Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a game enjoyable. I remember being in grade school, and not understanding what my brothers found so appealing about games like Risk, Battle Ship, and Stratego. The easy answer is that it’s all about gender – those games have traditionally been marketed toward boys, while commercials for Candy Land were aimed at my demographic.
While socialized gender expectations might be part of the game-choosing equation, I think that learning styles and personality are much larger forces. Because in addition to being Risk-averse, I’m also not that interested in bridge, mah jong, backgammon, and a whole slew of other strategy games that require lots of math and logic. I do like chess, but that probably had something to do with the guy that taught me to play, my freshman year of college (and that is a story for another blog!).
The point is, if you sit down and really think about the games you love and the games you hate, you’ll probably quickly notice some patterns. If you’ve got the time, try that right now – without over thinking the exercise, jot down five games that you enjoy playing and five games that you’ll avoid at all costs (any type of game, from your past or the present). I’ll wait…
Here are mine, in no particular order:
LOVE: Pictionary, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Apples to Apples, Cranium
HATE: Yahtzee, cribbage, Sorry!, most card games, Monopoly
What kind of patterns do you notice, in your game choices? I was surprised to remember that I actually do/did like organized board games, and that they’re all fairly social games. For the most part, each game is based on using words and language, with small groups of people. The games I dislike tend to be more mathematically based. This surprised me too, because I’ve always liked numbers and figuring out math problems, and I can be very logical when I need to be. It may be the element of strategizing that puts me off – the games I do like are very straightforward – if you hone the language skills needed, you’ll have fun playing, no strategy necessary.
I’m working on a game chart that links learning styles/multiple intelligence theory to different types of games. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the games you love and the games you love to hate! How do you think your personality and learning style influence your game choices?