Episode 15 – Casual Games

In this episode, we’re asking what the difference is between serious and casual gaming.

Music: Black Moons by The 126er on YouTube


Games List

2 Replies to “Episode 15 – Casual Games”

  1. RogerBW

    I don’t really like running through long procedures in a game if I don’t have input; if I get input so that I can choose how things go, I’ll accept a lot more complexity.

    I’ve seen “sandbox” used to describe all sorts of boardgames that I wouldn’t personally class that way. Rallyman GT for example: all right, it’s a bit more flexible than good old Formula D given that you have lots of different cars and layouts, but it’s still basically about taking a car round a track faster than anyone else.

    I think that “turtling” often gets used pejoratively because it’s not as much fun for the other players as getting out and mixing it up – especially if it’s combined with kingmaking. A slightly obscure game of which I’m rather fond, War of the Nine Realms, solves this very neatly: you can win by killing your opponent’s leader, or by gradually doing damage, so if you try to hide while other players fight one of them will probably win.

    I seem to have got accidentally involved in running a bunch of racing leagues on BGG – classic Rallyman, Rallyman GT, and a very lightweight dice game called Go500. Turns out that once you have software to sort out people’s results it’s quite easy to adapt it to a new game…

    Many of the games I like are on the short, light and/or casual side, but I play quite a lot of them. To me a more serious gamer is someone who plays relatively few games and does a deep dive on each, caring about improving their skills and winning; I play a lot of different games and I’m out mostly to have a good time whether or not I win or even play well. On the other hand a more casual gamer feels like someone who’s fairly new to the hobby, who’s playing everything for the first time and doesn’t yet really know what sort of game they’ll enjoy most.

    (This can all too easily turn into “I’m a better gamer than him, because I play good games” of course.)

    Here’s an example for Oliver: Onitama is a quick game, but it can be very intense. On the other side, Talisman or Munchkin are mechanically pretty light but often quite long.

    A side note from the comment about poker: I think a lot of traditional games (Cibbage, for example) became wildly complicated by modern standards because they were the only game that was being played in a particular community (social group, etc.), and that community expanded the rules to keep things interesting and to make it uniquely their game that outsiders wouldn’t understand. When they’re played for money, there’s even more incentive to have lots of complex special cases that the newcomer won’t know about. An extreme version of this is Uckers, which started as Pachisi/Ludo (opinions differ) but then got into the hands of the Royal Navy, and is now thoroughly arcane.

    • Oliver

      Thank you for listening to our podcast and for your comment, Roger. That’s a great deep dive into our episode. It sounds like you really enjoyed it. It’s also great to hear that you play games to have a good time. That’s a great approach. Thank you also for mentioning Onitama, which is definitely a very thinky game, even though it plays relatively quickly. As you say, Talisman and Munchkin are quite simple, but can take a long time to play. It was a very interesting topic to talk about for sure.

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