The more I play new games, the more I appreciate certain classics

Hello! I just want to share a consideration that I've been pondering on for a few years. I really like deep games. But as I age, I am becoming more and more intolerant of huge and complex rulesets, specially if they are full of exceptions that are only there to provide thematic atmosphere.

This has made me increase the enjoyment I get out of certain classic games that with 3 pages of rules create a robust framework that allows players to compete on deep, simple and non-trivial games. They may not create a rich story with every play or allow for infinite customization of starting conditions, but in the end, they provide what I am looking for in board games: a contest of wits with my friends.

It is not that I will stop playing complex games at all. No, I still cherish every game of #Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game or #Middle Earth Quest, but I get tired just by thinking about having new players and having to explain the game before playing.

Now, even though I mentioned classics, there are modern games that meet these qualities like #Santorini, #Azul, #Splendor or #The Quest for El Dorado. But it is a shame to see incredible games like #No Thanks!, #Tigris & Euphrates, #Modern Art or #Schotten Totten get sometimes dismissed simply because they are old, not very flashy and have simple rulesets, as if having a 25 page rulebook was an accomplishment.

You don't need to be very observant to notice that a name rises above the rest on the previous list. Mr.  Reiner Knizia has designed several of those games and is, my opinion, the master of deep gameplay with simple rules, and, most of the time, with lots of player interaction, which is what I am looking for. I prefer my non-interactive games on the computer.

Of course, those games have a certain ceiling. It is not possible to offer the experience of games like #Gloomhaven, #Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition, #War of the Ring: Second Edition, #Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization or #Mage Knight with 3 pages of rules. But I can't help but feel that there are many games that do not offer such compelling experiences and still have long and complex rulebooks, and those are the games that I am finding myself avoiding more and more.

LoveLike| 2 comments | report | subscribe

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

Partner4 months ago

Totally agree!  I've always enjoyed the simple little card games or small box games, things I can teach in two minutes and enjoy all night.

One "classic" we recently discovered was Papayoo. I watched the I Heart Board Games krewe play it on stream one night, jumped in and had a blast. Finally we ordered a copy for ourselves, and it's been the perfect game to teach to family. For some reason we play this thing for hours!  It's the combination of an easy rule teach, high interactivity and penchant for laughs that make games like this one great. 

Great topic! 

4 months ago

I'd like to think that I was neither a hardline modernist or hardline traditionalist. 

My collection certainly leans towards more modern games, but then I was out of the hobby from late 1990s for about 15 years, so the return has brought more modern games, with many I had from before now despatched to charity shops or the bin. My oldest game is 2nd ed. Roborally plus 3 expansions and it's certainly sad to see how badly the game has been treated in later editions. Beyond that Carcassonne (old art), the Discworld games, a rather odd US football game and Saboteur might vie for next oldest. 

There are certainly some elements of older games that were flawed, but we played through them. I'm thinking especially of games where there was player elimination, plus where the death throes could go on for well over an hour, with the eventual winner obvious for all that time. Similarly there is now much better pitching of luck vs. game length. By that I mean there are still games of mostly chance, but they are typically shorter length. Longer games may still have quite a bit of luck, but are more likely to reward good tactical / strategic play. Thankfully there are a lot less games with roll to move around a circular track. Monopoly for a long time was thought of by too many as 'what a board game should look like / play like'

I also chuckle at the amount of times I read that a game I have "has the worst rules ever". If only those people had seen some of the hideous rules that we used to have to fight in the 1970s and 1980s! 

The overall standard (and sheer breadth/volume) of games has improved massively IMO since the turn of the milennium, but there were great games before and some dubious ones created afterwards, hence generalisations are dangerous.

There are also some potential issues to watch out for, such as getting caught up in the latest 'hot' game, only to see it have 6 months in the limelight, then fade to obscurity. Production quality has generally improved massively, but sometimes people get carried away. Quality where it matters, not simply to increase the amount spent! 
 I chuckled when I saw someone say that what was missing from the Rome: Total War campaign on Gamefound was a 2 foot high statue of Augustus 

There is also a danger that 'good game design' stops being a positive and becomes more of a strait-jacket, meaning so many games are using the same tried and trusted mechanisms, albeit in slightly different combination / pasted on theme. These days I am much more drawn to braver / more innovative designs, even if they come with greater risk.