It struck me as interesting because many designers who run kickstarter campaigns talk about how they designed the game they wanted to play themselves. And that's obviously great. But what makes Garfield and Lang so successful is that they make games that simultaneously satisfy not just their gaming taste and not just any one gaming taste - they make games that appeal to multiple types of players at the same time. Doing that well is quite an achievement. Making a game more well-rounded means it would be played more, by more people and provide more types of fun.
Types of fun? What does that mean? I'm glad you ask. There's a great episode of the Board Game Designers Forum where Nicole Lazzaro presents her theory about the four kinds of fun we experience when we play games: easy-fun we get from exploration; hard-fun we get from mastery; serious-fun we get from having our game experience matter; and people-fun, which we get from sharing the experience with other people. It's a cool idea and I found it helpful in thinking about the different types of people who may be playing your game.
Take this as an invitation to think about the different people who play your games and the different reasons you and they have to play them. Here is my attempt to shamelessly take the idea and adapt to the world of board gaming, introducing: the people who play your board games.
Real people are complex beings with mixed motivations, not caricatures - so nobody would know would be exactly an Allen or Sammy. But most people will have a bit of each with some dominant voices. Which voice is dominant can change: on some days they'll be after the win at all costs, on others they'll try something crazy to please their friends or tell a story. Yet, it's helpful to think about these categories when you're designing a game and even when you're hosting a game night. These archetypes pull in different directions - not just in the choice of the game but also in the way you teach and run it. If you're teaching Kemet to a bunch of Allens, you better make sure to go over the tiles and make sure they have a good idea of what's out there. If they're a bunch of Ephraims, you can let them discover it by themselves. Finding or making a game that can accommodate all of these different audiences is a skill - one you can get better at.
What kind of a gamer are you? And how do you prepare a game for different audiences?