personal ratings of those games.
Note that in that last one, I'm comparing the ratings to my personal tastes. I'm only doing this for demonstrative purposes. I want to show that just because a game has all six characteristics, it won't necessarily be a game that you like. Contrariwise, if a game lacks most (or all) of these characteristics, it may still be a game that you enjoy. So whatever ranking you give to these games, similar to mine or different, the point remains the same.

Let's go!

Games I've Reviewed Before

Below is a table (which is, admittedly, pretty large, as I've reviewed quite a few games here over the years) that contains the six characteristics as well as my rating. For purposes of this chart, I will be borrowing the suggested 1–10 rating system used on Board Game Geek. That is:
  1. Defies description. You won't catch me dead playing this game.
  2. Extremely bad. I won't play this again.
  3. I likely won't play this again, though I might be convinced.
  4. Not so good. I might be talked into it on occasion.
  5. Average. Slightly boring. Take it or leave it.
  6. Ok. Some fun or challenge. Will play if in the right mood.
  7. Good game. Usually willing to play.
  8. Very good game. I'll probably suggest it, and won't turn down a chance to play.
  9. Excellent game. I always want to play.
  10. Outstanding. I always want to play, and I expect this will never change.

Game
Fun to lose
No player elimination
Fairly simple
Player agency
Ends decisively
Allows for upsets
My rating
The Order of the Stick: The Dungeon of Dorukan
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 6
Carcassonne
No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 4
Labyrinth
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Settlers of Catan
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Kill Dr Lucky
No Yes Yes No Yes No 3
Tara
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Bananagrams
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Pendants
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Dominion
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle
No Yes Yes No Yes No 2
Citadels
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Hive
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Anima: Shadow of Omega
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 6
The Resistance: Avalon
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Puerto Rico
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 7
Hanabi
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Dominant Species
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 10
Clans
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 9
Asphodel
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Eclipse (Gigamic)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Elysium
No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5
Panic on Wall Street
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
The Red Dragon Inn
Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Colosseum
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 9
Sushi Go!
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
The Lord of the Rings
Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Scoville
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Star Trek Road Trip
No Yes Yes No No No 6
Scotland Yard
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
T'zolkin: The Mayan Calendar
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 5
Gloom
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Alchemists
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 4
Stratego
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Theseus: The Dark Orbit
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Balderdash
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10
Area 1851
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Firefly: the Game
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 7
Tsuro
Yes No Yes Yes Yes No 8
Coup
Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
51st State
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 6
Ghost Stories
Yes Usually Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Between Two Cities
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Eclipse (Asmodee)
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 7
Kingsburg
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Dead of Winter
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Imhotep
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Oceanos
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Hot Tin Roof
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Tell Me a Story
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 9
CV
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Simon's Cat
No Yes Yes No Yes No 4
I Hate Zombies
No No Yes Yes No No 4
Bill and Ted's Excellent Board Game
No Yes Yes Yes Yes No 4
Terra Mystica
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 5
Tides of Madness
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Harbour
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
...and then we held hands
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No 6
GeoQuest
Yes Yes Yes Yes No No 5
Push a Monster
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 5
Power Grid
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 9
Apples to Apples
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 4
Dead Last
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Wrong Chemistry
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Hoyuk
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 6
The Goonies: Adventure Card Game
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No 6
Kingdom Builder
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Blood Rage
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Captain Sonar
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 7
Abyss
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No 8
Conspire
Yes Yes No Yes No No 9
Skull
Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Plague Inc
No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6
Terraforming Mars
Yes Yes No Yes Yes No 5
Near and Far
Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 10
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal
Maybe? Yes Yes No Yes No 5
Azul
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
Rampage / Terror in Meeple City
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 7
As you can see, I don't always like games that have a perfect rating in the six characteristics, nor do I always dislike games that don't have a perfect rating.

I know this isn't a terribly deep entry, but I felt it was kind of important to analyse this topic. I hope at least that you found it interesting. And in the meantime, please remember to

Game on!

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