Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Long games, short games

One of the (many) statistics I track about games is how long they
take. I don't record the times for individual plays, but just use an
average, either the stated range on the box or my own adjusted number
based on experience.

At the end of last year, I noticed an interesting trend. I was
playing more games, both in number and in total time, but the average
length of the games I was playing had dropped dramatically. Games
like Crokinole, Hick Hack, For Sale,
the Pair of Dice Games
and a variety of others had dropped the
average game length down to 27 minutes.

This year, so far, my average is up to about 35 minutes per game.
I've spent more time playing "meatier" games, like Lord of the Rings,
Traumfabrik, Urland, Hase & Igel, Schnappchen Jagd, and many
others. At the same time, I've continued to play Pair-of-Dice games,
Hamster Rolle, For Sale and a lot of other "snacks".

All of this has led me to think about what makes longer games
sometimes more satisfying, but short games so appealing at many
levels. I think the food analogy is especially apt. Vinci is a steak
dinner. Hick Hack is potato chips. Crokinole is a dried fruit
snack. Schnappchen Jagd is a big deli sandwich. Hamster Rolle is a

Some games, however, don't quite fit. Games like For Sale or href="">
Knockabout are fairly short (each in the range of 20 minutes), but
are much more "filling" than many other snack-sized games. Maybe what
these games are is a nice vegetable side dish. That is, they're
nutritious and good, but they aren't a meal in and of themselves, but
they aren't a usual kind of "snack". I will continue to make it a
goal to have my gaming sessions be "balanced meals". All that gorging
on snacks at the end of last year was ok, but it left me hungry, and
it's probably not healthy :-)

Ok, enough of that.

No comments:

Post a Comment