Discussion in the KS thread got me wondering, what are your weak spots with games? More specifically, what themes/artists/components will cause you to consider or buy a game even if you either don’t know if you’ll like it or know you won’t?
Like I said in the Kickstarter thread, I am so drawn in by games involving plants. You throw pretty plants in a game, or better yet flowers, and I will try to justify why I NEED it. It’s a compulsive thing. I love the Herbaceous games not because they are tight mechanically, though they are decent, but I adore them because that Beth Sobel art makes my heart sing. I know that I will not enjoy Bosk, but I want it. I want those chunky little wooden leaves so bad, but everything I’ve seen tells me I need to step away.
My other weakness is art. Vincent Dutrait will pull my eye and tug at my wallet even if I think the game is going to be terrible. I have no interest in playing Lewis and Clark, Broom Service, Alexandria, or Madame Ching, but I have considered them way more than I should have simply to have that art on my shelf. I throw Beth Sobel and Kwanchai Moriya in there as well. I hated Flipships, but I had a hard time deciding to trade it because of that art.
So, what do you just HAVE to have even though you know you don’t?
I can’t identify them. But I kept Nobilis on my shelves in this last move even though I would never want to play or run it, and I bought the anniversary edition of Werewolf even though I’m not likely to do so.
Pretty much every complex, long game I buy falls into this category. I know I’m going to get 99% of my plays online, on Vassal, Android, or Steam, so there’s not much point in me buying them other than to support the publisher and designers.
Knowing what you play, I bet those shelves are beautiful and sturdy. I appreciate that you support the publishers. I don’t intuit digital well, but I’m coming to accept that I’m only ever going to get to play heavier stuff in that medium as well. I just have to put effort into the initial time it takes me to learn TTS or Vassal.
Weak spots?? So many is difficult to focus. Good minis I always find attracting me. It is still too early in the gaming world for me to say a genre, but I have a tendency to love anything set in ancient or medieval history, science fiction and a good dungeon crawler. But in my incipient collection I have a bit of everything right now. I definitely struggle to put the pin on it.
I think, overall, I have a weak spot for well revered and loved games. If I see that they bring up people’s passion, I am a total sucker for that “I want to have a go” feeling. Then after having a game, comes the “I need to have this”.
That’s why I missed the Monday night club sessions, to make my mind up. Now both Village and Splendor are way up in my wanted list, together with games like Race for the Galaxy, Concordia or the omnipresent Twilight Imperium (but that is a Great Whale). At least I can manage my urges and ground them with a “how much is it” and a “how often will I be able to play it”.
I’m a sucker for weird indie storytelling RPGs I’ll probably never play, although I’m most likely to back sight unseen if it’s based on Apocalypse World or Blades in the Dark (or another recognizable game I like in that space, though those two seem to draw the majority of hacks). That said, if it thinks I’m going to play in a physical space and wants to, say, require bespoke card decks or custom dice or other such things that I’m going to have to have shipped to me and can’t rely on being replicated in my chosen virtual gaming spaces (or they want to sell separately for said gaming spaces)…nah, pass.
Other than that…ehhh. Way pickier about boardgames. Yes, I have more than I really have storage for now, with more on the way. But that’s part of why. Here are words that get my attention:
storybooks/event books/etc. (e.g. Tales of the Arabian Nights, Above and Below, Near and Far, Tainted Grail)
The more of those you have, the more my attention is grabbed. If you also have gorgeous art and/or a theme that’s clearly distinct, more boxes ticked. Piles of minis, PvP elements, traitor mechanics, huge ambition without demonstrating commensurate experience or capability, overly simple mechanics, heavy reliance on dice and/or other randomness, or a generic-ass fantasy theme/setting, all count against you. (Probably a heavily generic sci-fi setting, too, but I can’t say as I have a lot of sci-fi coops so maybe not yet.)
And yes, I have a lot of games with piles of minis and/or dice. The problem being that a loooot of games that tick most or all of my plus-boxes come with those two things. And sometimes I even like those things when they handled them well. Planet Apocalypse has ridiculous minis that are actually gorgeous and imposing and ornate enough to appeal to me, a noted mini-hater, and manages a lot of drama out of heavy diciness. Dice Throne made me completely reconsider the value of Yahtzee-style dice mechanics.
RPGs are probably my biggest weakness, so many games and systems I’ll never play. But for board games, if a game is pretty or has a really interesting art design, or has nice components I’m more inclined to consider it, though I’ve been significantly pickier in the past few years about what I end up buying.
And by nice components, I don’t really mean minis. Minis are … fine, but I’m happy with nice wood pieces or cardboard pieces with good art. I like things with nice dice, or metal coins, or just nice chunky cardboard. I haven’t bought it yet, mostly because it’s not fully my game, or a game for my friends, but I eventually will own Azul almost entirely for the pieces.
After that, games with an auction, or negotiation/trading aspect always interest me.
I think I have a fairly common weakness, which is expansions. Doesn’t matter if I haven’t played the base game, gotta pick up those expansions! I haven’t played either expansion for Flamme Rouge but the release I’m looking forward to the most is the next expansion for it. I also picked up everything for the Game of Thrones board game and still haven’t played the base game.
After a quick count, I own expansions for 11 different games, and I have played 4 of those games with expansions. This doesn’t account for games with multiple expansions, in which case it would look even worse.
It’s a strange desire to own all the bits for a game. I know I should just wait until I’ve played the base game a few times but I keep finding myself picking them up.
Mine are nice art, unusual settings and mechanics, and other people’s enthusiasm
My practical weakness is buying games that I like without considering whether I will be able to get them played… I’ve just about weaned myself off buying co-op games, because my husband and most regular gaming friend don’t like them, and I think Gloomhaven is going to test their patience for long enough
Aesthetics are probably my main weakness. Not just nice art, but overall good graphic design and interesting pieces. So while there are various artists I really like, I’m also super into the look of stuff like Startups or Letterpress (the Osprey re-release of Moveable Type).
I’m kinda miffed about the new version of Arboretum because I liked the aesthetics of the old version so much more. The art is perfectly nice, but the graphic design is just blah. Plus the ridiculously oversized box.
Quirky components are good too. Like the temples in Mexica or Cuzco, the airship in Celestia, the fire cones in Great Fire of London 1666, the waves in Lowlands, etc etc.
And a theme that’s at least a bit different from the usual is always nice. Like, I’m not against generic fantasy/sci-fi or bog-standard Euro stuff, but a quirk in the theming can definitely elevate a game for me. Or just a weird theme like Pi Mal Pflaumen.
All that together is how I end up being interested in pretty much anything Red Raven puts out
I don’t know if anything that makes me auto buy. I definitely prefer medium/heavy weight games with good presentation, but that’s such a vague grouping. I’m a sucker for deluxe versions - but they’re so common now it’s not like i buy them all.
Im not a huge minis fan, i like the look of the components to be congruous with the overall design. For most euros, custom Meeples and wooden components are much more fitting than plastic minis. When everything is wood and cardboard, suddenly having some plastic that is far more detailed than everything else looks odd to me. It also draws the eye, which is ill fitting for components that aren’t the main focus. But minis do have they place, especially for adding presence to certain genres like area majority games, or where you want the figures to stand out above everything else on the board. A fully considered and integrated design is the most important thing to me.
People who criticise/gush over components in isolation of everything else are missing the point IMO. No component is an island!
I find as my space dwindles, I’d rather spend more on a well presented game rather be able to buy 5 cheaper games. Quality over quantity! I just wish games would come out and THEN get a deluxe version, or even better, an upgrade pack as an expansion. Why are they all preorder exclusive via one means or another (KS or limited first printing)?? I want to know i like a game before shelling out more for components.
Looking at my KS list I’m still waiting on Yokohama deluxe and Madeira deluxe. So yeah… That’s me.
I’m a victim of my own imagination. I teach and have taught a lot of games over the years - easily dozens of unique titles before adding in all the games my partner and I have played. I have pored over and digested many a rulebook. You get a bit of a knack for it over time and as a result I’m able to work out whether a game deserves my attention or not fairly intuitively, using whatever marketing info, living rules docs, etc. might be available.
This makes me horribly vulnerable to the elevator pitch.
I’ll need something to excite me (usually mechanically) first, but if that little kernel of potential is already seeded, then a good sales pitch can really ignite my desire factor. Classic positive reinforcement enhanced, surely, by a little narcissism.
I get irked by genre fantasy, but not by genre SF - show me the same game with a spaceship on the cover rather than a dragon, and I’m instantly more interested. Which I shouldn’t be, really.
I’ve been a sucker for a really interesting theme. L’Aéropostale for example, which I bought with enthusiasm, but the game doesn’t feel like building an air mail network and I quickly sold it on. Cornish Smuggler is a lovely idea but just doesn’t quite fit together as a game. Who Goes There? got shifted on because of the ending where you all suddenly have the same goal (“be one of the people who gets out”), and it all comes down to a die roll.