Let’s set a bar for the lightest and heaviest games


Earlier in the forums we were talking about ways to improve the BGG complexity ratings. One suggestion was to use example games as comparison points. To that end, which game gets a 0 on the complexity scale and which game gets a 5?

Bonus points if you can name a game that gets a 2.5 for another reference point. 

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Premium User19 months ago

Are we going with rules complexity vs play complexity as well?  

We’ll need to define things regardless.

Also, wargames have to be in their own category. Campaign for North Africa as a 5 makes every non-war game a 2 at most. 

Supporter19 months ago

This discussion is exactly the point, right? How do you define that complexity rating on BGG?

Premium User19 months ago

I don't think you can create a good definition by only giving examples.  A definition at some point has to have a definitive statement about it made at some point.  Giving a ton of examples of what 0 is doesn't actually help with that and leaves a ton of gray area.  You need something to compare new games to when they come out.

I'll take first crack at it with limited thought so we can refine it as we go:

Rules Complexity: A game is very rules complex if it has a large rule book and many exception rules.  (Possible critiques: I missed other factors, maybe size of rule book isn't relevant, maybe a poorly written rulebook matters, what does large and many mean anyway?)

Play Complexity: A game is very play complex if many actions can be taken on any turn and the long term result of an action is difficult to determine due to interacting systems in the game, interaction with other player actions, or both.  (Same critiques as above.  Lots of work to be done still.)

So yeah, Cards Against Humanity is probably a zero if those definitions are accurate.  Certainly ones gut probably tells you it's a zero but we would now know WHY.  

Supporter19 months ago

Do you think that depth has any place in this? For instance games like Chess or Go have very simple rule sets, but deep deep strategy. There is a LOT that you need to consider to play well.

Premium User19 months ago

To me "Depth" is another name for "Play Complexity".  Many options, long term results of a given action are difficult to figure out.   

19 months ago

Cards against humanity is my zero. The rules for the dummy player are "add cards at random", and the dummy player has decent odds of winning. 

Supporter19 months ago

That’s a good 0!

Supporter19 months ago

For a 5. I will recommend a game that is meant to be admired but maybe not necessarily meant to be played. I have never touched it. I am speaking of the incredibly detailed simulation that is Richard Berg's The Campaign for North Africa. I understand that it offers a lot of desicion space, while offering at the same time an incredible amount of rules overhead. 

Of course my previous question of what a game is applies here as well. You could argue that this game was never meant to be played as such. It was meant as a simulation. 

Supporter19 months ago

Stimulation or simulation?

Supporter19 months ago

Thanks for the catch. It is supposed to be simulation. 

Supporter19 months ago

Honestly either word could’ve worked. 

I’ve never heard of this game. A board game simulation - what a lot to keep track of. 

Supporter19 months ago

Not to be snarky or Clintonish, but, what is a game? 

Does it have to have a decision space? If not, maybe Chutes and Ladders. You literally have no decisions (except whether or not you will cheat) in the course of that game. Today they call it a game, but it was originally designed as a morality lesson. 

You could of course put Candyland in place of Chutes and Ladders. But that was originally designed as a game. But there is the same complete lack of decisions. 

Even games like Sorry or Parchise have decisions what pawn will you move this turn..... 

These are of course possible recommendations for a 0. But my question still stands. What is a game? 

Supporter19 months ago

What is a game? What counts as a 0? This is why we should try to define this complexity scale. 

Supporter19 months ago

I think each of us could decide on our own. Candyland would definitely qualify as a zero.