You Think You Like Strategy Games, But You Don't

There's no single "right way" to create a board game. Some of the most iconic games of all time are 100% chance-based (like Candyland), and some are completely strategic (Chess). Every board game falls along this spectrum of "chance" to "strategy" and the best games lie somewhere in the middle.

 Why? While kids may enjoy a game of chance like Chutes and Ladders, adults just can't appreciate the simplicity. Kids don't yet understand that the outcome of the game is predetermined and their participation is just a formality. Adults get bored too quickly with it. On the other hand, games of strategy can be exciting at first, but after a short while a consistent winner emerges. A game that is based too heavily on strategy results in a regular winner and loser and (just like many games of chance), has a predetermined outcome. This, too, becomes wearisome and players lose interest.

While it may not appear that we all enjoy a mix of chance and strategy, the truth is the best games have a great deal of both. Some of the best games are mostly chance with a huge helping of "choice" mixed in, feigning the appearance of a strategy game. This combination of choice and chance helps games maintain a mystery and uniqueness of results that keep us entertained longer. We feel we have influence on the outcome and can try something new next time. If the outcome changes regularly enough, we feel that we are making a difference with our choices and will continue to play. Finding this balance is one of the most critical aspects in building an ideal game. And, it's important to note that kid-friendly games need to float more to the left of the spectrum, while games for grown-ups need to lean more to the middle or the right.

Last Night Games makes very specific evaluations of each prototype along this spectrum and only produces board games that fall in the middle. We aren't interested in making the next version of Candyland or Go. We make lightweight to mid-weight board games that new and experienced gamers can enjoy and evaluating the chance-strategy spectrum is a big part of that process.