Last week I talked about how good players make good games, with more emphasis on the ‘good player’ part. This week I’ll focus on one thing that makes a good game: how much interaction a game has. Take BSG for example, a good game of BSG will come down to the wire with both sides having a viable chance of winning until the end.* This is something that I find to be really fun and a good part of the game. Partially because it justifies the game’s length, partially because it gives me a reason to keep playing. In general this is something that I appreciate in games and the exact opposite of it is rather grating.**
Non interactive games aren’t fun in general, regardless of the length. Hexproof from Magic the Gathering comes to mind, especially in constructed formats. In Limited its something to deal with but your opponent can’t build their entire deck around it***. In Constructed on the other hand they can and in Pauper this is a viable deck, albeit it is a rogue deck in Classic Pauper. The idea is simple, play hexproof creatures and other cards that can stabilize the board, throw auras onto the hexproof creatures and bash in. Hexproof makes it so you need a sweeper or other non targeted removal to deal with them and the auras make it harder to kill them in combat. There are answers to this yes, but if you don’t have answers then the game is incredibly unfun as the general answers to problem creatures don’t work. And given how short Constructed matches usually take the time investment isn’t all that big but it doesn’t make it any less unfun.
Give me a chance to win or at least make my opponent earn the win and I can end the game happily, if not then why am I being a nominal opponent for my opponent to show off how cool he is?
*Not all good games are memorable or vice versa.
**Dominion is special in this sense as its usual non interactive nature doesn’t bother me.
***Invisible Stalker aside