Friday Night Shots – Are Boardgame Playthroughs Boring? Or Awesome?

It’s Friday and the vodka is flowing yet again.

What does that mean?

That my liver will be complaining for a while?

That is true, but it also means it’s time for another edition of Friday Night Shots!

I wasn’t actually sure what I would write about tonight, but then I got handed a topic on a platter.

The title is quite provocative!

As many people on Twitter pointed out.

Of course, they have changed the title since Rodney and others mentioned that this kind of negative labelling was not very helpful in fostering discussion about the topic.

I have to say, I haven’t watched the video so I’m not going to address the points actually made in the video.

Instead, I’m going to just give my own opinion on the topic.

From what I can gather on Twitter (as well as by the name on the video before Portal Games changed it, though it still sounds pretty provocative to me, it’s not as bad as saying that they “suck”), they are basically saying that live playthroughs of games on Twitch/Youtube/whatever are actually pretty bad.

I can’t say that I agree with that.

I will admit right off the top that I don’t generally watch them.

But that’s not because I think they’re bad or boring.

It’s because I don’t really have the time.

When I am able to, though, I love watching live playthroughs of boardgames!

They can be so valuable, especially if they provide more than just the playthrough itself.

I’ve watched some Dice Tower playthroughs and some others as well.

I have to say that Heavy Cardboard is my go-to for boardgame playthroughs, though.

Not only is the playthrough interesting, but Edward (or one of the other players if they are more of an expert on the game) gives a very good teach before the game itself.

Above is one of my favourites.

Why is it one of my favourites?

For one reason, it’s now one of my favourite games, and this video is one reason why.

Secondly, I haven’t had a lot of time to watch recently and a lot of these playthroughs are 3-4 hours and I just haven’t been able to do it.

But this game is amazing and the video of their playthrough is also great!

Despite the fact that I don’t have the time to watch a lot of these, my opinion of these types of playthroughs is that they’re a wonderful addition to the hobby.

First, you get to see how the game is played. Even if you don’t get a true “teach” like you get with Edward, you do get to see how the game is played on the table. Usually they do give at least an idea of the rules.

Hopefully they play the game right, but one thing you can count on in most playthroughs is that those in the chat will let the players know if they get something wrong.

I know that happens on Heavy Cardboard (and sometimes they actually ask the people in chat if they know the answer!) and I’m sure it happens in others as well.

It’s even better when the designer or representative of the company is there watching along (like many of the Garphill Games playthroughs done by The Brothers Murph or others) because they can chime in when there are questions.

As a game fan, I’m not sure how people could find this boring!

As long as the players are engaging with the people watching, anyway.

That’s the key, I think, and maybe that’s where the Portal people are going astray (assuming they haven’t seen “good” ones, anyway, as again I’m only going by the Twitter response to the video).

You need playthrough videos where the players are interacting with the people in Chat. That’s when it becomes an interactive experience instead of just some rube watching a video (which is why I’m not a fan of watching these videos after the fact, but if I want to learn the game or see it in action, I’ll do so).

It’s the interaction not only between the players and the Chat, but the interaction among people in the Chat that makes these videos such wonderful things!

I would be the first to say that, if somebody was live-streaming a board game playthrough and just totally ignoring everybody else, that would be the most boring shit I’ve ever watched (and I’d be gone in a few minutes).

Have you ever sat down with your friends and watched them play a game because you arrived late to game day or something like that?

It’s the same thing as one of the good playthroughs.

You sit down and you engage with the people playing, and they engage with you.

It can be a wonderful experience, and it’s the next best thing to actually playing the game yourself (though of course that would be much better).

I don’t understand the hate for boardgame playthroughs, myself.

Maybe it’s the vodka talking, but I think they are a wonderful addition to the hobby and I wish there were more.

Of course, I’d probably not watch them because of the aforementioned time issues, but I would want to!

What do you think of all this?

Let me know in the comments.

5 Comments on “Friday Night Shots – Are Boardgame Playthroughs Boring? Or Awesome?

  1. I like creating play-throughs and also watching them whenever I want to familiarize with the game. There is a second dimension to this – session reports in form of blog posts. And those I simply love – both reading and creating! When I do mine, it is also kind of chronicle of my plays – the name of my blog is not coincidental, it was always to keep memory of games and people I played with!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never watched a live playthrough, but I do enjoy written AARs – like yours, Michal!
      And while I wouldn’t watch recorded playthroughs of games for fun, I think they can be very useful for getting an idea of how the game plays and what it evokes.
      Anyway, a friend of mine once suggested to live-stream our Here I Stand games, and I stared at him and said: “Who would watch something that takes twelve hours and half the time the players are in other rooms for secret negotiations?”

      Liked by 2 people

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