I've been browsing hollandspiele's online catolog the last several days. They have so many games that look so so good. I'm especially interested in Agricola: Master of Britain, The Wars of Marcus Aurelius, and Infamous Traffic. But I keep on seeing what I consider to be poor art assets, and poor component quality. For instance, most of their games have paper maps. I know paper maps are common in wargames. But I'm not a war gamer as such.
Hollandspiele is not the only company like this. I want to try some of the Splotter games, but I can't bring myself to pay that kind of money for something that looks like Roads and Boats.
So how important do you think board game components are? Do you think I would have liked Castles of Burgandy if it had been produced by Stonemaier or FFG? How often do shiny components mask a poor game?
There is also the truth that chrome in a game sells. Scythe is my favorite game. But, I don't think that it would have been the raging success on Kickstarter that it was if it weren't for the stunning art. Many people were dissatisfied with the seeming disconnect between the art and the game play, though I think it works pretty well. How often does the game community buy *stuff* rather than gameplay?
The components are the way we interact with the world that the designer /artist created. Are there times that they interfere?
Some would argue that the beautiful prepainted buildings in Tapestry actually are unclear and interfere in gameplay. I've also heard that the beautiful evocative tree in Everdell actually is in the way for some of the people at the table, and takes them out of the game to a certain extent.
So what is the middle ground for the gamer? There is nothing wrong with buying the components, but at a certain point it becomes a seperate hobby. What are games that emphasize component quality, and helpful design, without falling into the "more is always better" trap? Should I be more willing to drop a little money on Hollandspiele or a lot of money on Splotter?