The other night I was talking with my wife about TV shows—specifically comedies, like the Office
— and she described how she was choosing which show to watch based on how many times she laughed during an episode. That's got me thinking again about fun cycles in games, and how many laughs (or really, moments of fun) we get per hour of gaming.
Obviously trying to measure fun is tricky- is it laughs? Smiles? Tears of delight at a deeply satisfying moment in the story? It will vary from game to game and person to person, but I think there's a threshold that each of us has in their head for what is enough and what isn't.
Jason has talked before about how Fiasco
's design came from wanting to fit as much fun as possible in a 2 hour session, because that's what our weekly game allows. The FPH is high for us with that game, although maybe not as high for somebody who doesn't get or like the game. For myself, I thought the FPH for Grey Ranks
was pretty high (again, not so much laughter as moments of satisfaction with the story). At the same time, the game is designed to be played over three sessions and I think players often cut it down to one to pack more fun into fewer hours.
I think something else that sparked this thought was reading Jenskot's awesome play-by-play
(not sure if that's a public post or not) of his experience with the Mad About the Boy LARP
this weekend. It sounds like an amazing experience, but what struck me is that he spent 18+ hours waiting and doing lonely-fun so that he could play very intensely for 2 hours. There's still a lot of debriefing happening, but that seems like a crazy-low FPH ratio to me.
So what about you? What's your Fun-Per-Hour ratio? What is something measurable that you can count as "fun" in a game, and at one point are you disappointed in a game when you're not getting enough of it? How quickly do you know that you're not getting it?