Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Classification For Games

I've been thinking for a long time about a classification for games that are missing from BGG. It's somewhat underspecified which is part of the problem, but it's to do with the role the game plays in your collection. There will be some consensus on this, which is why it might belong on BGG (like the weight ratings). Particular values of the classification might be:
  • Filler - a light game to be played while waiting for others to finish. Examples - Coloretto, Bluff.
  • Capital game - a serious game that is one of the reasons you play games. Examples - Age of Steam, Domaine.
  • Kids' games - games you mostly want to play with kids. Examples - Gulo Gulo, Bratz Mall Crawl.
  • Gateway games - lighter games you play because your opponents may not see the fun in a 3 hour session of Age of Steam and you don't mind playing them. Examples - TransAmerica, Ticket to Ride.
  • Two player games - games you mostly play because your partner will play them with you. Examples - Lost Cities, Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation.
  • Two player abstracts - traditional abstract games. These get their own category because they can be treated very lightly or very seriously depending on how good you are at them. You might play them against your partner or you may compete internationally. Examples - Chess, GIPF.
Are there other classifications? Be careful not to veer into the realm of BGG categories when thinking of new ones.

There are lots of connections between the classifications. If your partner is Scrabblette for example, two player games and two player abstracts are very closely related. However Asterix and Obelix is plainly in the two player game category. And for a lot of people, gateway games and capital games have very strong overlap.

When I look at my games played tally I think to myself that it's only the capital games that really count - St Petersburg, Amazonas, Trias, Domaine - the games I really love that get me thinking. That's not to say that I don't enjoy the others, but those are the games I'd rather be playing, and I think the amount I enjoy a games session is related to how many of those games I play. The difficult part of course is finding opponents who share the same capital games as you do.


Maria said...

I don't know what BGG classifications are like.

But here are some ideas - an opposite to two player games - Group Games - Games that need to be played in a group of more than two, preferably more than three. Either the rules don't allow for two player, or the game becomes limited and very lame and predictable otherwise. Examples: Risk, Balderdash, a card game called Grass, Monopoly (All these games allow for two player options but when I've played them I've found the dynamic changes so much that it's almost futile to play.) Warm-up games - similar to gateway games - ones that are short and involve not so much intensity - that may serve to get people laughing/comfortable at the beginning of a party when they don't know each other well, or before everyone has arrived.

Limited life games: Games that are going to run out soon because the possibilities are extremely limited. For instance Cluedo - aren't there only 16 possible endings? Also games where the questions might become old/irrelevant to the players or even incorrect fairly soon, say a Trivial Pursuit type game with Pop Culture Questions.

Then the obvious classifications:

Card games, games of chance, board games, TV/Movie etc theme rip-off games

What about portable games - games that come in a box that's fairly small, and don't have too many complex pieces - that would make them OK for taking to a picnic/friend's place in a backpack?

Introduction games - games that are not too complex or esoteric that would be easy enough but interesting enough to teach to a non-games-buff?

Ummm - trying to think but not easy for a non-games-buff like meself.

While I'm at it - merry Christmas Friendless!

Paul K said...

How about "hobby" games? I'm thinking of things like Heroscape, Magic: the Gathering and the like which are collectible in some sense and can be the entire gaming experience for some people.

Also, can you please desist from using the terms "want to play" and "Bratz Mall Crawl Game" in the same sentence? Thanks.

Fellonmyhead said...

I suppose the idea is generally reflected in ratings. Different players have particular tastes, so I need not tell you more than I rate Nuclear War low and Age of Steam high.

Friendless said...

The problem with ratings and these classifications is that I feel compelled to rate non-capital games lower than capital games. If I could rate Gulo Gulo as a "game I might play with kids" it would be a 10 for sure.

Melissa said...

I am dubious about the benefits of formalising such a classification, mostly because it can vary so much from person to person.

What I see missing from your list that I would use in describing bits of my collection is "One trick ponies" - or "Just plain weird" games. These are the games that come out maybe once a year (or maybe you just get them out to show people that such a game exists) but that don't really get played. For me, that list includes Techno Witches, Igloo Pop, Garden Gnome Society.