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Board Games NEED to be Table Hoggers - and you can do this with Board Game Design!

Video games for a long time now have needed to conquer a problem, getting players to pop back in the disc for another session after they had finished the previous one. The solution might be simple enough, just make the game good.

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However, there are lots of ways you can help the player feel like they need/want to keep playing, even if they are done for the day.

  • Compelling story that has built intrigue

  • A juicy progression system

  • A world worth exploring

  • Deep gameplay evokes varied player expression

All of these, regardless of the overall quality of the product, can help the player want to keep coming back.

In the past few years, due to the over-saturation of the board game market, especially relating to crowdfunded board games, the biggest question on customers' minds when looking at a new board game to purchase is "will this game get played more than once?". Their Kallaxs at this point is surely filled to the brim with games either in shrink wrap or played and forgotten.

So, how can we apply what video games have done to board games using board game design? It all comes down to the genre you have picked for your game. But there is one element we can use across the board, and that's deep gameplay.

Deep gameplay is essentially achieved by having systems that allow the player to express themselves and different strategies in varied ways.

  • This can be done through cards like in The Binding of Isaac Four Souls, or King of Tokyo.

  • It can be done through an action point system with different upgrades.

  • It can even be done with various engine-building mechanics, like in Scythe or Wingspan.

To test if your board game has this deep gameplay, after a playtest simply ask the question "What would you do differently next time". There are two things you can gauge from this answer.

  • Is the player enthusiastic about the idea of coming up with a new strategy and playing again?

  • That they can come up with a new strategy or idea.

If either of these outcomes do not arise from your question, then you need to look at ways to improve the gameplay and deepen its variability and strategy, this is applicable for all weights of game.

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