“Three strikes and you’re out!” is a common system for deciding when enough is enough. Fifty pages of a book is supposedly a good gauge of whether the whole thing is worth reading. But then there are things that are “acquired tastes,” supposedly worth the effort given enough time. What’s the cut-off for board games? How many chances do you give a game before passing judgment? Answer in the comments!
The board game hobby is already pretty saturated, so it seems like the answer should be low. After all, if you don’t like game X, surely game Y won’t disappoint. Why waste your time on what you don’t like when there’s a clear better option available?
I don’t feel this way, though, at least not all the time. I usually give a game more than one chance (the exception is if a game really fails to grab me or anyone else the first time), since one play is rarely definitive. Puerto Rico is a great example of this. The first time I played the game, I wasn’t too enamored of it and didn’t see what all the fuss was about. But my brother-in-law insisted that I borrow it, and after the very next play, I was hooked. I don’t know about number-one-game-of-all-time hooked, but I recognize its merits.
Of course, with other games, multiple plays only confirmed my opinion, as with Glen More. And multiple plays can even sour an experience. I liked San Juan and Cosmic Encounter the first several times I played. It was only later that I realized those games are not really for me. I had a very high opinion of Eminent Domain when I first had it, but it has since left me feeling cold. All of this weighs on me as a reviewer: how many plays is enough to give a definitive opinion? And who’s to say my opinion won’t change later? There comes a time when you have to put fingers to keyboard; I try to make sure it happens when my opinion is set, but we all make mistakes, I’m sure.
Because of these things, I appreciate all the more the games that are still awesome, all these plays later.
There’s really no definitive answers to this one. However there is this; I am much more likely to give a game multiple tries if either 1. the theme interests me greatly or 2. one of my friends really likes the game.
Some games (such as, you know, Bacchus’ Banquet – the worst “hidden identity” game I’ve ever played) are immediately unpleasant. The game is clearly flawed, I have absolutely no fun playing it, and the theme isn’t exactly interesting to me. I’m not going to try that game again – unless one of my friends (read: @Farmerlenny) really want to (fortunately in the case of Bacchus, no one did.)
Some games immediately spark my interest – even though I’m still learning the game, I can see the potential or I really love the theme or I enjoy the mechanics and see a lot of potential for depth.
Other games I dislike which may or may not be broken, but I just don’t really have fun playing them or find the experience very frustrating. Again if the theme really interests me (something in Space) or @Farmerlenny really likes it (Ra) I will give it more tries.
And then there are games which I enjoy but are kind of “meh” but I will give them a few shots to see if they grow on me. And many of them do. Dominion is one such example – I enjoyed it when I first played, but it wasn’t until I really began to grasp the higher concepts and intricate strategies involved that I really began to appreciate it a lot.