Hey there, I’m Andrew; game industry professional, reviewer, gamer, fellow Boardgaming.com member and the host of BoardGaming.com’s new discussion series called “Your Turn.”
This is your chance to let us know what YOU think about a variety of topics related to hobby gaming. I’ll start the conversation and then it’s “your turn” to chime in and add to the discussion. Each Your Turn discussion will have a new topic, and we may even have some special guests make a surprise visit down the road. In the meantime…
“Fillers” and “Micro games”
Less is… sometimes less.
Over the holidays I played some good games. King of Tokyo, Netrunner, Sentinels of the Multiverse (won!), X-Wing, an old favorite Dark Tower (only unearthed at the holidays), and five games of Heroes of Metro City, until for gosh sakes we beat that Archenemy! All of these games had something in common… they lasted a good long hour or two to play, and oh the glorious tales I can weave depicting the victories gained or the losses I suffered. 64 Brigands in the Tower? Ha! No big deal, victory was mine!
Mixed in there were several games of Coup and Love Letter. These used to be called “fillers.” Now, I guess the term “Micro games” has taken hold and the industry is now seeing more and more of this genre: games that can be played in 15 minutes or less.
Now I really like Coup and Love Letter – ingenious games both – and I had a great time playing them. At least I think I did. I can’t quite recall how many times I won or lost or came close. But it was fun! Well… I think.
And there is my issue with micro games. Is it such a good selling point to say you can play eight games in a half an hour? By the time I get to the 3rd game I have forgotten the first. The impression these games leave is momentary, fleeting. Yes, they are accessible, usually teaching them to gamers and even non-gamers in 5 minutes flat. But If I am paying for and spending time being entertained, I want to have something to talk about afterward. I want to have a story to tell or at least some memory of the path to victory or defeat.
I know they have their place; maybe as filler games. But for me, games that are so short don’t satisfy that need to be whisked away to a land of adventure, danger or even abstract strategic challenge. They are just forgettable. Who wants to play a forgettable game? And it seems that the one thing that you can relate to other players is how the game is played and how unique it is, not what actually happened when you did play it. I feel like for these micro games, less is really just… less.
Question: How do you feel about this current trend for shorter, faster, less expensive games? What’s your favorite (if you have one)? Is there some way to savor the game play experience with these games?