I have been thinking about board games as a disposable medium. It’s not actually the way I think they ideally should be. However, I have played a lot of Print and Play Roll and Write games. While I do laminate some of them, they are still, at least per individual board, disposable. (And some games require intricate enough drawing or writing that a dry erase marker just isn’t up for the job)
Friday, October 8, 2021
How ephemeral is a game?
However, it might be disingenuous to automatically brand Roll and Writes as ephemeral. After all, I have the files and the ability to print the pages so I am in control of how ephemeral they are. And published Roll and Writes will cheerfully sell you additional tablets of pages or even have them available as downloads.
Actually, when I really start thinking of games as disposable, limited use items, I think Legacy games and Escape Room games may be a better topic point than Roll and Writes. I know that some Legacy games can continue to be played after the campaign is done but some cannot. My understanding of Escape Room games is that they are one-shots but I don’t actually know that since I’ve never played one.
And while my gut reaction to limited use games is negative (B oard games should have infinite plays!) that isn’t a fair assessment. Dude, I have bought board games that have seen only one play or even none.
Instead, it makes more sense to use my movie ticket rule of thumb. Using a movie ticket as a way to assign value to two hours of entertainment. (And using second-run movie houses to skew the results is cheating)
Pandemic Legacy Season One plays two to four players for twelve to twenty-four hour-sessions. A two-player group that only plays twelve sessions is still coming out ahead by my movie ticket rule. And that’s the minimum value. Four players alone makes the value explode.
And, really, are either Legacy games or Escape Room games that different tuan D&D modules of old? How often are you going to run Steading of the Hill Giant Chief? (Tomb of Horrors is different. I knew someone who kept playing through it and taking notes so he could do better each time)
There are very few games that you are gojng to play dozens upon dozens of times. Treasure the ones that you find. But, for the most part, games wuth disposable elements have to be judged by how good they are, not how ephemeral they are.