How many times do you play through a game on average?

I know this has been brought up before, but I thought a poll might be in order :slight_smile: (The last thread was over a year ago). I was reading recent reviews on Highway wars, and despite being almost 200,000 words, having a lot of replay value, and an average play through of over 30,000 words, there’s still complaints about the replay value and it being too short. I know that is always going to happen, but it got me thinking again about length vs branching.

So question for everyone who feels like answering, just how much effort do you think authors should be putting into making a game with significant branches? Do you prefer a long game with limited variation, or a shorter one with lots of replay? (You can’t pick long and good replay, because the more words, the longer the playthough is expected to be, so I’m asking you to choose one or the other :smile: ) I’m also not talking ones that are super short with wide branching (ie 100,000 words, with only 10,000 playthroughs) or super long with nothing more than flavour text (ie 100,000 word with 90,000 words per play through.) Just your average game that leans one way or the other.

I think something that ties into that, is if you at least half like a game (so excluding those that you read and decide were not something you enjoyed) how many times of average would you play it? (I know there’s a lot of variation there depending on a lot of things, but just approximately.)

How many times would you play a game you didn’t dislike?

  • Rarely more than once.
  • 2-3 times.
  • Until I’ve gotten most/all of the branches.

0 voters

What style do you prefer if you had to choose one or the other?

  • Longer play throughs, less branching. (Longer storyline but potentially less replayability.)
  • Shorter play throughs, wider branching. (Less words per story, but better replayability.)

0 voters

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Honestly that all depends on how good the story I played was. For example, I still play Tin Star even if I played it over 20 times but sometimes if I really like a new release like Wayhaven, I’d play that at least 6 times a week.

Replayability is the key for readers like myself that still haven’t seen any new routes that we took yet. But if it’s good, we’d play it again.


Oh yeah I get that it’s going to entirely depend on the game. I’ve got some where I read it twice and don’t really feel like reading again (either because I didn’t love the story, found too little replayability to warrant another read, or just plain ran out of time and haven’t gotten back to it yet), and others I’ve read over until I find every branch. I was just wondering out of the games you’ve bought, excluding the ones you didn’t like, how many times on average people were playing them :slight_smile:


Yeah based on what you said, I’d probably put my replayability average at say, maybe twice a month if I still love it.

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Yep, I’m in the minority, here ._.:raised_hand:t4:

But the reason why I don’t replay that much is that because I’m too lazy to read through everything again. It’s kinda funny that I tried to make a story with a decent amount of branching :laughing:


It depends on the story for me.
An interesting short playthrough, many branches can get me as much as well written long playthrough, few branches and/or lots of flavor text.

I think the keyphrase is ‘well written’.
Many branches do nothing if they are nearly identical as such.
Likewise a long playthrough won’t do if the choices don’t seem to matter at all.


At least 10 times for me for the titles that are around 300,000 in word count.

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When I play a game, I spend my time trying to get a feel of the game, the story, the stats, the choices. Once I figure this out I play as I would make the choices, I keep an eye on stats for consistent choices, and try to make ones that lead me to where I want to go. If I make a mistake, I restart completely. After I finish the game, I redo it with mostly the same choices but with a few minor changes so that my character and other characters fit better with the ending. Finally, if the game is REALLY good I restart and screenshot all my choices and all the pages so I can read through them as I wish. All this can lead to 15+ unfinished playthroughs and 2-3 full ones. Of course romance usually warrants as many full playthroughs as romance options, with Wayhaven, this totalled 5 complete playthroughs and saves.


  • Jay

Here’s another thing to consider: I usually only play through a given CoG a couple times, and even then I generally stick with the same choices. But I would still prefer for my choices to matter. For me, it’s easy to tell if choices are meaningless even without playing through different styles and things like that.

Long story short, I don’t read CoGs over and over, but replayability is important even then, because that means that the choices are still important and they can allow the reader to better customize their story for the character they’re playing.


I am the same with @Szaal . I only do two or three full playthrough, this have some restarts to create the “perfect” playthrough especially for the series type.

With TWC, this is the only HG/CoG I played many times just so to try the different choices since they create a different in each scenario. XD

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That’s interesting @Samuel_H_Young. The problem (for authors) though is that for people who play in a similar way each time, there’s a good chance you may miss the extra branches that have been set up and therefore a lot of the content thinking there’s reduced replayability. With one of mine, I had people tell me that there was little replayability and they were always getting similar endings, but when I talked to them further realised that they were going for the same goal each playthrough instead of ranging widely in the choice types they were making. It kind of lends itself to more linear writing, with choices along the same track but less branching. (Which was kind of one of the things I was wondering about with this poll :slight_smile: )

I think achievements are actually a good carrot to lure people to explore the other paths :thinking:

Of course, you can’t spoil everything on the achievement itself.


Problem is the lack of saves/checkpoints. Study of steampunk was great at setting those up so i could explore every path with relative ease whereas longer games eventually drag me down. If you have already completed your main path of a long story, the other paths just wont draw you in the same way to justify the time.


I try to get all the achievements usually but if the game is too long I give up on trying that. Some achievements just require a single different choice near the end and with no saves it’s kinda frustrating to replay it all over again just for 1 achievement.
I often replay a game without looking at the text and just picking the same choices I did until I get to the point with different scenes.

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Oh, I get that. At least for me, I realize that I’ll be getting mostly the same story each time when I choose mostly the same choices. But when I see that my choices are actually making a difference to the story, I can tell that the replay ability is substantial even without replaying in different ways.

I guess what I’m saying is that, in my opinion, replay ability’s ability (clunky, I know) to allow us to play the kind of character we want and to see the fruits of our choices during a certain playthrough is even more important than its ability to let us see different paths and endings. Because for me, though it may be interesting to see endings and paths for completely different character types, the most important ones to me personally are the ones I identify with most.

So, really what I’m saying is that replay ability can be a big factor even if someone only plays a game once.

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I understand what you are saying. (Breadth of custom characterization is very important to you and this creates replayability for you).

Yet, I just wanted to say that writing breadth successfully is as difficult to master as writing depth.

I’m working on one scene currently with just one 3 part Option choice leading to an estimated 50 different dialogue tags just to cover this first vignette.

This scene is concluding a branch, so it has much derived from the prior prose but it goes to show just how much work can be involved in providing breadth the way that you seem to connect with.

I find writing depth to be easier just because there are many less variables to keep track of in my mind as I write.


Oh, trust me, I know. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Replay ability and length are always tough things to juggle as authors.

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My take is that it depends on the nature of the story, kinda (but not exactly like) as it is with movies.

There are some movies that are epic and wonderfully made, and I hugely enjoy the experience, but…they aren’t the type that I would necessarily watch again. Like Schindler’s List. Or Moonlight. Or Lion. They’re just too heavy for repeat watching, or I feel I got what I needed out of them.

Other movies, to me, are just more watchable for repeat showings. Comic book movies. Star Trek movies. Movies like Roadhouse and National Treasure and 300 and Troy. They aren’t necessarily anywhere near as ‘good’ as movies in the first camp, but they are more suited for repeat watching because of faster pace, more humor, more action, memorable quotes, etc.

So some HGs and CoGs I have played 3 times, others just once. It doesn’t necessarily speak to quality, or even amount of choices, at least to me.


I’ll normally only a game through once, maybe twice if I really enjoy it. I could probably count on my hand the ones I’ve done more than once, and even then I typically replay a path I like and am replaying it simply to enjoy the writing and not so much to experience different options unless there are other options that I’m really curious about. Or I’ll replay if I liked the story a lot but got a bad ending looks at Choice of Star Captain

I really prefer stories that are more linear. Having a lot of branches just overwhelms me in COGs (and in other games too, now that I’m thinking about, it’s hard for me to get into Open World games). I like having a focused goal when I play games and I like having a tight story, but if I get minor differences based on my MC’s personality, RO, or other choices then that’s just aces for me.


It all depend on the story/game: I usually go for at least four run: the first run, almost always a little clumsy, to “discover” the story. An “alternative” run with different choices, the “perfect run”, that is the run with my favourite choices, and a “fail run” where I go ballistic and do the worse choice :smile:
Of course it can vary: I can make more run depending on things like RO and different branching.