Home Controlled Area Gaming Does that awesome game match your group’s play patterns?

Does that awesome game match your group’s play patterns?


Controlled Area Gaming

As gamers, we have relationships with the other people we game with. Those relationships may be founded in gaming, or they may have had origins outside of gaming. Whatever the source, we develop patterns of play with these others.

Some groups are weekly (or even less frequent), more formal affairs where players stay acquaintances, never getting close because the focus of the group’s meeting is a game. Other affairs are much more casual with the game being secondary to the socializing. There may be drinks and table chit-chat, thus lengthening the time a game takes to finish. Depending on the group’s style, the play consistency might also vary wildly, but usually once a week is common unless the group consists of players with lots of free time and who live close to each other.

Evaluating your group’s play pattern is crucial before you can buy games that you will get mileage out of. There have been plenty of games I have purchased over the years that sit on the shelf because I can’t find the players willing to commit to consistent play. It’s one of the reasons I turned away from campaign style games (Descent or Imperial Assault) and favor more competitive, strategic games that provide a week of drama in a single evening of play.

Lots of hype these days comes from episodic games being converted into campaign style or “Legacy” games. This is a trend I am likely to pass on. I appreciate the efforts to bring narrative and over-arching themes into games that might normally only provide glimpses of where the game could go, but in reality, this makes the game much more difficult to get to the table. People can burn out on the play style. Even if they enjoy it for a while, is it worth the cost of the game if you’re only likely to make it through half or even a third of the story? This is a question that every purchaser needs to answer.

All that being said, if someone invites me to a single event of playing such a game, I won’t say no.

Tahsin loves games that tell stories through their play structure. He's also a film nerd and father of one geek.

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