Saturday, April 21, 2012


Downtime is the part of the game where you aren't interacting with either the game or the other players of the game (as players of the game, chit chatting with them doesn't count).

Generally, downtime is viewed as a bad thing. For me, I like my time spent playing games to be spent actually playing the game. Not waiting around for my next opportunity to play the game.

Now, downtime doesn't exist in every game. As an example, there are real time games where everyone is playing at the same time throughout the entire game. No downtime there.

However, most games will have downtime. So a big question becomes, what does the game give you to do during downtime? Are you just twiddling your thumbs? Or does the game provide a reason to remain engaged?


  1. I do not mind downtime if it stays at a fairly consistent level. If players always take 10-minute turns, that is acceptable. Once someone breaks this pattern consistently, I usually become frustrated and bored. I know it is a flaw in my own outlook, but it still exists.

    I also dislike long downtime in games that provide no reasonable (to me) long or short term planning. Urban Sprawl is a particularly bad example as I feel no need to pay any attention to other players' turns as the board state will have changed so much after my turn. Proper analysis can only be done immediately before your own turn.

    1. Indeed, one of the things a game can give you to do during downtime is to plan out your next turn(s). But, as you point out, this is only possible in games where the game state doesn't change too rapidly between turns. If it does, then you're back to twiddling your thumbs.