Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Backlash Effect

A mere hours after Tom Vasel posts a message questioning the popularity of the Gipf series as compared to other abstracts, Rick Thornquist does the same in his weekly roundup, throwing off an insinuation that these games derive most of their popularity simply because Rio Grande Games published them.

I hereby announce the start of a new Backlash Effect on Gipf, an effect most recently visited upon Caylus by people who haven't even yet played the game. Expect a series of people to now denounce Gipf games as over-produced and over-hyped, and "not so special" when compare to lots of other abstract games. I have my own gripes about games that I have not enjoyed as much as I was "supposed to". I've made these feelings clear on this blog as I've played them. I was a victim of believing the precursor to the "Backlash Effect": the "Hype Effect".

I suggest that everyone try the following exercise: go to your games rating page on the Geek and click on the arrow that arranges them all by rating, from 10s down to 1s.

Now, I assume that your 10s are only the real all-time classics that you expect even your grandchildren to enjoy. And the 1s are only reserved for games that simply are not games, like "Bingo", as opposed to simply bad games, like "Candyland".

For the remainder of the games, those in the 2 through 9 range, check if all of your 9s are really more enticing to you than all of your 8s. Do the 9s all hold a similar level of appeal to you? Do the 8s? Now do the same for the 8s and 7s, and so on down the line.

Look at your list. Remember that most games have both good and bad aspects. The best games have a few faults, and (most of) the worst have a few saving graces. Maybe both sides of the coin are true, to a certain extent.

Yehuda

P.S. Edited to remove poorly worded sentences.

7 comments:

Simon J said...

"Now, I assume that your 10s are only the real all-time classics that you expect even your grandchildren to enjoy."

I agree with the sentiment of this article, but why should I expect my grandchildren to love the same games as me?

Yehuda said...

A figure of speech. I wasn't talking about "your" grandchildren, specifically. But some games are, and always will be, fun, challenging, and timeless, will they not? Even if not everyone plays them throughout his or her life.

Go comes to mind. Bridge. Some would add Chess. My other 10s are Cosmic Encounter, Puerto Rico, and Magic: the Gathering.

Yehuda

Adam Conus said...

Candyland is a terrible example of a 'bad game', it's just not designed for older kids or adults. It's the ultimate first game. It teaches the basic mechanics of gaming to the youngest possible audience. No reading, no counting. Try to make a better game that a 4 year old can play.

I'm certain Candyland is more fun to you than Puerto Rico is to a 4 year old. Which is the better game?

The answer is both games are great...when played by their intended audience.

Yehuda said...

Adam: I completely agree with you, which is why I advocate for a multiple criteria rating system instead of a simple numerical one. But does anyone listen to me?

Yehuda

Yehuda said...

Actually, I don't completely agree with you. There are better games for 4 years olds than Candyland. As I noted on Gone Gaming, even Candyland with two pawns, where you have to decide which to move, is better than straight Candyland.

Yehuda

Adam Conus said...

Fair enough. As I have a 4 year old (and Candyland) I'm always on the lookout for appropriate games. I check out Gone Gaming for the others you suggest, unless you want to let me off easy and tell me here. =-)

Yehuda said...

On Gone Gaming, all I mentioned was that you can take Candyland and play it differently: either by having each plyer play with two pawns, or by having players hold a hand of three cards. The rest of the post won't really help you :-) : http://boredgamegeeks.blogspot.com/
2005/11/designers-rules.html

The above two suggestions will make ANY children's game better, including Snakes and Ladders, Pachisi, and so on.

I don't have a definitive list of "best" children's games, yet. Of course, when I was four, I started learning Bridge (I kid you not). Maybe I'll make one sometime.

Yehuda