How Long is Too Long?

As a kid, I loved the Guinness World Records books. A few years in a row, I received the latest book as a Christmas present. I would flip excitedly through the pages, seeing if any of my favourite records from the previous years had changed.

I recently heard about a group from Gloucester in the UK who, beginning on January 21st, will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest board game marathon. Their goal is to play continuous games of Dune for at least 82 hours. They are raising money for Alzheimer’s UK as part of this event as well.

The cover of Dune, published by Gale Force Nine (Source: Gale Force Nine)

Of course, as an aficionado of both board games and Guinness World Records, I wanted to look more into this. The current record is held by a group of four friends from the Netherlands who, from the 3rd until the 6th of January 2017, played Game of the Goose for 80 hours. I had never heard of Game of the Goose prior to reading about this, but it’s a roll and move children’s game from the 1500s.

A board from a version of Game of the Goose (Source: Wikimedia)

During their marathon of Game of the Goose, the group of four played 400 times. That puts each game at an average of 12 minutes. Conversely, Board Game Geek lists Dune’s game length at 120 minutes, meaning for an 82 hour marathon, only about 41 games will be played. While personally I tend to lean towards lighter and shorter games, I think in a marathon like this, I’d actually prefer a longer game like Dune. I think by playing less times over the course of the marathon, the game would still be likely to retain the fun factor for me. Plus, I’d be able to maybe discover a strategy for the game in question and improve my playing ability, whereas, with a lighter and shorter game, there’s less of an opportunity for that.

The board for Indonesia, undoubtedly one of the heaviest and longest games I have ever played. I lost horribly, but it was still an enjoyable experience (Source: Twenty Nineteen)

In the past, the Dice Tower has done gaming marathons. These have been a lot shorter than these record breaking marathons, of course, and with their large team of contributors, they switch out throughout the marathon. I think the part that I like best about these marathons however is that they play a variety of games. I understand why the record breaking attempts stick to one game, but, as I mentioned above, I think sticking to one game for that length of time would eventually get monotonous, no matter how much I love the game.

I have major respect for people who do or have done gaming marathons, but I just don’t think they’re something that I would end up enjoying by the end. If any of you have done a gaming marathon, let me know how it went for you in the comments.

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