It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another #CMONFeatureFriday! This week, we bring you the last installment of our Board Game Dictionary series. We’ve had a lot of fun with these gaming terms! It’s always good to peel back some of the mystique of a hobby and make it more accessible to newcomers. Check out this new list of gaming definitions and we’ll be back with a brand new feature next week!
Let’s be honest, when we play board games with the same people over and over again, we tend to form ingrained relationships and opinions of them. On top of that, we have relationships with people that exist outside of the game as well. All of these factors have the potential to come together and make people take actions in a game that may not be their best move. Maybe someone won’t trade with you because you owe them $20, or you decide on a pre-emptive attack because they are always attacking you in other games, or maybe before the first dice are rolled, you all collectively decide on a secret alliance against Steve, because Steve’s a jerk! Whatever the reason and the effect in the game, a metagame is a force outside of the confines of the title you’re playing that affects the strategic decisions you’re making. You could take a broader approach to life in general and try to make sure to never give people a reason to gun for you in a game. Y’know, be a really good person, but aside from that happening, you have to realize that metagaming is a part of gaming in general. If you win all the time, you may be a target, if someone betrayed you before, you may be more inclined to go after them. We like to think we enter each game fresh, but the truth is, we bring in our own biases to almost everything we do. Recognizing this fact can allow us to take advantage of it.
When we talk about the weight of a game, we’re rarely referring to the physical weight of it. The weight is an indication of how complex the rules are. The heavier the game, the more difficult it can be for players to pick up on the first play through. Usually, gamers will rate games on a sliding scale from super light to light, mid-weight, heavy, and finally super heavy, or some variation of those terms. It’s a short form to explain how much of your brain you’re going to have to invest to play. Some people feel that only experienced gamers should play heavy games, but that’s obviously not the case. Taught with enough care towards their experience level, heavy games can be played by people of all skill levels. How much they’re enjoyed might be a different question. The other thing to consider is how subjective the weight of a game is. If you play on a regular basis and have been for years, what you consider difficult is going to be a bit skewed. Take into account who you’re talking to and try to rate a game according to your audience’s experience level. Whenever someone tells me a game is “Not too heavy,” I try and take into account who that person is and make my own assessment of how mentally prepared I have to be going in.
Set collection is a game mechanic with the goal of getting as many of the same type of thing as possible, usually for points. Now, this can take many different forms, from cards, to tiles, to buildings, and so on. A simple example would be Go Fish, but set collection has been used countless times in games. Sometimes it is the main mechanic, and at other times, collecting sets is just a side goal for end game bonuses. Often in set collection games, there will be some hidden information, and half the fun is keeping track of your opponents and what items they seem particularly interested in adding to their hands. This knowledge can be helpful if you have a chance to trash something from the common pool, denying them the chance to take advantage! Chances are you’ve played a set collection game at some point in your life. Like all good mechanics, it’s one designers return to again and again.
We hope you found this series entertaining and informative. As always, we want to hear from you. Let us know any topics you want to learn about and we’ll work to get those explained on a future instalment.