4/23/2014

Published on 4/23/2014 Written by 6 comments

Why Incomplete Games Are Sometimes the Best

We've all played poorly designed games, whether they are badly run RPG campaigns or poorly thought out board games.  You know the ones I'm talking about - Games with random winners, Games with so many rules it takes 3 hours to set up and learn the first time, games with terrible game-play, or that obscure puzzle the GM throws at you where you need to remember a tiny insignificant detail from 2 campaigns ago that just happened to be in the same world, but is otherwise unrelated.


"I know, we'll put some magnets in a box and sell it as a game!"

But every once in a while a game comes along that could be so much more but isn't, and it's a good thing. The example I'm going to use is: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures game.  As a quick overview of the game, it is designed to be a 2 player or 2 team PVP tabletop game.  Each player chooses a side of the table, and a faction (Rebel Alliance or Empire).  You then choose your ships, pilots, and modifications. Each has a point value, and you build your fleet to the agreed upon total.  After that, it's a fight to the death.

That looks like it might hurt a little...

Please don't misunderstand: In this way it is a complete game, and quite fun to play.  There are a growing number of tournaments for this game, and deep strategies are emerging.  The problem is, outside of tournys you can only have so many dogfights before the game gets stale.  To help with this, also included in the original game and a couple of particular add-on expansions are missions with specific goals. These missions add a new dimension of play to the game, especially for casual play.  An example of a mission from the Millennium Falcon expansion can be watched on TableTop.

SpongeBob gets it.
So now we come to the crux of the statement: There are only 8 official missions, and they are spread across the core set and 5 expansions.  In a more static type of game, this would be a game-killer. But in an open fleet-building game, it allows the players and community to use their imagination and to draw on the lore of the background universe to get creative.   The original release of the game was on August 17th 2012, and since then there have been tons of player created missions.  A quick peek through BoardGameGeek.com shows many posts in the forums of people sharing their own ideas, and replies after play-testing to try to refine and properly balance the scenarios.

To that end, I have been busy with Google image searches and Photoshop, creating the custom tokens I'll need for my next game day, a mission inspired by the Battle of Hoth, but in space.

The Imperials must defend the base and its shield generator from the attacking rebel fleet.  I printed the pieces on 110lb paper from Staples, put the mission parameters in writing so everyone is on the same page, and boxed it up in my kit.  Hopefully all goes well when we play it next week.

So, thoughts on this game? Disagree with my assessment? Opinions on my first post?  Leave them all below in the comments section!

6 comments:

  1. I know the "badly run games" you refer to were mine, but I will let it go because well, I made you sit through it so I guess I owe you that much. ;-)

    Tinkering with games is often as much if not more fun than playing them. We definitely have to try the X-wing game sometime.

    And welcome to blogging, Mister Creepy Pyro Guy!

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    1. I was just throwing some examples of stuff that has happened... It *might* not have been you...

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  2. You're totally going down for those statements about Agricola. ;-)

    Nah, but fan-created content is pretty great! I should check out BGG and print out some of the stuff fans have made for various games.

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    1. Agricola is a great game, just so frustrating to set up and learn. I threw it in there just because I knew I'd get a reaction to that one ;)

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  3. I knew it was Agricola you were referring to as soon as I read it! That game, man...

    Well done! As you asked for comments - Having not seen or heard of the game I would have liked to see what the game looks like (both the box and the pieces laid) out so I had a better idea of what specifically you were talking about which would help me understand how it is played. But I liked the length and the topic, keep it up!

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I didn't want to bog down the post with too many details about the game itself as it would get quite long-winded. More information on the game can be found at: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=174
      The basic rundown is that you take control of the minitures and move them exact distances using cardboard templates. Once you get within range of each other (again measured using a template), attacks are made based on ship stats, with custom dice.
      It's a great game, and if you ever come on up to Canada, I'd be happy to play a round or 3 with you.

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