In our study group for board games, we highlighted the topic “matching games to the group”, where we discussed choosing board games that fit the playstyle for players in the group and works with the dynamic of the group, as well as the time and setting of the play session.
When choosing a board game for the group, you have to consider what the individuals enjoy doing in the game, how they react on and enjoy various mechanics, if they “grok” the game, and both the length of the play session and the location and setting where you are going to play.
When thinking back to this study session and the various ways I have categories and picked games based on those criteria, I’ve realized there is one prominent reasoning and categorizing that I usually use when picking games that I and my closest friends (including my girlfriend) enjoys as well, namely how much Confrontation the game has, and how it is used.
This Confrontation index is the result of that musing and contains six levels. But before I get into showing you the index, let me tell you how I define Confrontation.
Confrontation is the act of one or more players actively attacking and blocking other players, thus creating a conflict between those players. Rarely does a game have no confrontation between players, but the degree at which players are allowed to create conflict, and how much players gain by actively attempting to create conflict, varies greatly.
The Confrontation Index
You play together without confrontation between players. Confrontation may still happen on disagreement over what course of action to take in the game, and the “Alpha-gamer” can become a big issue.
Example: Pandemic, Big Book of Madness, Elder Sign.
Euro-games are known to be non-confrontational with solitaire gameplay where a players action rarely affects what another player does, and actively trying to attack or sabotage other players directly is almost impossible or hurtful for the player trying to do so.
Co-op games with a Traitor element or “only one real winner”. Can have the ability to attack other players directly, but mostly the confrontation is done by mistrust between players or lack of reason to help one another player that might cause them to win.
Example: Dead of winter, Shadows over Camelot, Legendary.
There is some confrontation in the game, but usually just to gain an advantage over the opponent that is not always central to the game. Taking a card before someone else or by your own action block another player is considered some-confrontational. The confrontation is optional.
Examples: Ticket to ride, Catan, Carcassonne.
There is confrontation in the game and it is encouraged by for example getting a moderate or major advantage or causing a disadvantage for your opponent.
Examples: Blood rage, Small world,
Take-that games where confrontation is deep-rooted in the game mechanics and you must attack and/or sabotage or block other players to get a chance to win.
Example: Munchkin, Smash Up, Cutthroat Caverns
The list is in no way final and end-all to categorizing games by Confrontation, and it is not really a way to categorize, but rather to show how much Confrontation is in the game and how it is used.