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Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games 153

Posted by Zonk
from the play-faster-dangit dept.
BusylikeBum writes "Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell. The board game can take just too long, she said. Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass. 'A lot of times, you don't play games because they take so long.' Board game makers are heeding pleas of parents like Hastings and introducing games tailored to busy lives and shorter attention spans that take only about 20 minutes to play." This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.
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Busy Lives Prompt Speedier Board Games

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  • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:55PM (#18613379) Homepage Journal
    serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

    You mean such as Sprockets: Touch my monkey!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by biocute (936687)
      Touch My Monkey? That lasts until one gets married doesn't it?
    • by Dan Slotman (974474) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @07:29PM (#18614361)
      No, they mean games in the German-style board game [wikipedia.org] genre. Germany currently has one of the most vibrant board game design cultures in the world. This is largely fueled by the Spiel des Jahres [wikipedia.org], the most prestigious prize in the board game industry. Some popular recent winners are Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, El Grande, Settlers of Catan, Call My Bluff, and Scotland Yard. If you see "Spiel des Jahres" winner on a game box, you can buy it without second thought—winners are fantastic games.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by blackicye (760472)
        Modern Art is quite a good game too, as are many of the boardgames from Mayfair.

        The World of Warcraft boardgame is also surprisingly decent, heh.

      • by mcvos (645701) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:28AM (#18618879)

        I wholeheartedly agree that the German board game industry has done woonderful things over the last 15 years. I don't agree with the article that it's the German board games that take long. They usuallly take about an hour. A game is long if it takes 2 hours. It's always been the Anglo-saxon style games that can take an entire day.

        This is mostly due to them being more simulationist. Anglosaxon style games invent a new way to model some part of reality (often in a very primitive way) and tweak that into a playable game. German style games invent an interesting and highly playable game mechanism and make up a nice theme around it. The German approach leads to very playable and accessible games. The anglosaxon approach can lead to highly detailed that touch your imagination. Both have their attraction, but if you want speed, German is the way to go. (I personally am more leaning towards anglosaxon games at the moment.)

        Note that the designations "German" or "Anglosaxon" don't mean the game actually comes from Germany or the US/UK. Cheapass Games, for example, is a US company that leans much more to the German way of doing things (but with more humour), whereas German companies have also produced games that definitely lean more in the anglosaxon direction.

        (This difference in approach can also be seen in the 18xx [wikipedia.org] games hobby. Lots of hobbyists make excellent games in that genre, but Americans tend to start with a region, research the historic background and try to model that, whereas Europeans think of an interesting concept they want to model in the game, and then look for which region is most suitable for a game implementing that idea.)

        • "This difference in approach can also be seen in the 18xx games hobby"

          I thought you said 18 XXX. I need some more of that!
          • by mcvos (645701)

            I thought you said 18 XXX. I need some more of that!

            I really hate to disappoint you, but 18xx games are about trains. Can also be arrousing, ofcourse, but only if you're extremely nerdy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Trenchbroom (1080559)
      Funny...when I think of German board gaming I think of them being "short" games to play. When my friends get together to play a long game we often play a Gamemaster game that typically takes 4-6 hours (Axis & Allies, Shogun...Fortress America is the game of choice, naturally). If we really plan on taking the whole night we'll play some Twilight Imperium. And god help us if Advanced Civilization is taken out of the game closet... Compared to these games, German classics like Settlers of Catan, Web of
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Fallen Kell (165468)
        Yeah, I think the fastest you can play Advanced Civ even in only a 3 player game is 6 hours. Start roasting a pig if you play an 8 player game, or a 18 player one with the expanded world rules (see http://www.civproject.net/ [civproject.net] for more details)... well with an 18 player game, you better line up a lot of caffeen drinks and a 4 day weekend.
      • by Stonehand (71085)
        "Empires in Arms", Grand Campaign, 7 players.

        If memory serves, the estimated playing time is either 100 or 200 hours. That's a pretty good estimate...

  • by Reason58 (775044) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:56PM (#18613381)
    I wish the articles on slashdot were shorter. I only managed to get half way through this one before my busy life distracted me. Wow, is that a nickel?
  • by fishybell (516991) <fishybell@hotmaCOLAil.com minus caffeine> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:56PM (#18613395) Homepage Journal
    ...it doesn't take 9-11 year olds 20 minutes to get bored with Monopoly. In a three person game their turn only comes up every two minutes, and they run out of steam before they've been around the board twice.

    Simpler games, such as UNO or Mancala, or even more complicated games, such as Rummikub, offer more entertainment for longer periods of time simply because a turn lasts at most 30-45 seconds.

    • by Skevin (16048) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:14PM (#18613593) Journal
      The problem with Monopoly is that it is not a zero-sum game - every time someone passes Go, another $200 is added to the overall money in play. Sure there are cards and board spaces that take money back into the Bank, such as the Luxury Tax square, but the total probability of hitting these cards/spaces often do not significantly impact one's earnings. This problem is further exacerbated by the occasional practice of putting all that "penalty" money into Free Parking.

      I introduced a variant to Monopoly that ensures the game will not take too long: I give everyone six times the normal starting amount in cash. Every time someone passes Go, he has to *pay* $200. This ensures that the total flow of money is negative for everyone.

      On another note, did anyone else chuckle at the fact that there is a "Disney Monopoly" boardgame you can buy?

      Solomon
      • by QuantumG (50515)

        On another note, did anyone else chuckle at the fact that there is a "Disney Monopoly" boardgame you can buy?

        No. There's like thousands of different themed Monopoly boards. I have Simpsons, Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Australian, US, and UK (aka original). I'd like to get that one with the stock market add-on.

      • by Prien715 (251944)
        Monopoly is 99% a zero sum game, just like chess is. Sure, it's possible to make money by passing go, but it's also possible to get more points in chess by promoting a pawn. In my experience, monopoly is a rather boring experience; someone gets a monopoly and everyone trades in 1-2 turns to get one as well. I've never seen any properties trade hands after both players have a monopoly. My friends and I stopped playing monopoly years ago after we discovered Settlers of Catan. Trading every turn and havin
    • I think it would help if you stopped pairing up kids with senile geriatrics. A reasonably paced game would then take some 30-45 seconds except when there's some major payouts happening.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheVoice900 (467327)
      If you play Monopoly with the proper auction rules (if you decide not to buy a property, it goes up for auction and sells to the highest bidder) the game moves along much faster.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sparr0 (451780)
        Don't call random variants added to the rules in less than 1% of all monopoly printings "proper".
        • It's not a random variant. Read the rules for monopoly some time. I can't believe so many people miss this.
          • by Sparr0 (451780)
            I have read them. Many more times than almost anyone else posting on this same subject. I have collected Monopoly games (amongst other games) in the past. The auction rule wasnt in the original monopoly rules, and its not in any current printing. It was "popular" (with whoever decides which rules go in which boxes at Parker Brothers) at various times, mostly in the mid 80s and late 90s. I am sure it will make a comeback. But most people playing without it are playing by the rules as they have them fro
            • Well if you look up "Official Monopoly Rules" any number of sites will contain the following paragraph copied verbatim from the official rules:

              If you do not wish to buy the property, the Bank sells it at thru an auction to the highest bidder. The high bidder pays the Bank the amount of the bid in cash and receives the Title Deed card for that property.
              This has been present in every copy of Monopoly I've ever seen...
              • by Sparr0 (451780)
                I am doubtful that "sells it at thru an auction" is copied verbatim from any published rules. If so, I need to apply for a job as a proofreader.
              • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:59PM (#18616677) Homepage Journal
                One could write a book on conflicting information from "Official Monopoly Rules" [on] any number of sites.

                http://richardwilding.tripod.com/monorules.htm [tripod.com]
                This one says that the bank auctions off all the belongings of bankrupt players. It also says that the limit for late rent is two turns later. It also says that a whole color must be un-house'd before one of the properties can be mortgaged (a sensible rule, but the rules I have read only required that property to be empty, meaning one house could remain on the others). Contrary to the grandparent-linked "Official Monopoly Rules", it says you can unmortgage property for 110% immediately upon buying it, instead of paying the (unheard of) extra 10%.

                There is no single set of "Official Monopoly Rules". There are many variants, many of which are or were official at some point in some place. There are many rulesets. Some are good, some are bad. Some people make up house rules (like auctions) that happen to be printed rules in other sets.
              • by no_pets (881013)
                My family plays by our own variation of this auction rule. Before the property ever goes to the bank auction the player that landed on the property inquires if anybody wishes to purchase the property if the player himself does not want it. In which case he must purchase the property but is basically ensuring that he can sell it at a small profit to the highest bidder. It ensures that colored properties get collected by the same owners in most cases and makes the game enjoyable. It seems to make the game go
    • In between marathon games of "Republic of Rome," "Kingmaker," or "Machiavelli," my friends and I would often play a little card game called "Naval War." Anyone ever play that? I don't know if it's available anymore; our copy has gotten pretty worn. But the point is that it was a pretty fun little strategy game that could be played in, usually, a few minutes. It actually seems to go faster with more people. "Rome" on the other hand. . . Of course, I figured out one sure-fire way to end that game quickly
  • I would play Fortress Europa if setup alone didn't take a whole day. I doubt I've ever played an entire game, what with having a younger brother and a dog. After a week or so I'd find everything moved around. Oh well, start over again!
    • I've only ever played one Avalon Hill game. I used to play Acquire quite a lot with my dad when I was, oh, ten or eleven or so. I think I won once.
    • Hahaha! I laugh at your pathetic example. I used to play Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader. The rules were hundreds of dense pages of conditions and numbers. It took DAYS to play some scenarios. Pieces represented every squad, NCO, squad weapon, AFV, fire, smoke, etc. Just trying to stack pieces for a dense city battle was a struggle. Every action required checking the rules. It was like going to law school to play. "In the case of a halftrack moving in smoke behind a wall, what is the TH modif
  • It takes too long. Even when I suggest we play the official "short game" rules, they still say it takes too long. Maybe they just hate me.

    • by Micah (278) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @07:08PM (#18614177) Homepage Journal
      "Takes too long" is a cop-out excuse by people who don't like Monopoly. If that's what they say, forget it, they wouldn't be good game partners anyway.

      In my experience, if you play Monopoly RIGHT (by the official rules) and focus on the game instead of gabbing about other things the whole time, it can take two hours or less, sometimes as little as one hour.

      Monopoly is also a lot more brilliant a game than most people think. Most people who "like Monopoly" don't have a clue what most of the rules are, and they insist on playing with house rules that completely mess up the game's economy and add too much luck (*cough* Free Parking Jackpot *cough*). Another offense is allowing as many houses/hotels as you want. The game has a carefully chosen limit of 32 houses and 12 hotels -- there must NEVER be more than that on the board. Many don't want to play with the auction rule, where all properties landed on that aren't immediately purchased must immediately be auctioned. Not to mention other silliness like trading immunities to paying rent for trades.

      Hint: All "house rules" are bad, but the ones that run counter to the game's goal -- bankrupting every player but you ASAP -- will make the game last longer. Play it right and you'll fly through it!

      • SOMEBODY GETS IT!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nobodyman (90587) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:28PM (#18615483) Homepage
        Can we somehow get you adopted into my family!? As a kid I used to think that Monopoly took too long. Then in high school I ran across some kids in my 3rd period class that would all play through lunch . That's 50 minutes!!! I asked them if they played using alternate rules and they looked at me like I was from mars. Nope. The problem that was my family had instituted virtually all of the loopy "house rules". Here's just a few:

        •    
        • You had to pass Go once before you can purchase a property

        •    
        • No auctions. If five people before you land on a property and don't buy it, tough luck

        •    
        • Contracts and Immunity deals so complex you might need a Notary

        •    
        • Anything that would otherwise go to the bank instead goes into that [censored] Free-Parking windfall.


        Ugh. No wonder it would take hours.
        • by nobodyman (90587)
          Why do I never ever hit that preview button??

          apparently all my time playing monopoly was diverted from learning html. sorry.
        • by Micah (278)
          Yep I agree. Monopoly is really great when played right. Too bad more people don't. Maybe we could play online using Atlantik, assuming you use Linux. :)

          Regarding immunity deals, here's my interpretation: The rules obviously don't allow them. BUT since the rules also do not require one to collect rent when an opponent lands on your property, it is possible to make a gentleman's agreement not to collect rent on X number of lands on your newly developed property. However, since it is nothing but a gentle
          • by adavies42 (746183)
            That's a standard meta-rule with most gamers anyway--if a deal is not part of the rules of the game, and it lasts more than one turn, it's not enforceable.
        • by Alsee (515537)
          Your house rules for Monopoly gave me an amusing thought... house rules for chess (hopefully you happen to know chess). Whenever any piece is captured, instead of removing it from the board you return that piece to its original starting square. If that square was occupied, the returning piece captures the piece occupying that square (even if it is a piece of the same color!), that piece is then returned to its original square which might capture and return yet another piece.

          I'm not sure, but a chess game mi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by paeanblack (191171)
        Monopoly is also a lot more brilliant a game than most people think.

        In the 1930's Monopoly was brilliant. In contrast with modern games, its flaws are thrown in sharp relief.

        Game design:
        1) It is an elimination game with a platykurtic expected duration distribution. If you are going to knock players out, you need a strongly defined endpoint.
        2) Deal-making games are more interesting with more players; deal-making games with elimination get less interesting as the game progresses.
        3) It has indeterminant leng
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sesshomaru (173381)
          Look, I hate Monopoly like poison, mainly because it's existence means that I never get to play any of the other games in my vast collection of board games. However, you are missing certain points about why people like to play Monopoly.

          People play Monopoly because of:

          1. The play money. Replace Monopoly's play money with something else and people will be like "hey, where's the play money."

          2. The cute little tokens that look like various things. (Including the player tokens and the little houses an

        • by drsquare (530038)

          1) It is an elimination game with a platykurtic expected duration distribution.

          If you're going to say something, it might be sensible to use real words. Then people might actually know what you're talking about.

          1) 'Roll & Move' includes a completely unnecessary step. Customized dice could replace the entire token track.
          2) Keeping score to four-digit precision serves no purpose when player decisions only have two-digit granularity. Player spend too much time tracking what they cannot control.

          Has anyone g

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by iainl (136759)
        I'll absolutely confess that I don't like Monopoly. But that's because people make poor choices over the auctioning and mortgaging of properties, and most of all get into exchanges at silly vlaues cause the endgame to last ages.

        In most games of Monopoly, it only takes two or three trips round the board for one person to be obviously in the lead, largely due to the luck of their landing. Then the next hour is just playing out that ineviatable result; usually quite some time after the first person got elimina
      • In my experience, if you play Monopoly RIGHT (by the official rules) and focus on the game instead of gabbing about other things the whole time, it can take two hours or less, sometimes as little as one hour.
        Every time I play with my wife, she beats me in less than 45 minutes. That's my cop-out excuse. :)
    • by WhyCause (179039)
      My friends and I have a weekly game night, and we play Monopoly with two modifications that really trim it down:

      • Everybody gets 3 or 4 properties (handed out at random) at the beginning of the game. You have to buy the property handed to you, or it gets auctioned.
      • The game ends when the first player goes bankrupt. Calculate your 'worth' according to the rules for income tax. Highest value wins.
      • by shoptroll (544006)
        Sounds like the short rules souped up a notch. I believe the short rules are 2 properties handed out in the same way, and the game ends when the second player gets bankrupted. I've heard from people that if you don't do any house rules and follow the short rules the game goes a lot quicker.

        For a game that is supposed to focus on trading, handing out properties at random is a nice way of priming the pump. Ending the game after 1 or 2 players is good since at that point the snowball of dominance starts rol
    • i actually like it when it takes long.
      when i was young, i have designed a board game with some strange and flexible rules which could be played for a couple of days, or even weeks.
  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:59PM (#18613431) Homepage
    "Games are becoming, in a lot of respects, entertainment," Silver said.

    Will Captain Obvious save the day from the evil Duh League? Find out next time, on IB Times!
    • by Xiroth (917768)
      Heh. But from your title, I thought you were making a dig at the parents with Aparent (without parent) Boy. Which is certainly warrented in this case - seriously, is it that big a problem to spend a few hours dedicated to playing with your kids on a rainy weekend?
  • Oh, how generous of board game manufacturers to deign to give us shorter games.

    This is all nonsense. If you've got a good game store in your neighborhood, you can walk in and say, "I'm looking for a game that takes less than 30 minutes to play." If they can't show you at least a dozen games, you probably don't have a good game store.

    If you want shorter games, look for games specifically designed to be short and quick. Hacking an existing game to be shorter is neat and all, but you'll get a better exp

    • by gardyloo (512791) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @07:07PM (#18614155)
      I thought I had a good game store here. The outside certainly looked all glittery and fun. When I walked in, it was very dark, and there was a sort of stage with these poles on it, and some scantily-clad females doing an interesting dance. "Oooh! Role-playing!" I thought, looking around for a dwarf wench with the grog.

          Then I announced loudly that I wanted to find a game that would take less than 30 minutes. One of the girls looked at me and said, "Honey, you want one that will take less than 30 seconds," and then they all went "Mmm-hmmm!" in unison and did a head-bob.

            I want to know where the hell you guys get your games.
  • by marphod (41394) <galens+slashdot@ ... minus physicist> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:03PM (#18613467)
    This is especially interesting to me, given the US adoption of more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

    Well, first, it is more than the past few years. Settlers of Catan was one of the earliest BIG cross over games. I was playing it since college, means the cross over started about a decade ago.

    Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.

    (On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

    And I STILL can't find anyonre to play Kingmaker with me, and very few who play Magic Realm.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SetupWeasel (54062)
      Settlers, in the world of modern board games, is a very quick game and it is engaging. More so than Monopoly, Scrabble, or most of the classics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dan Slotman (974474)
      The people I play games with tend to hit on or under the "expected playtime" for board games. I think the problem, if you consider it a problem, comes from your particular group of friends. Most game estimates expect that each player will be familiar with the rules, but will not rules-lawyer. They expect that each player will play to win, but they don't expect that each player will be a mini-Machiavelli. The important thing is to have fun; if you are having fun playing, it shouldn't matter how long the
      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        I once played in a game of Settlers (Seafarers) where each time it came to a particular persons turn it would take 20 minutes or more for them to decide what to do. It made for an exceptionally long game. :(

    • Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/played.

      It's just your style of play. The group of people I regularly play with are much quicker. We haven't played Catan in a long time (we generally prefer games with less luck), but when we do games do not often exceed an hour with 3-4 people and I've never had one go over 2 hours. Most other games we play in a much shorter time than packages states. It's just a matter of knowing the rules well, focusing on quick play, and not getting distracted.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by parliboy (233658)
      (On the other hand, it could just be false advertising. Witness the order of the Stick game that takes ages to play, despite the packaging).

      Disclaimer: Order of the Stick playtester. Buy the expansion, coming soon to a store near you!

      Stick can be completed within the listed time, if you're playing with board gamers. However, their target audience is the RPG crowd. These are people who play one game within an eight hour session, as opposed to about four games. They're working on alternate rules to al

    • by mcvos (645701)

      Secondly, I get the distinct impression that the original audience doesn't take these games nearly as seriously as US players. Settlers says on the packaging that its running time is about 1-2 hours (If I recall correctly, my original packaging has been lost to the sands of time), yet my games regularly run 3 or more hours, as trades and debates and discussions of beat-the-current-leader happens. This ratio of about twice-as-long seems to be consistent with most of the German Board Games my group plays/pl

  • Even amongst avid boardgames, there are those with a distaste for Eurogames taking longer than 2-1/2 hours.
  • Days? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:11PM (#18613559)
    Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' said Hastings, of Holliston, Mass.

    Don't know if they've changed the rules for Disney Monopoly - usually variants just change street names and graphic design - but Monopoly should never take days, unless players are deliberately buying property from each other at inflated prices to prevent anyone going out of the game. Or unless people are refusing to trade cards so that nobody can form a complete colour group and build houses, in which case it's stalemate and you might as well call a draw.

    After an hour or two of Monopoly the board should be full of houses. At that point the game ends fast; the ASSESSED FOR STREET REPAIRS and MAKE GENERAL REPAIRS cards are ruinously expensive to a big landlord. As a result, money comes out of the game a good deal faster than it comes into it from people passing GO. All those fees go to the Bank, leaving players with less and less money to pay the ever-larger rents, and the game must end soon.

    You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

    • Re:Days? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pappy97 (784268) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:19PM (#18613637)
      The problem is that idiots can't follow rules. You won't believe how many people I've met don't understand that if you land on a property and do not wish to buy it, it goes up immediately for auction to the highest bidder, including the person who landed on it.

      It's CLEARLY in the rules, but somehoe that rule isn't followed, which slows down games because all the properties are not bought as fast as they should be.
      • I didn't believe you at first, but I looked it up and you're right. That adds a whole new dimension to things, but somehow I doubt it will be widely implemented.

        http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Monopoly/Official_Rul es [wikibooks.org]

        There are other reasons why the games take forever, players are overly cautious. Even if the walls are caving in around them as a the one player with a monopoly begins to clean house, they will desperately hang on waiting to land on that one property that will give them a monopoly rather than have
        • There are other reasons why the games take forever, players are overly cautious. Even if the walls are caving in around them as a the one player with a monopoly begins to clean house, they will desperately hang on waiting to land on that one property that will give them a monopoly rather than have a fair exchange with another player.

          Monopoly's a game that often rewards the bold. For instance, your archrival has landed on Free Parking (where he receives no reward and incurs no penalty, and moves on as norm

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by PinkPanther (42194)

            build Hotels on Piccadilly, Leicester Square and Coventry Street

            Yeah! Right...Piccadilly...ROTFL...That anywhere near Marvin Gardens??

            You've probably never even been to the eastern seaboard [wikipedia.org] before, have you pal?

            ...oh wait, what the heck is this [wikipedia.org]???

        • by Sparr0 (451780)
          A lot of the rules on that page are old, new, rarely printed, or made up for tournaments but not actually part of the official rules. I have seen dozens of different printed-by-parker-brothers rule sets for monopoly. From the wikibooks page you linked, the following have never, to my knowledge, appeared in a real monopoly rulebook:

          * buying/selling houses at any time
          * paying extra interest when trading mortgaged property
          * using 'get out of jail free' immediately on landing on Go To Jail
          • by Ed Avis (5917)
            * buying/selling houses at any time

            This is unspecified in the rules booklet that came with my Monopoly set (the British version with London place names). It just says you can buy houses. Obviously it would be a gaping hole in the rules to allow buying houses just after a roll of the dice and before another player lands on your property. We usually play with the rule that house buying or selling (or indeed any other kind of trading) can happen before each dice roll. It's hard to believe that whoever wrot
      • by BKX (5066)
        I can't believe people would play it like that. The game would last for fricken ever, just like when people put fines and shit on free parking. One of the strangest things I see from people that I play with is that most people don't realize that you can buy houses and hotels at any time between rolls. I've used that many times to buy up houses when someone lands on me, and then catch the next person with the new higher rent. At first, everyone says it's cheating, until I bust out the rule book. The other ru
    • by Speare (84249)

      No, if we're talking about Disney Monopoly, it's a very abbreviated form of the game. There's just castles, not houses and hotels. The properties are more like $2 and feature all of the princesses and their doofy animal friends. Even when your young child understands the money math and can follow the rules, they can still get restless and bored before the game is half done. "It's your turn, sweety" starts out gently, and gets more tedious and more edgy as the energy saps right out of you. By the end o

      • Now, I don't know what it was like to be a board-game playing kid in the 50s,

        not sure about the 50s, but in the mid-70s when I was a kid in Europe we had only two crappy tv channels and no video games, so in the summer we spent most of the day playing outside, save when it was super hot (around noon-2pm) or rainy and then the board games came out: together with Risk, Monopoly was one of our favorites, we were between 7 and 9 years old and we had absolutely no problems with following the official rules and/o

    • You could, I suppose, invent a new game in which money did not ever leave the game and return to the Bank - perhaps you could put the money from fines and fees and so forth into some jackpot, and designate a square such that anybody landing there would collect all the wealth accumulated there - but that game would last forever, become incredibly frustrating once everybody had so much money that they didn't care about landing on Mayfair, and would basically not be Monopoly.

      My family has played such a varian

  • by quanticle (843097) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:12PM (#18613571) Homepage
    Another thing that's more difficult to address is the inordinate amount of setup time that some games take. Witness Axis & Allies. Its a great game, but every time I want to play it, I realize that its going to take at least 30 to 45 minutes to set up, and the thought of that is enough to get me motivated to do something else.

    That said, I don't see a way to address the issue without ruining the game. Part of the attraction of the game is the varied unit types, and its the very presence of varied units that makes setup so difficult.
    • by Etcetera (14711)

      Another thing that's more difficult to address is the inordinate amount of setup time that some games take. Witness Axis & Allies. Its a great game, but every time I want to play it, I realize that its going to take at least 30 to 45 minutes to set up, and the thought of that is enough to get me motivated to do something else.

      Yeah, that was why I stopped playing Mall Madness [boardgames.com] a while back...

  • It is true! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moore.dustin (942289) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:18PM (#18613627) Homepage
    Everything does take to long to finish in one sitting usually.

    That is why I play chess with friends via correspondence.

    I can use a program/site or just use IM/Email using chess notation. The site offers a ton of features, but after a while you should be able to play chess games without ever having to see the board physically. Instead you just read it with notation.

    Of course, most games cannot be played via notation, but via correspondence, it is surely an option.

    Edit: Average game of ~30 moves takes about anywhere from 3 to 30 days for me. Most finish within 3-5 days.
    • by quanticle (843097)
      Huh, that's interesting. Could you point me to a reputable site that can get me started with correspondence chess?

      I used to play a lot of chess in school, but now that I'm in college I'm having trouble finding people at my level to play against. Everyone I meet seems to be a newbie or (more commonly) way too advanced.
      • Sure! RedHotPawn.com [redhotpawn.com]

        Once signed up, you can challenge me if you wish, I am not that great at all. My name on there is the part of my username here on /. after the (.) with 9797 to the end. So it is in the format myname9797
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sparr0 (451780)
        Richard's Play-By-eMail Server [gamerz.net] has a community of thousands of players and supports dozens of games, including proper chess and many chess variants. Games run as slow as one move a month or as fast as one move an hour.
  • what's this world coming to when you can't even take an hour or 2 to play a board game but you'll let your kids play video games unsupervised for hour. I understand what's it like to busy and i don't have kids but i have sisters that i'll devote days to them to their enjoyment. Just because i'm a hard core brother that way. I would think parents would do more to spend as much time with kids whether it's boardgames or video games
  • In my day, we'd spend the entire weekend setting up the pieces and arguing over the rules of "Fire in the East". We were lucky to have two turns completed before Sunday afternoon!
  • This is nuts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:21PM (#18613667) Homepage
    Shouldn't we be pushing for longer, more cerebral games--chess, Go, backgammon, etc.--to counteract the attention problems? Seems the priority is not on the kid's mental development but on the parent's schedule.
    • No, longer games used to work better because there would be situations like "oh, it's raining outside, and this is the 70s so television sucks. I guess we have to play board games. Which one will last all night?"
  • ... Why not try a nice game of Draughts [wikipedia.org]?
  • by ForceOfWill (79529) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:35PM (#18613809) Homepage
    more serious, lengthy German board games in the last few years.

    Did anyone else misread this as:

    more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years

    ?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Werkhaus (549466)

      more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years
      First thing that sprung to my mind was Diplomacy. OK, it didn't take years. But it felt like it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      "Did anyone else misread this as: more serious, lengthy German board games which last a few years "

      Like "Invade Poland!"

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:23PM (#18615409)
    Whether it's a board game, a card game, or anything else where the longer it gets the better balanced it has to be. If you blow 30 minutes on a game that has lots of flaws but is fun no big deal. However once games start getting into the hour plus range you need to feel it was worth the time investment.

    If the game isn't well balanced in one way, or if the players' skill levels are mismatched, then one or more players are going to pull ahead while everyone else falls behind with no hope of catching up. This might be fun for the players in the lead, but it can get very frustrating to the others. _Especially_ if they're not as much into board games. This can make convincing non-board game geek friends or SOs to join you for a game very difficult.

    If the game isn't balanced in another way then the results become based more on luck than skill, especially if it's possible for one player to jump up from behind suddenly at the end and wind up on top. This can be acceptable if the game is of a more silly nature, one designed to make everyone compete in crazy antics and the enjoyment is more in the journey than the goal, but not so much in a "serious" game. "Apples to Apples" is a good example of a game that manages to have a goal to compete for but which no one really cares a great deal who wins.

    An ideal game allows players who are behind to catch up, but in a way that is at least theoretically foreseeable and preventable. Allowing ways for the players who are behind to gang up on the person in charge often helps with this. And often times setting alternate goals for yourself when it seems that victory is out of your grasp can be entertaining if you can maintain the right mindset. If you're already out of the running then sabotaging the person in the lead to give the game to the person who was second can be a fun goal (assuming you're playing with people who won't hold grudges of course =)

    • by Sparr0 (451780)
      The absolute best solution I have seen to this is in the game Power Grid. Simply put, the player in first has to do everything at the worst possible time, and the player in last does things at the best possible time. Auction order, purchase order, building order, etc, all in favor of the losing players. This leads to a game where the best player tends to stay at the head of the pack, but it is fully possible to lose the lead at the end of the game, or make a great finish from a poor start.
  • priorities (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joystickgenie (913297) <joleske@joystickgenie.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @11:22PM (#18616407) Homepage
    "Michelle Hastings admits she's sometimes cheated to get through a game of Candy Land with her 5-year-old daughter, Campbell"

    there has always been a talk going about how story based video games take too long for working parents to be able to play them, and I can understand that perspective. It's hard to get time away from work and responsibilities of being a parent for that long when you work and have kids, but this seems to be a different issue entirely.

    Seriously if your business life is so busy that you can't sit down with your 5 year of daughter long enough to play a game of candy land the problem is not candy land. It's time to rethink your priorities.
  • Tracie Broom, a San Francisco writer, and her friends cannibalize Scrabble to play a quicker word game - called alternately Anagram or Grab Scrabble. They put the Scrabble tiles face down, and flip them over one-by-one, calling out new words as they are formed, or stealing words from other players.

    Sounds a lot like Quiddler [setgame.com], a card-based game that's like Scrabble for the impatient. My friends and family are hooked on it. (The other Set games [setgame.com], including the eponymous "Set", are also fun, quick, and brain-

  • Monopoly was featured prominently in the Young Ones "Boring" episode [wikipedia.org]. I first saw it as a teen, and I was amazed at how universal the close association between Monopoly and boredom is.

    I admit that the auction rule would make the game move along. I first came across it last year while teaching the game to my kids. I didn't teach it to them because I had never played with it, and I thought it was some new addition to the game. Plus, it was pretty hard to get the kids to understand why they'd want to buy t

  • "Disney Monopoly is another big offender. 'A game like that, it could literally take you days,' "

    Days? Are you brain dead? I ahve a 6 and nine year old, and we play it in an afternoon.

    Here is a clue: Figure out a way to get MORE time with your kids.

    Maybe adjust your expenses so you can live on one income? Magically you will have more time with your kids.
    You might not be able to afford Cable TV, and buy 2 year old cars, but where are these peoples priorities?

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