Friday, August 22, 2008

"A Game For Everyone"

I saw that written on a board game box on my way to the cafe. 

The weird thing is, that's obviously meant to draw all people in to play it. But does it? 

To me that phrase communicates a certain blandness that a game made for specific audience wouldn't possess. To appeal to everyone the game would have to do away with any morbidity, inappropriate humor, or many other forms of color that would appeal to a specific audience, but not everyone

That being said, I've played games meant for general audiences (Clue, Monopoly, et cetera), and these can be enjoyable, but still bland to some degree. Can anyone think of a really good example of a game meant for everyone that doesn't sacrifice unique characteristics? 


Typhinius said...

Really, the only 'games' I can think of like that are card games like Euchre or Pinochle. They are based completely on luck and the skill of the players...but then, there are no "hooks" like board games so there isn't any flavor like good board games tend to have.

Zach L said...

At GenCon, we played a couple board games that I think could be "for everyone," even though they had a pretty strong flavor/setting component:

Alchemist and a train game I can't recall the title to.

Alchemist's only flaw is that it relies on colors, so color-blind people may have some difficulty, but it was reasonably quick to pick up, and had an interesting strategy component.

The train game was even simpler to pick up and play, and lots of fun.

I think most board games in general could use that phrase; it's just that, like you said, it tends to put people off. The problem is that there's no way to truly fit EVERYONE into a game. even Clue can upset pacifists, and Monopoly can upset communists. You can find someone to be upset for everything.

Jack Phillips said...

Good points.

Really, I think it is just that phrase bothers me. I'd rather know something more specific about the game than be told that Everyone likes it, You are a part of the group Everyone, therefore you will like it.

I like the World of Darkness phrases:
A Game of Beautiful Madness or Savage Fury, Modern Gothic ST Game. I get an idea of setting and mood from each of these.

thanuir said...

Game for everyone means that the people who put it there know too little about games.

No game is good for everyone.

D said...

I don't think that an actual game could be enjoyable to literally every single person on the planet, for much the same reasons as what has been outlined: blandness offends many, and any actual content can be viewed as objectionable by someone. That said, I think games can appeal to wider audiences the more they incorporate user-generated content. Spore, for example (look, it's been on my mind lots), is too accessible for hardcore strategy and RPG players; but it's accessible enough to the tourist and has enough depth available in the space stage to be "for anyone," in that anyone could play it - however, those who want simpler goals and faster action will probably want something else in the game. P&P RPGs rely most heavily on user-generated content, but exclude the imagination-impaired.

Any game must by necessity have some characteristic, and that can only come at the implicit expense of another. There is a spectrum between intrigue and blandness, accessibility and depth, twitch and turn (and let's not forget learning curves!). Preferences lie all along these spectra, and earthly games can only cover so much of each one.