Balancing Skills to Optimize Fun in Board Games

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 2009, pp. 301 - 313
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Playing games against people with a different skill level can be boring or frustrating, which decreases fun. A solution is to introduce specific rules that balance a game. In this paper we describe a study in which we used an electronic board game with tangible interaction to investigate whether balancing a game indeed increases fun experienced. We also investigate whether balancing skill levels implicitly (players are unaware) or explicitly (players are aware) has an influence on the fun experienced. We found that players who lost a game felt more successful in the balanced game compared to the unbalanced game. The balanced game also offered the players more fun experience than they expected beforehand. Finally, players preferred to play an explicitly balanced game because it increased the feeling of effort and challenge.
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