Top Factors in Liking or Disliking a Game

I enjoy a lot of different games. I recently played one that was new to me that I enjoyed, but it didn't excite me as much as many others. (It was Queen's Architect.) I've been thinking about why that was and thought it would be interesting to hear from others what the top three or four factors are that determine whether they like or dislike a game. What causes you to want to play a game again or what factors lead you to put one behind you? 

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Premium User2 months ago

Hmm, tough question. It depends on the type of game, but here are some pretty universal ones for me.

  • Interesting decisions throughout the game. I don't want to feel like there's one obvious move most of the time, because then I'm not necessary - the game in playing me.
  • Fun or exciting turns most of the time. That's a little bit tired into the previous one, but I think it's different. If what I'm doing on my turn gets me excited to take my next turn, I'm definitely enjoying the game.
  • A good arc. My favorite games tend to mount in excitement as they approach the ending, or have exciting pivotal turns or rounds. If every turn or round feel the same, or the gameplay loop doesn't really develop, I'm probably not going to be excited to play the game again.

2 months ago

These are all good, but I especially agree with the first two. I love to have lots of options on decisions throughout a game. Castles of Burgundy comes to mind as one that does that. Sometimes I can come up with several options of ways to use my dice in a turn and end up doing something completely different than I had in mind when my turn started. 

And I agree about a game being fun when the excitement is building.  It's so fun when I end my turn already excited about what I'm  going to get to do next - unless an opponent gets in the way. 🙂

A sense of things moving forward and coming together is important to me in a game. Even if I don't win having accomplished and created are important. 

Premium User2 months ago

Hey I'm actually picking up #The Castles of Burgundy soon, so I'm glad you used it as an example of a game that does it well :D

Premium User2 months ago

Taking partial credit for this one! Glad to share one of my favorites and even happier you liked it so much!

Premium User2 months ago

Yeah, thanks for playing it with me, and thanks to for selling me his copy!

Premium User2 months ago

I knew there was a reason I liked that guy

2 months ago

That's great. I hope you enjoy it. 

Owner2 months ago

Hmmmm good question. In general I like lots of games, but like you mentioned, there are ones that make me want to revisit. The ones that leave a strong impression tend to have these aspects:

  • Strong build-up or as mentioned, an "arc" - The game lets you make decisions all throughout the game that builds something that you can feel proud of by the end of the game. Engine building games do this for me. And it's important that there are various ways to approach it
  • Story-worthy moments - I love games that tell a story, whether through actual narrative elements or through the gameplay itself. It could be an exciting race to the finish line filled with twists and turns, fighting for control among different factions, or just chance elements that create anxiety and excitement

Premium User2 months ago

Story-worthy moments is a good way to put it. Along those lines could be "stand up moments." Those would be times when the tension and excitement is such that people start standing up around the table in anticipation, or perhaps at the moment of release. That's always super fun, and definitely makes a lasting impression and makes me want to play the game more.

Owner59 days ago

Ah literal standup moments, I like it! That could be a whole post of its own haha. I know I've had a few games that accomplished that but I can't remember at the moment 🤔

Premium User59 days ago

It's so fun! Party games are great at this, but there are some exciting moments in strategy games like #Dune and #Western Legends which have caused stand up moments in our group.

2 months ago

Yep. I agree. And it's fun to look back at the end of the game/story and talk about how I was moving in this direction and had to make a change to something else which then led to this move and on it goes. Whether I win or lose its the experience of the game that is satisfying. However, those victories are mighty sweet, too. 

I think the recent game that stirred up my question was one that involved a good bit of math during play. I enjoyed the game, but it didn't capture my imagination as much as my favorites do. More familiarity with the game may help me move from the analytical focus to the story involved. 

Owner59 days ago

The more I game the more I appreciate thematic ties in games that set them apart. I love pure battle of wits when it comes to games like Chess, but when a game tries to present itself as something more than that but doesn't quite get there, that's when I get disappointed :(

58 days ago

I see your point and love it when the theme is fleshed out well, too. Some games try, but don't quite pull it off. 

Premium User2 months ago

This comment makes you sound super competitive as a gamer haha

Owner59 days ago

My preferences sure seem that way haha. It's rare for me to get those plays in though because they're games that require the right group/number of players.

In general, I'll play with enjoyment in mind and especially be watchful of beginners. The only times when I get competitive is when there are experienced gamers around who are super confident they'll take the win 😆

Premium User59 days ago

That makes sense. I could get competitive in the right environment I'm sure because it's fun to win of course. But generally speaking I don't mind either way

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Premium User2 months ago

Good question! I think for me there are a few different factors that determine whether or not I'll be into a game.

Of course mechanically if the game is fun or unique that appeals to me right off the bat and can help push me in the direction of enjoying a game and wanting to play again. Despite all my purchases of games, there have been quite a few times I've said to myself this sounds a lot like this game that I already own and let a deal pass me by.

In terms of the gameplay, I'd say I have to be able to have interesting decisions and be able to see the replay value. If there's a clear cut strategy or path to go down, I'm less likely to enjoy my time - it would feel more of a "race to get x done the fastest" which doesn't appeal to me. I think that's why #Orléans got a little stale to me before I picked up the #Orléans: Trade & Intrigue expansion. Still love the game and would play it whenever, but after several plays that really came through.

And finally, and maybe this is the most important factor haha, if my fiancée likes it. As my primary gaming partner, her opinion matters both in terms of what games I can convince her to play and how enjoyable the experience of playing is. If she's getting frustrated, bored, or just isn't into a game for whatever other reason, it kills it for me (with a few exceptions lol). 

The answer to the second part of your question of what factors lead me to put a game behind me is simple: how often I play it. Sure as pointed out there are different games for different groups and different situations and that certainly plays a factor in what games I pull out and when. But when we find ourselves constantly saying oh we should play x again, maybe there's a reason we don't play it anymore. 99% of the time it's just a matter of having other games in our collection that we enjoy more.

Interestingly (to me anyway), I've recently started rating my games on BGG. Of the 50 I've gotten rid of, I've rated 45 of them (the other 5 I never played). The highest rated games that left my collection got a 7/10 rating from me. #Istanbul #Imperial Settlers and #5-Minute Marvel. 5 Minute Marvel I just gave away to my future father in law so I really have no need to miss it, but I would say I sort of wish I had hung onto Istanbul. Imperial Settlers falls into the category of a game that would have been a bigger hit with me if Sarah were more willing to play.

2 months ago

You've said a lot  of good stuff here. I love Orleans and have all the expansions and extras. I also have and enjoy Istanbul so I'm sad you parted with that one, too. 

Finally, when is your wedding? It's great that you are marrying someone who enjoys games, too. 

Premium User2 months ago

The minute I shipped it out I was like no wait come back lol.

It's coming up quick! This October. And yes she's part of the reason I started to get interested in games. Her family was always playing some kind of party game whenever I went to visit so I looked into more games we could play together. I have since admittedly gotten way out of hand lol but I enjoy it. I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on what games she would enjoy so it works out. 

Supporter2 months ago

For me it's pretty basic... does it have a good theme? Can I get people to play with me? Does anyone else in my close circle own this game? 

2 months ago

Yeah, there are some games I would like to own, but my best gaming friend has them so I try to refrain from getting them. Of course there is always another game of interest in line. 🙂

Premium User2 months ago

Good topic!

It's tough to narrow down because it can really depend on the type of game too.  I love #Cockroach Poker, #Kingdomino, #Take 5 + Take a Number and #Just One when I want something quick for lunch at work or when non-gamers are playing. 

With my older kids #Munchkin, #Unstable Unicorns, #Cult Following, and #Exploding Kittens are hilarious and fun.  

With my gaming group we enjoy a huge variety #Gaia Project, #Kanban EV, #Marvel Champions: The Card Game, and #Heroes of Land, Air, & Sea to name a few lately but we'll go heavier/lighter and shorter/longer no problem.

I think I can boil it down to one rule that applies to all three types of games and gaming I've listed:

  • For me a game will be liked if it keeps the group enjoyably engaged with it for the entire play time. Laughing or deep thinking.  Watching others or engrossed in my own little world. 

 

 

2 months ago

Great answer! Thanks. I agree that the group/audience has a real bearing on what we enjoy with them. Your last statement says it well. Makes me think of so many good times around the game table. 

Premium User2 months ago

Thanks!  That's how I look at it. Each game and group has their own "best game" depending on the situation and what they are going for.

2 months ago

It's easier for me to put my finger on what I know I don't like. I can also enjoy a larger variety of games if the group is excited about and enjoying the game.  My personality tends to feed on, and feedback to, others enjoyment. If the people I'm playing with are really into it, 90% chance I will be really into it at well. Even if I generally dislike the game.