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Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the play-faster-dangit dept.

Education 153

BusylikeBum writes "Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell. The board game can take just too long, she said. Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass. 'A lot of times, you don't play games because they take so long.' Board game makers are heeding pleas of parents like Hastings and introducing games tailored to busy lives and shorter attention spans that take only about 20 minutes to play." This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

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Lengthy German board games? (3, Funny)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613379)

serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

You mean such as Sprockets: Touch my monkey!?

Re:Lengthy German board games? (2, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613455)

Touch My Monkey? That lasts until one gets married doesn't it?

Re:Lengthy German board games? (5, Informative)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614361)

No, they mean games in the German-style board game [wikipedia.org] genre. Germany currently has one of the most vibrant board game design cultures in the world. This is largely fueled by the Spiel des Jahres [wikipedia.org] , the most prestigious prize in the board game industry. Some popular recent winners are Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, El Grande, Settlers of Catan, Call My Bluff, and Scotland Yard. If you see "Spiel des Jahres" winner on a game box, you can buy it without second thought—winners are fantastic games.

Re:Lengthy German board games? (2, Informative)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615561)

Modern Art is quite a good game too, as are many of the boardgames from Mayfair.

The World of Warcraft boardgame is also surprisingly decent, heh.

Re:Lengthy German board games? (1)

Gertlex (722812) | more than 7 years ago | (#18617093)

The World of Warcraft boardgame is also surprisingly decent, heh.
I'm of the opinion that the World of Warcraft game is WAY too slow. But hey, I'm not acclimated to the real game's grinding either...

Re:Lengthy German board games? (2, Interesting)

Trenchbroom (1080559) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614825)

Funny...when I think of German board gaming I think of them being "short" games to play. When my friends get together to play a long game we often play a Gamemaster game that typically takes 4-6 hours (Axis & Allies, Shogun...Fortress America is the game of choice, naturally). If we really plan on taking the whole night we'll play some Twilight Imperium. And god help us if Advanced Civilization is taken out of the game closet... Compared to these games, German classics like Settlers of Catan, Web of Power or Tigris & Euphrates can be played multiple times in the same time span.

Re:Lengthy German board games? (2, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614957)

Yeah, I think the fastest you can play Advanced Civ even in only a 3 player game is 6 hours. Start roasting a pig if you play an 8 player game, or a 18 player one with the expanded world rules (see http://www.civproject.net/ [civproject.net] for more details)... well with an 18 player game, you better line up a lot of caffeen drinks and a 4 day weekend.

Re:Lengthy German board games? (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615871)

"Empires in Arms", Grand Campaign, 7 players.

If memory serves, the estimated playing time is either 100 or 200 hours. That's a pretty good estimate...

Cliff's Notes? (5, Funny)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613381)

I wish the articles on slashdot were shorter. I only managed to get half way through this one before my busy life distracted me. Wow, is that a nickel?

I might agree... (1)

Hsensei (1055922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613383)

I think I agre... OH crap SHINEY!!!

From my experience... (4, Insightful)

fishybell (516991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613395)

...it doesn't take 9-11 year olds 20 minutes to get bored with Monopoly. In a three person game their turn only comes up every two minutes, and they run out of steam before they've been around the board twice.

Simpler games, such as UNO or Mancala, or even more complicated games, such as Rummikub, offer more entertainment for longer periods of time simply because a turn lasts at most 30-45 seconds.

Re:From my experience... (4, Interesting)

Skevin (16048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613593)

The problem with Monopoly is that it is not a zero-sum game - every time someone passes Go, another $200 is added to the overall money in play. Sure there are cards and board spaces that take money back into the Bank, such as the Luxury Tax square, but the total probability of hitting these cards/spaces often do not significantly impact one's earnings. This problem is further exacerbated by the occasional practice of putting all that "penalty" money into Free Parking.

I introduced a variant to Monopoly that ensures the game will not take too long: I give everyone six times the normal starting amount in cash. Every time someone passes Go, he has to *pay* $200. This ensures that the total flow of money is negative for everyone.

On another note, did anyone else chuckle at the fact that there is a "Disney Monopoly" boardgame you can buy?

Solomon

Re:From my experience... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614537)

On another note, did anyone else chuckle at the fact that there is a "Disney Monopoly" boardgame you can buy?

No. There's like thousands of different themed Monopoly boards. I have Simpsons, Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Australian, US, and UK (aka original). I'd like to get that one with the stock market add-on.

Re:From my experience... (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616767)

Monopoly is 99% a zero sum game, just like chess is. Sure, it's possible to make money by passing go, but it's also possible to get more points in chess by promoting a pawn. In my experience, monopoly is a rather boring experience; someone gets a monopoly and everyone trades in 1-2 turns to get one as well. I've never seen any properties trade hands after both players have a monopoly. My friends and I stopped playing monopoly years ago after we discovered Settlers of Catan. Trading every turn and having everyone compete for dominance is much more fun in my experience.

Re:From my experience... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613933)

I think it would help if you stopped pairing up kids with senile geriatrics. A reasonably paced game would then take some 30-45 seconds except when there's some major payouts happening.

Re:From my experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18614571)

So if a 3 person game of monopoly has every turn taking about 1 minute (thus a person's turn comes up every 2 minutes), is this significantly worse than UNO, Mancala, Rummikub, where a turn takes up to 45 seconds?! This is only a 15 second difference, and you claim that will make or break a game?

On a side note, our family can play rather rapid games of Lord of the Rings Monopoly--the moving ring makes the game end in about 1.5 hours.

Re:From my experience... (2, Informative)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614677)

If you play Monopoly with the proper auction rules (if you decide not to buy a property, it goes up for auction and sells to the highest bidder) the game moves along much faster.

Re:From my experience... (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615821)

Don't call random variants added to the rules in less than 1% of all monopoly printings "proper".

Re:From my experience... (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616039)

It's not a random variant. Read the rules for monopoly some time. I can't believe so many people miss this.

Re:From my experience... (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616277)

I have read them. Many more times than almost anyone else posting on this same subject. I have collected Monopoly games (amongst other games) in the past. The auction rule wasnt in the original monopoly rules, and its not in any current printing. It was "popular" (with whoever decides which rules go in which boxes at Parker Brothers) at various times, mostly in the mid 80s and late 90s. I am sure it will make a comeback. But most people playing without it are playing by the rules as they have them from PB.

Re:From my experience... (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616511)

Well if you look up "Official Monopoly Rules" any number of sites will contain the following paragraph copied verbatim from the official rules:

If you do not wish to buy the property, the Bank sells it at thru an auction to the highest bidder. The high bidder pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property.
This has been present in every copy of Monopoly I've ever seen...

Re:From my experience... (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616563)

I am doubtful that "sells it at thru an auction" is copied verbatim from any published rules. If so, I need to apply for a job as a proofreader.

Re:From my experience... (3, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616677)

One could write a book on conflicting information from "Official Monopoly Rules" [on] any number of sites.

http://richardwilding.tripod.com/monorules.htm [tripod.com]
This one says that the bank auctions off all the belongings of bankrupt players. It also says that the limit for late rent is two turns later. It also says that a whole color must be un-house'd before one of the properties can be mortgaged (a sensible rule, but the rules I have read only required that property to be empty, meaning one house could remain on the others). Contrary to the grandparent-linked "Official Monopoly Rules", it says you can unmortgage property for 110% immediately upon buying it, instead of paying the (unheard of) extra 10%.

There is no single set of "Official Monopoly Rules". There are many variants, many of which are or were official at some point in some place. There are many rulesets. Some are good, some are bad. Some people make up house rules (like auctions) that happen to be printed rules in other sets.

Re:From my experience... (3, Informative)

Garridan (597129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18617417)

I'd probably check out Hasbro's website, since, y'know, they bought MB, and produce the game now. At least, that's what every group I've ever gamed with does, when rule disputes come up.

http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/monins.pdf [hasbro.com]

Avalon Hill is the worst offender (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613405)

I would play Fortress Europa if setup alone didn't take a whole day. I doubt I've ever played an entire game, what with having a younger brother and a dog. After a week or so I'd find everything moved around. Oh well, start over again!

Re:Avalon Hill is the worst offender (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613601)

I've only ever played one Avalon Hill game. I used to play Acquire quite a lot with my dad when I was, oh, ten or eleven or so. I think I won once.

Re:Avalon Hill is the worst offender (1)

ToxikFetus (925966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614045)

Not only is setting up a pain with many games, but explaining the rules to newbies is daunting, as well. Diplomacy is far and away my favorite board game, but I haven't been able to play it in years due to a lack of interest by others to dedicate 5+ hours to learning and playing a board game. What's annoying is that these same people don't mind watching football or other TV shows for 6 hours straight.

No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613409)

It takes too long. Even when I suggest we play the official "short game" rules, they still say it takes too long. Maybe they just hate me.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18613443)

I don't want to play any board game with anyone. Sure, board games are fun. If you're ten years old. I mean, when was the last time you saw adults sit down together to play a board game with other adults?! Same goes for card games (especially Magick type of games), with the possible exceptions of poker and black jack.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613487)

You're not married are you?

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

fatalfury (934087) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613827)

I got Nintendo Monopoly for xmas but I still can't talk my friends into playing it with me. :( I need more nerdy friends.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (4, Interesting)

Micah (278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614177)

"Takes too long" is a cop-out excuse by people who don't like Monopoly. If that's what they say, forget it, they wouldn't be good game partners anyway.

In my experience, if you play Monopoly RIGHT (by the official rules) and focus on the game instead of gabbing about other things the whole time, it can take two hours or less, sometimes as little as one hour.

Monopoly is also a lot more brilliant a game than most people think. Most people who "like Monopoly" don't have a clue what most of the rules are, and they insist on playing with house rules that completely mess up the game's economy and add too much luck (*cough* Free Parking Jackpot *cough*). Another offense is allowing as many houses/hotels as you want. The game has a carefully chosen limit of 32 houses and 12 hotels -- there must NEVER be more than that on the board. Many don't want to play with the auction rule, where all properties landed on that aren't immediately purchased must immediately be auctioned. Not to mention other silliness like trading immunities to paying rent for trades.

Hint: All "house rules" are bad, but the ones that run counter to the game's goal -- bankrupting every player but you ASAP -- will make the game last longer. Play it right and you'll fly through it!

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614739)

In my experience, what takes the longest is counting out movement spaces. Yeah, there are some tricks to count quicker, but unless everyone's on the up-and-up, they'll have to re-count it.

I agree about free parking.

I disagree about trading immunity to rent. In my mind, that's just a bargaining chip, though I don't see it often.

Anyone ever successfully paid the $2000 hotel rent on boardwalk? :-P

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (2, Informative)

tighr (793277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616503)

I'm one of those who enjoy Monopoly, but none of my friends want to play unless we use those house rules.

And I've successfully paid hotel rent on Boardwalk before, its easy when you own all the Red and Orange properties! People obsess about getting Boardwalk and Park Place, and are willing to trade you Red and Orange for way less than their market value should be. Statistically, they have the highest possibility to be landed on, and the orange properties have some of the best payout:hotel cost ratio on the entire board.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

Goldrush (888847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614857)

Yep. Pretty much nailed it. All my games ended up being a immunity trades. Can't help it. I just don't want anyone to feel sad.

SOMEBODY GETS IT!!! (3, Interesting)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615483)

Can we somehow get you adopted into my family!? As a kid I used to think that Monopoly took too long. Then in high school I ran across some kids in my 3rd period class that would all play through lunch . That's 50 minutes!!! I asked them if they played using alternate rules and they looked at me like I was from mars. Nope. The problem that was my family had instituted virtually all of the loopy "house rules". Here's just a few:

  •    
  • You had to pass Go once before you can purchase a property

  •    
  • No auctions. If five people before you land on a property and don't buy it, tough luck

  •    
  • Contracts and Immunity deals so complex you might need a Notary

  •    
  • Anything that would otherwise go to the bank instead goes into that [censored] Free-Parking windfall.


Ugh. No wonder it would take hours.

damn (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615507)

Why do I never ever hit that preview button??

apparently all my time playing monopoly was diverted from learning html. sorry.

Re:SOMEBODY GETS IT!!! (1)

Micah (278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18617021)

Yep I agree. Monopoly is really great when played right. Too bad more people don't. Maybe we could play online using Atlantik, assuming you use Linux. :)

Regarding immunity deals, here's my interpretation: The rules obviously don't allow them. BUT since the rules also do not require one to collect rent when an opponent lands on your property, it is possible to make a gentleman's agreement not to collect rent on X number of lands on your newly developed property. However, since it is nothing but a gentleman's agreement, said agreement could be broken on a whim. If you offered someone such a "deal", and they land on your property, and you decide to be mean and collect rent anyway, then they are absolutely obligated to pay. So it's a matter of trust. I have never actually done anything like that and don't know if it would be a good idea -- probably not.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (2, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616227)

Monopoly is also a lot more brilliant a game than most people think.

In the 1930's Monopoly was brilliant. In contrast with modern games, its flaws are thrown in sharp relief.

Game design:
1) It is an elimination game with a platykurtic expected duration distribution. If you are going to knock players out, you need a strongly defined endpoint.
2) Deal-making games are more interesting with more players; deal-making games with elimination get less interesting as the game progresses.
3) It has indeterminant length and lacks a fair withdrawal procedure. If the game can run overlong, players need a exit that doesn't throw the game.
4) The decision tree is sparse, and the most important decisions occur early. The endgame is not much different than the end of Snakes & Ladders.

Game mechanics:
1) 'Roll & Move' includes a completely unnecessary step. Customized dice could replace the entire token track.
2) Keeping score to four-digit precision serves no purpose when player decisions only have two-digit granularity. Player spend too much time tracking what they cannot control.

Components:
1) The gameboard wastes a colossal amount of space. Games that waste real estate can less easily be enjoyed at the players' convenience.
2) Paper money is inferior to plastic chips for the required transactions. Modern games with similar MSRP have a far greater production quality.

Monopoly is the Model T of boardgames, a revolutionary product that has truly earned a place of honor in any museum. You may enjoy driving antique cars, but you'll have little success convincing others they offer a superior ride than modern designs.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616589)

Interesting comments. I don't understand the dice bit, though. What kind of dice set contains all the spots on the Monopoly board and takes you 2-12 spaces forward each time?

As for game mechanics, I remember one time (on my naive suggestion) my family handled money simply by recording player totals on one sheet and adding/subtracting as necessary. It worked about as well, but had the advantage of instantly knowing your total cash at all times.

As for game play, do you have recommendations for how to turn it into a good game, without those 4 flaws?

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

WhyCause (179039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616347)

My friends and I have a weekly game night, and we play Monopoly with two modifications that really trim it down:

  • Everybody gets 3 or 4 properties (handed out at random) at the beginning of the game. You have to buy the property handed to you, or it gets auctioned.
  • The game ends when the first player goes bankrupt. Calculate your 'worth' according to the rules for income tax. Highest value wins.

Re:No-one ever wants to play Monopoly with me.. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18617327)

i actually like it when it takes long.
when i was young, i have designed a board game with some strange and flexible rules which could be played for a couple of days, or even weeks.

Along with his sidekick Apparent Boy (4, Funny)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613431)

"Games are becoming, in a lot of respects, entertainment," Silver said.

Will Captain Obvious save the day from the evil Duh League? Find out next time, on IB Times!

Re:Along with his sidekick Apparent Boy (1)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614113)

Heh. But from your title, I thought you were making a dig at the parents with Aparent (without parent) Boy. Which is certainly warrented in this case - seriously, is it that big a problem to spend a few hours dedicated to playing with your kids on a rainy weekend?

How generous of them. (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613449)

Oh, how generous of board game manufacturers to deign to give us shorter games.

This is all nonsense. If you've got a good game store in your neighborhood, you can walk in and say, "I'm looking for a game that takes less than 30 minutes to play." If they can't show you at least a dozen games, you probably don't have a good game store.

If you want shorter games, look for games specifically designed to be short and quick. Hacking an existing game to be shorter is neat and all, but you'll get a better experience if the game was designed to be short from the start.

Re:How generous of them. (5, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614155)

I thought I had a good game store here. The outside certainly looked all glittery and fun. When I walked in, it was very dark, and there was a sort of stage with these poles on it, and some scantily-clad females doing an interesting dance. "Oooh! Role-playing!" I thought, looking around for a dwarf wench with the grog.

    Then I announced loudly that I wanted to find a game that would take less than 30 minutes. One of the girls looked at me and said, "Honey, you want one that will take less than 30 seconds," and then they all went "Mmm-hmmm!" in unison and did a head-bob.

      I want to know where the hell you guys get your games.

Re:How generous of them. (1)

Vulturejoe (570401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616257)

I want to know where the hell you get your games.

Re:How generous of them. (1)

psu_whammy (940612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615739)

If you RTFA a bit closer, you notice that it's almost exclusively Hasbro mentioned as doing stuff like this. No mention of the whole Settlers-of-Catan group of games which are trending in the opposite direction, and only a passing mention that Hasbro's market share has dropped quite a bit in not a very long period of time.

You can go into any game store and ask for a short game, or a long one, or a brain game, or a party game, or an offbeat card game. No matter what the question, the response probably won't be a Hasbro game. After all, Hasbro's spent most of its time since buying up the whole mainstream game industry releasing Uno Unnecessary Card Shooting Device and Monopoly Look At Our Metal Tokens Edition instead of coming up with new ideas.

Speaking of German Games (2, Informative)

marphod (41394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613467)

This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

Well, first, it is more than the past few years. Settlers of Catan was one of the earliest BIG cross over games. I was playing it since college, means the cross over started about a decade ago.

Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.

(On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

And I STILL can't find anyonre to play Kingmaker with me, and very few who play Magic Realm.

Re:Speaking of German Games (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613619)

The first few games of Tigris and Euphrates are EPIC in their duration.

Re:Speaking of German Games (2, Informative)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613657)

Settlers, in the world of modern board games, is a very quick game and it is engaging. More so than Monopoly, Scrabble, or most of the classics.

Re:Speaking of German Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18613707)

Maybe it takes us twice as long because ze Germans think twice as quickly as Americans?

Re:Speaking of German Games (2, Interesting)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614435)

The people I play games with tend to hit on or under the "expected playtime" for board games. I think the problem, if you consider it a problem, comes from your particular group of friends. Most game estimates expect that each player will be familiar with the rules, but will not rules-lawyer. They expect that each player will play to win, but they don't expect that each player will be a mini-Machiavelli. The important thing is to have fun; if you are having fun playing, it shouldn't matter how long the game takes to finish. If you want a shorter game try playing for a predetermined number of turns, or time limit, or similar arbitrary method.

Re:Speaking of German Games (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616241)

I once played in a game of Settlers (Seafarers) where each time it came to a particular persons turn it would take 20 minutes or more for them to decide what to do. It made for an exceptionally long game. :(

Re:Speaking of German Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18614595)

I hear you. I've got a copy of Kingmaker sitting around that I've never gotten a chance to play :(

Re:Speaking of German Games (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616979)

Heh...

I remember the last game of Kingmaker I played. It was suppose to be a "quick" game, and it ended up taking us 11 hours to finish, with three of us playing.

H.

Re:Speaking of German Games (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614757)

Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.
It's just your style of play. The group of people I regularly play with are much quicker. We haven't played Catan in a long time (we generally prefer games with less luck), but when we do games do not often exceed an hour with 3-4 people and I've never had one go over 2 hours. Most other games we play in a much shorter time than packages states. It's just a matter of knowing the rules well, focusing on quick play, and not getting distracted.

Re:Speaking of German Games (2, Interesting)

parliboy (233658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614839)

(On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

Disclaimer: Order of the Stick playtester. Buy the expansion, coming soon to a store near you!

Stick can be completed within the listed time, if you're playing with board gamers. However, their target audience is the RPG crowd. These are people who play one game within an eight hour session, as opposed to about four games. They're working on alternate rules to allow for a timed game. Then again, I've never seen a dungeon crawl be intellectually honest about its playtime. So I suppose it's to be expected.

Settlers in over three hours? Never seen that happen.

p.s. Don't own Magic Realm, though I've thought about picking up a used copy I've seen. Meantime, Return of the Heroes seems to fit the bill in that genre.

Define "lengthy German board game" (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613557)

Even amongst avid boardgames, there are those with a distaste for Eurogames taking longer than 2-1/2 hours.

Days? (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613559)

Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass.

Don't know if they've changed the rules for Disney Monopoly - usually variants just change street names and graphic design - but Monopoly should never take days, unless players are deliberately buying property from each other at inflated prices to prevent anyone going out of the game. Or unless people are refusing to trade cards so that nobody can form a complete colour group and build houses, in which case it's stalemate and you might as well call a draw.

After an hour or two of Monopoly the board should be full of houses. At that point the game ends fast; the ASSESSED FOR STREET REPAIRS and MAKE GENERAL REPAIRS cards are ruinously expensive to a big landlord. As a result, money comes out of the game a good deal faster than it comes into it from people passing GO. All those fees go to the Bank, leaving players with less and less money to pay the ever-larger rents, and the game must end soon.

You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

Re:Days? (5, Informative)

pappy97 (784268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613637)

The problem is that idiots can't follow rules. You won't believe how many people I've met don't understand that if you land on a property and do not wish to buy it, it goes up immediately for auction to the highest bidder, including the person who landed on it.

It's CLEARLY in the rules, but somehoe that rule isn't followed, which slows down games because all the properties are not bought as fast as they should be.

Re:Days? (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613771)

I didn't believe you at first, but I looked it up and you're right. That adds a whole new dimension to things, but somehow I doubt it will be widely implemented.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Monopoly/Official_Rul es [wikibooks.org]

There are other reasons why the games take forever, players are overly cautious. Even if the walls are caving in around them as a the one player with a monopoly begins to clean house, they will desperately hang on waiting to land on that one property that will give them a monopoly rather than have a fair exchange with another player.

I can recall once I had a trade in mind but decided to give the other five players the chance to do something themselves for once. After I got to take my turn another ten times I gave up on waiting. It was just ridiculous.

Re:Days? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613841)

There are other reasons why the games take forever, players are overly cautious. Even if the walls are caving in around them as a the one player with a monopoly begins to clean house, they will desperately hang on waiting to land on that one property that will give them a monopoly rather than have a fair exchange with another player.

Monopoly's a game that often rewards the bold. For instance, your archrival has landed on Free Parking (where he receives no reward and incurs no penalty, and moves on as normal on his next turn, just as it says in the rules). You realise that as things stand he has more room to build than you do, and in the long term you will lose, so on your turn you mortgage everything you can to raise the money to build Hotels on Piccadilly, Leicester Square and Coventry Street. If he lands on one of them - and the odds are good, because you know the probability distribution for two dice - then you are well set to turn the game around. If he does not then you're doomed, but then you were probably doomed anyway...

Re:Days? (2, Funny)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614961)

build Hotels on Piccadilly, Leicester Square and Coventry Street

Yeah! Right...Piccadilly...ROTFL...That anywhere near Marvin Gardens??

You've probably never even been to the eastern seaboard [wikipedia.org] before, have you pal?

...oh wait, what the heck is this [wikipedia.org] ???

Re:Days? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615923)

A lot of the rules on that page are old, new, rarely printed, or made up for tournaments but not actually part of the official rules. I have seen dozens of different printed-by-parker-brothers rule sets for monopoly. From the wikibooks page you linked, the following have never, to my knowledge, appeared in a real monopoly rulebook:

* buying/selling houses at any time
* paying extra interest when trading mortgaged property
* using 'get out of jail free' immediately on landing on Go To Jail

Re:Days? (1)

tighr (793277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616715)

As far as I know, and this is from the last time that I read the official rulebook that came with my Monopoly board, you do indeed pay 10% upon receipt of mortgaged property in addition to the 110% cost of unmortgaging it later.

The other two rules I never play with (but I'm not sure if they are in the official rules, without going to check), because it makes the game more fair.
  • You should only be able to buy/sell houses at the beginning of your turn before you roll
  • you should be forced to wait until the beginning of your next turn to use a get-out-of-jail card to get out.
What some people I play with fail to understand is that jail is supposed to be a punishment. That's why you have to pay $50 to get out unless you roll doubles, even after your third roll. I know its a "house-rule", but I typically like to institute a half-rent (or no rent) rule when you are in jail, meaning you can only collect half-rent or no rent at all during your stay. Otherwise, people would stay in jail as long as possible for free and collect money, all the while they don't run the risk of paying anyone else rent.

Re:Days? (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614987)

I can't believe people would play it like that. The game would last for fricken ever, just like when people put fines and shit on free parking. One of the strangest things I see from people that I play with is that most people don't realize that you can buy houses and hotels at any time between rolls. I've used that many times to buy up houses when someone lands on me, and then catch the next person with the new higher rent. At first, everyone says it's cheating, until I bust out the rule book. The other rule that no one ever follows (until the rule book is flashed in front of them) is the rule that says you must choose to pay the $200 or the 10% (on Income Tax) BEFORE you add up your assets (and a bunch of people seem to think that assets don't include property, which is even gayer.). It's really a very good rule. I've seen many people pay more than $200 because they weren't sure of their own value.

Re:Days? (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615375)

That is typically played as house rule. Just like all fines get paid to free parking, and whoever lands on it gets the money.

Re:Days? (1)

brumby (93242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613983)

You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

That one always annoyed me. It seemed that as soon as I started playing Monopoly with people outside my family, everyone else had this strange 'rule' where all the fines went on Free Parking, and whoever landed there got to collect the money. And of course, since all that money was going there, it was 'unfair' to sit there and collect rent for a few rounds if you were doing well.

What usually happened, is that enough money would accumulate there that whoever landed on it would eventually win, just by having enough money to outlast anyone else.

Re:Days? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614071)

I can attest to that.

The commodore 64 version of monopoly actually had that as a "rule". Perhaps people remembered the old computer days in which that was applied..

Re:Days? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614541)

No, if we're talking about Disney Monopoly, it's a very abbreviated form of the game. There's just castles, not houses and hotels. The properties are more like $2 and feature all of the princesses and their doofy animal friends. Even when your young child understands the money math and can follow the rules, they can still get restless and bored before the game is half done. "It's your turn, sweety" starts out gently, and gets more tedious and more edgy as the energy saps right out of you. By the end of the game, parent and child can both be relieved it's done, regardless of the winner.

Now, I don't know what it was like to be a board-game playing kid in the 50s, but today's kids are definitely not goal-driven and follow-through or "sticktuitiveness" is hard to develop. As soon as the mind wanders, their first instinct is to bail on the current activity and try something else. It seems a natural (although worrisome) outcome of the huge array of stimuli which our world offers... there's always something more fun than what you're currently doing. Unless the tasks or games have a satisfying reward within a reasonable time, the sense of accomplishment will not be experienced often.

Re:Days? (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615005)

Now, I don't know what it was like to be a board-game playing kid in the 50s,


not sure about the 50s, but in the mid-70s when I was a kid in Europe we had only two crappy tv channels and no video games, so in the summer we spent most of the day playing outside, save when it was super hot (around noon-2pm) or rainy and then the board games came out: together with Risk, Monopoly was one of our favorites, we were between 7 and 9 years old and we had absolutely no problems with following the official rules and/or having enough attention span to run a game in an hour and a half or so...

on the other hand we also ate only during meals (save a mid-afternoon snack), nobody drank any soda (water all the time), and basically sugary treats were just that, treats, like a cup of ice-cream a few times a week: I think kids nowadays are way too full of sugar/hfcs and sedentary to be able to have a reasonable attention span...

Re:Days? (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615451)

but Monopoly should never take days,

You're right. But everytime I've played it, it has; or at least would have it we played it to the bitter end, which we almost never did. Monopoly is boring after everything is bought.

After an hour or two of Monopoly the board should be full of houses.

And you know. After playing the same game for 2 hours. Most players are bored with it.

Or unless people are refusing to trade cards so that nobody can form a complete colour group and build houses, in which case it's stalemate and you might as well call a draw.

That too is incredibly common.

You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

You know what? People do do that! [about.com] It's a house rule. They money goes Free Parking.

The house rule I always played with to end the game quickly was the "game comes to an end a set number rounds after all the properties are bought." You calculate everyone's netvalue and you declare a winner.

B

Re:Days? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616357)

You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

My family has played such a variant for years - fees and fines accumulate and are paid out to the individual that lands on Free Parking. The games most certainly do not 'last forever', about two-three hours tops.

Setup Time vs. Actual Play Time (2, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613571)

Another thing that's more difficult to address is the inordinate amount of setup time that some games take. Witness Axis & Allies. Its a great game, but every time I want to play it, I realize that its going to take at least 30 to 45 minutes to set up, and the thought of that is enough to get me motivated to do something else.

That said, I don't see a way to address the issue without ruining the game. Part of the attraction of the game is the varied unit types, and its the very presence of varied units that makes setup so difficult.

Re:Setup Time vs. Actual Play Time (1)

rilian4 (591569) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613825)

I used to play Axis and Allies in High School back in the early 90s and my group of friends could set up the entire board in under 5 minutes. Maybe we were into it too much...;-p

Re:Setup Time vs. Actual Play Time (1)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614385)

Another thing that's more difficult to address is the inordinate amount of setup time that some games take. Witness Axis & Allies. Its a great game, but every time I want to play it, I realize that its going to take at least 30 to 45 minutes to set up, and the thought of that is enough to get me motivated to do something else.

Yeah, that was why I stopped playing Mall Madness [boardgames.com] a while back...

Re:Setup Time vs. Actual Play Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18615505)

"That said, I don't see a way to address the issue without ruining the game. Part of the attraction of the game is the varied unit types, and its the very presence of varied units that makes setup so difficult."

Computerise it? You obviously don't like messing around with board markers, why not leave the drudge work to a machine and focus on the gameplay...

It is true! (2, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613627)

Everything does take to long to finish in one sitting usually.

That is why I play chess with friends via correspondence.

I can use a program/site or just use IM/Email using chess notation. The site offers a ton of features, but after a while you should be able to play chess games without ever having to see the board physically. Instead you just read it with notation.

Of course, most games cannot be played via notation, but via correspondence, it is surely an option.

Edit: Average game of ~30 moves takes about anywhere from 3 to 30 days for me. Most finish within 3-5 days.

Re:It is true! (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613847)

Huh, that's interesting. Could you point me to a reputable site that can get me started with correspondence chess?

I used to play a lot of chess in school, but now that I'm in college I'm having trouble finding people at my level to play against. Everyone I meet seems to be a newbie or (more commonly) way too advanced.

Re:It is true! (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613885)

Sure! RedHotPawn.com [redhotpawn.com]

Once signed up, you can challenge me if you wish, I am not that great at all. My name on there is the part of my username here on /. after the (.) with 9797 to the end. So it is in the format myname9797

Re:It is true! (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614117)

Thanks a lot!

I'm signed up now and my user name is the same as my slashdot user name.

Re:It is true! (2, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615937)

Richard's Play-By-eMail Server [gamerz.net] has a community of thousands of players and supports dozens of games, including proper chess and many chess variants. Games run as slow as one move a month or as fast as one move an hour.

short attention span theater (2, Interesting)

theatrecade (1080063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613653)

what's this world coming to when you can't even take an hour or 2 to play a board game but you'll let your kids play video games unsupervised for hour. I understand what's it like to busy and i don't have kids but i have sisters that i'll devote days to them to their enjoyment. Just because i'm a hard core brother that way. I would think parents would do more to spend as much time with kids whether it's boardgames or video games

Luxury (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613655)

In my day, we'd spend the entire weekend setting up the pieces and arguing over the rules of "Fire in the East". We were lucky to have two turns completed before Sunday afternoon!

This is nuts (2, Insightful)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613667)

Shouldn't we be pushing for longer, more cerebral games--chess, Go, backgammon, etc.--to counteract the attention problems? Seems the priority is not on the kid's mental development but on the parent's schedule.

You want a short board game? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613675)

... Why not try a nice game of Draughts [wikipedia.org] ?

In a word, Boggle. (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613677)

Boggle [wikipedia.org]

they last how long?! (2, Funny)

ForceOfWill (79529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613809)

more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

Did anyone else misread this as:

more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years

?

Re:they last how long?! (2, Funny)

Werkhaus (549466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613925)

more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years
First thing that sprung to my mind was Diplomacy. OK, it didn't take years. But it felt like it.

Re:they last how long?! (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615519)

I have seen games of Diplomacy that lasted over a month, however. Years would only be a slight exaggeration.

Re:they last how long?! (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614273)

"Did anyone else misread this as: more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years "

Like "Invade Poland!"

Magic Realm (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18613955)

Anybody remember Magic Realm. I think it took us an hour and a half to set it up the first time. Played eight or ten times but never ever finished it. Took a weekend off once to play; still didn't finish.

TransAmerica, Balloon Cup, Alhambra (1)

7grain (583823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18614255)

For the record, there are already some good brief games out there that kids can enjoy. Two games in my closet that come to mind are TransAmerica [funagain.com] (for 2-6 players) and Balloon Cup [funagain.com] (2 players). Each of these take about 30 minutes to play, even with kids. And both are the types of games that can be played "just for fun" by younger kids (ages ~5-8), or with a little bit of strategy as their minds develop strategic thinking.

Fun for adults too! They're good gateway games to more strategic stuff as the kids get older. Alhambra [funagain.com] is another great choice for kids 8+, but it takes more than an hour to play when you play with kids.

I also find that more traditional Hasbro games like Parcheesi and Sorry only take about 30-45 minutes to play, even with 5-year-olds, and are far more entertaining for everyone than mindless Candyland.

Also - IMHO - Kids under 12 should not be playing Monopoly, even if it is a Disney-scented theme. What a bad product idea that is!

The problem with long games (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615409)

Whether it's a board game, a card game, or anything else where the longer it gets the better balanced it has to be. If you blow 30 minutes on a game that has lots of flaws but is fun no big deal. However once games start getting into the hour plus range you need to feel it was worth the time investment.

If the game isn't well balanced in one way, or if the players' skill levels are mismatched, then one or more players are going to pull ahead while everyone else falls behind with no hope of catching up. This might be fun for the players in the lead, but it can get very frustrating to the others. _Especially_ if they're not as much into board games. This can make convincing non-board game geek friends or SOs to join you for a game very difficult.

If the game isn't balanced in another way then the results become based more on luck than skill, especially if it's possible for one player to jump up from behind suddenly at the end and wind up on top. This can be acceptable if the game is of a more silly nature, one designed to make everyone compete in crazy antics and the enjoyment is more in the journey than the goal, but not so much in a "serious" game. "Apples to Apples" is a good example of a game that manages to have a goal to compete for but which no one really cares a great deal who wins.

An ideal game allows players who are behind to catch up, but in a way that is at least theoretically foreseeable and preventable. Allowing ways for the players who are behind to gang up on the person in charge often helps with this. And often times setting alternate goals for yourself when it seems that victory is out of your grasp can be entertaining if you can maintain the right mindset. If you're already out of the running then sabotaging the person in the lead to give the game to the person who was second can be a fun goal (assuming you're playing with people who won't hold grudges of course =)

Re:The problem with long games (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18615959)

The absolute best solution I have seen to this is in the game Power Grid. Simply put, the player in first has to do everything at the worst possible time, and the player in last does things at the best possible time. Auction order, purchase order, building order, etc, all in favor of the losing players. This leads to a game where the best player tends to stay at the head of the pack, but it is fully possible to lose the lead at the end of the game, or make a great finish from a poor start.

Computer Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18615829)

Obviously, your board game customer is not the same customer as your computer game client, willing to put 40 plus hrs/week into playing Warcraft or Second Life?

What we need is a simpler Candyland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18615911)

Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell


Gawd, this could be shedding a pathetic light on the level of the American game player - otherwise, uh, maybe that's not because she's too busy, it's because Candyland is BOOOOORRRINGGGG!!!! C'mon, the poster can't compare Candyland in the same league as the German games (Carcassonne [io.com] comes to mind, as well as games mentioned by other posters here: Settlers, Transamerica, etc) - hence his/her questioning the article. You're darn right.

priorities (2, Insightful)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616407)

"Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell"

there has always been a talk going about how story based video games take too long for working parents to be able to play them, and I can understand that perspective. It's hard to get time away from work and responsibilities of being a parent for that long when you work and have kids, but this seems to be a different issue entirely.

Seriously if your business life is so busy that you can't sit down with your 5 year of daughter long enough to play a game of candy land the problem is not candy land. It's time to rethink your priorities.

You mean, Quiddler? (1)

dsandler (224364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18616415)

Tracie Broom, a San Francisco writer, and her friends cannibalize Scrabble to play a quicker word game - called alternately Anagram or Grab Scrabble. They put the Scrabble tiles face down, and flip them over one-by-one, calling out new words as they are formed, or stealing words from other players.

Sounds a lot like Quiddler [setgame.com] , a card-based game that's like Scrabble for the impatient. My friends and family are hooked on it. (The other Set games [setgame.com] , including the eponymous "Set", are also fun, quick, and brain-intensive.)

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