I know, I know.
I haven’t posted in a month and I start with a bad pun.
I’m still getting back in the swing of things.
In order to do that, I have a question for you.
One of my favourite games right now is a great deckbuilder adventure game called Clank! In! Space! (no more exclamation marks this post. I promise).
The basic premise of the game, for those few of you who don’t know, is that players are thieves invading Lord Eradikus’ luxury spaceship and trying to steal one of his treasures. You then must get off the ship before you are killed.
I will save the mechanisms for how you die for the review (which I promise is coming soon), but you just need to know the premise for this post.
If you make it back to the Cargo Hold with an artifact before dying, then you will earn all of the points you have during the game (for the artifact, money you’ve collected, some of the cards you’ve bought for your deck, etc).
If you manage to actually escape, you get 20 more points.
But if you die before reaching the Cargo Hold, you receive no points. You are a loser and everybody will know it (Editor: That’s kind of harsh).
One of the complaints I’ve seen about this game is the fact that it can take a little while to play (90-120 minutes) and there is a feeling of having wasted all of that time if you end up dying and don’t get any points.
I don’t really understand this feeling.
There are plenty of games where, at the end, you either win or you lose. Wargames especially, you could play them for four hours or more and then at the end, you’ve either won or you go home. There are no points. If you lost, did you just waste all four hours that you played the game?
Or did you have fun in the process of playing?
Most cooperative games don’t have any points, and there obviously is not one winner. You could spend an hour or 90 minutes playing Flash Point: Fire Rescue just to have the building collapse on you and lose.
Did you waste all of that time?
Of course not. It was fun playing, you were able to enjoy your fellow players and the interaction you had with them.
So what if at the end of the day you lost?
Is losing because you had fewer points than anybody else any better than losing and not having any points at all?
What is it about “points” that makes a game seem more “worth it” in this kind of scenario?
To me, the fun in the game is in the play of it, the camaraderie of your fellow players. It’s not in the win or lose aspect of the game (though of course I want to win and will do a victory dance with lots of pointing when I do win) (Editor: Thankfully, that very rarely happens).
What makes me wonder, and why I wrote this post, is that feeling about Clank in Space has sometimes come from people who feel the same way. They aren’t “win at all costs” people. They enjoy the play of the game and don’t mind losing.
So why is it different in this case?
Why does it matter that they have zero points while other people are counting up their points to see if they won or not?
It just boggles my mind.
What do you think? Is there something about points in a game that causes this? Or can you play a game for 2 hours knowing that you may not only lose, but may not have any points?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.