- What exactly is a boring game? Once we can establish this we can find out;
- What is an exciting game?
- What are the components that make a boring game?
- What are the components that make an exciting game?
- And lastly, how can we make more boring games more exciting?
Pheeew! Ok, now let's start to answer the second question in my bullet point list. What is an exciting game? Well, I think I have partly answered this question in the previous paragraph but nonetheless I will expand on it. Firstly, what I already wrote is quite a simplistic model of what a boring game is and I know that there are things you might disagree with. That is fine, but at least it gives us some kind of context to play with when answering this question. The simple answer would be the opposite of this: match<expectaion=boring game. The opposite being: match>expectaion=exciting game. As I've already mentioned, this is a simplistic view so now let's try to go into greater detail. Instead of looking at the scoreline vs the expectation of any single match, let's look at the quality vs the match. Let's get back to our example from above and let's keep the same scorelines of 3-4 and 0-0. While the expectation model tells us that the Bolton-Sunderland match was more entertaining, what will the quality model tell us? Firstly, what constitutes a quality match? Well, this delves into the delicate world of opinion because there can be many indicators, both qualatative and quantatative, to determine the quality of a match. For the sake of this article, I will eliminate the actual players as a possible predetermination to the quality of a game simply because it is dangerous to assume that two teams who have great players will automatically produce a quality game. This of course, does not always hold true. We could use statistics like passes completed, pass completion rate, interceptions, successful tackles, or anything else you can think of to give us an indication of quality. While this is all well, there are two reasons why I will not use statistics in this article: the first is I can't be bothered to reasearch and even if I did it would take me ages to find it and collaborate it, but the second and more important reason is that statistics cannot measure the aesthetic quality of football, one of the few remaining sports where there is still a wide discrepency between what the statistics tell us and what actually occured on the field.
[John comes in to Baker Street, where Sherlock is casually shooting up a smiley face on the wall] John Watson: [comes in] What the HELL are you doing?! Sherlock Holmes: Bored... John Watson: What? Sherlock Holmes: BORED! [continues to shoot wall] BORED! BORED! [stops, hands the gun to Watson] Don't know what's got into the criminal classes. Good job I'm not one of them. John Watson: So you take it out on the wall? Sherlock Holmes: Oh, the wall had it coming. John Watson: What about that Russian case? Sherlock Holmes: Belarus? Open and shut domestic murder. Not worth my time. John Watson: [dryly] Oh, shame!