Wether it be a sport, video game or even just an extemporaneous game you make up for fun, games can either be deemed “good” or “bad”. Just as with foods and hobbies, everyone’s taste is different. I’m going to go over some the points I think make a game good, which hopefully are somewhat universal.
1. The rules must be well-defined, straightforward and fair.
This is a pretty obvious one. It seems to irk a lot of other people that I do this, but whenever I play a game, I’m very strict with rules. A set of basic guidelines is required for almost every game to keep it from being chaotic. Even your simple “Throw the paper in the trash can” game needs rules: The paper must be thrown from a distance and it most go in the basket for a successful play. Games with poor rules often end in fights (although some groups of players get into spats regardless). Balancing the rules to make the game fair and exciting can be hard, especially in teams. It takes practice.
2. The game needs to have a reasonable duration.
Games can take varied amounts of time. The key is making the game end at a decent point. The reason why everyone in the room groans when the Monopoly board is pulled off the shelf is because it often takes too long. The average person doesn’t have the patience to repeat the same thing over and over again. Complaints of a game being too short are rare, considering you can just play again if they’re over quickly.
3. Every good game has replay value.
For those who don’t know, “replay value” is the likelihood you’ll play the game again soon (This most often applies for video games). When you pick the game up again, you want a fresh experience, so games with little wiggle room for taking it in different directions often have a low replay value. Games with a lot of different ways to play often provide a high replay value.
4. Simplify, Simplify and Complicate, Complicate.
This is a very delicate part of gaming that has varying boundaries for everyone. Some games get too complicated and it’s so much of a chore to figure out what to do next it becomes frustrating. Conversely, games that are too simple become repetitive and annoying.
For example, there was a game I used to play way back when called “War”. You would have 3 different types of people on your team: Attackers, who would attack the other team’s base, Defenders, who would stay in your team’s base, and Scouts, who used walkie-talkies to spy on the other team and grab ammunition. After a while, we added rules to make it harder, such as only scouts could grab ammunition and that when you were hit you would have to go to jail and lose lives and that all team members had to get to the other team’s base to win and scouts couldn’t attack and if you caught the ammunition you were safe and… well, you get the point.
Then there’s a game like Chutes and Ladders where all you do is roll a die and move.
So, do you agree with my points? Do you have any you’d like to add? Post your thoughts in the comments below! =)