Let’s talk about replayability

I am obsessed with replayability in my designs. You probably know it pretty well from Robinson Crusoe – 300 different cards with events and adventures, 6 different scenarios in the box, 3 more scenarios as a free expansions downloadable from our website… You buy Robinson and I promise that you’ll have like 100 hours of fun. This is me designing games. The same is true for Stronghold, Imperial Settlers, for all the games I make. Replayability is the king.

But!

Even though my design philosophy is all about putting in the box so much content that you will never get bored, I actually agree with Tom Vasel who once said in his podcast that if he play a game and have a great gaming night with his friends, the game would already be worth buying and it might have the replayability value of 0 (zero!) and he would still be happy.

Probably most of you now think that this is dumbest thing you’ve ever read on this blog.

Believe it or not, but I am with Tom on this one.

Let me explain.

Grab your 3 friends and go to the cinema to see Spectre. 4 x 20 = 80 usd
Grab your wife and 2 kids and go to the ZOO. 4 x 20 = 80 usd
Grab your girlfriend and take her to a concert. 2 x 50 = 100 usd
Grab your friends and buy and play Robinson Crusoe. 1 x 70 usd

OMG, I would never buy Robinson if I could play it only once!!! Well, really? How about giving it a second thought, huh?

***

I am writing about this because Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock did something extraordinary. They convinced you to buy a game that has a limited replaybility. You’ll play about 12 games of Pandemic Legacy and that’s it. You are done with it.

(yeah, I know, the first step was made with Rob’s Risk Legacy)

And yet the players are not complaining.
The players are happy like a kid who just got his Sphero BB-8 Droid.
The players praise it to be a great game.
The players value the experience they had, just as they would do with watching an amazing movie or reading an amazing book.

The players are witnessing a revolution, even though they might not be recognizing that yet.

***

Back to Tom Vasel statement – the question we might ask today is if we are ready to pay 60 or 80 usd for an amazing one-time experience, just like we pay for a cinema ticket, a Rolling Stones concert or a visit to the ZOO.

I think we are not there yet. But the wall has been breached. Pandemic Legacy has showed us that there is a new world out there.

I am very curious what’s next. Are you?

edited by Piotr, thank you!

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