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Subject: The Rising Trend of "Games" with Player Counts starting with 1. rss

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Andrew Young
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I had taken a hiatus from gaming over the last 18 months. I've been playing games most of my life from D&D to Diplomacy to Conquest of the Empire to Advanced Squad Leader. I got turned on to Euros in 2004. I play all sorts of games but prefer deeper, more complex experiences.

Though, I rate NMBR 9 a 10.

devil

Coming back to the fold has been interesting. The top games on BGG are quite simply ones I'd hate to play. There are many new trends. One of them has me concerned and puzzled (no pun intended as you will see below).

There was/is so much hype about Vital Lacerda's newest game, Lisboa. As well as there should be given the popularity of his previous titles. It plays 1-4 players. Many other very popular games in the last several years have also had player counts of 1 to X.

Scythe
Terraforming Mars
Gloomhaven

Etc. Etc.

Fine.

These thoughts have been growing in me but these trendy 1-X player count games are less games to me and more like multiplayer puzzles.

The need of the designer to make it playable at 1 player does a lot towards making it less of a game and quite simply, more of an elaborate puzzle it seems. With low player interaction and wide open point salads at game end.

In fact, when you think about it.. many of these games provide an end game state that is built up and aesthetically gorgeous. I.E. Its a primary function of the game- to make you gaggle at how the board looks at game end. Like a finished puzzle... interesting, in my mind.

What do people think?

Andy
devil

(The rise of coop games makes me crazy too, how boring!!)
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You just listed four great games.
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Andrew Young
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broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


I'm not finding them great. That's the difference.

devil
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Let's add The Colonists
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broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


And while I can't comment on Lisboa:

Scythe and Terraforming Mars both have plenty of player interaction. Scythe's solo game basically adds an AI player to play against while Terraforming Mars is just removing the "interaction" aspects of the game and you are playing for a high score.

Gloomhaven is a co-op "dungeon crawl" essentially. Of course it can be played solo. Nearly every co-op can be played solo with little to no difficulty.
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Pete
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Why do you care if other people play with themselves?

Pete (doesn't)
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medievalbanquet wrote:
broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


I'm not finding them great. That's the difference.

devil


But you chose some pretty poor examples if you are trying to claim that these games are becoming "multiplayer puzzles".
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medievalbanquet wrote:


(The rise of coop games makes me crazy too, how boring!!)


There's a rise in coop games? That's news to me. The only coop game in recent history I'm aware of is To The Coop!. Hardly enough to talk about "the rise of coop games".
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I like puzzles.
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Making a game support a diverse player count is a good way to increase your target audience by making it easier to get to the table. Making a game that plays solo as well as multiplayer is a great strategy to sell more games.

I am not a huge fan of Scythe but one thing I like is how well it scales from 1 player up to 7 (with expansion). Not many games can offer that level of versatility in it's player count which makes it a good game to add to your collection (IMO).

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Andrew Young
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motoyugota wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


I'm not finding them great. That's the difference.

devil


But you chose some pretty poor examples if you are trying to claim that these games are becoming "multiplayer puzzles".


To me they are great examples as they are point salads and wide open designs with LOW player interaction.

cool
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motoyugota wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


I'm not finding them great. That's the difference.

devil


But you chose some pretty poor examples if you are trying to claim that these games are becoming "multiplayer puzzles".

Compare these games to the likes of El GRande, Princes of Florence, Age of Steam, Indonesia, Hansa Teutonica, etc.

I can certainly see a trend in more "puzzly" games that can be easily converted into solo modes. The interaction is not really the same in these two styles of games. The interaction of Terraforming Mars, for example, is merely drafting cards away from your opponent and maybe beating them to a spot on the planet hexes with the occasional direct stealing of a resource or two. But most of the game is spent with the players' heads down analyzing their hand of cards and tableau to make the best synergy of cards.

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I've only played terraforming mars so I can only speak to games like that (which I think in my point may count scythe if I understand the game right)

The player interaction can be simulated. I consider that on the game side rather than puzzle.

On coops that I dont like its the other way around; where the game has its systems and players just execute their orders.

I'm with you a bit with coops but I think sooner or later we will get some coops that arnt just solo games with people in your way and we will get something great that actually takes multiple people to play right. So far all I've seen are games with real time pressure which I guess is a step closer.
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Different people like different things???
STOP THE PRESSES!!
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Bryan
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Any new games I buy HAVE to be able to play with 1 player. This is how I guarantee that I'll always be able to play that game whenever I want. If it's 2+ game I have no control over it ever getting played.

Also, when playing with other players, I enjoy the dynamics of a cooperative game quite a bit. It's fun to stand together against a game.
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grant5 wrote:
Different people like different things???
STOP THE PRESSES!!


That's, of course, true. Just talking about trends here.

I like tension in my games. I like playing other people and not playing the game with other people merely sitting next to me. There are a lot of games now that have an illusion of player interaction. But, they are really just solitaire puzzles. I lose. You all win if that is what you like.

devil
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Iridium192 wrote:
Any new games I buy HAVE to be able to play with 1 player. This is how I guarantee that I'll always be able to play that game whenever I want. If it's 2+ game I have no control over it ever getting played.


Don't take this the wrong way.... but, are you really playing a game? Are you really playing THE game if it plays with other players? I guess I find that insanely boring.

devil
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plezercruz wrote:
Why do you care if other people play with themselves?

Pete (doesn't)


That wasn't really his point. His point is that game design that seeks to create essentially a parallel puzzle makes for many games that look like multi-player games but can easily be tailored to solo play because they are not much more than a puzzle.

Personally I find them dull and terrible gaming experiences but I also wouldn't start a thread over it. Especially here as these games are quite popular with the wider BGG crowd.
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medievalbanquet wrote:
I had taken a hiatus from gaming over the last 18 months. I've been playing games most of my life from D&D to Diplomacy to Conquest of the Empire to Advanced Squad Leader. I got turned on to Euros in 2004. I play all sorts of games but prefer deeper, more complex experiences.

Though, I rate NMBR 9 a 10.

devil

Coming back to the fold has been interesting. The top games on BGG are quite simply ones I'd hate to play. There are many new trends. One of them has me concerned and puzzled (no pun intended as you will see below).

There was/is so much hype about Vital Lacerda's newest game, Lisboa. As well as there should be given the popularity of his previous titles. It plays 1-4 players. Many other very popular games in the last several years have also had player counts of 1 to X.

Scythe
Terraforming Mars
Gloomhaven

Etc. Etc.

Fine.

These thoughts have been growing in me but these trendy 1-X player count games are less games to me and more like multiplayer puzzles.

The need of the designer to make it playable at 1 player does a lot towards making it less of a game and quite simply, more of an elaborate puzzle it seems. With low player interaction and wide open point salads at game end.

In fact, when you think about it.. many of these games provide an end game state that is built up and aesthetically gorgeous. I.E. Its a primary function of the game- to make you gaggle at how the board looks at game end. Like a finished puzzle... interesting, in my mind.

What do people think?

Andy
devil

(The rise of coop games makes me crazy too, how boring!!)


I highly recommend you don't buy these games you're talking about, I believe you won't enjoy them.

My opinion: I LOVE that games are made with the idea of solomode. +1 x a billion!!!!!!
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WetRock wrote:
plezercruz wrote:
Why do you care if other people play with themselves?

Pete (doesn't)


That wasn't really his point. His point is that game design that seeks to create essentially a parallel puzzle makes for many games that look like multi-player games but can easily be tailored to solo play because they are not much more than a puzzle.

Personally I find them dull and terrible gaming experiences but I also wouldn't start a thread over it. Especially here as these games are quite popular with the wider BGG crowd.


I'm a risk taker. And, unafraid of the backlash.

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I do feel this is a rising trend in hex-and-counter wargames. Solitaire games used to be extremely rare; when the genre was big back in the seventies there were probably less than a dozen solitaire games. They're still far from the majority but now it seems like about a tenth of new games released are designed for solitaire play against an AI opponent. I think this may reflect the greatly diminished popularity of the genre and the difficulty of finding opponents.
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
I had taken a hiatus from gaming over the last 18 months. I've been playing games most of my life from D&D to Diplomacy to Conquest of the Empire to Advanced Squad Leader. I got turned on to Euros in 2004. I play all sorts of games but prefer deeper, more complex experiences.

Though, I rate NMBR 9 a 10.

devil

Coming back to the fold has been interesting. The top games on BGG are quite simply ones I'd hate to play. There are many new trends. One of them has me concerned and puzzled (no pun intended as you will see below).

There was/is so much hype about Vital Lacerda's newest game, Lisboa. As well as there should be given the popularity of his previous titles. It plays 1-4 players. Many other very popular games in the last several years have also had player counts of 1 to X.

Scythe
Terraforming Mars
Gloomhaven

Etc. Etc.

Fine.

These thoughts have been growing in me but these trendy 1-X player count games are less games to me and more like multiplayer puzzles.

The need of the designer to make it playable at 1 player does a lot towards making it less of a game and quite simply, more of an elaborate puzzle it seems. With low player interaction and wide open point salads at game end.

In fact, when you think about it.. many of these games provide an end game state that is built up and aesthetically gorgeous. I.E. Its a primary function of the game- to make you gaggle at how the board looks at game end. Like a finished puzzle... interesting, in my mind.

What do people think?

Andy
devil

(The rise of coop games makes me crazy too, how boring!!)


I highly recommend you don't buy these games you're talking about, I believe you won't enjoy them.

My opinion: I LOVE that games are made with the idea of solomode. +1 x a billion!!!!!!


That's cool. Why do you love them? I LOVE puzzles- always have. But, I like games to have some tension with the other players at the table. I'm finding most of the more popular games have very little tension and decision points related to other player moves, etc. This is a sad trend I think.

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MK99 wrote:
I do feel this is a rising trend in hex-and-counter wargames. Solitaire games used to be extremely rare; when the genre was big back in the seventies there were probably less than a dozen solitaire games. They're still far from the majority but now it seems like about a tenth of new games released are designed for solitaire play against an AI opponent. I think this may reflect the greatly diminished popularity of the genre and the difficulty of finding opponents.


Interesting.

See, I think the gaming community has grown immensely and there are more and more people talking about games. They are in Barnes and Noble now. Ticket to Ride paved the way for this 'normalization'. There are more games produced now from a myriad of countries. More gaming groups and conventions.

Hmm.
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medievalbanquet wrote:
killerjoe1962 wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
I had taken a hiatus from gaming over the last 18 months. I've been playing games most of my life from D&D to Diplomacy to Conquest of the Empire to Advanced Squad Leader. I got turned on to Euros in 2004. I play all sorts of games but prefer deeper, more complex experiences.

Though, I rate NMBR 9 a 10.

devil

Coming back to the fold has been interesting. The top games on BGG are quite simply ones I'd hate to play. There are many new trends. One of them has me concerned and puzzled (no pun intended as you will see below).

There was/is so much hype about Vital Lacerda's newest game, Lisboa. As well as there should be given the popularity of his previous titles. It plays 1-4 players. Many other very popular games in the last several years have also had player counts of 1 to X.

Scythe
Terraforming Mars
Gloomhaven

Etc. Etc.

Fine.

These thoughts have been growing in me but these trendy 1-X player count games are less games to me and more like multiplayer puzzles.

The need of the designer to make it playable at 1 player does a lot towards making it less of a game and quite simply, more of an elaborate puzzle it seems. With low player interaction and wide open point salads at game end.

In fact, when you think about it.. many of these games provide an end game state that is built up and aesthetically gorgeous. I.E. Its a primary function of the game- to make you gaggle at how the board looks at game end. Like a finished puzzle... interesting, in my mind.

What do people think?

Andy
devil

(The rise of coop games makes me crazy too, how boring!!)


I highly recommend you don't buy these games you're talking about, I believe you won't enjoy them.

My opinion: I LOVE that games are made with the idea of solomode. +1 x a billion!!!!!!


That's cool. Why do you love them? I LOVE puzzles- always have. But, I like games to have some tension with the other players at the table. I'm finding most of the more popular games have very little tension and decision points related to other player moves, etc. This is a sad trend I think.



Sorry you think it's sad but it's not, just different and that's okay, too.

My wife hates conflict style games, I love those kinds of games so I'll play them with my gamer friends. With my wife, we'll play Pandemic: The Cure, Cottage Garden, Elder Sign et al

I'm by no means a Grognard so in-depth games like ASL and those of the same type don't really interest me and that's also okay.

As for solomode, I enjoy playing alone sometimes but not out of desperation or social anxiety, I just like to occupy my time playing them and if someone wants to think I'm not playing a game and just playing a puzzle so what, what do I care if someone thinks that? It doesn't make it true.

Just wondering, are people who play video games alone labeled as playing a puzzle or are they playing a game as a whole? I think they are playing a game as a whole rather than as a puzzle.

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Desiderata wrote:
motoyugota wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
broken clock wrote:
You just listed four great games.


I'm not finding them great. That's the difference.

devil


But you chose some pretty poor examples if you are trying to claim that these games are becoming "multiplayer puzzles".

Compare these games to the likes of El GRande, Princes of Florence, Age of Steam, Indonesia, Hansa Teutonica, etc.

I can certainly see a trend in more "puzzly" games that can be easily converted into solo modes. The interaction is not really the same in these two styles of games. The interaction of Terraforming Mars, for example, is merely drafting cards away from your opponent and maybe beating them to a spot on the planet hexes with the occasional direct stealing of a resource or two. But most of the game is spent with the players' heads down analyzing their hand of cards and tableau to make the best synergy of cards.



The mechanisms are different, but I would argue that you are making the same kinds of (and number of) interaction decisions in Terraforming Mars and El Grande (to use your example).
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