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When Do You Play the Three-Hour Games?

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11 Oct 2019 16:08 #302394 by Shellhead
The current discussion about Fury of Dracula got me thinking about game duration. We all know that it's easier to get shorter games on the table. Filler games are designed to be easy to fit in. Modern boardgamers are conditioned to expect games in the 60 to 90 minute range, and 2 hours is not at all out of the question. But there is generally some pressure to wrap things up within 2 hours so everybody can move on to the next game and the next.

Longer games are possible, but I personally can only get longer games played if a specific long game is considered the reason that we are getting together. This covers Dune, Twilight Imperium, Android with 4-5 players, etc.

But it seems like the 3 hour game is awkward to get on the table due to playtime, and to a lesser extent, setup time. Too long for spontaneous play, and too short for a dedicated event. I suppose that a weeknight could work, but the vast majority of my local gamers are not up for playing long games on a weeknight. It might be a geography issue to some extent, as the Twin Cities metro area covers about 8,000 square miles. so driving time can really cut into those precious weeknight hours.

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11 Oct 2019 16:42 #302396 by Josh Look
I’m weird and play them on the regular. My game nights start at 6:30 and 7:00, or are in the afternoon, so we’ll finish between 9:30 and 10. That’s not bad.

I also will not play with slow people. My favorite games are typically a couple hours long and that kind of makes them incompatible with my gaming tastes.
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11 Oct 2019 16:46 #302398 by WadeMonnig
3 Hours falls into the "Event" time frame for me. I have no problem playing it on a typical game night but it has to be planned ahead. We usually won't break out a 3 hour game on a whim, instead we say "Fury of Dracula is going to be the main event." Anyone coming in is going to know that the majority of the night is going to be spend on "X" game.

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11 Oct 2019 16:52 #302399 by Josh Look
Twilight Imperium is my only event game. I’d really lobbed to get Dune in before the kid gets here.

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11 Oct 2019 17:06 #302401 by Ah_Pook
ive got one guy who is generally down to get together on a weekday afternoon/evening and play longer games. aside from that its a hard sell at like game nights or what have you. I also play games with my dad every Monday morning and no matter what game we play its a long game with him ;)

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11 Oct 2019 17:44 #302403 by cdennett
Pretty much every game night? Because a typical 90-120 minute game lasts at least 3 hours for my group once you choose one, setup, and explain rules to the new players (because there is always at least one). Also, we are a competitive group of mostly engineers, and thus are sloooooow. Consequently, we typically only play a single game at my game nights (with exceptions if we play shorter games). Would love to play faster, but I gave up on that a long time ago. We literally look at box time and multiply it by 2 to estimate how long it's going to take, and it's usually pretty good.
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11 Oct 2019 18:56 #302404 by Erik Twice
In my experience, 3-hour games go in the same category as longer ones. Partly because they take about as much effort to get to the table and partly because they tend to go longer than they should because most people I invited hadn't played before.
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11 Oct 2019 19:27 #302406 by Sagrilarus
I alarmed my group when I mentioned that we play slowly. Apparently they hadn't noticed, and there were a few moments of discomforted looks between them as it set in.

Consequently a "three hour game" isn't on the agenda most nights. I've learned to add an hour onto any playtime announced on a box or in a forum.
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11 Oct 2019 19:53 #302407 by CranBerries
The last three hour game I've played is Zimby Mojo. I think it came from Marie Kondo Barnes. I'm going to figure out how to play the shorter variants and trick my kids into playing it with me.

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11 Oct 2019 22:14 - 11 Oct 2019 22:17 #302409 by Gary Sax

Josh Look wrote: I also will not play with slow people. My favorite games are typically a couple hours long and that kind of makes them incompatible with my gaming tastes.


I don't hate you all if there are folks like this reading, but I consider analysis paralysis and overly slow play a personal insult to everyone at the table's time. I think it's antisocial behavior.

Yes, we're satisficing in our decisionmaking at least mildly too. To make the game vastly more fun and tolerable.

On topic but not judgy, like Josh I consider game night to run from 7-10 or so as well, but I get that others have a shorter regular game night in mind so I understand. For me, the jump in experience between good two and a three hour games is pretty substantial with that extra hour of investment.
Last edit: 11 Oct 2019 22:17 by Gary Sax.
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12 Oct 2019 00:57 #302411 by Shellhead
CranBerries, I too have Zimby Mojo, and it is damned hard to get on the table. As soon as I mention play length and the cannibalism, people are ready to play just about anything else.

Gary, I am 100% with you about AP players, especially the antisocial part.
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12 Oct 2019 05:49 #302414 by mc
Most of my gaming these days is family gaming which means, short as. (Now, anyway ... i am holding onto hopes for the future).

I am fortunate to have a downstairs flat I guess it's close to a basement really, but unattached to the rest of the house, that we use for visitors and playing instruments. And 3 hour games.

The few 3 hour type games I actually own and will get played, get played down there, left up usually over the space of a day or a rainy weekend, and are played in sessions. I say this like it happens all the time, but it doesn't really. The no 1. game that gets a go down there is Firefly. Set it up, play for an hour, hey, you wanna go get a snack, actually I have some shit to do, lets' continue later. After lunch, a bit more, then, oh, it's movie night, lets go make some popcorn, we'll come back to this tomorrow.

I can't imagine this would work for every game, but if it gets the games to the table, it's pretty alright, I think. You might forget a few things, but hey, it's a game, not life and death.
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15 Oct 2019 08:52 #302480 by lj1983

Gary Sax wrote:

Josh Look wrote: I also will not play with slow people. My favorite games are typically a couple hours long and that kind of makes them incompatible with my gaming tastes.


I don't hate you all if there are folks like this reading, but I consider analysis paralysis and overly slow play a personal insult to everyone at the table's time. I think it's antisocial behavior.


In general, too many people are disrespectful of other people's time. This falls into the wasting time at a meeting with BS, or not showing up on time to something.

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15 Oct 2019 09:23 #302484 by charlest
We typically game in chunks of 4-5 hours so could play 3 hour game regularly. Usually we choose not to due to having other stuff to play (mostly for me to review). Thus, we typically plan ahead when wanting to play a three hour game simply to commit.
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15 Oct 2019 11:37 #302489 by Gary Sax
That strikes me as the ideal way to do it, it also (should) reduce the teach if everyone can glance at the rules for a complex game beforehand.

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