Board games anyone?

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:29 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It's not an ideal party game ... once you get above about ten people, it can start to get a bit unwieldy

You and I clearly throw very different parties.

I'm part of a fairly large family - we regularly muster over 30 for annual gatherings - so I look for scalability in party games. Codewords isn't terrible, but with too many people to a team, you do tend to end up with a few dominating and the rest little more than spectators...

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:50 pm UTC

Play Two Rooms and a Boom
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:59 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Play Two Rooms and a Boom


Have done. Might get a megagame (Watch The Skies) set up at some point.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Sableagle » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:00 pm UTC

Codenames sounds related to Pictionary and Dixit.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Xanthir » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:06 pm UTC

Not really related to Pictionary. Reasonably related to Dixit.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:21 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:Not really related to Pictionary. Reasonably related to Dixit.

That's funny - I would have said the exact reverse - it has much of the form of Pictionary, with one player attempting to communicate secret information to their team-mates with limits on how they can communicate, two teams taking turns, etc. There's not much overlap with Dixit - the only link is that you're trying to guess how someone thinks. Mysterium is closer than Dixit.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby pseudoidiot » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:04 pm UTC

It's basically just a more involved Password.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:17 pm UTC

Played a game of Above and Below yesterday for the first time. It was a LOT of fun. It's a worker-placement game, where you can build your village above land and explore the underground. Each time you successfully explore you also get an underground empty area where you can build underground rooms.

While most of it (building, recruiting new workers, gathering resources) is generic worker placement, exploration lets you have room for some role play. To explore you have to choose a group of workers (two or more), each have different skills in exploring. You randomly get a scenario, out of about 250 or so, with a short descriptive paragraph and a decision at the end - You encounter a river of lava and you see an encampment on the other side, across a narrow bridge. Do you try to cross (difficult 4 or 7) or do you search on your side (difficulty 2). You choose a path, roll the dice, compare them to your workers' exploration skills, and figure out if you get the reward (and which one) or not. The rewards are unknown to the player, but in general higher risk yields higher rewards.

The result isn't scripted, it will just say "Gain 5 coins, 1 ore", but this is where you can inject a little bit of role playing into the game but talking about the result. For example if you chose to cross the river of lava and got a 4, you could be like "You cross but the bridge starts to crumble behind you, forcing you to just haphazardly reach for the first thing you find in the camp. Once safe, you discover it's a bag with 3 gold coins", or if you reach 7 you could invent something else - "You bravely cross the bridge and luckily everyone survives. You take your time going through the camp and find five coins and two mushrooms"

There's also a reputation system (stealing the old lady's treasure nets you some money but -1 reputation, helping her out might give you less money but +1 reputation), and higher reputation means more points at the end of the game.

The one downside is if you play it too often you may read encounters you had previously and could remember the result.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:54 pm UTC

Ha I was just about to post a bit about that game. I've been wanting to play it for months ever since my SO played it at a game convention earlier this year. Over the weekend a friend got a copy of it, so I finally got to play it.

It's an interesting game, because there's so many different sub-systems you can play with all based around the primary worker placement. I'm generally not a big fan of worker placement games, but occasionally I'm down for them and I like this one more than most.

Also the encounters just make me want to play Tales of Arabian Nights again.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

I don't really play role playing games, or games with role-playing elements in them, and I kind of wish I would do a bit more of that. However, my local boardgame night doesn't have a lot of that going on. I would like to play Time Stories at some point...
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Xanthir » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:19 pm UTC

Just picked up Time Stories to play with our best board-gaming couple friends. We did a Pandemic Legacy campaign with them, and wanted something else to get us together regularly for. ^_^
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:20 pm UTC

Oh, man, I adore Time Stories. I've played through 4 scenarios so far.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Chen » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:20 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Played a game of Above and Below yesterday for the first time. It was a LOT of fun. It's a worker-placement game, where you can build your village above land and explore the underground. Each time you successfully explore you also get an underground empty area where you can build underground rooms.

While most of it (building, recruiting new workers, gathering resources) is generic worker placement, exploration lets you have room for some role play. To explore you have to choose a group of workers (two or more), each have different skills in exploring. You randomly get a scenario, out of about 250 or so, with a short descriptive paragraph and a decision at the end - You encounter a river of lava and you see an encampment on the other side, across a narrow bridge. Do you try to cross (difficult 4 or 7) or do you search on your side (difficulty 2). You choose a path, roll the dice, compare them to your workers' exploration skills, and figure out if you get the reward (and which one) or not. The rewards are unknown to the player, but in general higher risk yields higher rewards.

The result isn't scripted, it will just say "Gain 5 coins, 1 ore", but this is where you can inject a little bit of role playing into the game but talking about the result. For example if you chose to cross the river of lava and got a 4, you could be like "You cross but the bridge starts to crumble behind you, forcing you to just haphazardly reach for the first thing you find in the camp. Once safe, you discover it's a bag with 3 gold coins", or if you reach 7 you could invent something else - "You bravely cross the bridge and luckily everyone survives. You take your time going through the camp and find five coins and two mushrooms"

There's also a reputation system (stealing the old lady's treasure nets you some money but -1 reputation, helping her out might give you less money but +1 reputation), and higher reputation means more points at the end of the game.

The one downside is if you play it too often you may read encounters you had previously and could remember the result.


The theme of the game is fantastic and the stories are fun, but the game is HORRIBLY balanced. Some of the encounters provide so much in terms of resources and points compared to others with similar difficulties. Getting two resources you don't currently own vs getting a few gold coins can change the final score in an absolutely ridiculous way. In fact it probably wouldn't be nearly as bad if it weren't for the way resources snowballed you into more gold and tons of victory points. .

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:44 pm UTC

I can see luck being a big factor in this game. The trading system can balance that somewhat. I've only played it once, perhaps I'll notice that more in the future.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby SDK » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:56 pm UTC

Just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that Quantum is the best board game ever made. I first played it over a year ago, and still love every game.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:13 pm UTC

SDK wrote:Just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that Quantum is the best board game ever made. I first played it over a year ago, and still love every game.


Dice as ships is a nice twist.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby SDK » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:18 pm UTC

Makes everything extremely simple: Your speed and combat power are printed right there on the ship! But the planning and the tricks and the decision making are all so deep in this game. Modular board, unique upgrades and multiple paths to advancement lead to a different game every time... And despite using dice at every stage of the game, luck is barely a factor outside combat (and you control the probability there). Really fantastic. I cannot recommend this game enough.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby plytho » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:54 am UTC

I'm going to essen spiel this year. I look forward to trying out terraforming mars. Players are corporations trying to raise oxygen levels, temperature and ocean levels. You do this by playing various project cards which require specific conditions. For example if you want to introduce certain animals you need a certain oxygen level. This means the game naturally progresses along 'plausible' terraforming paths.

Quantum sounds cool, if I see a copy at essen I might buy it.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby plytho » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:08 pm UTC

I picked up a neat party game in Essen: "Fake artist goes to New York". It's a drawing game described as spyfall meets pictionary.

One player, the curator, commissions a painting from all the other players (artists). The theme of the painting is declared to all players, the subject is secretly given to all but one of the players. Then the artist take turns drawing one line at a time. After two rounds the artists have to guess who the fake artist was. If they guess right, the fake artist may guess what the subject was. If the fake artist gets it wrong, everybody else wins. If they get it right or aren't identified, the fake artist and the curator win.

You don't need to buy the game to be able to play it, the components are basically different color markers and paper.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby SDK » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:57 pm UTC

Played a fun new game last night called Mutant Meeples. Haven't had so much fun with a new game since Quantum! Never played a puzzle game like this before (though I've heard it's very similar to another game, Ricochet Robots). There are eight superheroes on the board at various locations, each with a different superpower that allows them to move in a slightly different way. When they move, they move in a strait line until they hit a wall, then they can move again (until they hit a wall again). Each player has eight tiles corresponding to the eight heroes and everyone plays with the same pieces, with most of the game just being in your head as you try to use the fewest moves possible to reach a target, the scene of the crime, which changes every round. Whoever figures out a way to get there in the fewest moves wins the round - they flip over whichever hero they used to get there and can't use him in the future. Whoever flips six heroes first wins. Pretty simple game, nice and quick and easy to setup, but some of the rounds can be really good puzzles, and trying to find the best route the fastest puts a lot of pressure on the players. We played three games in a row and I would certainly play again.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby plytho » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:33 pm UTC

I've been playing year long board game campaigns and I'm looking for something to play next year. In 2015 we played a season of thunder alley (a nascar racing boardgame). We kept scores for players and individual cars over the year. In 2016 year we played pandemic legacy in real time, playing each month of the game in the corresponding month of the year.

Now I'm looking for a game to play in 2017. Has anyone played seafall? Any other suggestions? I know there's some dungeon crawlers that have campaigns but that's not really what I'm looking for.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:08 pm UTC

plytho wrote:I've been playing year long board game campaigns and I'm looking for something to play next year. In 2015 we played a season of thunder alley (a nascar racing boardgame). We kept scores for players and individual cars over the year. In 2016 year we played pandemic legacy in real time, playing each month of the game in the corresponding month of the year.

Now I'm looking for a game to play in 2017. Has anyone played seafall? Any other suggestions? I know there's some dungeon crawlers that have campaigns but that's not really what I'm looking for.


It's reaching back into the dim and distant past, but you can probably still find copies on ebay: Space Crusade. It may be a bit too dungeon-crawly for you though.

I'd suggest Diplomacy, but the consensus appears to be that the game's mostly over by about turn 10, though the average length is 15 turns, and there's no hard upper bound. Also it does feature player elimination...

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Gwydion » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:13 pm UTC

Space Cadets has a campaign set up, and it's a wonderful game provided you have 1) a consistent group, who 2) don't mind a complex rules explanation - each player runs one or more different "stations" on the ship, each with their own mini-games, and several times throughout the game players are likely to have to swap stations.

Vast: The Crystal Caverns just finished its second Kickstarter printing, so you won't be able to get it directly but can likely find copies for resale. It's an entirely asymmetric game - each player takes on a different role and essentially plays a different game on the same board, with their own aims and victory conditions. The manual suggests a "campaign mode", in which each player starts playing on the lowest difficulty and increases their personal difficulty by 1 with every win, and the ultimate winner being the first to win while playing on the highest difficulty setting (I think ~5 wins). It's another rather complex game, though some players have a more straightforward route than others.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:58 pm UTC

Played another game of Above and Below yesterday. We decided to add one extra round and we ran out of exploration cards, too. I love it when games are enjoyable even when you're not winning them. The exploration option in the game is so much fun that I often found myself preferring to take it, even though there were better things for me to do at that time.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby plytho » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:47 am UTC

Thanks for the replies.
rmsgrey wrote: Space Crusade,
Diplomacy

Space Crusade does look too dungeon crawley to me.

We tried diplomacy once but that was too intense and backstabby. I don't think we'd last more than a couple of months before the first raegquaat.

Gwydion wrote:Space Cadets,
Vast: The Crystal Caverns


Space Cadets sounds like a good fit. It was on my radar but I didn't know about the campaign mode. I'll check it out.

Vast: The Crystal Caverns seems right up my alley but I'm not sure about the rest of the group.

Zohar wrote:Played another game of Above and Below yesterday.


I've heard they're making a campaign version of above and below.

Near and Far is a sequel to Above and Below and includes a book of encounters. This time players read over ten game sessions to reach the end of the story. Each chapter is played on a completely new map with unique art and adventures.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby ConMan » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:34 pm UTC

The expansion to Space Alert also adds some kind of campaign mode, I believe.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby pseudoidiot » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:52 pm UTC

Don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but Mice & Mystics is a good option. Co-op with a campaign mode. One of my favorite co-op games. I've played through the original game and am almost done with the first mini-expansion. There's at least one more full expansion maybe more.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby SDK » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:54 pm UTC

Just bought Splendor yesterday - getting new games always makes me happy. Played a couple with my son, and this game is really fun! Glad I went for it blind. The game is short and the rules are simple, but each game is a bit different and the strategy seems fairly deep. My son is five and won the first game simply because I was too focused on one aspect of the game, ignoring that the higher level buildings themselves are worth more points than the nobles. I spent way fewer resources than he did, but he got more points. It's an interesting balance, which shifts a bit depending what your opponents are going for as well.

Anyone play this game before? Want to give me some tips on how to beat a toddler? :P
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:01 pm UTC

Haha, Splendor is a pretty great game, especially for people new to the boardgame scene.

As for strategy, what I usually do is look carefully at the nobles available for that game, and figure out which colors are most valuable to get those nobles, and I try to concentrate on those. I also try to get a relatively even spread - at least one gem in every color. At the beginning this is probably what you should concentrate on, with an emphasis on the common colors among the nobles. Also realize when you've lost the chance to get a noble and give up on getting tons of that color - let your opponent concentrate on that while you're working on longer-term, more achievable goals.

If you want to be a bit of a jerk (a legitimate strategy which I, personally, don't enjoy), you can try figure out what someone is trying to build up for, and then reserve it for yourself. Plus you get a wildcard, of course.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:03 pm UTC

SDK wrote:Just bought Splendor yesterday - getting new games always makes me happy. Played a couple with my son, and this game is really fun! Glad I went for it blind. The game is short and the rules are simple, but each game is a bit different and the strategy seems fairly deep. My son is five and won the first game simply because I was too focused on one aspect of the game, ignoring that the higher level buildings themselves are worth more points than the nobles. I spent way fewer resources than he did, but he got more points. It's an interesting balance, which shifts a bit depending what your opponents are going for as well.

Anyone play this game before? Want to give me some tips on how to beat a toddler? :P


I agree, this is an excellent game.

I've talked over basic strategy with my buddies. We haven't played more than 3 games total yet, so take this with a grain of salt. But Splendor is 100% about opportunity costs. In the early game, the "cheapest" items are the bottom row, while in the late game, the "cheapest" items are the top row.

Why? Because in the late game, you are "throttled" by turns. Turns are the most precious resource in the late game. Getting +5 points in one turn is a lot "cheaper" than getting a free development card.

Even in the early game, the "cost of a turn" can be felt. Reserving a card is the most "expensive" thing you can do from a turn-perspective. It requires two turns to buy a card and only gets you one coin out of it. In contrast, a player who buys a card straight up can spend those two turns buying a card AND grabbing coins. (Ideally, +3 coins and +1 development cardin short-term buying potential... in contrast to +1 joker + Development Card).

Jokers are good from a defensive perspective, but they are horribly inefficient by turn-count. You can royally screw the strategy of your opponents by reserving a card at an inappropriate (for them) time. That's where the majority of the strategy is IMO: holding enough Jokers so that you can't be screwed over by your opponents... while still playing "efficiently" to grab tons of coins. +3 coins gets you +3 purchasing power in the short term, while buying a development card is effectively only +1 "purchasing power" in the short term

To borrow a "Dominion" phrase, do NOT become the village idiot. True, the development cards feels like acceleration. But the goal of the game is not to develop the most cards... its to end the game first by reaching 15 points. You only get there by buying "inefficient" cards, like +5 points for 10 coins or something (actually, I find the +5 points to be gloriously efficient and they've been the cornerstone of my victory in two games). Do not "accelerate into nothing", you must have a plan that includes the end of the game.

IMO, the most efficient cards are the +1 victory points for 4-coins on the bottom row. That's +1 point for 3-turns in the early game (+2 coin, +2 coin, then buy), or +1 point for 1-turn in the late game (when you have lots of development cards). The top row's +5 points can be extremely efficient in the late game, with 3-turns (+6 coins over two turns, rely on development card for +8 development or so, then 3rd turn to buy a +5 point card). So that's 1.66 points-per-turn + development effectively... easily more efficient than the "free +1 Point" card from the bottom row. In fact, as long as you can feasibly purchase the +5 point card within the next 5 turns (aka +15 coins!!!) then its actually more turn-efficient than getting +1 points off of the bottom row.

The Nobles allow "development-card spam / village idiot" strategy to hold some promise, since they do not have an action to get a Noble. But I've won games without getting a single noble at all. When nobles clearly line up, the opponents will block each other on their path to victory. Say four noble cards require 4x Ruby development cards. The entire game will be "starved" of Ruby cards as the players reserve the card for themselves. On the other hand, if no one else in the game is "stopping" the development player... maybe he'll get the nobles first. So you gotta stay flexible.

---------------------

I probably shouldn't talk so much about the game when I only played it three times... but that's how the game plays out in my brain.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby SDK » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:18 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Why? Because in the late game, you are "throttled" by turns. Turns are the most precious resource in the late game.

Excellent point, and exactly what I missed in the first game. Since the level 1 buildings had been so hard to get in the early game, getting them for free every turn felt like winning! Clearly, it was not. :D
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:36 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Haha, Splendor is a pretty great game, especially for people new to the boardgame scene.

As for strategy, what I usually do is look carefully at the nobles available for that game, and figure out which colors are most valuable to get those nobles, and I try to concentrate on those. I also try to get a relatively even spread - at least one gem in every color. At the beginning this is probably what you should concentrate on, with an emphasis on the common colors among the nobles. Also realize when you've lost the chance to get a noble and give up on getting tons of that color - let your opponent concentrate on that while you're working on longer-term, more achievable goals.

If you want to be a bit of a jerk (a legitimate strategy which I, personally, don't enjoy), you can try figure out what someone is trying to build up for, and then reserve it for yourself. Plus you get a wildcard, of course.


I don't consider that "being a jerk", but you need to be careful in multiplayer games. In multiplayer games, hampering the opponent only makes the other opponents get ahead of you.

In general, its a good idea to "be a jerk" against the leading player. Your goal is basically to prolong the game so that you have a better chance at winning. You don't prolong the game if you are "a jerk" against anyone else however. So you need to be very good at counting victory points and estimating the number of turns left in the game. Hell, if there are two players who are in a position to win within a few turns, its basically hopeless... since you can't stop both of them.

In the early game, its basically impossible to hamper anybody. Development Cards are extremely cheap, and a player sitting at 9 coins + 1 joker can practically afford anything they wants anyway. You must be a jerk in the late game, where the +5 development cards can truly turn a game around. Take out your opponent's path to +5 victory points. Sure, he'll get to victory 3 turns later (middle-tier cards offer plenty of victory-points opportunities)... but that's better than him ending the game next turn.

Otherwise, reserving a card is an extremely weak move, especially if you don't have the capabilities to actually purchase the card. Don't get me wrong, jokers are nice and all... but there are an absolute ton of buying opportunities in this game. Reserving a card changes the gameplan of the opponent by at most... 3 turns or so.

In the short term, +1 joker is comparable to +1 development card in terms of purchasing power. +3 coins are clearly the most efficient way to get more purchasing power at any given time.

----------

Nobles are overrated. Minimum 8-cards (aka: 8-turns!) before you can get a noble for +3 victory points. Its far easier and more reliable to just spend 8-turns grabbing the coins + reserving a top-tier card for +3 to +5 points. Go for the nobles if they happen to match the strategy you've chosen. But if your opponents are gunning for nobles, you might just end up "developing into nothing". You really put yourself into a high-risk situation, especially if you lose the race.

Worst-case scenario if you go for a top-tier card? Some opponent figures out your strategy, and then wastes one of his turns to try and stop you. Lulz. Okay, that's fine, just go for the next card. You probably grabbed a ton of coins anyway and are probably in a "monopoly position" (aka: if the +5 point card needed +5 Rubies, and you're sitting on 5-Rubies in hand... there aren't a lot of rubies for any of the other players. Opponents are all Ruby-starved and will have issues buying anything that costs rubies).
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:34 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I don't consider that "being a jerk", but you need to be careful in multiplayer games. In multiplayer games, hampering the opponent only makes the other opponents get ahead of you.

In general, its a good idea to "be a jerk" against the leading player. Your goal is basically to prolong the game so that you have a better chance at winning. You don't prolong the game if you are "a jerk" against anyone else however.


That depends whether your goal is to maximise your chances of winning, or to optimise your expected position at the end of the game.

For example, if you have a play that would put you squarely in third place but let another player win immediately against a play that would leave you in fourth but delay the game's end for a couple of rounds - say with a 1% chance of winning, and a 90% chance of ending up in fourth place. If winning is the only consideration, you're best off taking the second option and probably placing fourth; if your final ranking matters, you're best off securing third place and letting the game end.

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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:13 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:In general, its a good idea to "be a jerk" against the leading player. Your goal is basically to prolong the game so that you have a better chance at winning. You don't prolong the game if you are "a jerk" against anyone else however. So you need to be very good at counting victory points and estimating the number of turns left in the game. Hell, if there are two players who are in a position to win within a few turns, its basically hopeless... since you can't stop both of them.

See, I often enjoy winning, but more than that, I enjoy having satisfying turns and actions in games, and I like if other people have satisfying turns and actions in the game I play, too. Which is why I avoid that sort of mentality, and I appreciate when other people do as well. It's not that playing to win is bad, not at all! It's that I personally prefer group dynamics that aren't revolving around that.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:11 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:In general, its a good idea to "be a jerk" against the leading player. Your goal is basically to prolong the game so that you have a better chance at winning. You don't prolong the game if you are "a jerk" against anyone else however. So you need to be very good at counting victory points and estimating the number of turns left in the game. Hell, if there are two players who are in a position to win within a few turns, its basically hopeless... since you can't stop both of them.

See, I often enjoy winning, but more than that, I enjoy having satisfying turns and actions in games, and I like if other people have satisfying turns and actions in the game I play, too. Which is why I avoid that sort of mentality, and I appreciate when other people do as well. It's not that playing to win is bad, not at all! It's that I personally prefer group dynamics that aren't revolving around that.


In my experience, the best games are the ones that take this dynamic into account. Splendor is a good one, because it means that the weaker players (in general) have a better chance of winning through the dynamic. There's very little reason to "attack" a player who is behind. An excellent game that masters this mechanic is "Settlers of Catan", where the weakest players should get the best trade deals throughout the match if you're aiming to win. (A 3-to-1 trade with a "weaker player" still puts you closer to victory than trading 4-to-1 with the bank)

A trade innately improves the position of both players (otherwise, the trade would not have happened). By emphasizing the trades with the players who are behind in turns, you give a better chance of winning to those players.

The politics of gaming either can revolve around the game, or they will end up revolving around the external social constructs (I'm going to help my Wife / Husband), which is more of a "jerk move" IMO. Have you ever played against a shitty boyfriend / girlfriend combo? (or other combination of significant others?)

The most "honest" game is when everyone plays to win. It makes things easier to predict and losses more acceptable. If you don't win, just play better next time. But if game politics ever become "real world politics", where significant others help each other at the detriment of other players, that's when I get pissed off. Furthermore, playing to win individually helps negate the social constructs that are innate to a group. Some people are just labeled "the loser" and groups often work towards making sure that person always lose. Subconsciously mind you.

Having a framework that is purely game-based allows you to get rid of social constructs and social politics of the real world. It provides better immersion into the game. After all, as long as players are doing their best within a game, its difficult for me to get angry at them. They're just playing the game after all. Its when friends remind me of the social walls and shitty social constructs outside the game when I truly get pissed at the people playing a game.

rmsgrey wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:I don't consider that "being a jerk", but you need to be careful in multiplayer games. In multiplayer games, hampering the opponent only makes the other opponents get ahead of you.

In general, its a good idea to "be a jerk" against the leading player. Your goal is basically to prolong the game so that you have a better chance at winning. You don't prolong the game if you are "a jerk" against anyone else however.


That depends whether your goal is to maximise your chances of winning, or to optimise your expected position at the end of the game.

For example, if you have a play that would put you squarely in third place but let another player win immediately against a play that would leave you in fourth but delay the game's end for a couple of rounds - say with a 1% chance of winning, and a 90% chance of ending up in fourth place. If winning is the only consideration, you're best off taking the second option and probably placing fourth; if your final ranking matters, you're best off securing third place and letting the game end.


Fair point. Regardless, you should have a goal in mind as you're playing the game, and your moves should reflect that goal.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:28 pm UTC

Perhaps I'm not making myself clear, but it sounds like you're adamant about dismissing the way I play games. If you want to play games trying to think of only the optimal strategy to win, that's fine. I'm not trying to create alliances in the game based on real-world groups. I'm saying I personally find a game more fun if everyone get to have a satisfying play.

It's funny you mention Catan. I think it's a pretty bad game. I appreciate its impact on the board game community, but I don't like it at all. And the main reason I don't like it is that during the first few minutes of the game, if people want to, they can easily block a player from having a good position and having any chance of not only winning the game, but even substantially advancing in it. And yes, it's a legal move. It's also probably not a bad one, strategically speaking - essentially eliminating one of the players right from the start? That's great! And it means that player won't be a hindrance to you from your flank, and you can safely expand roads etc. But that player would have a pretty shitty experience. So while the blocker might win, I consider that a terrible gaming session.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:32 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Perhaps I'm not making myself clear, but it sounds like you're adamant about dismissing the way I play games. If you want to play games trying to think of only the optimal strategy to win, that's fine. I'm not trying to create alliances in the game based on real-world groups. I'm saying I personally find a game more fun if everyone get to have a satisfying play.


What I'm saying is: its the game designer's job to ensure that people have a satisfying play.

It's funny you mention Catan. I think it's a pretty bad game. I appreciate its impact on the board game community, but I don't like it at all. And the main reason I don't like it is that during the first few minutes of the game, if people want to, they can easily block a player from having a good position and having any chance of not only winning the game, but even substantially advancing in it. And yes, it's a legal move. It's also probably not a bad one, strategically speaking - essentially eliminating one of the players right from the start? That's great! And it means that player won't be a hindrance to you from your flank, and you can safely expand roads etc. But that player would have a pretty shitty experience. So while the blocker might win, I consider that a terrible gaming session.


There are two settlements at the beginning on a hex-grid. Its literally impossible for one player to block a player in. I mean, can you draw out exactly what situation you''re talking about here?

It would take a group effort to fuck someone over in Catan, which is why I like it.

Spoiler:
Image


The only way Red fails to "break through" is if somehow, Green gets 4-roads before red gets 2-roads. even then, Red has the option of expanding along the coastline. Mind you, if Green is focusing his efforts on "blocking off red", then Green doesn't have an opportunity to make new settlements. Connecting the cities is innately inefficient, because it isn't actually getting Green any points.

Its far more likely that Red gets the two road needed to "disconnect green" with two roads (which... doesn't really affect Green's strategy. Aside from maybe losing "longest road"), than for Green to "block off Red" with four roads.

Now multiple players may gang up on you to block you in, but there's no way in hell that a single player can block you in Catan.
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:40 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:39 pm UTC

Of course a badly-designed game would probably be bad, and a well-designed game more likely to be good. But group dynamics contribute a ton to the experience, and the way people choose to employ the rules also works. Lords of Waterdeep is one of my favorite games, but I never play with mandatory quests because they just bring everyone down. The fun part about the game is having great combos and completing quests. By not using my mandatory quest card on another player I may be giving up a win, but I ensure we all have a more satisfying (in my mind) game.

As for Catan, this has happened to me, as well as to friends of mine, several times. Which is why I don't play Catan anymore, and haven't for years. A quick google search reveals I'm not the only one who encountered this: One, two.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:41 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:As for Catan, this has happened to me, as well as to friends of mine, several times. Which is why I don't play Catan anymore, and haven't for years. A quick google search reveals I'm not the only one who encountered this: One, two.


You can't get all good resources in Catan. You're forced to trade with other players and/or the market. Its a highly interactive game.

Any question that starts with "Why can't I get all the good resources" innately misses the point of the game. Trade with your opponents, and yes, that means offering 2-to-1 and 3-to-1 trades early and often. If you have a "starting location in the center of the map", you have literally 6-pathways to expand. You aren't going to be blocked in, its just not mathematically feasible.

If multiple opponents coordinate to block you in, there's not much you can do. The image in your 2nd link seems to be this situation, with all the players playing on only the northern half of the board for some insane reason. (Considering that the 3/10/11 point with the Wheat / Mountains / Sheep looks like a good tile to me... I can only imagine that the point of the game was to fuck over Red).

EDIT: Oh, well this explains things:

We haven't had it actually happen in a game, but it *almost* happened once.


I've played Catan dozens of times. Its just not a feasible strategy to try and "block someone in". Again, its a hex grid (opponents have minimum 6-ways to run away) and roads don't actually offer you any victory points.

-----------

I mean, can you draw out an example for me? I'm not seeing how its possible unless someone gets a metric ton of roads. Even the "road building" card is just 2-roads advantage (but it cost at least 3 cards to get). So you'd need multiple "road building" cards and/or a ton of wood / clay... a ton that no one else got. THEN the player has to decide that "fucking the other player" is more important than... you know... getting points (ie: building a road to an empty place and building a settlement).

That's why Catan is such a good game. If you're playing to win, you become a polite player. The better you are at the game, the more polite you become. Top level Catan play means trading a lot of 2-to-1 and 3-to-1 deals with your opponents and building roads towards empty locations for settlements.
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Re: Board games anyone?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:41 pm UTC

I'm not interested in drawing diagrams for a game I don't enjoy. I have had, on more than one occasion, been completely blocked from being able to build any further settlements or roads, while other players had a lot of opportunity for growth. You're welcome not to believe me if you want, and you're welcome to keep playing and enjoy the game.

The point isn't about an existing or non-existing design flaw in Catan, the point is that when I'm forced by other players into a situation where I have no choices, no opportunities to accomplish meaningful or fun things in the game, no ability to fulfill any of the moves and plans I set out to do, then I don't find it enjoyable. And I don't want myself or other people around the table to have that experience.

It's obvious the way you play and enjoy games is different, and it sounds like the people you play games with seem to enjoy a similar way of play, which is great, I'm happy for you.

But please stop explaining how I'm supposed to feel while playing, and how my experiences and expectations are somehow wrong.
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