The boardgame sub-reddit featured a link to the syllabus for a Games & Learning class at West Virginia University. The syllabus linked to an interesting blog post on the primary motivations of board gamers.
The authors used a survey to measure people using a model with four basic motivations:
- Conflict: measuring yourself against the other players, possibly taking hostile actions.
- Strategy: the cognitive puzzle of planning your moves.
- Immersion: assuming a role and pretending you’re carrying out the theme.
- Social Fun: the chatting, teasing, and other conversation that goes on around the game.
The authors can then compare the differing motivations between men and women and between younger and older players. The most common primary motivation for men is “Need to Win” and the most common for women is “Accessibility”. Older gamers (36 years or more) value Discovery more highly than younger ones, which means they like exploring new mechanics and rules more; younger players prefer simpler, accessible games.
You can take their survey and figure out your profile according to this model. For example, my profile is 65% Conflict, 5% Strategic, 12% Immersion, 73% Gregarious. This means I like games where the players are competing, and the gameplay is relaxed and doesn’t have an overly complicated ruleset. I don’t care very much about theme but do like games to be aesthetically pleasing, and strongly enjoy the socializing around the game board. My profile is pretty accurate — I like the demolition-derby struggle during the game but am pretty indifferent to whether I win or not, and have a threshold where games have rules that are too complicated to be fun.
What’s your gaming profile like?