Choose Your Words Wisely

As I was looking through a recent project on Kickstarter, in their video they claimed that “players will get to enjoy nearly unlimited replayability”. The phrase “nearly unlimited replayability” stuck in my head throughout the day. Why was it only “nearly unlimited” and not “unlimited”? It seemed like they were telling me already that the game had a shelf life, that one day you will get bored of it and not play it anymore. Sure it’s “nearly unlimited” which is still a long time, but the qualifier of nearly gave me a sense that the designers didn’t have full conviction in their project.

Another question is what do they mean with “replayability”? Is it such a good game that you will want to play it again? If so, shouldn’t that be the goal of a board game anyway, who wants to buy a board game to play only once? This got me thinking of a blog post from Jamey Stegmaier on the psychological benefits of framing your project’s potential. In this Jamey talks about how making superlative claims about your game can be a turn off to bakers.

“It’s like informing someone that you’re going to tell them a funny joke. Suddenly they’re going to be cynical about how funny it actually is. Don’t tell them it’s going to be funny–let them be the judge of that without you telling them how to feel.” – Jamey Stegmaier

With that in mind, what could be a better way to convey the replayability of a game? The key to that question is what makes a game replayable, maybe it has a modular board like in Flamme Rouge, where it’s like a new game each time since the board changes. It could have Dead of Winter’s crossroad cards, which offer a vast depth of events so that each game stays fresh. Perhaps it has variable player powers like Root and you want to try out al the different ones. The list is endless but whatever it is that makes your game replayable I feel the best way to get people engaged and excited about your project is to highlight those elements instead of just telling us that the game has “nearly unlimited replayability”.

What game do you constantly go back to over and over and what gives it that replayability for you?


  1. Stephen Heaney says:

    Nice article! I constantly go back to Scrabble over and over. What gives it replayability? I suppose the combination of letters you have to work with are always different. Also the board itself is always different. You can also get versions for different languages. That lends another layer of replayability, and is a fun way to get more familiar with any new language, if like me, you’re learning a new language.


    1. Chris Heaney says:

      Thanks Steve, Scrabble is a good one as you said each game is a new little puzzle of letters and I never even thought of it to help with learning languages!


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