Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Michael Barnes Multiplier

In every gamer there is a bit of a salesman. You've spent months searching for that rare game and finally you've gotten your hands on a copy. Now the challenge is to get the thing to the table. Problem is, you're going to have to contend with a crowd of other gamers all angling to get their games on the table. Much like any good negotiation game, there are a variety of tactics you can use to achieve your goal. Physical threats. Blackmail. Sabotage. But there are those who prefer more subtle methods

Enter Michael Barnes - infamous international board game villain. Those who have gamed with Barnes are undoubtedly familiar with what I call The Michael Barnes Multiplier. You see, one of the obstacles to getting your dusty old AT game to the table is the amount of time that it takes to play. In this Euro-obsessed hobby, nobody wants to sit down at a table for 3 hours and suffer through a game they've never played. But this is no obstacle for Barnes. He will look you dead in the eye, and confidently shave a good 50% off the playtime when asked. Maybe even more depending on the game. To get the playtime back into the realm of reality, you generally double whatever he says.

So consider this a word of warning to all of you AT gamers out there. The next time someone tries to tell you that Twilight Imperium 3 finishes up in about 2 hours, listen to that little devil on your shoulder calling bullshit. And the next time you want to get a group of six people to play Dune, just tell them that it finishes up in about an hour. It works for Barnes.

Disclaimer: While this post does lampoon a board game politician, it is not a personal attack. Thrower, don't ban me.

11 comments:

robartin said...

My apologies to the hordes of readers who wanted to drop in and leave a comment saying "Yeah, he really does do that." I mistakenly had comments turned off, which undoubtledly spared Mr. Barnes endless amounts of public humiliation. So now I've turned comments on.

Shellhead said...

I just wanna know if this is a workable strategy in the long run. Or does Barnes now have a reputation in his area for misrepresenting game length when trying to get a game to the table? I've got a few longer games that I wanna play from time to time, and I'm willing to stretch the truth in the name of fun.

Michael Barnes said...

Well Shellhead...it works until they figure you out...my current group, they've wised up, and now they always look at what the box says. So I might have to "fire" them and bring some new folks in so I can play some of the longer games without feeling like such a dirty liar.

When we played FIRE & AXE last night, I didn't even try...but they looked at the box and it says "90 Minutes" on virtually every side. Not "90-120 minutes", but 90 minutes. So they asked how long and I said "90 Minutes". Then they accused me of changing the box copy.

Ken Bradford said...

Apparently, the makers of Doom: The Boardgame operate on "The Michael Barnes Multiplier". It says 90 minutes right there on the side of the box.

*giggles*

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, that's nonsense...we can be done with that in an hour...I promise!

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