What is a ‘great’ game?

I got an idea from GamerChris’ latest blog entry.  Check it here.  Chris talks about what makes a great game versus what makes a fun one.  I agree with him on this. A game’s goal is fun.  If it is not fun, it will not get played and will eventually fade away.  ‘Great’ is subjective.  When we talk about great games we usually are including fun AND design. My example is Macao.  But can elegant design alone mean a game is great?  It depends on who you are talking to and what you are discussing.   I haven’t played many of the games listed at the top of the BGG list.   Words used to describe many of these include elegant, ‘well designed’, ‘ground breaking’, and ‘innovative’.  But are they great?  Maybe.  By the above definition great games should be both elegant and fun.  I like to believe that the BGG subscribers’ rankings include the fun element.

Fun games on the other hand don’t have to be great.  Chris gave an example of Bang! for this.  I suggest Tkii Topple in this category.  This category of games give you that excitement that you play games for.  ‘Fun’ is also subjective.   Sometimes it can be jump up and down, whooping it up fun.  Sometimes it is successfully solving a puzzle.  It depends on you and what you are after at that particular time.

So what about you?  What makes a great game?  What makes a fun game?  How about suggest some games that are both.  Give me one great game and one fun game and tell me why each is in its category.

Come on.  Give me some feedback on this.

No Thanks For The Kingdom Fiascos

Last night was game night at Hypermind.  I haven’t been able to attend for the last two due to illness in the family so I was stoked. Chris, Kenny, and I had been discussing what to do and decided on Macao and playtesting our Fiasco playset.  Well, Macao didn’t happen but there was still much fun.  I got there about 7:15 and picked up a game of No Thanks! with Mark and David.  This is a really fun game.  Simple but brutal at times.  I don’t remember who won but I happen to put together several runs over three hands.

Next up was Kingdoms.  I own this one but haven’t played much due to the math involved.  The kids haven’t been up to it until recently and I just haven’t taken it out to play.  Anyway, it was a four player game with me, Chris, Graham, and Chip.  Kingdoms is a fun game that appears simple but has some good strategy.  I missed a couple of good moves early on but still managed not to come in last thanks to a good last round. 

We played Through The Desert next .  I had never played this and it took a while for me to realize some things.  I lost but it was fun and I believe the kids would like this.

Kenny was still involved in an epic Agricola game so we hauled out No Thanks! again.  I got a lot of ribbing for taking so many cards but managed to put together 2 runs in the first hand and an eight card run in the last hand for only 7 points.  Chip ended up edging out Keith.  I came in third.

Kenny finally finished his Agricola game so it was time for some Fiasco.  We have been building a playset sparked by an idea from RPG-Or-Die-Con!.  It gelled into Action News 6! – a local newscast.  We had the playset finished and wanted to run it through some real testing.  Keith joined us for the testing.  He was a real asset, having outside eyes on it.  All in all it went well.  It was a blast as Fiasco tends to be.  The playset was pretty solid but we identified some places that needed elimination or tweating.  Chris is updating and we will then need a full blown playtest.

More Homesteaders

The kids and I played Homesteaders yesterday. I wanted to get another play in before taking it to Game Night. I wasn’t expecting much. It seemed over their heads. But happily it was not. They caught on pretty quickly. Z won the first game with just his homestead and a meat packing plant. He passed on the auction to get to the end of the railroad development track then just sat back and generated victory points. I won the second with a high VP town. Though they really didn’t get the strategy (I still haven’t hit that yet completely.) they played well. AND they enjoyed it. The second game was at their request. So Homesteaders is a hit.

Online Gaming

I’ve found a new addiction – gaming online.  I’ve wondered about it for several years having found SpielbyWeb and Brettspielwelt.  I was hesitant because I don’t know how to play most of the games and didn’t want to waste someone’s time while I learned.

But a recent Dice Tower episode convinced me to try it.  Eric suggested Yucata.de.  It’s a site that has a lot of games.  And they happened to have Hey! That’s My Fish!.  So I invited Eric to a game.  It went well except I lost.  But I was intrigued.  So I picked out another game that I thought I would like, Arkadia, read the rules, and accepted an invite from the open games.

I got beat again but it was fun.  So I tried again.  More fun better score but still lost.  I tried Atta Ants.  Lost in the second turn.  The interface is wonky to me.  I’m currently in a Finca game and a Richelieu game on Yucata.de.

But the one I’m having the most fun with is Wallenstein on SpielbyWeb.  I played Shogun at the last game night I attended.  It was a blast.  And I told Chris we should try Wallenstein.  So he set up a game between myself, him, and Kenny.  It’s much fun.  The game is thinky which I like.  Lots of planning and strategy with some luck pitched in.  Very good.

So I recommend any one of these sites.  Also look at Michael Schacht’s site, michaelschacht.net for online versions of his games.  I need to try China or Web of Power.  Or look at MabiWeb.  I haven’t tried BSW yet but it seems to have the most games.

Check them out.



I picked up Homesteaders from SciFiGenre on Thursday past. I read through the rules that night but was not able to get a game in. I had to wait until Sunday to play a learning ‘solo’ game. I set it all up and played myself x 4. It was slow going. I ran out of $ and trade chits. That puzzled me. The game is easy but deep. Upon a re-read of the rules I found I had played two rules wrong. That’s why I ran out of $ and chits. The gameplay is straightforward but there is definitely a lot of strategy involved. I’m hoping to get another play through before taking it to game night. I’d like to know what is going on so I can teach it.