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Board game theme

Posted at 18:06 on May 23rd, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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We have a problem with that one. If we use it as it is defined at the moment, the theme will be huge as pretty much any strategy wargame belongs there then. Battle Isle and all (hexagram tactics) come up Avalon Hill board games from the early 1960s. Any strategy game which has a map split into countries / regions has been done on a board before.

On the other hand, if we stick to real board game conversions, the theme would be a complete subset of 'based on other media' - which is bad, too. There wouldn't be a single game in the 'board game' theme which would not be part of 'based on other media'.

Any ideas how to handle this?
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Posted at 05:56 on May 25th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I would say to include any game based on a board game, plus any game designed to "feel" like a conventional board game. The second part of that would be pretty subjective, but there really isn't a fully objective solution.


edit: To make things even more complicated, there are board game versions of many video games, doom for example: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10640
(Plus, I had centipede & zaxxon board games when I was a kid.)
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Edited by Cypherswipe at 07:49 on May 25th, 2009
Posted at 17:00 on May 25th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Cypherswipe at 05:56 on May 25th, 2009:
I would say to include any game based on a board game, plus any game designed to "feel" like a conventional board game. The second part of that would be pretty subjective, but there really isn't a fully objective solution.

I think this is a very sensible way to look at it, but can you give a few examples of the latter? Panzer General? Dr. Drago? Caesar? What about Centurion?


Originally posted by Cypherswipe at 05:56 on May 25th, 2009:
To make things even more complicated, there are board game versions of many video games, doom for example: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10640
(Plus, I had centipede & zaxxon board games when I was a kid.)

I think the time factor should decide in those cases: What came first, the board game or the computer game?
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 17:02 on May 25th, 2009
Posted at 17:44 on May 25th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think the Board Game Theme should apply only for games which could be played on an board too. For example any roundbased strategy game which has tiles on the map like "Battle Isle".

Games which also include an "Action Part" like "Archon" or "Centurion" cannot be played on an board and should be placed in another theme where they fit in.
Posted at 02:45 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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No to panzer & centurion. Drago & caesar don't seem to be on the site (a search comes up blank), so I don't know.

Lets see if I can define what is a board game to me....
1) If it uses dice (and isn't a purely dice game such as yahtzee), it's a board game.
2) It must be turn based.
3) Unit movement must either be dictated by the roll of dice (or a spinner), or each piece must have a fixed pre-set movement (ie, like chess pieces). {The preset movement is a fixed number for each unit of a given type. It can never be changed & is not affected by terain or any such.}
4) Units can't be "leveled up". At most they can have a single promotion (like the way shogi/jpaanese chess pieces can promote once by being flipped over).
5) Units don't "take damage" as such, and can't be healed/repaired. They either get killed in a battle or they don't. {This one is a bit fuzzy, since there are games such as risk, where your army on any given territory can effectively take damage during a battle & be repaired at the beginning of your next turn. However, I don't view risk that way. It's more like each member of that territory's army is a seperate unit & either survives or gets killed, it never takes damage.}
6) The board game part is the entire game. There can be multiple maps/boards in the game, but all gameplay (cut scenes don't really count) happens on the board. ie There are no shops, no towns, no banks, nothing like that.

All of those points are subjective & open to interpretation, but that's what I would base it on.
Here's an example of a computer game designed to feel like a board game: Iron Army It's similar to chess & stratego.
Another example of a vid game designed as a board game are the countless "mario party" games, and the other *party games with similar gameplay.


With the doom, centipede & zaxxon games, the vid games all came first & the board games were just attempts to make more money off a popular franchise. The zaxxon board game was pretty boring. The centipede one was rather fun. Never played the doom one.
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Edited by Cypherswipe at 02:53 on May 26th, 2009
Posted at 07:06 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Thanks, that's quite elaborate. I think I can easily agree on most points. Dr. Drago's Madcap Chase would fit that definition well in my opinion.

The point both T-Pow and Cypherswipe brought up is that the game has to consist of the board game part exclusively - that's a good one, I think.

There still seems to be a disagreement concerning wargames. I tend to agree with T-Pow there. So my question to Cypherswipe: How is Panzer General different from, for example, this game? It has a hex map, it has terrain influence on battle, it has tons of different units all of which can take damage (as indicated by putting another tile on them).

Obviously, this also leads to the question of even more complex 'board games'. What about Battle Tech games? MechForce certainly belongs to the theme, but is MechWarrior a 'board game' just because it's based on one? What about Mech Commander? The question here is: How close to the board game roots do the computer games have to be?

And where do 'board games' end? Is Warhammer a 'board game' still?
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 07:06 on May 26th, 2009
Posted at 10:23 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Yeah, games like that world at war one make the issue very difficult. I don't generally think of such games when I think of board games, because of the fact that they're excedingly rare around here. (I wish they weren't, that kind of game really appeals to me, but they are.)
The main thing that makes me count panzer general as not being a board game is that menu on the right hand side of the screen. Board games don't have menus. On the flipside of that, I've never actually played panzer general & those screens are pretty small, so I don't have any idea exactly what all those buttons do. They may just be a computer interface for functions you could normally do in a similar board game.

As I said before though, there really isn't a fully objective way to quantify this issue & a lot of the decisions will have to be based mostly on gut instinct.

Dr drago definitely would fall under the category of a boardgame. In fact, it looks to be almost exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned video games that were designed as board games. Dunno why it didn't turn up in my search before (I tried a few different rsearches), it's turns up in my searches now though (even though I used the same search terms in both cases). *shrug* Oh well, no big.


Defining what is a "board game" when dealing with physical games is considerably easier. If the gameplay takes place on a pre-manufactured board (modular boards such as those used in cataln count), then it's a board game. If gameplay takes place on an unmarked table or on a map/grid that you draw out yourself (ie, games such as warhammer & heroclix), then it's not a board game.
Card games (uno, poker) are not board games, dice based games (yahtzee, dragon dice) are not board games, tile games (dominoes, mahjong) are not board games, pen & paper/RPG games (like dungeons & dragons) are not board games (although there are some dungeons & dragons based board games. D&D based video games do not count as board games, unless they are clearly presented as being a board game). Some people might argue that cribbage counts since it involves a board, but the board is only for scoring purposes, not actual gameplay. As such, cribbage does not count.

Electronic games are another grey area. I would say it mostly depends on whether they are in the format of a computer assisted boardgame, or a fully electronic game. Dark tower and this dungeons & dragons game are examples of computer assisted board games, while ones like simon, bop-it, and LCD video games are examples of fully electronic games & do not count as board games.
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Posted at 11:45 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Based on what's been said, I've gone through the games formerly listed under the theme and the strategy games reviewed by me which weren't classified as board games so far. This is what I came up with:

Board games:
221B Baker Street: conversion of an actual board game
Battle for Wesnoth: could be played on a board
Battle Isle: could be played on a board
Battle Isle 2: could be played on a board
Cluedo: Master Detective: actual board game conversion
Colonial Conquest: slightly more complex version of Risk - would work on a board
Colossus Chess X: chess
Diplomacy (both games): actual board game conversions
Die total verrückte Rallye (Dr. Drago): moving around on a map with dice, buying stuff like in Monopoly
Empire Deluxe: classic wargame on square tiles - a board game genre popular since the 1940s
Hero Quest: actual board game conversion
Hero Quest 2: not an actual conversion anymore, but exactly the same style as the first part
History Line: same as Battle Isle
Incubation: very much like Space Crusade; even though it hides its tiles in three-dimensionally rendered graphics, they are there
Ökolopoly: actual board game conversion
Panzer General: could be played on a board (the buttons just control various graphical display options and turn gameplay options like supplies on or off)
PCKaiser++: would work as a board game
Proliferation: could be played on a board; actually very similar to a board game called Supremacy
Rebelstar Raiders: a mixture between Space Crusade and action point based games
Redhook's Revenge: moving a piece around following dice throws and answering questions from cards
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (all three): believe it or not - those are conversions of an actual board game
Space Hulk: Warhammer maybe isn't a board game strictly speaking and this computer version isn't really turned-based (though quite frankly, it is usually played as if it were), but I still think it fits
Star General: same as Panzer General, just would need two boards (one for space, one for planets)
The Legend of Ragnarok: slightly different variant of chess
The Perfect General: classic turn-based wargame which uses a very board-like phases model
Ugh (*): if that isn't a board game...
Wodan: very much a board game

Not board games: (these are just the ones which I didn't dismiss immediately)
Archon: basically chess, but has action parts
Auf dem Weg nach Europa: plays on a map of Europe, has quiz questions similar to many board games, but also includes action parts
Balance of Power: board game style, but too complex (too many status variables) to be actually played on a board
Cyber Empires: strategic part is very 'boardy', but battles are fought out in an action scene
Dark Legions: same as Archon
Fantasy Empires: same reasoning as Cyber Empires
Flug 714 nach Sydney: includes a board game, but main part isn't
Gesetzgebung: main part is moving a piece around a board and answering the occasional question; also includes some action parts, though
Global Conquest: similar to Empire Deluxe, but involves unit visibility issues which wouldn't work on a board
Hannibal: Tough one... my 'gut instinct' tells me this has too much state data (all the cities and countries) to be played on a board
Jagged Alliance: moving units around on a tiled map, based on unit-specific action points... but it has real-time parts
Shufflepuck Cafe: Airhockey... don't think this is what people expect when they hear the term 'board game'
Ufo: tactical part is a board game, but the rest wouldn't work
Warlords: could be played on a board I guess, but I still wouldn't think of it as a board game

Any objections? At least the number of games listed in this theme currently seems very healthy compared to the other themes - most of them have between 30 and 40 entries.

What's still open in my view is the question of board game conversions which don't really play like board games anymore. See my BattleTech examples in the previous post.
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 11:53 on May 26th, 2009
Posted at 13:13 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I've never player archon, but I'm loosely familiar with it. From what I know of it, I would classify it as a board game. It's a judgement call though, since the board game part & the action part each seem to be about 50% of the overall game.


As for the conversions: If it's based on a board game, but doesn't play like a board game, it isn't a board game. For example: If you had a street fighter styled game, with a monopoly theme, then it's a street fighter game & NOT a board game. The fact that it has a specific board game as a theme is irrelevant.
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Posted at 13:18 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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About Archon: I acted according to your sixth rule (T-Pow expressed a similar rule before, too). I think that rule makes sense, because otherwise, we'll have a huge 'board game' collection with every single game which has a world map (slightly exaggerated) being included - because it does have a board game part.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 13:46 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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With games like that that clearly have both board game elements & non-board elements, I generally go by what percentage of the game is board vs non-board. If it's mostly board with some non-board stuff, then I count it as board. When it's about 50/50 like archon (I watched a vid of a game, to see what it was actually like), it's a tough call.
Additionally, I also factor in how glaringly obvious the board game part is. The fact that archon is so obviously based on chess tips the scales toward board game for me.

A perfect example of both these points are the mario party games. The MP games have a lot of minigames which are purely video games & not board games, and they have shops & a few other non-board features. However, the board game part is about 70~80% of the game, and when you look at it there's really no way you can -not- call it a board game.

With archon, you could pretty easily replace the action portions with a dice duel & have it be a normal board game. (Take a regular chess set & whenever you attack another piece, have each player roll a die, with the higher roll conquering the space.)
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Posted at 17:10 on May 26th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I like the way Mr. C. sorted the games now.

Quote:
With archon, you could pretty easily replace the action portions with a dice duel & have it be a normal board game. (Take a regular chess set & whenever you attack another piece, have each player roll a die, with the higher roll conquering the space.)


It isn't that easy because in "Archon" every character has special abilities and you can even win a game with only "weak" figures left by using their abilities the right way.
For example the equivalent of an chess pawn is realy weak because it only has the chance to hit the enemy in close quarters battle and you won't make big damage on strong enemies. But if you have good reflexes and use the obstacles on the battlefield you can win.

If I should rate the board and action part I would say "Archon" has an 20/80 ratio.
Posted at 00:47 on May 27th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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*shrug* I'll take your word for it. As I said, I've never played it myself, I've only seen a video of someone playing it. The action part seemed to be equal to, or somewhat lower in importance than the board game part, as though they were only using that as a way to spice up the game instead of having the attacking piece always take the square, the way they do in chess.
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Posted at 16:21 on May 27th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Let's forget about the specific case for a while. There are two options:

1. Stick with the proposed rule "The board game part is the entire game."
Pros: Simple to apply, easy to understand.
Cons: Rules out some games which people might look for in the board game listing.

2. Try to evaluate the percentage of 'board game contents' and use a fixed barrier which has to be surpassed (e.g. 50%)
Pros: Flexibility
Cons: Room for endless discussion

Your votes, please.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 17:42 on May 27th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I vote for solution 2. It's allways good to have a certain flexibility.
Posted at 02:04 on May 28th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I always intended that to be closer to #2. All of the rules I mentioned for determining if a game is a board game are intended to be weighed against each other. If a game strongly agrees with some of the rules, it can violate a few of the others, it's all a question of deciding whether or not fitting with rule [a] to a gicen degree is enough to counterbalance the fact that it doesn't quite fit with rule [b].

The mario party styled games are perfect examples of this. The minigames violate the "board only" rule, and most of the games violate the "no shops" rule, yet when you look at the game it's impossible to call it anything other than a board game.
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Posted at 14:52 on May 30th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I must say that after thinking about it for a few days, I'm not too happy with this. Although both of you brought up excellent points, we're basically back to square one. The way you define it now is very close to how I envisioned it initially - so this is exactly what lead to the problems in the first place.

I did the current listing with the assumption that no game which as parts which couldn't be played on a board shouldn't belong to that theme. The results seem to be acceptable to you guys, but the rule not - inconsistent, difficult to evaluate.

Still, the important thing was to reflect on this problem. Maybe if anyone else tried applying themes to any games, the problem would just go away in practice as things would get more diverse anyway. For now, I'm happy enough with the listing as it currently is, though not so much with the abstract clarity. Maybe the latter isn't that important for now.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 23:29 on May 30th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, here's a couple sites that list board games, you can see how they chose to do it:
http://y8.com/tags/Board_Game
http://www.caiman.us/scripts/fw/fboard.html

I think the y8 one is way too loose on their definition of a board game though.
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