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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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Immersive Resources

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06 Sep 2022 00:00 #335433 by oliverkinne
Let's start at one end of the spectrum and work...

As you probably know by now, I'm a very visual person. I love great illustrations in board games, hence my series "Let me illustrate" highlighting board game artists in the industry. At the same time, a board game with an amazing look alone is not enough. The gameplay needs to be great too and the rules must not be more complicated than necessary for the weight of the game. So in this article, I want to look at how important realistic resources are to me in games.

Read more...

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06 Sep 2022 12:58 #335434 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic Immersive Resources
This is a cool topic of discussion.
I enjoy your articles.
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06 Sep 2022 13:13 - 06 Sep 2022 13:18 #335435 by jason10mm
Replied by jason10mm on topic Immersive Resources
This is DEFINTELY an aspect of miniature wargaming. Losing that unit you spent 5 hours painting has got to have more of an emotional gut punch than if it were just a cardboard standee or chit. Same with Necromolds the tactile aspect of making your monster on the spot and the joy of crushing your foe with your little ring thing is pretty awesome. Play-doh as a resource, who knew???!? Playing Demos or whatever that VR minis game is, despite very nice graphics, just isn't the same as moving your own pieces with a bit of heft across a real cardboard field (waaaaay faster start-up time though!)..

Thematic components are great so long as they don't get in the way. I've seen games there the board clutter impedes play, even if it adds theme and tangible investment.

I feel like the ultimate expression of this is Cash n'Guns. Just pointing fingers at an opponent IN NO WAY replicates the joy of those foam weapons :P

Or that old Mousetrap game. Wait, it was a GAME, not a toy????

I saw a very upgraded version of Terraforming Mars at Dcon with plastic cities and stuff. WOW, it does sell the cities and "greenification" of the desert planet. Looked like work to manage it though.

And more to your topic, those metallic cubes in TM definitely helped sell the game initially, I don't think there was much like it at the time. Same with those irregular resin crystals (I first saw them in Ascension, I think) that now lots of games use. Someone did the work to upgrade what was a little chit and now everyone does it.
Last edit: 06 Sep 2022 13:18 by jason10mm.
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06 Sep 2022 13:32 #335436 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Immersive Resources
This is something that, frankly, I have never understood. I don't get any sense of "immersion" in a game. I've never played a game and felt any way other than "I am playing a game". I can have fun or not have fun, get excited or not get excited, but nothing has ever made me feel like "wow, this particular component makes this experience much more 'real'" which is what "immersion" seems to mean.

This is not to say I want plain white boards with just squares where the brightly colored plain cubes go. I like attractive games, and sometimes a component is cool looking, but that's the extent of it. It looks cool, it doesn't "solidify" my experience of the game. And most of the time the cool component could be swapped out and I'd barely notice.

Metal coins, the go-to for these discussions, are a mystery to me. As an American, a coin is a nuisance. Having enough to do anything with means having a lot of them, means having heavy noisy junk filling your pockets. Most people dump them in a jar and eventually dump the jar in a machine to turn it into "real" money. I can't for the life of me imagine paying extra to futz with coins in a game. I do not want the "immersive" experience of scraping together a pile of metal to pay for something, an experience I try and avoid at all other times.

You mention Lords of Waterdeep and the cubes being a problem. But what would change that into an "immersive" experience? Would returning a bunch of little statues of heroes from your player board to a board space feel like you're "really" completing quests?

Kickstarter bugs me because it's a given that any cash beyond what's needed will go towards junk like this, providing a "deluxe" version of game that often hasn't demonstrated even the necessity for a non-deluxe version of itself. I'd much rather that money go to the creators so they can create more games (or just chill, whatever) instead of a bunch of plastic junk. None of that stuff does anything for me and I wouldn't notice it not being there.
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06 Sep 2022 14:36 #335437 by fightcitymayor
Replied by fightcitymayor on topic Immersive Resources

oliverkinne wrote: Wooden Cubes

When we get to simple, coloured cubes, we've reached a point where I find it a lot harder to feel fully immersed in a game. I mean, the coloured cubes in Lords of Waterdeep are great and all that, but I never know which one is the priest, which one is the soldier or whatever else there is. I know that it doesn't really matter in the game, but it would be nice to really feel like you're raising an army to fulfil a quest or hiring a group of wizards to do your bidding.

I am 100% with you here. The cubes in Waterdeep always bugged me, and felt like a bad corner cut in an otherwise decently immersive game.

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06 Sep 2022 15:53 #335438 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Immersive Resources
Spill the Beans came with real beans back in the day. Now THAT is realistic components!

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07 Sep 2022 11:26 - 07 Sep 2022 11:27 #335458 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Immersive Resources
Components that look like the thing they represent makes a game more intuitive, which can make it more immersive. Your brain doesn’t have to constantly pop in and out of that abstract place to remember that white cubes are cows and brown cubes are wood, or whatever.

They can also make teaching and learning a game much easier. I recently replaced cubes with meeples in a game because people were having a difficult time understanding that they were loading boats with workers, not with resources.
Last edit: 07 Sep 2022 11:27 by ubarose.
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07 Sep 2022 12:16 - 07 Sep 2022 13:45 #335462 by SuperflyPete
Replied by SuperflyPete on topic Immersive Resources
I feel strongly that the more like the represented item a representation is, the better the experience will be.

To call out Legomancer’s post: Immersive doesn’t always imply that you feel you are Luke Skywalker because your figurine looks like Luke Skywalker in my mind, it means that you don’t need to mentally parse that the white cube is Luke and the Black one is Vader.

The less your brain has to process that one thing represents another, the more you can focus on strategy. One note about Sagrilarus’ post: With Lords of Waterdeep, the game is ultimately a color matching game - X cubes of Y color does Z. I don’t know if wee orange wizards (like that cheap tactical Risk game that came out a while back) would be more or less immersive since the fact that they are wizards has far less bearing on the fact that they are orange and match the orange icon on the goal card.

To me, games like Stone Age (yeah, I know, the cup stinks) and Agricola work so much better when the circles are stickered with people icons and the resources are painted wood or resin. I don’t know why they’re more immersive or easier for my brain to parse when they, like Lords of Waterdeep, are ultimately just “match X and Y to make Z”, but for some reason they work.

Now, in Puerto Rico, the fact that they used brown cubes for Taíno is something I find deeply insensitive on the part of the publisher, but the fact that the resources are just other hexagon columns doesn’t bother me because they make sense and the colors match.

With regard to miniature games and RPGs, it is without doubt that the more realistically painted and modeled the miniatures are, the more I want to play. Space Hulk 3ED would not have gotten the Rab Florence treatment if there were no toys.

I think it all comes down to how the abstract requires a secondary mental process to translate, which makes linear thinking harder. It’s like a person learning Spanish hears, “zapato” and doesn’t immediately see a shoe, but rather thinks “zapato = shoe” and then imagines a shoe. The repercussion of this may be that you aren’t as good at the game as someone whose spatial or rather translationary mind (I made that up just now) doesn’t take the extra step, and can look at the orange cube and see gold, immediately, and therefore has a better, more linear view of the game board because they see things as they are without a mental filter.
Last edit: 07 Sep 2022 13:45 by SuperflyPete.
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07 Sep 2022 14:12 #335465 by jason10mm
Replied by jason10mm on topic Immersive Resources
Stone Age is a GREAT example. Who HASN'T played with those little wood sticks and stones? Plus I've seen folks HOARD those gold blocks because...well, they are GOLD, right? If it was just a yellow disc I don't think it would trigger the same avarice.

Kids games do seem to lean in this more. I think a lot of adult games either hit a wall due to the sheer variety of resources or some lasting legacy to the AH bookcase games of 'nuthin but sheets of cardboard!

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07 Sep 2022 16:03 #335468 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic Immersive Resources
Back when I owned Waterdeep I bought some mini-meeple figures carved like warriors and wizards from some guy on BGG who was doing it as a sideline. They were just brilliant, and it really did feel like it was bringing some of the setting to life in having all these little wooden adventurers around the table. So much better than the cubes.

I think it must have been the animeeples for Agricola that really started this big trend, and I’ve got to say that I kind of like it. The shaped pieces in 51st State, one of my favourite games, just make it feel more fun to be picking up guns and fuel tanks rather than plain blocks. In the upcoming Eleven the tokens for fans are people holding their scarves proudly in the air, what a lovely and appropriate touch. There’s a lot of creativity out there with this stuff now and the manufacturing processes have become advanced enough to make it affordable and accessible. I’m all for it. Metal coins can fuck right off though.
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07 Sep 2022 19:46 #335471 by SuperflyPete
Replied by SuperflyPete on topic Immersive Resources
I’m not NOT a fan of metal coins but I think they don’t add much.

Now, the paper money in Firefly? Now that rocked.

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07 Sep 2022 20:32 #335472 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic Immersive Resources
For me, it’s less important what they are and more important how they are implemented.

The aforementioned paper money from Firefly is beautiful and well made (and thematic). But in most games I can pass on paper currency and would prefer coins or counters.

I really love miniatures, but I don’t want them in everything. Counters, meeples, or standees can be just as great.

I appreciate games that have an artistic vision and have components that fit it. And games that have an eye towards components that are functionally useful to playing the game.

That tower in El Grande doesn’t just look cool, it’s perfect for hiding the cubes. The king piece stands out and is easy to handle.

The order dials for Star Wars Armada aren’t pretty, but they are easy to hold and use, they keep the information hidden and they stack so you know exactly which one is coming next.

I see “fiddly” used for games that require you to move lots of pieces, but it’s really about having to move pieces in a game where the moving of pieces was poorly considered in the physical design.

If you can combine artistic vision, identifiability and functionality into your pieces, you are doing it right.
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07 Sep 2022 21:11 #335473 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Immersive Resources

n815e wrote: For me, it’s less important what they are and more important how they are implemented.

The aforementioned paper money from Firefly is beautiful and well made (and thematic). But in most games I can pass on paper currency and would prefer coins or counters.

I really love miniatures, but I don’t want them in everything. Counters, meeples, or standees can be just as great.

I appreciate games that have an artistic vision and have components that fit it. And games that have an eye towards components that are functionally useful to playing the game.

That tower in El Grande doesn’t just look cool, it’s perfect for hiding the cubes. The king piece stands out and is easy to handle.

The order dials for Star Wars Armada aren’t pretty, but they are easy to hold and use, they keep the information hidden and they stack so you know exactly which one is coming next.

I see “fiddly” used for games that require you to move lots of pieces, but it’s really about having to move pieces in a game where the moving of pieces was poorly considered in the physical design.

If you can combine artistic vision, identifiability and functionality into your pieces, you are doing it right.


Yeah.
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08 Sep 2022 07:03 #335481 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Immersive Resources
I would think a middle ground would be discs instead of cubes with an optional sticker sheet. You get a wizard picture centered on an orange disc. That way you get the color match along with the theme match.
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08 Sep 2022 08:11 #335482 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Immersive Resources
I see the argument of "immersive" meaning that the pieces connect with the rules better. I'm all for that.

For money in games, I bought a set of mini poker chips for one game -- Crisis -- because it used a money track that was just tedious and annoying. The chips are nice. But doing like some folks do and using them as money in EVERY game? Boo to that.

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