Not all games are created equally. Some are released and instantly, they’re hits. Some drum up major hype only to flop when it’s do or die. Is it possible to formulate your game so that it’s more likely to succeed? Are there certain aspects to every successful board game that could help you predict future successes or failures?
Successful board games often have themes or storylines in common with other popular games. For example, many great games get a player hooked by presenting continuous challenges or an ever-changing storyline to prevent boredom. These games often present the player with multiple paths to victory so that the game stays fresh long after you’ve defeated it. Arguably more common is the use of an immediate reward in a board game to allow a player to track and calculate their progress.
One common component of an unsuccessful game, is when the pace is sacrificed because there are too many paths to potential victory (i.e. if a player takes too long choosing his move) it is difficult to enjoy the game. Similarly, if a game allows for too much downtime between plays, that results in a slow-down of the pace, which ends with the loss of the player’s attention.
However, some classic board games have managed to do well, even with this very issue. A perfect example is Monopoly, which can take a long time to play through and requires very little action per move. While many generations have loved this game as is, Hasbro is attempting to introduce new (optional) rules to revitalize gameplay.
An example of a classic game featuring mechanics that enhance gameplay, would be Settlers of Catan. This incredible game features customization and flexibility, while continuously challenging its audience. The map changes, strategies evolve and new challenges emerge to keep all players actively engaged in the game and strategizing toward victory.
An additional example is Civilization, where a series of player “turns” are followed by a trading round that engages all players in the game. This works to keep the game fast-paced and interesting for its audience.
There are pros and cons to every game, including the games like Monopoly, which are loved by all. Adding new rule variations to a game can help keep it fresh and interesting for players. Sometimes the best games are the ones that have been reinvented with a little imagination.
In general, the very best board games are fast-paced, ever-changing and offer all players a chance to quickly work toward victory. In developing rules for a board game, you shouldn’t ignore these aspects of gameplay that can predict whether you’ll love to play your game or simply tuck it away on the shelf. At Galliant Games we embraces these lessons in game mechanics to make our games more enjoyable for all. Let us know some of