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Thoughts on atmosphere/feelings a game creates

Gameplay

Hey gamey people,

I was writing a little review for #Star Wars: Outer Rim and it got me thinking: how significant is it for a game to inhabit/conjure up the theme it purports to have?

For me (happy for others to disagree), Outer Rim didn't make me feel like Han Solo or Bob's Fett: the game was a nifty puzzle in efficiency, but the grime and wild west-ness of the outer planets of the star wars universe was missing. 

Are there games that you guys feel does a good job of immersing you and bringing that feeling of being who the game says you are?

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Owner8 months ago

I don't need a whole lot of theme, but I definitely appreciate and want some amount of thematic ties in the mechanics. If it's not strong in theme, I like games with mechanics that at least give you a feeling of progression. Games with a map help a lot in this regard. If it's mostly an efficiency puzzle, it would need to be 30 min or under type of game for me.

Edit: Also, I had the exact same issue about Atlantis Rising 2E, which I wrote about here a while back. Still like the game, but I felt like its mechanics don't do a good job of placing the players in the shoes of the character.

8 months ago

I agree, I've had some great times with basically theme-less games: #Keyflower I loved but it could be set anywhere and anytime and be just as good. Often in that kind of game, the 'theme' comes from the players themselves I find, which can be brilliant, you inhabit characters that you create out of how you are playing. I reckon maps are great for that kind of shared creation as they are so intuitive.

I did read your article, it may well have been that that set me thinking along these lines!

8 months ago

#Champions of Midgard has always been one that really helps you feel the theme. Love it.

I actually think Outer Rim does pretty well on the overall in-game feeling, but I do miss the grit of everything as well.

#Western Legends does a fantastic job of immersing you into the game's world.

8 months ago

Champions of Midgard is a bunch of fun, especially when you are sending off your first party across the sea and all your hopes and dreams are resting on them!

Interesting that Outer Rim worked for you, did you also enjoy it as a game overall?

I have never played western legends, just had a peek and it looks pretty interesting, very similar in what it is going for to Outer Rim in fact, is that the case? And if so which do you prefer?

8 months ago

I may be biased toward Outer Rim because I'm a die hard Star Wars fan haha But yeah, I really like the gameplay as well. I like it at all player counts, including solo. I see the flaws in the game, but I still can't help but love it haha

Western Legends is similar to Outer Rim in that it's a "sandbox" game where you can choose what to do at locations. As far as sandbox games go, I'd say Western Legends is better than Outer Rim. But, I can't help but love the theme of Outer Rim :) 

Supporter8 months ago

The two games I feel that do this the most for me are :

#Agricola yes, it is a euro, but it is a tight euro of a hard time. The way your farm grows in front of you, the way your professions drastically change the look of your farm etc.... Really, for me, feels quite thematic. I will say that it did take several plays for me to feel the theme, but, it does feel very strong now. 

I love #Fief: France 1429. And, whenever I play it I feel like a slimy, conniving, lord full of all sorts of dastardly machinations. 

8 months ago

I do love Agricola, I definitely agree that you have this feeling of wanting to board as many resources as you can, and the speed with which the harvest comes does create a great tension if you don't have a reliable food engine up and running!

I have never seen #Fief: France 1429 before, as well as being thematic would you recommend it as a game to check out?

Supporter8 months ago

As far as #Fief: France 1429 goes. It is definitely a YMMV sort of situation. You want to play it at high player counts. There is a lot of negotiating and opportunitues for backstabbing, a la #diplomacy or #Cosmic Encounter. It is a longish game and has a few what I consider unfortunate design elements. I would be hesitant to recommend it to anyone, but man I love it. 

Space Biff has a review about it that I think sums it up well. Here it is, https://spacebiff.com/2015/02/25/fief/. 

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Star Wars: Outer Rim