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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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In a recent comment on Concordia, someone wrote:
Quote:
Gameplay is great but I hate that it's so difficult to calculate/keep up with your score let alone the other players'. Makes it really hard to choose what is the best move too often for me.


And in a comment on Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan, someone wrote:
Quote:
Tactical decisions are almost wholly about predicting what cards are available and card counting becomes a very important skill (I personally hate card counting as a key game mechanic.)


I find both these comments a bit mind blowing. They just represent such a different way of looking at games than my approach.

Sure, in Sekigahara one could try and keep track of every card that goes by, however a lot of cards are hidden so this would just give you a range of possibilities, not an exact prediction of the future. When the buddy with whom I play Seki and I play, neither of us card counts. We keep on eye one what clan cards have gone by that we've seen and so we have a rough sense of what might come down the pike and that's good enough for us. I'd guess that card counting might give you a 5-10% edge in the game at the expense of massive amounts of tedious effort and analysis paralysis game slowing. Card counting? Never occurred to me (even though I do it when I play Blackjack, cuz that's for $$$!)

And yeah, in Concordia one could keep track of each player's score on each turn, adjusting it as cards are bought and cities settled, but wha??? It would be utterly tedious and slow the game down immensely. When my wife and I play we're certainly trying to grab the cards and cities that will help us, and keeping an eye out for what will help the other (so we can mess them up!), but tracking the score turn by turn? That would turn a fun game into an exercise in tedium.

However, I know different folks see these things differently, so a poll. (And/or just add your thoughts on why I'm right/wrong/confused. I think it's an interesting topic.)

Poll
How much effort do you spend calculating what can be calculated in a game?
As much as is necessary. I want to know exactly where I stand in the game state on every turn.
A lot of effort, but I may not go for total knowledge if it interferes with the game flow too much.
Some effort, I try to balance my attempt to know where I and others stand with an attempt to keep the game moving.
A bit of effort, game flow comes first with me, but I certainly try to have a sense of how I'm doing.
Calculate? I don't need to do no calculating!
      491 answers
Poll created by skutsch
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Cool User
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I'm firmly in the "seat of my pants" camp. That's why my win percentage is far below 1/(# players).
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C&H Schmidt
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In general, I am a lot more tactical than strategic (and tend to not do very well in games that require a long-term strategy from the start), and also enjoy tactical games more than very strategic ones -- this is because I do not enjoy planning very far in advance. Thus I also hardly ever calculate anything, except in games where it's easy to do, and clearly very profitable.
I suspect I would do better in several games if I evaluated e.g. probabilities more carefully, or calculated a turn or two in advace, but we are already pretty slow in many games, and I don't want to slow these games down any further. So I mostly go with what intuitively looks like the right option and only do the maths at most partially.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Florence
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It's too much effort to track everything or count cards. I just play the game and try to keep a rough feel of how things stand.
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Sam Hillier
Canada
St. Albert
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Definitely seat of the pants here, playing more by intuition than calculation. Sure, it often doesn't work for me, but I have fun. I like trying out strategies that feel right, even when I can't explain why, rather than just mathing out the optimal path
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Randall COBB
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Well I suppose math is fun for some folks and winning is the BIG motivator, but can't we just sit down and HAVE FUN?
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Randall COBB
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Sorry, obviously a seat of the pants guy here!
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Alan Gaskell
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I know someone who, during a game of Battlestar Galactica said: "[Thing] is the optimum move. If you do not do that, you are a Cylon"

He ruined the whole game by making it prescriptive. I don't play boardgames with him anymore.
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Randall COBB
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Wouldn't a Cylon do the optimum thing? whistle
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Ian Williams
Wales
Ammanford
Carmarthenshire
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I wish my brain was capable of calculating every factor, but it's not. So I guesstimate.
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Paul Kellett
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Preston
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I have enough trouble remembering what I can do with my things to worry about the state of any other players.

Most definitely seat of pants player here. I'm sure for me, being able to calculate all the options would take some of the fun out of it.
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Cris Whetstone
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This is one of the reasons I think I'm more comfortable in older school games that have a dice component. I'm comfortable with figuring out might best move by taking into account the probabilities.

In so many modern styled games you can calculate if I use this card with that tile, I can move these cubes to gain those points which will force player A to do this or I can [insert several other scenarios here]. I don't want to calculate points precisely. I want to lock horns with someone about strategy even with given probabilities built in.

So often when faced with these situations where I'm trying to figure out might best cube/points profit on a particular turn I give up and just move with my gut. I also generally suck at these games because of this. I don't like people waiting for me to calculate my best points. But if it's in an abstract say for best board position I have more patience. That generally takes much less time for me than trying to figure out the multiple complexities of the cards and various engine tracks in relations to the positions of all the other players in many modern Euros.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Austin
Texas
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It bugs me when there's an objective best move, but it's un-fun to figure out what that move is. Or when the needed information to play well is available, but it's too tedious to keep track of it.

But as much as possible, I keep track of points in Small World, VP cards acquired in Dominion, etc, if I'm playing in an actual tournament.

Quote:
Well I suppose math is fun for some folks and winning is the BIG motivator, but can't we just sit down and HAVE FUN?


This is a common implied dichotomy that does not actually exist.
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Jack Swan
Netherlands
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Having fun and living the 'adventure' embedded in the game is the most important to me. Well, after teasing my friends
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Jordan Philip
Canada
Nanaimo
British Columbia
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I found that I fit between the two popular options. I try to keep track but games are a social endeavour for me so once I lose track, im flying by the seat of my pants as well. Depending on the game, I may pay more attention.
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Garrett X
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Gswp wrote:
In general, I am a lot more tactical than strategic (and tend to not do very well in games that require a long-term strategy from the start), and also enjoy tactical games more than very strategic ones -- this is because I do not enjoy planning very far in advance. Thus I also hardly ever calculate anything, except in games where it's easy to do, and clearly very profitable.


Ditto. My win rate of tactical games is quite high. Anything that requires long term planning? Not so much. I think a bit, and then run with a half baked idea and see how it shakes out.
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Kyle
Canada
Toronto
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Show me something that beats a natural 20 and I'll show you hateful lies.
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I'm with you Carl,I estimate at card counting. I play from the gut, and feel the flow of the game is very important. I DO NOT CALCULATE, or more appropriately I only calculate if I feel it is absolutely necessary for the current move (say planning a competition in Dominant Species). However even then I am at best guessing because of the pacing of such a game. I do not number crunch and maximize every turn, that wouldn't be fun for me, it certainly wouldn't be fun for everyone else at the table.

I would actually make a case for slightly random outcomes being great, in the sense they prevent the perfect information planning behavious.

For Sekigahara, I do know the rough composition of both decks (lots of Mori, very few Useugi for Ishida for example), but that is all I need to know, really. Tokugawa is pretty balanced, so if someone launched a big Useugi attack, they probably don't have another in the tank right now, so I can play around that.

I want to play a game, not solve a math problem (heck, I've not played power grid, because it is too thinly veiled a spreadsheet with 3 tier arithmetic I have no interest in doing). If you need to sit and crunch numbers to play a game well, I'm probably not interested in it. Another reason I prefer a game that is 'opaque', such as the Gallerist. Sure you can math out the last 1-2 turns, but turning calculations to the rest of the game is obtuse, as you have no idea of the long reaching consequences of most of your actions.
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Bastian Winkelhaus
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I went with "A lof of effort", but it obviously depends on the game and the gaming situation.

If for example card counting and keeping mental notes of what is behind all of my opponents screens would be very helpful and i play that game in a tournament, i will keep track of everything i can, even if i slow the game down.

Else, i try not to slow the game down.

But even when playing a relaxed game of Tichu, i will keep track of the 4 special cards, the 4 aces, the 3 cards i distributed to my fellow gamers (value and colour) and maybe Kings and Queens, depending on my hand.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
I would actually make a case for slightly random outcomes being great, in the sense they prevent the perfect information planning behaviour.


I agree. I love Fire in the Lake, but slightly more randomness would be nice, because when it's right before the coup and you go last, you generally either have a sure winning or move or you don't have any, but there are a lot of permutations to go through to find this out.
 
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Mike Jones
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I had problems answering your poorly worded poll. Of course I track 'as much as necessary' but for some reason you included it with the OCD answer of keeping track of everything. I am more of the keep track of what is necessary, which is rarely that much that needs to be tracked. devil.

And I never equate it to game flow,. To me they aren't really connected that much. If someone tracks a lot of info, it's because it comes natural to them, those people I play with that do seem to track more then I think is necessary, rarely slow down the game.
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10/₆
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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"Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature"
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War is about making the best decisions in the limited amount of time available. Generals don't sit around waiting for others to make perfect decisions, and that is how I see boardgaming.

People who strive for the perfect are usually lost for the good.




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CARL SKUTSCH
United States
New York
New York
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Check out Clockwork Wars. It's a pretty darn good dudes on a hex map Euro'ish steampunk game. Quick and fun.
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Guantanamo wrote:
I had problems answering your poorly worded poll. Of course I track 'as much as necessary' but for some reason you included it with the OCD answer of keeping track of everything. I am more of the keep track of what is necessary, which is rarely that much that needs to be tracked. devil.

And I never equate it to game flow,. To me they aren't really connected that much. If someone tracks a lot of info, it's because it comes natural to them, those people I play with that do seem to track more then I think is necessary, rarely slow down the game.

I have failed you. Apologies.
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Wim van Gruisen
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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It also depends on the game. And on the players.

I wouldn't enjoy playing bridge or chess against 'seat of their pants' players - those games are made for analysis, and that is where the fun is. OTOH, a game like Dominion, for example, or Star Realms, is dead on the table if players start counting every card that they bought, their opponents bought, what has been discarded from each hand since the last shuffle and therefore what the probability is that opponents have a certain card on their hand / that they will draw a certain card themselves in their next hand.

Luckily, I can play chess and Star Realms with the same opponents, and have fun with both games. They know when to go in analysis mode and when to play in seat of pants mode.
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Warren Adams
Australia
Mt Lawley
Western Australia
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When it is time to play games, I play games.

When it is time to do spreadsheets, I do spreadsheets.

Rarely do they occur at the same time.
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Mike Jones
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Whymme wrote:
It also depends on the game. And on the players.

I wouldn't enjoy playing bridge or chess against 'seat of their pants' players - those games are made for analysis, and that is where the fun is. OTOH, a game like Dominion, for example, or Star Realms, is dead on the table if players start counting every card that they bought, their opponents bought, what has been discarded from each hand since the last shuffle and therefore what the probability is that opponents have a certain card on their hand / that they will draw a certain card themselves in their next hand.

Luckily, I can play chess and Star Realms with the same opponents, and have fun with both games. They know when to go in analysis mode and when to play in seat of pants mode.


I didn't take the point of the poll about analyzing moves. I don't track a lot of info, but I do analyze what the best move is.

Chess is an example. What info do you really need to track? But that doesn't mean you don't analyze your best move.
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