Saturday, July 15, 2006

Learning Curves

The more you play a game, the more you understand it. In fact, each time you play it, your understanding of the mechanics becomes closer and closer to perfect. With light games, this may take only 1 play. With heavier games this may take many.

The blue line shows an understanding of the game increasing over time.

But does it really feel that way to you with heavier games? I know with games line Princes of Florence or Amun-Re, it feels more like a "curve" with many unusual bumps in it.

The red line shows perceived depth over time. This is how deep the game feels to you over time after playing many times. When you are learning a game, the depth is more about putting the mechanics together. The more you play and observe the results of your choices, the more you appreciate the intricacies. You perceive a new plateau of depth. This may happen more than once.

The shaded area shows the difference between your understanding of the game and the depth you perceive. When you first learn a heavy game, it looks complicated. After a play or three, you start to settle in to the game. At some point, something clicks and you see more depth than you originally thought.

This graph shows the original 2 curves, and the difference between them represented as a line. This matches my experience in many heavier games, and is something I appreciate quite a bit--the notion that working to understand the game will yield a richer underlying game.

Do your experiences match mine at all? If not, please elaborate. In what games does this kind of thing happen for you?

11 Comments:

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Yehuda said...

I don't really understand the last graph. I understand the calculation, but not what it means.

Yehuda

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger ekted said...

It's kind of a measure of how "lost" you feel in the game, or how much you see that you don't udnerstand everything. When you first learn a heavy game, you can't appreciate the depth that is there, but the more you play, the depth is revealed, but at the same time, the more you understand it.

 
At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why were you so rude to someone on BoardGameGeek this past Friday?

hen

 
At 9:16 PM, Blogger ekted said...

"Why were you so rude to someone on BoardGameGeek this past Friday?"

This is an odd place to confront me about that. Please post a single line of text where I was rude.

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger Coldfoot said...

Soooooo. The last graph is how well you feel you understand a deep game?

As you become more familiar with the game you realize the depth and become more intrigued with the possibilities?

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger ekted said...

It's kind of like taking an introductory class in something. The more you learn, the more you understand what you don't know.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger meowsqueak said...

I would have thought the perceived depth fluctuates up and down - sometimes you have Eureka moments that uncover less than you initially thought was there. I think that's quite common.

 
At 1:19 AM, Blogger Friendless said...

Yes, that's a reasonable description of how it feels to me as well.

 
At 6:44 PM, Blogger JMV said...

That, ekted, is a nice graph! Well, 3 nice graphs. Bravo.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Dan Corban said...

I had one of these moments recently in my third game of Amun-Re.

 
At 5:33 PM, Blogger ekted said...

Ya, my last game of Amun-Re was the first time I felt like I was doing something that was actually helping me. :)

 

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