Should video games and board games have a separate TCI?

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BadCosmonaut
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Should video games and board games have a separate TCI?

Post by BadCosmonaut »

I almost never play video games anymore, but this is a pretty cool update. Thank you for keeping game TCI separate from movie TCI.

Similarly, I'm curious if there was discussion behind the scenes about whether to separate video game TCI from board game TCI? I think it makes sense to group all video games together, but board games I would have put into their own TCI/database.

mpowell
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Re: Welcome to Criticker Games!

Post by mpowell »

BadCosmonaut wrote:Similarly, I'm curious if there was discussion behind the scenes about whether to separate video game TCI from board game TCI? I think it makes sense to group all video games together, but board games I would have put into their own TCI/database.


We did think about this. Board games were something we actually added right at the end of the process. We felt like gaming was gaming, and it probably doesn't matter whether the platform is a console, your smart phone, or real life. Anyway, that's the theory! It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be true... and we reserve the right to separate board games more cleanly in the future, if we need to!

BadCosmonaut
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Re: Should video games and board games have a separate TCI?

Post by BadCosmonaut »

mpowell wrote:We did think about this. Board games were something we actually added right at the end of the process. We felt like gaming was gaming, and it probably doesn't matter whether the platform is a console, your smart phone, or real life. Anyway, that's the theory! It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be true... and we reserve the right to separate board games more cleanly in the future, if we need to!


Fair enough. I would recommend you reconsider this decision though. Board games are a different medium than video games, just like books are different and music. Video games are played on a computer (which includes consoles, cell phones, etc) using a keyboard or controller for everything. Board games are physical items you play with in front of you usually on a table.

Because they're a different medium, they are designed completely different than video games. For board games, there are a ton of different mechanics that can be in a game. Plus most games implement more than one of these mechanics, and most games implement them in their own unique way. Board games also have their own set of genres. Plus there are a bunch of different settings.

For most of the entries in the three lists I linked above, you might argue that some of those same things can be found in video games. That's true, except that the implementation in a video game can quite often be completely different than the implementation in a board game.

For example, the mechanic 'set collection' in a video game usually refers to finding a set of hidden items in the game world just for fun, aka finding all the 'shinies'. 'Set collection' in a board game might be a core gameplay mechanic where you have to collect a set of cards during drafting. Another example, the genre war game for video games would usually be something like Call of Duty rather than Hearts of Iron. For board games, the genre war game is almost always more like Hearts of Iron. In other words, 'war game' for a video game usually refers to setting, whereas war game for a board game usually refers to genre. They are really just two separate kinds of things. Last example, the racing genre for video games would be something like the Gran Turismo or Forza games, where the player is in a simulated race car driving around a simulated track. Compare that to Downforce. Almost everything about the two experiences would be different except for the fact that they both involve race cars on a track.

I'm sure many similarities can be drawn using those same three lists, but the point is that I could come up good examples of (fundamental) differences all day. Because the medium is different, almost every aspect of the game is designed differently.

To expand on this idea, board games are designed with many factors in mind that simply aren't present in video games. Board game players have to keep their own score, have to do all upkeep tasks, have to sometimes do the actions and movement of NPCs, have to set up a game to play then tear it down afterwards, have to actually have people present in real life to play with (unless it's the less common 1 player board game). Also, quality of physical components and the quality of the box/inserts are an issue with board games. With video games, players don't need to worry about any of that. All the upkeep/maintenance type stuff is done behind the scenes by the program. Board games are designed in a completely different way due to these differences.

Because board games are designed differently than video games due to the difference in medium, what makes a video game good can be very different than what makes a board game good. For video games, there's level design, UI design, controls, sound design, music design, possibly voice acting, the perspective (first person, third person, isometric, side scrolling, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc), the quality of the graphics, the type of graphics (pixel, cell shaded, voxel, 3D, etc), the genre of game it is (4X, point and click, vertical/horizontal shooters, first person/third person shooters, platformers, simulation, sports, etc), cutscenes, online multiplayer, game length, how buggy it is or isn't, modding, and many more things I'm sure.

All these factors usually aren't considered when someone decides whether they like a board game since most of these factors usually aren't present in board games. Plus, board games can have their own set of exclusive factors to consider that aren't present in video games, many of which I already mentioned, such as component quality. Also, how much someone likes a board game can be heavily influenced by whether their board game group likes it and/or how often (if ever) they're willing to play it. If I like a board game but can't get it to the table, that can affect my score. Whereas with video games, this isn't an issue for single player games, and multiplayer games usually have online multiplayer now so it usually isn't an issue there either.

To recap, board games are a different medium than video games. Because they're a different medium, almost everything about them is designed differently. Because of that, classifying board games and what makes a board game fun or not is going to be different than classifying a video game and deciding whether a video game is fun. Because of that, I believe taste/preference for board games would quite often have little correlation to video games. Same with video games to music, or video games to books. If that's true, then they should have a separate TCI database.

I would also recommend if you're going to separate video and board game TCI, that you do so sooner rather than later. Many people will only try a site once, or if they do try it again, it won't be until years later. Also, there is at least some notable demand for this kind of recommendation service for board games. I've seen threads about it popping up over the last year on sites like reddit and BGG. I've checked out a few of the competing services, but none of them seemed to be all that great. This would be a good time to enter this market, but if you're going to do it, I'd start it off by recognizing it is a different market than the one for video games.

[I deleted some paragraphs here that had incorrect information in them.]

Because of all this, I would recommend removing them from the system for now, and relaunch it later as a stand alone TCI, preferably with the top 1,000 or 2,000 entries from BGG already entered into the system, plus all the classic mass market games entered as well (Clue, Connect 4, Mr. Bucket, Fireball Island, etc).

I may think of a few more arguments in favor of the split later, but in the mean time I would be interested in hearing from users who think it's a good idea to keep them together. I mean substantive reasons to keep video game and board game TCI together, as opposed to just saying 'it's fine as it is.'

CosmicMonkey
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Re: Welcome to Criticker Games!

Post by CosmicMonkey »

I agree with BadCosmonaut. Board/Card/Tabletops Games should be kept entirely separate from Video Games. While both use gameplay mechanics in a similar fashion, Video games are also an audio-visual and a narrative medium. While some board games could be argued to have narratives, most don't, and none use audio-visual story-telling in the same way.

Similar to how film exists on a spectrum between visual art (photography) and literature, Video games exist on a spectrum between "interactive audio-visual narratives (e.g.Telltale's The Walking Dead) to what are essentially just electronic board games (e.g. e-sports) While visual art can very much be LIKE some films, and the line is sometimes difficult to define, we all know that because 99% of films exist in the space between visual art and literature that it's different enough to be considered a medium of its own. Just because some board games are very similar to some video games, the vast majority are different enough to be a medium of it's own, as well.
Last edited by CosmicMonkey on Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

VinegarBob
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Re: Should video games and board games have a separate TCI?

Post by VinegarBob »

I would do away with the board game side of things entirely and concentrate on videogames. That in itself is such a mammoth undertaking I fear you'll be spreading yourself too thin by trying to do board games as well - which are entirely different beasts and of which there are close to 100,000.

The idea of a Criticker for videogames is quite exciting though. Looking forward to using that a lot once it's in full flow.

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