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135
Posted by2 months ago

Do board games offer something in terms of gameplay mechanics that video games don't?

I want a hobby that is not attached to my monitor. Tactile experience, social IRL interaction and non-pixelated graphics are obvious distinct features of board gaming. What about strictly mechanical aspect of the hobby? Can board games give me experience which video gaming can't offer technically as a media or doesn't care to as an industry?

284 comments
90% Upvoted
level 1

I think video games and board games offer very different decision spaces. Video games are really good at immersion and I think often get their mileage out of a really good sense of progression - different genres do that differently, but I think that is a pretty common feature of video games (go there, get thing, talk to [x], which opens new area). You’re generally not going to find that immersion/sense of cohesive, story-based progression in tabletop games (obviously, there are exceptions - Gloomhaven is a particularly video-gamey board game, for example).

Board games get their mileage out of interesting choices. Because board games are most often turn based, they try to give players interesting things to think about (trade-offs, branching strategies, etc.), and those choices often feel impactful. I think that is what board games excel at when compared to video games - really interesting problems to think about, and limited space/resources to compete over between players. Rule sets are designed to give you really interesting things to think about, and because you’re all thinking about the same things, there’s often a touch of psychology involved too (they probably want [x], so I’ll go for [y], but maybe they have that same thought, etc.)

That all sounds more heady than I meant it, but I think it boils down to a very different kind of interaction with the players and the game itself. I love both video games and board games, but I lean more heavily toward board games for the reasons you mention (a hobby not tied to the screen, tactility and IRL interaction)

49
level 2

I second this with my own twist. My most played video games (Smash Bros, StarCraft 2, Horizons: Zero Dawn, Dota 2, Ultimate Chicken Horses, Rocket League, etc.) tend to reward quick reactions and nimble fingers. My most played board games (Innovation, Smash Up, Cubitos, Dice Forge, Dominion, Sushi Go, etc.) tend to reward long-term planning and deliberate flexibility.

It’s like tag vs hide and seek.

15
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

In video games I never cared about RPG, story, immersion and so on. I only enjoy git gud games, puzzles, strategies and such. In contrast last week I played Gloomhaven and, man, was I immersed. Social and tactile played part but I would certainly enjoy it solo and with passable design. That experience is what made me ask this question.

What board games that you played feel for you most distinct from video games? I mean in the context of your comment, that is choices and decision spaces. Just your particular personal take. This is a vague question but it would be great to hear another heady answer.

5
level 1

You can probably turn any board game into a video game easier than any video game into a board game. That's just because the onus is on the players to know how to play on a board game where as code enforces rules in a video game. So it's not really gameplay mechanics that are different.

Board games are more "social" in my opinion. There are couch-party games in video games, but even those, you are all watching a screen because gameplay is so fast. Board games are about slowing down the game, enjoying company, talking over things. It could be strategic moves or it could be party games with lots of laughs.

207
level 2
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago
Pax Renaissance

Gameplay that involves social deduction can't easily be replicated, nor as rich an experience as on tabletop. This includes explicit mechanisms, like in Avalon and Werewolf or implicit, like Mantis Falls and Chaosmos.

Edited for clarity

51
level 2

I wanted to add that it is also more on making you take times on turns because you have to scan the board, see what is on and in your hands and what the other people are plotting. It's adding another dimension in perception and thinking about the game. This is something we noted back home with the pc and board version of wingspan. Both are equal in more than one way, but clicking and automatically prompt certain things make it more easy but less involving.

7
level 2

"turning a board game into a video game" isn't really accepting the fact that all you are doing is converting assets, not converting the experience of playing it, which is the same bar that converting a video game to a board game is being held to, so I would say they don't actually convert back and forth easily. The social interaction required in most board games, such as decisions based on body language of other players, is something that isn't emulated in video games yet.

1
level 2

You CAN, but that doesn't mean it happens often or ever.

I frequently find myself looking for a video game that scratches that same itch that board games do. They are incredibly hard to find. Notable examples are Invisible Inc and Druidstone.

Board games typically have a much higher floor in terms of strategic thinking and a much lower floor in terms of dexterity.

1
level 2

I was at GenCon this past weekend and played a game called Dive. It was actually a depth perception game. I don't think it would be possible in videogame format. Fun little game, and definitely unique.

I'm a big fan of videogames and have loved them for decades. But I played some games with folks recently and it was a very different experience. Super fun and social. Games like The Mind and Decorum were also played (for the first time by me) and that sort of experience is really great. And can have you connect to the people you play with.

0
level 1

Whilst not a specific "thing," I would say that the bar for being "good design" in boardgames is much higher as they have to be more intuitive to be functional, and provide much more depth with fewer moving parts (because you can fit much much more "stuff" in a few gigabytes than in a box).

Now there are a lot of very badly designed boardgames out there, but the good ones really shine by having mechanics that seemlessly blend depth, approachability and theme.

In contrast, a lot of game genres are extremely stuck in their ways. Shooters as an example are all designed with characters who have 100hp and guns that do 20-40 damage and a bunch of tiny differences in recoil and reload speed etc. This, really, is not very interesting, thematic or elegant, and could, really be improved upon.

But if something "works," videogames can leave it as-is forever. Boardgames, to be considered excellent, can't afford to be uncreative and inelegant in design.

14
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

I've never thought about that. I wonder if even the best board game devs will eventually come to the point when they will be hard-pressed to create something original like creative artists in other media seemingly have.

1
Continue this thread 
level 1

It's so much easier to cheat!

Don't like the dice roll? Just change it!

Boss just killed you? No it didn't!

Your friend always always wins? Just sneak some more money from the bank!

No installing mods, messing with .config files, or scouring gamefaqs.com for walkthroughs!

I'm kidding

62
level 2

On a more serious note, they are more customizable rules-wise and can even be done so on the fly.

36
level 2
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago
Spirit Island

This is actually something. House rules. Not something you should leap into after the first time you play anything, because normally you simply haven't got the feel of the game yet. But - BGG has plenty of examples of decent games that have improved even more because someone's group didn't like some aspect of the rules, tweaked them, playtested the result and then shared. Not something you can normally easily do in a video game. My group has a couple of small ones for games that we play regularly.

17
level 1

Board games will always have the biggest screen size, with the highest resolution and fastest frame rate possible.

76
level 2
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

Not really, it does depends on your sight, in videogames you can increase text size for example

9
level 2

Not really, really high end screens literally have a higher resolution than our eyes

1

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