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Criteria for selecting games.


Curious what criteria y'all use for focus on games.

For me one of the most important things that I look for is a solo mode. It doesn't have to have it out of the box, but it least has to have a good fan made solo variant that I can make/run fairly easily. I am a sucker for real world themes, historical, scientific, etc...... And, I really like to try to try everything. I don't want just a collection of Euro games, or...... I want a little bit of most facets of gaming.

I do really try to read/watch/listen to reviews. But, I also try to keep a fairly open mind about a game, and try not to judge it too much before I actually commit to buying it.

So, what criteria do y'all use to look for games?

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Owner7 months ago

My game selection is based on either of these two (with heavy focus on #1):

1. Which game will my wife and I enjoy together? (There are way more complexities behind selecting a game in this category. But fortunately, our preferences align very well).

  • Under 2 hours
  • Hopefully something that isn't overly complex in rules
  • Decent amount of interaction
  • Medium weight (in terms of BGG weight rating, typically between 2.7-3.8)
  • Does it have a hook? It needs a unique mechanic that isn't found in my collection
  • A game that rewards you with a feeling of having built/accomplished something

2. Is it a game I could see see myself soloing often? (Not my default choice, but I can see in the future that getting in gaming time will get very difficult if we end up having a second child haha)

  • Can't be too light or require tons of shuffling, otherwise I'll prefer apps or any other gaming system
  • Low in setup/teardown time
  • If I'm buying this exclusively for the solo mode, then it probably needs to have a compelling story/campaign element. Something that gives me a feeling of checking off milestones/progress

7 months ago

The short version:

  1. Will my wife like this?
  2. Will I like this?
  3. Will my friends like this?

The longer version involves looking at the ease of learning the game, the price, the aesthetics, and the theme (or lack thereof). If there's a game that I want that I don't think my wife will enjoy, I'd better really  want it, and be confident that my friends will want to play it as well. An example of this would be #Dune. I love the IP so much that I'll basically buy any Dune game that comes out, but that game is not the type of game my wife enjoys.

7 months ago

It used to be if it was a fantastic deal 50% or more and rated well by various 'professional' reviewers on Youtube, then I'd get it.

Now due to limited storage space and my kids heading off to college or whatnot:

  • It cannot be a 'heavy' game, but one that can be taught in less than 20-minutes
  • Will it play well as a 2-player with me & my wife and will it scale to 5-6 players to play with our kids
  • I do appreciate a solo mode, but not critical, as my 'solo' efforts are building foamcore inserts, printing & laminating player aids, getting print-n-play expansions/modules/scenarios, and miniature painting.
  • Is there 'enough' different that it doesn't feel like a simple reskin of a 'classic' game we already own and love. I no longer need to give in to the disease of the 'new' as there are few 'original' ideas. I mean, how many dungeon crawls does one need?!

7 months ago

I often like to think/research what kind of atmosphere/feelings a game creates around a table. Does it out you on edge, are you constantly negotiating and swindling the other players, are you all happily doing your own puzzle. And get a sense for how much buy in from the players is needed in order to create that and how much it does automatically. For example one of my all time favourites is archipeligo, I think it a wonderful game. However, it does require the players to buy into the premise and be willing to trade and negotiate and cut deals, you can all just try to play a fairly solo eurogame if you wanted at which point it would feel inelegant and messy. However, when people do do that negotiating it absolutely sings, I have never played a game that allows for such enjoyable deal-making and betrayal and bluffing. So I know that there will only be certain groups that will enjoy that experience and if I know I have access to those people (which in this case I do) then it is an absolute buy whereas in cases where that isn't the case I wouldn't touch it. 

I think I often prioritise the atmosphere a game can produce over the elegance or cleverness of mechanics (obviously they often go hand in hand, we are just talking in isolation) even though I do love thinky, puzzley, efficiency finding euros.

7 months ago

I like that. I do try to consider that, but with some games it's hard for me to tell, unless there's a review that touches on it. I guess as I play more games, I'm getting better at determining that from simply learning how the game plays, but it's always nice to see a reviewer talk about how the game feels to play.

Supporter7 months ago

That is a interesting way to think of it.

Supporter7 months ago

  1.  Does it do something different than games already in my collection?
  2. Does it offer some player interaction?
  3. Will I actually get to play it with the best number of people for the game?
  4. And more often these days, in the absence of a regular gaming group - can both of my kids handle playing it?
  5. Price - I would have to be REALLY certain that a game that costs as much as two or three games would offer me as good of a gaming experience as two or three separate games would.

7 months ago

I think while I agree to some extent on price (and I tend to be very frugal with game buying: Yay for the second hand market if games that came out 10 years ago!) I think I would often prioritise one game that gives a 9/10 experience over three games that are 7/10's. So I think I wouldn't require a game 3x the price to give 3x the game if it reached heights that the other games couldn't. Fortunately, games are rarely priced on how good they are, more about cost to produce so tends not to be as much of an issue.

Supporter7 months ago

That is part of the issue in going for an expensive game. You don’t know up front if it is worth it. #The Reckoners Board Game is a good example of this for me personally. It has a msrp of $100. I held off buying it even though I thought I would really like it based on who the designers are and the book series. 

Eventually I found it for $45 so I picked it up. And I found out that I really don’t like it that much. I would have been really mad at myself if I had spent anywhere close to $100 to acquire it. 

Supporter7 months ago

Price is important as well.

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