A co-worker pointed me to a blog on the web and we laughed as she diagnosed me with NADDs. So what? What does this have to do with games? It has everything to do with games, and its a telling indicator of the kinds of games I really like - that is to say, the games I enjoy the most are the ones where the is lots of things for me to do and little real downtime for me.
Downtime is anytime during a game when there is nothing for me to do. Some games have spaces of time where you don't do anything, but you need to watch because you may need to react, or decide what to do. To me, this isn't really downtime. Downtime is when you setup a game of Can't Stop on the side to play when its not your turn. Downtime means you are more interested in Can't Stop than the game you are "playing".
Age of Empires III has hit my table a couple times recently and I really like it. Why? because there isn't much downtime. Everyone takes and action in turn and then you repeat. Each action takes very little time and the time in between is just long enough to plot out your next action. Resolutions of your choices typically doesn't take too long, though can slow down a bit towards the end. In a similar fashion, Age of Steam is fun to me - lots to do and think about, but its broken down into smaller bite-sized chunks. I can rattle off the other games that are like this - look at some of my favorites: Power Grid, A Game of Thrones, and Antike.
We were talking about some other games last night and I there are a number of games that I think are interesting, but are boring as hell when its not your turn - Vinci, History of the World, even to some extent Tikal. Its too bad that I have NADDs, because these games are pretty fun, I just can't bring myself to play them that often.
In a lot of ways, these games would be perfect online, because I wouldn't have to sit at a board waiting for my turn, I'd just get an email (which I always have open in the second tab of my browser) letting me know when its my turn to play. Until then, I'll just keep playing games and playing with my cell phone in between turns. Remember, I'm not NOT paying attention to the game, I just can't focus when its not my turn.