Friday, April 21, 2017

Okay, there is value in not thinking. Just not that much

I have often written about how there are a lot of games the take a half hour or less to play but are still rich, even deep, gaming experiences. That you can have a meaningful gaming life even with a small time budget. There are even games like the tiny auction game GEM that take about 15 minutes that for still feel like playing a middle of a game night game.

But, let's be fair, a lot of shorter games are honestly light with simple decision trees. I like games like HUE or Love Letter or Burgoo but I wouldn't choose playing them four or five times over a game of Carcassonne or Ingenious or Qwirkle. They are good games and have their place but they don't have that deep level of engagement. 

And then there are those games that really live up to the pejorative filler. Games that have super simple decision trees, sometimes practically not having a decision tree at all. Cthulhu Dice, whose sole virtue is having a neat die, or RLC, which doesn't even have that going for it, are examples of games with no decisions. Frankly, I'm not even sure if I can call them games.

But I guess those super light games do have their place. I recently read about how someone used Dragon Slayer for breaks during D&D.

Now, I found Dragon Slayer to be a meh dice game since your decisions were limited to choosing which dragon to fight since every fight was to the death. The challenge mechanic to force other players to fight one more dragon was the most interesting part. It stayed in my collection because the dice are neat and it is actually pretty thematic.

I can see how it would work well would you want something quick and, frankly, mindless. The fact that it has a fairly strong theme for such a thin game is also a plus.

That said, the game that has been my choice for quick, brainless dice game for the last few years is still Zombie Dice. More tension and, I'm not kidding, more actual decisions. It's more of a legitimate push-your-luck game. 

It's a shame that our toddler has scattered the dice all over the house :D

I will probably never stop looking for short but deeper games. Even lighter ones that  have interesting decisions are something that I will be keeping my eye out for. But I'm not really going to go looking for thought free games. But I will admit that there is value in having a few around.

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