Welcome to the community discussion of the Knights Forum. This discussion is going to be centered around game collections and how we, as gamers and designers feel about the games we play, the games we don’t play and what kind of game(s) we strive to create.
For this topic, I am going to take the designer point of view, starting with what kind of game we would prefer to design: A frequently played game that is less well known but played a lot by those who know about it, or a game that is highly regarded but doesn’t make it to the table that often.
From my chair, I would want to have both. Yes, I have a better answer than that. I would want a ratio for that answer. This isn’t scientific at all but I think I would want to have 3-4 out of 10 games to be in the highly regarded category and 6-7 games in the played a lot and less well known category. I feel this way because I think the highly regarded games that don’t make it to the table that often are good at reaching a larger crowd in terms of brand awareness. On the other side of the question, I want more people being excited to play our games more often because as they play and play our games, they will soon become spokespeople for our games. As long as there are people playing out games all the time, our games and the fun they provide will always be part of the conversation. If we have 3-4 games that are out there getting a lot of attention, those games are going to act as ambassadors for people who have not yet heard about our other games. What I think might end up happening is that the games will start feeding fans towards each other.
Digging a little deeper into the games that are not played too often, would we be proud if someone kept one of our games in their collection if they did not get to play it that often?
Let me take a moment for the obvious….I would be proud to have anyone keep any of our games in their collection.
Ok, with that out of the way, I would be very proud to have someone hang on to our game even if they thought they would not get to play it that often. That tells me that we had a fan that wanted to share our games with another person at some point in the future. I want to create a community of fans that wanted to spread the word about how great games are, and if they liked our games enough to keep them in their collection and show them to other people, even if that was only once or twice a year, I would be very proud of that.
To conclude the first section, is how important are someone’s feeling about our game(s), even if they rarely get to play it?
To this, I have to say very important. We don’t design our games thinking that they are for everyone. I want the people that play our games to be passionate about teaching them, and showing them to other potential fans. If you don’t like our game because the mechanics don’t suit your play style, or the theme is not really for you, I am fine with you taking a pass on that game and moving on to the next one.
That section covers the designer’s point of view as it pertains to how gamers view our games. Let look at how we, as designers, look at what happens to our games once they are in, or being moved out of a person’s collection.
First off, are we disappointed if one of our games is traded or sold?
This is really easy, no. This is easy because I know that while one side of the transaction is ready to move on from our game, there is another side of the transaction that wants to give our game a go. As I said before, we know that our games are not for everyone, so if our games are able to find a home that is a better fit for its future play, then I am happy. Also, just because the game is leaving one person’s collection, does not mean that it is leaving for bad reasons.
Assuming that a game is a good fit for a person’s collection, should it be a goal for a designer’s game to stay in people’s collections?
I really want to say yes to this question, but the reality is that our games are going up against the test of time and the multitude of games that are released every year. Having written that last sentence, I think what I want my games to do is provide the player the experience and the fun that the game is intended to provide. If the game is fun for the player, and at some point in time leaves their collection, I want to know that the game is being transferred from one collection to another with fond memories and a line like “you are really going to enjoy this game.” So, as long as the game always has a good home, I am ok regardless of who’s collection it belongs to.
Looking at the big picture, Should designers try and create evergreen games, or should they be looking for enjoyable experiences?
I have thought about this for a while and I have to say, yes. Designers should be trying to design a game that could stand the test of time and be an evergreen. That is not to say that if a designer never does that, they could not be “successful” (whatever your measure is) in the world of design. But I believe that designers should think big and what is bigger in our world than the evergreen game that is a good seller for years and years. Designers should also strive to design the hottest game at that years convention. I think that going into the design world with that kind of mindset will make designing games easier, but it is not necessary. If designers want to design for fun and to make games for their friends and family to play, I love that plan as well. But aiming high with something as fun as game design can’t be a bad thing for the games we create so why not?