I'll Take Real-Time Games for 500, Please

Hi. Big fan of real-time games here. I have played a lot of real-time games (and there are more I'm dying to play!), and, well, they connect with me on a different level.

You see, real-time games create this sense of urgency, a stress-inducing mechanic that I find exilerating. It's a different feeling than other board games because you have to think on your feet, dealing with your mistakes as they come.

I think one reason I enjoy real-time games so much is because I used to work in real-time environments. I've worked pretty much every position imaginable in the control room for news broadcasts (college, but still), camera operator at live events (sports, concerts, etc.), and improv comedy. The live events were stressful, but so much fun. Perhaps one of the best co-op games I've ever played haha And improv? It's all about going with what you're given, making something out of nothing. 

Real-time games get my brain working and my blood pumping. Sure, I'm probably shaving 5-10 years off my life by playing them, but I just. Can't. Stop. (And neither does the timer.)

As some examples, here are some of my favorite real-time games:

What about you? Do you like real-time games? What are some of your favorites, or which will you never play again? (My wife will never play FUSE with me because we never win haha)

Like| 32 comments | report | subscribe

Please log in or make an account to post a comment.

2 months ago

#XCOM: The Board Game was one we enjoyed but it didn't get kept. 
#Project: ELITE just had a reprint that seemed really interesting, but as it's Cmon and has issues with content that isn't available, it isn't one that'll get picked up. 

2 months ago

Project: ELITE looks interesting! Shame about the unavailable content though. 

Supporter2 months ago

I like them in doses although I haven't played a ton of them.

#Magic Maze is probably my favourite but #XCOM: The Board Game is worth a look if you want something more involved.

2 months ago

I've been hearing really good things about Magic Maze. And I'd love to try XCOM. I think that would be a great fit for me!

2 months ago

Real time games are nearly impossible for my groups.

 

You need to be able to have the isolation of not being disturbed by wives, hiusbands, children, stuff,...
and besides, it's harder to be a good host, supplying a constant flow of drinks and snacks :)

2 months ago

haha Yeah, distractions are the bane of real-time games for sure. 

2 months ago

The only real time game I've played is #5-Minute Dungeon. Had a lot of fun with it despite the stress that came with it.

2 months ago

That's one I have yet to play, but I've heard really good things about it. I'd love to play it. 

2 months ago

I have really enjoyed a number of real time games, some of my favourites are:

#Magic Maze - So wonderfully tense, especially as you cannot talk, so if someone isn't doing what you want them to you are very aware of the time pressure (and get to use the giant red player marker to 'encourarge' them)

#Space Alert - Makes what action programming much less heavy puzzle and instead a manic, collaborative and hilarious mess. I especially like that after the timed bit you then play it out turn by turn and you get this slow reveal of all the mistakes you made collectively which is just hilarious.

#XCOM: The Board Game -  the app for this game is great, it constantly throws curve balls at you. At a slow pace (which we played for the first few games) it is fun but becomes so much more intense when you start adding the time limitations.

I love thinking things out in games (prone to a little AP) so real-time games really challenge me, in a positive way to make decisions on the fly/with my gut.

2 months ago

Yeah, we played #Pendulum last night and it was definitely a game designed to force people into decisions. And that's one thing I enjoy about real-time games, is that I don't have to worry about finding the "perfect" move; just making a move at all is a win haha

2 months ago

Nice, how did you find it overall? I feel like it has gotten quite a lot of flak

2 months ago

I liked it! It has received a bunch of flak, and whether that is warranted or not, I couldn't say; I haven't played it enough yet. But I thought it was well done. The timers weren't as crazy as I expected them to be, and everything seemed well balanced. Looking back, I'm not sure how much variety it'll give you over the long term, but I would love to play it again soon.

2 months ago

Nice, either way it is a wonderfully novel mechanism

Supporter2 months ago

Uhh the only real-time games I've played are word-based games. And they're definitely not my favorites lol

I really don't have a favorite one for this category. But maybe #Pendulum will turn out to be the jewel among them?? (our copies arrived this week)

My wife and I tried playing through Overcooked on the Switch long long time ago. It was fun, and we played for 1-2 hours one night, and never went back in because we were getting stressed out xD

2 months ago

haha Yeah, I'm a word guy--writer, editor, etc.--but even I don'tt particularly care for those word games. I'll play them upon request, but they're never in my top choices.

We were suppsed to play Pendulum last week for game night, but the host got sick. So, we're playing it tonight! Leaving in an hour to play that, and I am very interested to see how it plays. I think this will be right up there in my wheelhouse, so hopefully I'm not disappointed. I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it as well.

2 months ago

How did you end up liking it?

2 months ago

I liked it a lot! And I'd love to play again. Hard to know about its replay value after just one play, but from initial impressions, I'm a fan. 

2 months ago

Nice, did you feel the sand-timers added something significant to the game?

2 months ago

Yeah, I did, actually. We played the first round without the timers, so it was more of a #Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar feel, where you could kind of plan ahead where to put workers since you could count turns and where timers would be on those turns.

But, with the timed version, the timers aren't always perfectly in sync, so you're trying to judge how long you have before other timers go off, trying to get as many actions as possible. It's a neat gimmick, and I'm trying to decide if that's all it is haha But yeah, the timers do add at least a bit to the gameplay. I also feel that the asymmetrical side of the player boards would also spice things up a notch. 

2 months ago

Sounds good, I know I would for sure panic with the time pressure but that would just make it more hilarious. Are there any points where the game 'pauses' and you can catch your breath/plan a little?

2 months ago

Yeah, part of the fun is the panic when more than one timer is ready to be flipped at the same time and you're trying to take actions and move before the second timer is flipped haha 

There is a "council" phase at the end of each round, allowing players to breathe a little bit. It's something of an upkeep phase, and this is what will determine how long your games are. Fast council phases will keep the game under half an hour, but if you take your time (which a marathon runner would love to do every now and then, I'm sure), it can prolong the game, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

2 months ago

Ah, that's nice, just to have a second to catch your breath and refocus. 

Supporter2 months ago

I recently played, and enjoyed #Rail Pass

2 months ago

How have I not known of this one? haha I just looked it up and I think I'd like it as well. The trains look wonderful!

2 months ago

Agreeing with some of the replies here - #Captain Sonar is definitely the best real time game I've played, though it can be tough to get enough people together for a full complement of crew mates on each team. Dont forget to put the 'Hunt for Red October' soundtrack on your speaker whilst you play - adds wonderfully to the atmosphere and stress.

2 months ago

That is a great idea!

Supporter2 months ago

I stay away like these like a the plague.... Though I'm glad that people like them. 

2 months ago

I'll gladly take one for the team :) 

Supporter2 months ago

Thank you so so much. LOL

2 months ago

Wow! I am definitely NOT drawn to real time games. I have played a couple, though, with the best by far being #Captain Sonar. I played as the captain and MAN was that stressful, haha.