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A 1979 War-Game That Takes 1,500 Hours to Complete (kotaku.com)
188 points by danso on Sept 23, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 80 comments

I have a friend, now retired, who's passion is these kinds of games. When he and his wife retired, they bought a house with a massive basement that he converted into a full-time wargaming room with space for 3 or 4 of these kinds of games setup all at once. Once or twice a week, he and a few other retired friends get together for a few hours and play the game. He has one game that's been going on about 3 years. His library of these games dates back to the early 70s and its really quite majestic.

When you see the giant board laid out in its fullest, and the thousands of pieces each in their individual positions...you get the sense that these would be almost impossible games to really play adequately on a computer -- until maybe the hololens. The need to see the context of the entire battlefield is overwhelming that no amount of scrolling around a screen can really compensate for it.

Another thing that's not clear for people from the outside is in many cases how scripted portions of the game are, and its really up to the players to spend a few hours following the script in between moves. This is supposed to simulate various historic battlefield conditions like new groups of units moving on and off the field as the real battle progressed, and the "play" happens within this framework.

Very deep, very detailed, really fun in a way, and no way could I ever put the kind of time into it that it needs, even for "small" games.

Kind of on-topic, but Supreme Commander came out in 2007 with two very relevant pieces of technology quite relevant to "whether these would be almost impossible games to really play adequately on a computer".

First, strategic zoom: the ability to seamlessly zoom in to the littlest unit and out to the entire battlefield using the scroll wheel of the mouse. As you scrolled out, each unit and building were replaced with strategic icons, but there was no effective concept of a "mini map" needed during play because the whole game space was the one thing.

The second thing was native game design for multiple monitors. This let you have the "strategic map" full screen up on one monitor, while you focused in on tactical issues and orders on the second. Because of the first feature though, this was just an arbitrary distinction. As I mentioned, there was no needed conceptually differentiate between the two monitors, as each could be thought of as either a strategic or tactical view (or anything in between) as necessary, and transitioning between the two was so intuitive you basically didn't think about it.

Here is a recent commentary on a 7v7 match, where you can see the zooming feature in very natural fashion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qN3VoZoQEw

Some trivia: TSR, original makers of Dungeons & Dragons, stood for Tactical Studies Rules. Rules for the study of tactics, specifically military tactics. They made wargames before they published D&D.

Somewhere, I should still have a copy of Cavaliers and Roundheads. At least I believe it has survived all the moves.

Playing at the World by Jon Peterson is a fascinating and comprehensive history of the wargames that led to Dungeons & Dragons, and the early years of the roleplaying hobby.

I highly recommend it for anyone that likes painstakingly researched details about the world of games.

It just so happens that I need to go into town on Monday. I'll stop by my local bookstore and see if they have a copy or if they can order it.

That probably sounds archaic but I try to purchase all my books there. There aren't many local bookstores left and I'm partial to it, so I hope to help keep them in business.

Much thanks for the recommendation. I've never read it and I am almost done with my current nightstand book. (Battle Cry, Leon Uris.) If they don't have it, they should be able to order it.

I use Amazon to look up ISBNs so I can order through my local bookseller, unless it turns out to be a book I can only get through Amazon.

Good for you!

Even more, D&D was actually a lark where these wargamers took a break from their usual 'realistic' wargames and attempted to build a structured fantasy wargame. The role-playing aspect came along later.

> the thousands of pieces each in their individual positions [..] the entire battlefield is overwhelming

what an exaggeration. we had games with that level of complexity a decade ago, even before if you consider the modding scene for total annihilation.

edit: -1 for being factual and correct, hn crusaders in a nutshell

The quote you provide isn't exaggerating anything and you're countering a claim of primacy that isn't there. Your whole post is a snarky non-sequitur.

how so? total annihilation handled thousand units just fine, both computationally and from an UX point of view, in 3d and with physics to boot

parent was specifically talking about computer games:

> these would be almost impossible games to really play adequately on a computer

you all just skipping an opportunity to learn about gaming history.

The contention isn't that a computer game can't have thousands of units, it's that the thousands of units in that particular game and the ways they are used and interact with each other, terrain etc would be difficult to represent in a game and give a single continuous view of the entire game situation would be hard to do in a computer.

and again, there are plentiful games that do it. medieval total war had whole Europe as a map and stacks with dozen thousand units running around, circa 2002, but may not fit your idea of continuous game view.

supreme ruler 2010 had worldwide combat, c.a. 2005 or so if I recall it correctly. unit moved continuously and fought by the hundreds, as opposed to medieval total war movement by nation.

they all had extremely complex interaction with terrain, including movement speed, hiding, defensive positioning and whatnot.

there are plentiful war games that have extremely complex engagement rules, to the point implementing whatever you have in mind is just a matter of putting it in writing.

basically the computer isn't the limit. the patience of gamers and market audience is the limit and what prevents extremely complex war games surface on the market (as in: complex in rules). that plus the factor that computer can actually simulate the whole environment and unit interaction physically, so no real need to have to approximate it out with rule lists.

on the other hand, if you want to go into the indie space, you'll find plenty game with unbelievable depth, like aurora 4x - that got some serious rule lists, up and including combat readiness for crews and the need to ready them with training maneuvers which happen in space as the game actually goes.

Could you look at a single view in that game and see simultaneously every unit and element is in the game and their attributes?

I know the answer is no. I know you know the answer is no. We both know this was the contention that was being made. It wasn't that computers cant handle complex games, or that they can't dusplay lots of complex information, it was just that they can't show all of that all at the the same time in one view. That's all.

Why are you doing this?

That’s not the original contention. Beside, you’re not doing that either in the boardgame. You either see it as a whole or focus on some detail. Even if you try to see it all, the brain can focus only on one aspect at a time - the overview or the detail. Believing you can see both is disingenuous on how brain work. Sure all the paper may be laid out for you to see, but to read any stat you’d need to focus on a single element. Not unlike zooming in computers. The fact is, computers are great to present multilevel information and hide complexity on demand while allowing user to explore and discover details, while maintaining track of all the constraints of the game world. Of course if you postulate that picking a paper and see the detail is unlike zooming in and out on a game then you can claim the point to stand, but that’s basically so controved and poignant just to pretend computer can’t do what paper does that’s weird to even to have to debate it.

I used to love epic monster board wargames in my teens. Advanced 3rd Reich was my favorite, and when played along with it's companion Empire of the Rising Sun could simulate all of WWII in about 80 hours or so - assuming you were completely familiar with about 2000 pages of rules and moving as fast as possible with little time for strategic thought. Realistically, it could run significantly longer. But still short enough that you could (and might want to) play it multiple times in a lifetime. (The current version, updated over the years, is called A World At War and lists a playtime of 48 hours.)

Some of the very detailed air and naval tactical wargames back then could take an hour or so to simulate a few seconds or minutes of combat. I tried some of those and did not particularly enjoy them, but if a computer could help... My learning to program was significantly driven by making computer-aided-wargaming assistant software. But before long, PC wargames became more playable and I started turning to them instead.

As an adult with work and family, I can't play the monsters or rivet-counters anymore. I have great memories of obsessing over them and all their details and possibilities. But even now that they're computerized, trying to fit all that information in my head, handle all the detail and micromanagement feels too much like work. Such games are works of art that provide a special place and time and some lasting memories for those who can get into them.

My favorite story about Campaign for North Africa involves a, uh, 'innovative' solution to the POW problem. As the British roll back the Italians, management of POWs becomes a large problem, requiring the players to create POW camps in empty hexes and allocate units to guard them or else they can revolt (as mentioned in the article). Legend has it that one player was looking over the terrain and weather rules, and realized he could place the POW camps in hexes representing dry riverbeds. Come Springtime the hexes would flood, turning into regular river hexes, and freeing up valuable guard units for other duties...

So basically Dwarf Fortress is tapping into something fundamental about simulation gaming.

Where does the 1500 hours figure come from?

According to Boardgamegeek, "Playing time with 10 players is listed at 1200 hours." At the top of the BGG page, play time is said to be 1000 hours. There is a thread in their forum asking if anyone has ever finished the game, and the answer seems to be no.


Playing time predictions are usually on the low side. If the publisher is claiming 1200 and BGG is claiming 1000, then 1500 is probably a fair guess.

I would go so far as to say that playing time predictions are always on the low side.

A few years back, some friends and I built a modification for Risk. From my (our) point of view the inherent conceit of Risk is that they more Ts you control, the more power you have, the easier campaigns become. Typical 19th century German thinking. The reality is that as you expand, costs go up not down. With great population comes great Tragedy. So our build included infrastructure and currency. We only tried it once. I have not spoken with one of the co-creators since those fateful three days (trans Arctic railroads, it turns out, are the stuff of ending friendships) but I kept a candle lit for the day when Hegemon would rise again. I have the rule book squirreled away on a HD somewhere. I'd love to give it another go.

The core concept of the game was you go online, download the rule book for free, donate if you want, and use the pieces from other board games to play. If it caught on, we'd create an option to buy a custom made game (utilizing the Dymaxion Map and 3D printed pieces). Such are the dreams of youth.

That's the same sort of thing that comes with computer games that have implemented the Risk model, ones such as the Total War series and the Paradox games like Europa Universalis. Effectively there has to be some other mechanic that taxes you the larger you get and the more careful you have to be with expanding as you get some model of "Internal strife" to deal with.

Our addition was that you do not have to keep units in acquired territory, and each T gains you one unit per turn. in this way, you can keep one army stationed there free of charge. if you start building up your army, there is a cost to build AND station them. Movement had a cost, so you are motivated to build infrastructure that would reduce this cost. Building a capitol in a T mitigates the cost of storing armies in said T. Capitols were expensive and transferable. Ditto for infrastructure, though not as expensive.

My dreams for the game were to be able to build up scenarios or start from scratch. Each team in Scratch Mode starts with one T, one capitol, and five armies. Certain Ts produce a lot of income (simulating oil, mining value, or agriculture) while other Ts were constant deficits (if they border X+1 other Ts OR if the only had one connection).

I forgot to list the victory conditions: you must control 75% of the economy, territories, or military, or 51% of all three. In my mind, the goal was to form a global coalition and sign a peace treaty (game over... for now...((cue Red Alert HELL MARCH music))) or beat everyone into submission.

We used the Dymaxion Map in our modeling because it was fun and different, but as stated previously, the game was really the Rule Book, so one could conceivably use map, or chess board, or living room with furniture + a ruler/yardstick.

Ever considered using Kickstarter for a full edition?

Considered and rejected for a few reasons: crowdfunding was a super negative experience for me on the one i was a part of. KS takes a pretty big chunk, one of the founders blew nearly 1/3 of our ask having to pay for all the stupid mother flipping TShirts and chotchkies for each different bracket of funding level, not to mention paying back all the bands and "artists" for their various contributions to the events that he ran to get the funding (the ultimate irony was that it was friends and family that contributed the most anyway, and that was in the final hours of the campaign).

I know that these problems reside with our poor choice in founder(s), and it was for a film project, not a tangible product, but the whole affair left a bad taste and i would go with Indy Go Go if there was a next time.

This may be conceited, but when it comes to film, i only want informed, intelligent investors and i want them to give a maximum so they have a stake, not a minimum so they have a badge of involvement. In my opinion, creators and producers need to be held accountable by investors. Getting 5,000 people to chip in $10 bucks feels like a bad thing in the long run for the world of indy film, but besides my previously articulated sentiments i don't know exactly why, i just have a negative gut reaction.

Also, i want to be paid for something created, not rewarded for good marketing (which is probably why the Company keeps me chained up in the basement whenever investors are remotely close by ;) ).

It sounds like this game was rushed, but it sounds like an interesting challenge: how do you design a game that takes a significant amount of time to play, while still ensuring that it would be balanced and engaging for all of the players throughout? There'd probably have to be some sort of computer simulation involved or some expedited way to play it, but how would you measure these things? Is it even possible?

Reading https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/304828/its-details-baby, game play is fluid, so the game likely would get quite a bit faster if one used computers for doing calculations.

For example, those fuel leakage calculations on 1000+ units, for 100+ turns involve carefully writing down 100,000+ numbers. At two seconds per number, that’s three days of work over the entire game, or, if that 1500 hours is accurate, around 4% of playing time (.4% if ten players shared the work load)

A modern computer could easily do that in one second.

I think someone (truly) dedicated could build a version where every piece had an e-ink display that gets updated automatically to show each unit’s food, fuel and ammunition status and strength, and speed up game play tremendously.

Well, a certain degenerate case of "balance" can be obtained with simple symmetry. It isn't quite the totality of what people mean by the concept because there are plenty of abstract games in which once one competitor has an advantage, they can inevitably press it home to a victory, and most humans would probably call that "unbalanced", even though in some sense it isn't. But still, a symmetric game certainly starts you off with a solid start in that direction.

(Technically, perfect play in a non-randomized game determines the winner very rapidly, and even in randomized games there's a clear maximum probability path. However, perfect play is generally humanly-infeasible and may even be computationally infeasible; chess is a relatively simple game compared to most and we still don't know who wins or draws with perfect play.)

Engaging 10 people for 1500 hours is probably effectively impossible, though. At that point you'd basically be selecting the people and building the game to match, if a solution even existed.

(You may be thinking "Oh, but jerf, there are people who play 1500 hours of Team Fortress 2 and stuff", but my reply is that if you designed TF2 for this use case and picked 10 random people, even 10 random TF2 players, you'd have to be pretty lucky to get 1500 hours for all 10 of them. I'm sure there's well more than 10 people with that much time clocked but they're still the outliers, and you'd have a hard time naming them before the fact. Even with prior information about their addictiveness and tendency to stick with games.)

>Engaging 10 people for 1500 hours is probably effectively impossible, though. At that point you'd basically be selecting the people and building the game to match, if a solution even existed.

Sounds like the perfect game for a long prison stretch.

Funny that you picked TF2 as an example.

From my experience with the game over the course of several years, TF2 becomes insanely addictive only after you overcome the horrendous learning curve.

This takes around 50-100 hours of pure playtime on average.

Once you understand the game mechanics, how to play the classes reasonably well (fully mastering a class can take 100+ hours), how trading works, and how to play the most popular game modes (including duos, 4v4, dodgeball, bball, MGE, surf, etc.), you're basically set for life!

For those who overcome the curve, the retention rate is quite high, from my experience at least. The release of Overwatch probably pulled quite a few people over though. This is primarily due to how Valve has treated the game over the years.

I have over 1000 hours, my brother has twice that (at least), and I know several people I played with regularly who had 4000+. Keep in mind that the country that I was living in had an absurdly small TF2 community.

I don't play anymore because: (1) I don't have a good PC, and (2) grad school sucks.

"I have over 1000 hours, my brother has twice that (at least), and I know several people I played with regularly who had 4000+."

Oh, I picked that carefully. TF2, Starcraft, Diablo, the more successful MMOs... certainly people can pour thousands into those.

First, I guarantee you that for every person you can find with 1000 hours in TF2, there are dozens or possibly even hundreds of people who installed it, screwed around for a few dozen hours or fewer, and then left. So if you randomly select 10 TF2 players, even if I spot you "from the set of all people with more than 5 hours in the game", the odds that you'll come up with a set of 10 people who are ready to put 1500 hours into "one game" are actually pretty dismal.

Secondly, I'd also very, very seriously question whether that constitutes "one game" in the way that this game really is one game, with one team winning, after 1500 hours. TF2 is more a series of games that last about an hour. I've played far less than 1500 hours on TF2, and I "won" and "lost" dozens of times each. MMOs may lack quite the same degree of clarity but one could probably say that "one quest" is a game, or some other larger subdivision like "all the quests in one area" or "a single raid", but generally if an MMO does have a quest that lasts for even a hundred hours it's going to be considered by the players as a long-term adjunct quest rather than "the thing I do for 100 hours". There have been enough MMOs out there that somebody might be able to cite a counterexample, but it would be rare. At the very least an MMO player playing one MMO for 1500 hours is probably going to be running multiple characters, which would be reasonably called "separate games".

There may be individual Civ games that ran that long, like maybe the Eternal War: https://www.reddit.com/r/theeternalwar/ (The original post the guy doesn't claim a game time, just that he'd been playing for 10 years.) But, again, trying to get 10 such people together would be a challenge.

You don't need to balance a game that takes 1500 hours, because no one will ever play it enough times to discover any imblances. And the total number of completed games will never reach the point that would open the game up to large scale analysis.

There are more ways to discover 'imbalance' then just stumbling across them in regular play. Many games have 'theory-crafting' communities digging into the numbers outside of actual play. I used to love reading through D&D rule books, even though I didn't play it. Now unless there were inherent time sinks that prevented zergs, if there were any serious imbalances, one side would roll over the other in far less than 1500 hrs.

Randomly sample game states, giving more weight to those that affect balance more strongly and/or occur more frequently.

Random sampling wouldn't work because it is the essence of cheese/game-breaking to go into rare or weird edge-cases and parts of state-space. Imagine a broken fighting game where you could win by simply executing 'upper block' the entire game; random sampling will be exponentially unlikely to sample a game with all upper-blocks. But if you used a mechanism like self-play reinforcement learning to explore the game state-space, your agents might autonomously discover game-breaking strategies on their own.

I'd never expect anything lasting 1500 hours to be engaging (or fun) the whole time.

QuickCheck sense tingling!

Wow, and I thought our 8 hour games of Axis & Allies or Shogun were epic. I do remember one game of A&A which went for 3 days once.

But a big factor of all those games was the banter and chatter that took place in between the play rounds - which easily took up >50% of 'game time'.

Discussions about famous war heroes, tactics, politics, geography and purely made up stories to rationalise our game play was what made those sessions special, and stand out in my mind FAR more than the die rolls, cards or token that we had...

Shogun was the best and the worst of those gamemaster games. I thought the flexibility of the rules (bidding for turn order, the ninja, experience for generals, etc) was way ahead of its time. But in our games, whichever player left the early game with the right side of the board was almost guaranteed to win.

I always found that an odd number of players yielded best result with Shogun. With 4 players, it always became a 2 on 2 situation. With 3 or 5, there was far more interesting conflict and changing of fortune.

I loved that every game was so different, but yes, the initial random deal of starting provinces could make or break the entire game. Also found that it made a huge difference if you went first in the first round, then last on every round afterwards.

But even with all that, Shogun is still one of my favourite board war games ever. Still have my original set from >30 years ago, back when I think it was still a Milton Bradley game(?)

1,500 hours? That's nothing! These guys should give Civilization a go. (I say this only partially in jest. I've logged a few thousand hours playing the various Civs over the years. And, I'm not even a heavy player, compared to many.)

My longer Civ games are usually 40 hours long. XCOM: The Long War is something like ten times longer. It's also brutally difficult. If you enjoyed Civ, I would strongly suggest checking it out. There's also a playthrough on YouTube by an Aussie who goes by 'beaglerush' which is both funny and full of good ways to not suck at the game.

It does tell the tale of how gaming has changed over time -- 1500 hours was truly considered a lifetime of play a few decades ago. The article itself laid out what was considered reasonable - 3 hour sessions twice a month, with friends. Today, people can do 3 hour sessions twice a day. Alone.

Would things have been different 40 years ago if solo gaming was practical? Getting half a dozen people together for 3 hour sessions is difficult to do once a week, never mind twice a day. Playing these board games alone would have been more of a research project than entertainment.

I recall bringing a then-obsolete Mac SE into a private student lounge about 20 years ago. One of the games installed on it was Harpoon, which seems to be in the spirit of these old board games. Almost no one was interested in it. I had installed it because it was a novelty. One student played it ravenously. It leaves me wondering what computer gaming would be like if it focused upon detailed simulations rather than graphics and reflexes.

If you think solo gaming wasn't practical 40 years ago, you weren't around 40 years ago. Those Atari 2600s rocked our world, man.

But the change that really started to make people put games first in their lives was when it became social -- MUDs/MUSHes. When you could interact with other people through the game, that is when people started to play them all night and fail out of school because of them, etc.

Well, the games on the 2600 were simple shootemups and the like requiring little AI, not solo play of serious games like this. But by the mid 1980s wargames with reasonably capable computer opponents were available.

Those detailed simulations are out there, though.

The rather expensive-to-make military flight simulation games are getting rarer, but Falcon 4.0, ILM Sturmovik and DCS did, or do, have sizeable niche followings. Fairly detailed car racing simulators (Assetto Corsa, Dirt:Rally, iRacing) are also fairly popular. Board-style wargames remain a small niche, but they do exist - I remember the early iterations of Close Combat being particularly good (real-time platoon-level engagements with well-modelled soldiers that had a propensity for panicking under fire, or perhaps displaying extreme bravery).

Detailed simulations of fictional entities are a bigger thing - Prison Architect, Kerbal Space Program and Dwarf Fortress are all popular games, each of which simulate complex interlocking systems (the Prison Industrial System, Orbital Mechanics, and an entire fantasy world, in amazing detail), and all of which are starting to pick up imitators.

Then there's the Paradox series of big historical games - Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV and Victoria 2, among others, let you pick any country you like in their given time periods (medieval, early modern, 19th century respectively), and attempt to model a sort of alternate history through gameplay, with war, economics, politics, diplomacy, religion being part of the systems at work. If you want to try your hand at the Swedish colonization of South America, or to halt the Protestant reformation in it's tracks, or keep Byzantium alive into the 18th century, these games are what you after.

There's sports management games too - the likes of Football Manager and Out of the Park baseball model much of the entire professional range of their sports (OOTP Baseball has more or less the entire history of the top US Baseball Leagues in it's database) in considerable depth.

Games are a very broad church, and complex, detailed, simulations are very much a part of it. A lot of the future you're wondering about actually happened; they just formed into various subcultures and coexisted with the shinier, simpler games you're thinking of.

Probably something like this : http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/

An interesting article about a bug from various features interacting in unexpected ways http://www.pcgamer.com/how-cats-get-drunk-in-dwarf-fortress-...

The game is incredibly detailed, and rife with unexpected and hilarious outcomes.

The interface, however, is a ASCII-like overlay of characters controlled by the keyboard alone, like the old rogue games, if you're familiar with any of those.

You should give it a try. If you do, just remember: losing is fun.

I haven't played it, but the descendant of Harpoon is Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations, with some of the creators of Harpoon having developed it. It's described by players as being bigger in its ambitions and more detailed than the original Harpoon, and something that can actually be useful for learning.

Doing it with s group of 10 people is way harder than doing it solo. Getting that kind of time commitment out of that many people is near impossible outside of maybe a retirement village, and even then you are in danger of having players die off before the game is over.

It's become antisocial?

Yay, misanthropy!

A few thousand hours playing multiple games, or a single game from beginning to winning or losing?

Play this twice and you and your friends will have possibly beaten your Civ time.

My longest Civ game was probably in the hundreds of hours. I mostly play on faster settings, though, as it gets tedious having to wait 100+ turns to build anything. But, yeah, I was joking, just sort of commenting on how we think about games has changed in the interim. This particular game was supposed to be ridiculous; unbelievably complex and unbelievably long. But, modern computer-based strategy games are even more complex and their length isn't actually that far off. And, of course MMOs are a single game that run much longer than 1600 hours for most players. I don't even play MMOs much, and I'm certain I've logged more than 1600 hours playing a single game.

Yep we enjoy our pasta, a bit sad that we're always caged into this "pasta, pizza, mafia" storytelling :/ but probably it's our fault!

I always thought it was kind of funny that Italy was famous for new-world and relatively recent concepts. Tomatoes definitively didn't exist in the old world before 1500ad and la Cosa Nostra only emerged in the 18th century, in the same vein as the Bow Street Runners in the UK.

Of course pasta existed before tomatoes were available, as in things like Bolognese sauce, but it's still a strong association.

Well, Italy is also a new and recent country.

Yep, only if you really believe that Italy's "birthday" is 1861... :) I humbly suggest that there's something more than that if you look closely!

1870 is the real one, with the Capture of Rome when Rome was annexed to kingdom of Italy.

> Of course pasta existed before tomatoes were available

Only a little over 300 years longer in Italy (where it did not originate.)

What people often refers to "Bolognese sauce" should be called "ragú" (tomato and minced meat).

Yeah, I'm not talking about the version that has any tomato in it. I'm talking about the stock-vegetable-and-beef-stew-on-pasta thing that predates it.

i think the simple explanation is that these are elements introduced into american culture by italians

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_Universalis is a slightly more approachable (and very slightly shorter) game along these lines.

Before i clicked, i thought you might be referring to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Longest_Day_%28game%29

Would this be less or more insane if transfered to a computer? It sounds like most of the tedium is computing and tabulating, but is that also most of the draw?

Far less. It does not seem any more complex than something like Gary Gigsby's War in the West and while it has a hill to climb if you want to learn how to play it, it is far from a 1500 hour game.

There are absolutely computer wargames that can do this.

Here's a Let's Play of War in the Pacific that was played at one day (real time) per day (game time) - for 1320 days. And as you can imagine, it can very easily take an hour or more per turn. https://lparchive.org/War-in-the-Pacific/

There is a reason why most early computer games were more or less straight translation of boardgames of this kind...

> they said ‘but we’re still playtesting it! We don’t know if it’s balanced or not. It’s gonna take seven years to play!’ And I said ‘you know what, if someone tells you it’s unbalanced, tell them ‘we think it’s your fault, play it again.’”

I wonder if "have you tried turning it off and back on again" was in popular use for computers at this time.

Well for home computers at least the way to get it to load a new program was to kill the power.

The institutional ones probably had uptimes measured in months though.

You didn't just reboot something that multiple people, including senior staff and tenured professors, may be using...

I really want the rights to this so I can make it a videogame that only takes a few hundred hours to complete.

Someone already beat you to it. It's called Hearts of Iron 4: http://store.steampowered.com/app/394360/Hearts_of_Iron_IV/

And here I thought the article would be about Monopoly.

Please, no family play-through of Monopoly lasts for longer than three hours - that's the maximum amount of time before mom locks herself in the bathroom to chainsmoke, and dad begins to angrily saw apart random wood in the garage, leaving the children to form grudges that will last well into their 40s.

The game's popularity is sort of ironic. It was designed to be unfair, in order to demonstrate the harmful power that monopolists accrue. That it results in the situations you describe could also be said to be by design.

Monopoly usually goes pretty fast though; I've never had a game take longer than 2 hours. Are you auctioning off properties that the person who lands on declines to buy? Missing that rule tends to make the game take longer.

Also silly house rules like putting $500 on free parking.


Ok we put that in the title and added its year for good measure.

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