Saturday, July 30, 2011

If it doesn't work - change it

You might get the idea from this blog that all we do in our house is play video games. Not true. We also play board games. We pulled out an old favourite that my husband and played when the kids were very young - Risk God Storm. My daughter expressed interest in playing herself because she's into mythology and liked the idea of using Ares and Zeus in a game. When she was little, she used to toddle around holding Hecate because she was the "girl god". One of the reasons we hadn't played Risk God Storm in a while was because we struggled with the use of the Underworld. It was important enough in the game that the power of the god of Death was to prevent fallen armies from traveling to the Underworld, but we always found that it dragged the game's pace down. When we got together to play (my daughter, my husband, my husband's friend and I), we decided to create "house rules" for dealing with the underworld. The men were very comfortable with this procedure, as they've done it while playing D&D, but it was new to me. I was used to altering the rules to games (like putting fines under Free Parking in Monopoly) but not as part of a planned plotting and deliberate effort. I wrote down the new procedure (because I'm both anal and forgetful) and we found it was an improvement. There are still kinks to work out but we were satisfied. (I'll type up the rule here later, because when my husband searched the Net for house rules for Risk God Storm, he found none.)

This reminded me a bit of how the new Lego board games are meant to be played. You are actually meant to "build" the game in whatever direction you want. For instance, in Magikus (a Lego game we got on sale for a remarkable $2!), players have to collect all four ingredients for their spell (red, blue, yellow, and green) before everyone else. Your playing piece stands in front of a row to choose from and the dice roll determines what you get (white means you can take what you want in that row regardless of color, black means you can steal an item from another player). Then, the instructions give some suggestions for ways to alter the game to make it easier or harder, like using one of the decorations (one black bat) as a fifth, required element in the potion. I like how the game gives suggestions but encourages the players to change the game in whatever ways they want. If the game is too slow - change it! Too random - change it! Too easy - change it! Too hard - change it! You can do this a bit in video games, but not as easily.

No comments:

Post a Comment