How abstract is it?
Here’s a way that helps me decide at a glance if a board game is one I want or not. I look to see how abstract a board game is. It does not matter if I happen to be looking for an abstract board game or not. I can tell at a glance by what the LHIT score is. If I want an abstract then I want a low score. If I don’t want an abstract then I want a higher score. Whoa! Wait. What is an LHIT score you ask? It’s a scale I came up with that was inspired by several writers describing what the traits of an abstract game are. Three traits stood out each time I read when someone described what an abstract game is. Two of those traits are things that many avid board game people can closely agree on. Take for instance luck (the L in LHIT). Most can agree on how much luck there is in a board game. The other trait is how much hidden information there is in a game (the HI in LHIT). The third trait, however, generates many lengthy, and sometimes intense debates. That third trait is theme (the T in LHIT). Okay, stay with me on this, I’m getting there.
Next, let’s create a number scale of 0-5 for each. Zero standing for None and 5 stands for All. Take the Luck trait and give it a score of 0-5 and put that number first in the LHIT score. Then take the Hidden Information trait and give it a score from 0-5 for the second number in the score. Theme is the third number in a LHIT score for a reason. Theme is the most debatable of the three traits. Now’s a good time for an example. Let’s pick on chess. So, how much luck in chess? Can we agree on 0? Next, how much Hidden Information in chess? Let’s give that a 0 as well. Now comes theme. Most of us can agree there is little to no theme in chess. So, let’s go with a 1 for theme. We now have a LHIT score of 001. As you can probably figure out, then, a low LHIT score indicates an abstract board game. Therefore, board games with an LHIT that starts with at least a 3 then will not be abstract games. Another way to put it is, say, you do not want an abstract game then when you see an LHIT that starts with a 3 then it can be worthy of a deeper investigation.
Let me take this a little further. If you create a box that has an LHIT score along with basic information such as player count and a complexity rating (Like that on the Board Game Geek.com site) you could, at a glance, tell if reading more about the game is worth your while.LHIT-Score-Form-Sheet1