[PATV] Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - Extra Credits Season 6, Ep. 23: A Case for Board Games



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    maximaramaximara Registered User regular
    "Also table top rpg can teach a lot about game mechanics, combat, and balanced rules."

    Not really. AD&D1 had one of the most overly complicated and BROKEN rule sets in the Table Top RPG, Supers was the expansion that so broke GURPS 3e that it took another edition to (mostly) fix the mess.

    In fact, the Super genre is where table top rpgs tend to fail and fail spectacularly. Mainly because there is no really way just on rules to balance a guy with a gimmick like the Ridder with someone who can bench press a tank like the Hulk. You allow anything on Silver Age Superman, Shazam level of power in the game and things go pear shaped fast because unlike the characters in the comics players will actually realize 'Hey I can do THIS with my power" and game balance goes bye bye.

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    MagmarFireMagmarFire Registered User regular
    @maximara His argument wasn't that tabletop RPGs are balanced; it was that they can teach a lot about balance. Realizing that a ruleset is broken is kind of a nice end result of learning what's balanced and what's not, don't you think?

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    BarthedaBartheda Registered User regular
    Is it me or does the Extra Credit's team not like Skyrim? they seem to rip on it abit

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    bentibbettsbentibbetts Registered User new member
    This episode made me think about board games in a way I hadn't before. It also made me regret not playing more board games when I was a kid.

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    shatterspike1shatterspike1 Registered User regular
    @maximara Depends on the kind of game your group is playing. Tabletop RPGs are so dependent on the group in question that balance is a non-issue for many people, and often RPGs designed with more modern sensibilities are insistent on the idea that the game is cooperative between players and GM, not competitive. In terms of Supers RPGs specifically, there's Wild Talents. Min-maxing in that game is so easy there's a chapter of the book recommending certain powers for people who don't want to take the time to min-max. Theoretical balance isn't the design goal, flexibility is. In Ars Magica 5th edition, it's outright stated that Mages are far above and beyond more powerful than other characters. This is because of the setting, and the game is perfectly playable anyway. I remember some hypothetical GURPS 4E power that could annihilate the universe for 52 points. The goal isn't necessarily balance in any Tabletop RPG since the game is ultimately cooperative between GM and players. Of course, this isn't true of every group (meat-grinder scenarios like Tomb of Horrors) and there are a few tabletop RPGs that are comparatively well balanced (Rule of Cool's Legend, D&D 4E), but the systems I mentioned above would all have lost something had they made every design decision regarding balance.

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    wanderingbishopwanderingbishop Registered User regular
    PC master race? Psh. The Board Collective will assimilate you all.

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    RubarackRubarack Registered User regular
    I'm glad you mentioned Shut up and Sit Down but it's a shame you couldn't squeeze a little more time to linking their introduction to board games video and stressing that board games are individually interesting, plus you'll be able to learn far more from observing the subtle interplay of rules from modern boardgames than you would examining Monopoly or Cluedo. Everything may be valid and you can learn from bad design as well as good but good boardgames can really be inspirational.

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    SebbySebby Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Oh man, just look and compare Eclipse to Master Of Orion. It goes to show how removing the obfuscation of a computer magic can lead to much stronger and tighter rules... which in the end, leads to faster and better gameplay.

    Also, there's even sandbox boardgames! Take a strong hard look at High Frontier...

    Sebby on
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    rrhrrh Registered User regular
    Learn from a wise man by emulating his virtues. Learn from a fool by avoiding his mistakes.

    MagmarFire said it already, but the point isn't that board games are inherently better than video games, it's that their mechanics are more visible, and so if they do something well or poorly, it's easier to figure out why.

    Some stuff, like trying out different jump physics or controller schemes, will obviously be unique to video games. And the black-box nature of video game mechanics allows the player to discover the rules through playing the game, which is useful for tutorials etc. but yeah, I think a video game designer should also play board games to be well-rounded.

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    ZombieAladdinZombieAladdin Registered User regular
    Settlers of Catan was ruined for me when I first played it because one of the players loves it so much, he played intentionally to draw out the game as much as he could. It ultimately took six hours to finish, and by then I was bored to death and wanted to go home. I can never play any sort of Catan again without being reminded of that terrible experience.

    I guess the lesson here is that even board games have those really annoying opponents. Of course, that can't be helped no matter what the rules are.

    Proper board game experiences for me have been rare as I know few people who are into board games. (Heck, I know few people who are into any sort of game besides mainstream sports like basketball and football.) When I do play with someone, it's either because they're just trying to be nice to me and it's clear they hate what they're playing, or it quickly degrades into Calvinball because no one understands or cares about the rules.

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    LaserwulfLaserwulf Registered User new member
    Thanks for covering this topic. :D It's a shame that not all gamers know just how awesome tabletop games can be, so spreading the word benefits all of us.

    Straight out of high school (2001) I started taking computer game programming classes at my local college... and hated it. It wasn't until 2008 or so that I started falling -hardcore- for 'boutique games' (Catan, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, etc.), and realized that boardgame-design was what I actually wanted to do. Nowadays I play board/card games just as much as PC or console games, and am always eager to share my passion. I'll never get my mom to sincerely give CoD a chance, but she's tried Catan and didn't regret it.

    Thanks also for discussing rules so much. I can't stand poorly-written rulebooks, even if the game is amazing (especially, then!), and for the past couple years I've been actively striving to perfect my teaching ability. Kind of like foul-mouthed kids online in multiplayer, not having fun while learning a boardgame can do long-term damage towards being accepted by the general public as a legitimate hobby.

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    DairyllamaDairyllama Registered User new member
    Tabletop and board games are fantastic and a fundamental part of the gaming experience. For those interested here are some games to play and compare with each other.

    Risk Legacy and Twilight Imperium (with either the first or both expansions) for grand strategy involving large armies.
    Dominion and Thunderstone for deck building.
    Caesar & Cleopatra, Zeus & Hera, and Doctor Who: The Card Game.
    And then end it all with a friendly round of Red Dragon Inn, for D&D players who want their characters to get drunk.

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    overlordeviloverlordevil Registered User new member
    well in case of risk its more fun what me and a friend did we changed the rule of in case of a tie instead of, the defender wins, we both lose one unit

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    lordhobanlordhoban Registered User regular
    Definitely don't miss out on board games (as well as tabletop/rpg games) and remember, if you are having trouble finding players, you can usually go to your local hobby/card/comic shop and see if they have a regular game night that brings out players. It is invaluable in understanding design.

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    IanMorrisonIanMorrison Registered User new member
    A lot of designers also advocate board games as prototyping tools. Instead of a labour intensive software prototype, a pen and paper prototype lets you validate your ideas VERY early in the process, allowing you to avoid a lot of wasted work!

    Civ 5 and the new XCOM are games that I'm almost certain used this method of prototyping, as many of their mechanics felt very "board gamey" in terms of how they were simple to understand and involved very clear, discrete interaction.

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    tjerztjerz Registered User new member
    munchkins...... check it out =D

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    DracainDracain Registered User new member
    If anyone is interested, I actually would like to suggest Shadowrun 5th edition for something like this. It is a PnP RPG that is very fun, and 5th edition just came out. I have had a lot of fun combing through the PDF checking rules and seeing balance. I do this with a lot of PnP RPGs, and I suggest others try it out too, it is a fun and interesting way to look at a game.

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    TerakiTeraki Registered User new member
    Aye I agree with this video, my time spent developing new things for pen & paper roleplays such as Dungeons & Dragons, overhauling the window system and creating whole new roleplay systems from the bottom, it has given me a great deal more insight into the things that goes on under the hood in video games as well.

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