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Subject: 3-Player Quickish Games to Play with an Alpha-Gamer rss

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Raven Snow
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My boyfriend, his friend, and I are trying to find some games that we can play in the evenings after work. However, trying to play games with this friend is really tough. He's a terrible alpha-gamer with an Ameritrash-or-bust attitude, and he always takes things just a little too seriously for my tastes.

I am especially looking for some games that will mitigate the alph-gamer tendencies (or thwart them) that play in less than an hour. We found that Quarriors! worked well for us, and we could even get a few rounds in during our limited time. We also played Small World Underground once, and it was less successful (it took longer to play, and the friend started telling us what our best moves were around turn 7), but it's still an option.

No co-ops or team games, please. Also, I won't play Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, Ticket to Ride: Switzerland, or Takenoko with him because I love those games and I don't want to hear him be mean about them.

Can anyone help me out? Thanks so much!

Some games the friend likes, which are all unsuitable: Cyclades, Kemet, Star Wars: Rebellion, Titan
 
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Derry Salewski
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. . . give a ship.
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Some kind of mechanic that would be hard to boss your opponents around in . . . Auctions. Bluffing. Drafting. Anything with lots of hidden stuff.

Maybe seven wonders. Maybe ascension. Poker. Play any game for money so he shuts up? Race for the Galaxy would probably not be too bad though he'll likely learn it much quicker than you and then boss you around to learn it faster for a dozen games.

I dunno. It's noble of you to want to make it work but no game is really going to save you from undesirable personality stuff.

A big issue with three player games, though, is that any one person is probably going to lose if the other two target them. So maybe "most obnoxious player loses all the time" will be a desirable feature from your perspective? Turn that downside into an upside? He'll probably quit trying to tell you what to do if he's losing every game! Play catan and just don't trade with him. Play nordic countries and block him.
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Sarah
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Hmmm, not sure there's much you can do about that lol!!

What about games where your mission/objectives/things you score from are kept hidden so he can't tell you what you're best move is as he wouldn't know and he may be more subtle about his own play as he wouldn't want to make his objectives obvious - do you think this would work?

Or you could go down the zen route with something like tokaido and maybe help himfind his inner calm lol.

Or multi player solitaire and as least interactive as possible like karuba??

Or the complete opposit and only luck fest games like gubs: a game of wit and luck where the luck of the draw means there's little he can do lol! Or games where you two can gang up on him devil

You know him best, what do you think might work the best and I'll try and come up with some suggestions?
 
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Sarah
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Forsome reason, Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King and Among the Stars come to mind where you're building your own thing but there's interaction with card drafting etc?
 
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Sarah
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And failing that and anything else, you can get Room 25 and shove his miniature in a room that kills him whistle

Oh maybe DungeonQuest (third edition) - not much he can do to bother you lol!

 
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Raven Snow
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scifiantihero wrote:
Some kind of mechanic that would be hard to boss your opponents around in . . . Auctions. Bluffing. Drafting. Anything with lots of hidden stuff.


SaggyUK wrote:
What about games where your mission/objectives/things you score from are kept hidden so he can't tell you what you're best move is as he wouldn't know and he may be more subtle about his own play as he wouldn't want to make his objectives obvious - do you think this would work?


The hidden mechanics might work well, but it's a bit tricky. He tends to keep a mental tally of everyone's score as it happens. The fact that scoring is hidden in Small World Underground was mostly moot, for example. Obnoxious friend loves drafting (he's a big Magic player) and doesn't like bluffing. An auctions mechanism makes me think of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which I think would be great if it didn't take so much fiddling to set up and we had more time to play.

SaggyUK wrote:
Or the complete opposit and only luck fest games like gubs: a game of wit and luck where the luck of the draw means there's little he can do lol!


I think I'm more interested in luck-driven games where there is still some element of choice/decision-making. Part of why I liked playing Quarriors! so much is that his bad dice drawing/rolling karma did a lot of work towards keeping his mouth shut about telling us what we should do. It was excellent.



 
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Feras H
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Quadropolis
Garden Dice
Fairly quick games that will work with 3 players.
 
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Kelly Bass
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Iliad
 
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Sarah
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raven_snow wrote:


I think I'm more interested in luck-driven games where there is still some element of choice/decision-making. Part of why I liked playing Quarriors! so much is that his bad dice drawing/rolling karma did a lot of work towards keeping his mouth shut about telling us what we should do. It was excellent.



Lol, okay well going down the dice route, maybe these then:

Steam Park
Dice Town
King of Tokyo

and maybe Port Royal as a card game - cool little game but with added push your luck card draw?

I have garden dice but not sure that would work as generally always something useful you can do with your dice so maybe not enough luck?
 
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Sarah
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ooh ooh - Galaxy Trucker might work - really fun game where you have to build your spaceship but it's timed so he wouldn't have a chance to look at what you're doing. Once you're finished, you then have to then travel through space dealing with space pirates, meteor showers etc etc while your ship gets blown up. The one to come back with the most intact ship with cargo etc wins - plus really cute components.

Maybe Mission: Red Planet (second edition), Libertalia and Colt Express thinking more along the chaos line with some hidden stuff

Also a good little very quick game that my family loves is Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoiseand he wont know which animals you're betting on to comment and although looks kiddish, is actually quite fun, maybe Camel Up for more grown up feel type betting game??
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G.Daddy.Slim
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I understand he's your BF's friend, but why work so hard to accommodate him, wouldn't it be easier to ask him to at least try to stop alpha-gaming? Or at least make him aware that its not appreciated..

Its just my opinion, but you're never going to find a game that absolutely can not be alpha-gamed in some way, nor, should you have to look for one. You don't have to be rude about it, just say "Dude, its my turn, not yours..." or "If I make a bad play, it just makes it easier for you to win, so why are you trying to help me..."

[edit to add below]

The biggest benefits of teaching him not to alpha-game are that it makes the game more enjoyable for everyone and that it opens up the number of games that you can potentially play without having to worry about him trying to take over..
 
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Sarah
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raven_snow wrote:


The hidden mechanics might work well, but it's a bit tricky. He tends to keep a mental tally of everyone's score as it happens. The fact that scoring is hidden in Small World Underground was mostly moot, for example. Obnoxious friend loves drafting (he's a big Magic player) and doesn't like bluffing. An auctions mechanism makes me think of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which I think would be great if it didn't take so much fiddling to set up and we had more time to play.



Some games have so many different hidden objectives that he might find it difficult to comment on your play if he really can't work out what you're aiming for to win the game. Just can't come up with one in my head right now.

Isle of sky, has auction mechanic and building you're own thing and isn't really fiddly to set up etc. Maybe try castle of mad king ludvig to see if that sort of game works and then look for less fiddly types if it does??
 
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Sarah
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glouie wrote:
I understand he's your BF's friend, but why work so hard to accommodate him, wouldn't it be easier to ask him to at least try to stop alpha-gaming? Or at least make him aware that its not appreciated..

Its just my opinion, but you're never going to find a game that absolutely can not be alpha-gamed in some way, nor, should you have to look for one. You don't have to be rude about it, just say "Dude, its my turn, not yours..." or "If I make a bad play, it just makes it easier for you to win, so why are you trying to help me..."


In defense, I do understand her wanting to attempt it as my mum has a very particular set of annoying issues when playing games that would make most people prefer not to play with her. I can tell her upteen times and it wouldn't change a thing as she doesn't see it. I would rather play games with her than not at all and my daughter gets a lot of it too. I can't stop these traits but I can certainly find types of games and mechanics that quash it to bearable level lol! THis is positive for all of us then

And you never know the situation, maybe playing games is at least preferable than having a two/three hour conversation without in some cases whistle

 
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Tim Berkley
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Check these:
Glüx
Dominion
Istanbul
 
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G.Daddy.Slim
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SaggyUK wrote:
glouie wrote:
I understand he's your BF's friend, but why work so hard to accommodate him, wouldn't it be easier to ask him to at least try to stop alpha-gaming? Or at least make him aware that its not appreciated..

Its just my opinion, but you're never going to find a game that absolutely can not be alpha-gamed in some way, nor, should you have to look for one. You don't have to be rude about it, just say "Dude, its my turn, not yours..." or "If I make a bad play, it just makes it easier for you to win, so why are you trying to help me..."


In defense, I do understand her wanting to attempt it as my mum has a very particular set of annoying issues when playing games that would make most people prefer not to play with her. I can tell her upteen times and it wouldn't change a thing as she doesn't see it. I would rather play games with her than not at all and my daughter gets a lot of it too. I can't stop these traits but I can certainly find types of games and mechanics that quash it to bearable level lol! THis is positive for all of us then

And you never know the situation, maybe playing games is at least preferable than having a two/three hour conversation without in some cases whistle



I'm willing to accept that behavior if I was playing with a parent.. or an elder family member, because I would place a higher value on the benefit of spending time together.

But from a peer, it would have to be addressed. Honestly it comes down to a matter of respect.. if they don't respect my ability enough to allow me to play my own turn, or respect my want to derive enjoyment from playing the game, why would I want to play with them.
 
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Sarah
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Yes, but some of my friends are closer than family and i'll put up with just as much especially ones I've known a long time and he might be perfect in every other way lol. If that's the case between him and her boyfriend, she's pretty much stuck with it! Maybe he just gets overexcited and can't help himself and truly thinks he is helping or maybe just a personality flaw like my mum whom can never see anything from someone's else view or maybe just ocd.

You could try mentioning it to him and have something like a bell which you ring everytime he tries to advise to remind him

Or just use reverse psychology and always do the complete opposit of what he tells you to annoy him back and maybe he'll quit lol!!
 
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Ponder Stibbons
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from my experience, Mr. Best Move usually assumes they're being helpful (and maybe trying to impress). as discussed, it may be a respect issue, but it could just as easily be that the game isn't moving at a comfortable pace for his brain. often i find That Guy pointing out the move and then immediately working on how that effects their turn, essentially doing busywork what-if scenarios. i've met him and i've been him.

if he's waiting until several turns in before becoming "helpful" then it sounds like it's his relief valve to vocalize discomfort he may not even know he's experiencing. rather than snap a rubber band on his wrist every time he speaks (which isn't exactly encouraging equal respect), maybe what you need is a lightning rod to ground his over-analysis. maybe you need an overload of things to analyze. Five Tribes comes to mind. if he spots the "best" move then he can spend points to bid for first turn order. make him pay out the nose for that and then take all the yellow guys. :D
 
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Orange Player
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+1 for Galaxy trucker.
Apart from some comments about your ship build e.g. you should have had more laser cannons - with the benefit of hindsight - it is much more of an independent game. Also I sometimes finish building my space ship first but ensure the other players meet the enemies first so that any inadequacies of my ship aren't so obvious.

I think its great you are trying to find a way to make gaming with the 3 of you work. You never know what will happen tomorrow so make the best of today.
 
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Raven Snow
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Thank you to everyone who has suggested games for us. I'll try to respond to the recommendations in rough order.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - This looks like it could fit the bill for a quicker version of Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I'll need to look into it more.
Among the Stars: This game looks like one that would be good for our little group, but nothing (except the cool square cards) is really grabbing me from the reviews I saw. I'll keep it in mind and see if I can demo it somewhere.
Room 25 and DungeonQuest: That would be funny, but player-elimination isn't something I'm fond of adding to our collection.
Quadropolis: Maybe I'm missing something from the reviews I've seen (all of which have been positive), but I keep skipping this. I'll try to see about demo-ing this one, too.
Garden Dice: My boyfriend doesn't like this game. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
Iliad: It looks like this one is out of print. I'll keep an eye out for it, though.
Steam Park: Ooh! This one looks lovely. It's going towards the top of our wishlist.
Dice Town: It looks as though this one is out of print, too. My boyfriend would probably love this one.
Port Royal: I need to check this one out some more, but it looks promising.
Glüx: It has such a cool theme, but it would probably be shut down for being too obviously puzzle-like.
Istanbul: Shut Up & Sit Down recommended Concordia far above this game, but I like the lower playing time that this one supposedly has. Definitely an option.

We have King of Tokyo, Libertalia and recently got Splendor, so we'll try these games out next time. He has Dominion, so we'll give that a whirl as well. I'll report back and post how those games go in case anyone else is in a similar situation.
 
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Raven Snow
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SaggyUK wrote:
ooh ooh - Galaxy Trucker might work - really fun game where you have to build your spaceship but it's timed so he wouldn't have a chance to look at what you're doing. Once you're finished, you then have to then travel through space dealing with space pirates, meteor showers etc etc while your ship gets blown up. The one to come back with the most intact ship with cargo etc wins - plus really cute components.

Maybe Mission: Red Planet (second edition), Libertalia and Colt Express thinking more along the chaos line with some hidden stuff

Also a good little very quick game that my family loves is Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoiseand he wont know which animals you're betting on to comment and although looks kiddish, is actually quite fun, maybe Camel Up for more grown up feel type betting game??


Galaxy Trucker: My boyfriend and I played Dungeon Lords with another couple of friends, and we really liked that one. Galaxy Trucker has the same sort of two phases, so we might enjoy this one, too. How necessary would you say the expansions are? That's the part that worries me.
Mission: Red Planet (second edition): This game has interested me for a long time. I'm worried about the playing time being too much for our after work sessions, but I'll keep this in mind for our collection in general.
Colt Express: For some reason, my boyfriend has no interest in this game. I'll see if I can get him to come around on it and give it a chance.
Tales & Games: The Hare & the Tortoise: I didn't know this was a betting game. The short play time seems great, and I love the book box.

CamelUp is great. It's on our short-list.

Rumbelow wrote:
from my experience, Mr. Best Move usually assumes they're being helpful (and maybe trying to impress). as discussed, it may be a respect issue, but it could just as easily be that the game isn't moving at a comfortable pace for his brain. often i find That Guy pointing out the move and then immediately working on how that effects their turn, essentially doing busywork what-if scenarios. i've met him and i've been him.

if he's waiting until several turns in before becoming "helpful" then it sounds like it's his relief valve to vocalize discomfort he may not even know he's experiencing. rather than snap a rubber band on his wrist every time he speaks (which isn't exactly encouraging equal respect), maybe what you need is a lightning rod to ground his over-analysis. maybe you need an overload of things to analyze. Five Tribes comes to mind. if he spots the "best" move then he can spend points to bid for first turn order. make him pay out the nose for that and then take all the yellow guys.


Yes, our friend really does think he's helping. An overload of things to analyze might be good for him, but then that's a bit too far for my boyfriend. He's a little AP prone and hates being That Guy, so he mostly panics and picks terrible moves. I see this being the problem with Five Tribes. Ah, well. Thank you so much for the suggestion.
 
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Sarah
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The expansions really aren't necessary for galaxy trucker as more than enough in the box but it just has even more cool stuff you may end up wanting lol.

If you like games in two phases and you want some quicker simple ones for after work, we really like The Downfall of Pompeii for this reason.

Yeah, Id be curious to see how it goes
 
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