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Subject: Can there be a category for non-competitive games? rss

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chearns
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In my mind, the mechanic co-operative play should indicate a game that is not competitive between players (either all players win, or all players lose). However, I would guess that over 80% of the games listed as co-operative are either team games, all against one games, or everyone for themselves games with some aspects of co-operation at some point in the game.

I've tried to remove games from the list, but they come back faster than I can get rid of them, to which I can only conclude that my definition of co-operative play differs from that of the majority of users on this site.

Fortunately, I don't care about semantics. So my question is, can we make a new category, one explicitely about non-competition or some such? Not a mechanic, but a type of game, a category. One that is clearly not about players competing amongst themselves, but about working together to beat the game. I don't really care what it is called, so long as it clearly excludes competitive games.
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Chris Schenck
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I'd like to see this category too.

If the admins won't make the change, then one alternative would be to make a GeekList of your own containing the games you believe fit the category.
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chearns
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Chris,

Someone already does that (Kevin b Smith, to be specific). However, when I perform a search for co-ops, that geeklist doesn't help.
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Scott A. Reed
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Co-operative play should be games where players are playing against the game. If there are games in the category that are listed as this that are team games or all against one games, those games should be listed under the Partnerships mechanism.

The definition of Co-operative play under the mechanism:

"Co-operative play encourages or requires players to work together to beat the game. There is little or no competition between players. Either the players win the game by reaching a pre-determined objective, or all players lose the game, often by not reaching the objective before a certain event happens."

and Partnerships

"Games with partnerships offer players a set of rules for alliances and teams. Partners are often able to win as a team, or penalities are enforced for not respecting alliances."
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chearns
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Scott,

That doesn't seem to be enough, because I actually have an email from when an attempt to change Battlestar Galactica to Partnerships (where I believe it currently is) was refused because whoever was in charge said "I don't know enough about the game to have my own opinion and I'm tired of switching it back and forth between the two so I'm leaving it as co-operative play."

And that was just one of the tug of wars I experienced. Maybe if the definition was clearer? I don't know. All I know is that as of right now, the majority of games in the co-op section are not everyone against the board.

Which is really weird. My guess is, it's the only mechanic with this problem. I really doubt that the majority of games in the Worker Placement section aren't Worker Placement games.
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YaVerOt YaVerOt
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Then what is BSG? It's not a partnership because I don't know my teammates, and its not co-op because there are different sides.
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chearns
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BSG is Partnerships because there are two teams playing against each other.
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Scott A. Reed
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chearns wrote:
That doesn't seem to be enough, because I actually have an email from when an attempt to change Battlestar Galactica to Partnerships (where I believe it currently is) was refused because whoever was in charge said "I don't know enough about the game to have my own opinion and I'm tired of switching it back and forth between the two so I'm leaving it as co-operative play."


Hrm, I'm sorry that the corrections form doesn't tell you who sent the message, but that one was me, and I don't know what the game is supposed to be and when you submitted that correction I was fielding 1-2 corrections per week doing a tug-of-war pulling the game in each way. Even the follow-up here in this thread still makes it unclear. On one hand the players are trying to beat the game, which would be cooperative; on the other, the Cylons are trying to make the group lose the game for them to win, which would be more indicative of partnerships. If you can lay out a cogent argument for one side that makes a definitive case that excludes the other mechanism being involved, I'll apply that one.
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chearns
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Scott,

In the rules that come with the game there is no way for all the players to win, or for all of the players to lose. Some will win, some will lose. It may look like they are playing against the board, but the board is just the tool used to play against each other.
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YaVerOt YaVerOt
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With that wording, I'd accept partnerships, despite my above statement saying it matched neither.

I still feel it isn't quite the right term, but that a difference between what I feel "partnerships" should mean, and the definition BBG has already made.
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Tim Koppang
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Any game with partners is cooperative in a sense. You are cooperating with your partner to win the game. Whether your partner is hidden or not at the start of the game shouldn't matter. Part of the game is trying to discover who your partner is so that you can increase your chances of winning.

The odd thing about Battlestar, or any game with a traitor mechanic, is that opposition comes not just from the other players, but from the game as well. But is that alone enough to categorize it as cooperative? If so, then I feel that "cooperative" is a poor label for what we are really talking about.
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chearns
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Tim,

Earlier I mentioned a category of games as opposed to a mechanic. The reasons you mention are part of the reason. There is co-operation in partnership games (see Tichu), there is co-operation in all against one one games (see Scotland Yard), there is co-operation in everyone can lose games (see Terra). As a mechanic, the idea of co-operative play is present in all of those games.

Heck, when played with more than two players, it could be said that even pure competition games like Carcassonne involve co-operation, because you can co-operate to build castles and roads, and mathematically, it is in your best interest to do so. The same goes for many bash the leader games where two players have to work together to ensure that a third player doesn't win.

However, all of those games are competitive. It is impossible (or at least extremely unlikely) for everyone to win together.

As a category, they are competitive games. Their type of game isn't co-operative. The idea of the game is not for everyone to either win or lose together.

It is interesting that you mention playing against the board as being not quite the same thing as co-operative, because, indeed, playing against a board is not a requirement for co-operative play (see Hanabi), and is a feature of other competitive games as well that, lacking teams, no one would ever call a co-operative game (see Fearsome Floors).
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Scott A. Reed
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tckoppang wrote:
Any game with partners is cooperative in a sense. You are cooperating with your partner to win the game. Whether your partner is hidden or not at the start of the game shouldn't matter. Part of the game is trying to discover who your partner is so that you can increase your chances of winning.

The odd thing about Battlestar, or any game with a traitor mechanic, is that opposition comes not just from the other players, but from the game as well. But is that alone enough to categorize it as cooperative? If so, then I feel that "cooperative" is a poor label for what we are really talking about.


A game may be cooperative, but the Cooperative Play mechanism as defined by BGG is a term-of-art we are using to define a specific element within a game, and to link games together that have this element. This is not a mere dictionary definition of what entails cooperation, much as Wargame players will tell you that that term-of-art is not merely applicable to any game that has elements of warfare or is themed on a war.
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Tim Koppang
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CS and Scott: Thanks. I can see I'm coming to the conversation midway. I appreciate the clarifications!
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chearns
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Tim,

Even if you came to this conversation midway, your point about Battlestar galactica is very relevant. I think many games with play against a board and partnships are called Co-Operative play, when they aren't. They are Partnership play and Play Against the Board (an un-named mechanic on BGG).
 
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chearns
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Scott,

I agree with the comparison between the terms Co-operative Play and Wargame. They are not terms that reflect the content of the game, but rather what type of game it is. Why then is Wargame a category, while Co-Operative Play is a mechanic?
 
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Marc-Andre Blanchet
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All game should be non-competitive, because competitive is the opposite of fun.








As we all know.
 
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Simon Lundström
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Wasn't there someone who said there were five types ofmultiplayer games:

Typical game: All players against each other
Co-operative: All players against the game (Arkham Horror, Hanabi)
All-against-one: All players but one team up against the last player (i.e. Descent, Fury of Dracula)
Partnerships: Teams compete (World of Warcraft the board game)
Traitor games: Everyone _should_ cooperate, but there are hidden traitors (Battlestar Galactica, Shadows over Camelot, Werewolf).

?
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Martin G
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chearns wrote:

Which is really weird. My guess is, it's the only mechanic with this problem. I really doubt that the majority of games in the Worker Placement section aren't Worker Placement games.


If only that were true! In fact the database is riddled with these kind of definition and classification problems. If you're interested in doing something about it, head over to the Game Genome Project guild, and particularly this thread.
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Werner Bär
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Zimeon wrote:
Typical game: All players against each other
Co-operative: All players against the game (Arkham Horror, Hanabi)
All-against-one: All players but one team up against the last player (i.e. Descent, Fury of Dracula)
Partnerships: Teams compete (World of Warcraft the board game)
Traitor games: Everyone _should_ cooperate, but there are hidden traitors (Battlestar Galactica, Shadows over Camelot, Werewolf).

How does The Republic of Rome fit in this list? All players against the game, otherwise Rome falls and everybody loses; but if Rome doesn't fall, there's only a single winner.
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chearns
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Werner,

That sounds like all players against each other to me. But then, I would never call a co-operatibe game everyone against the board but rather everyone on the same team (which then includes games like Hanabi which are "work on a task before time runs out" games).
 
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Simon Lundström
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Werbaer wrote:
How does The Republic of Rome fit in this list? All players against the game, otherwise Rome falls and everybody loses; but if Rome doesn't fall, there's only a single winner.

As a competitive game.

Of course, one could always add a sixth category:
Competitive games in which all can lose (Republic of Rome, Dungeonquest, Genesis, Nobunaga…)

Honestly, I think these six categories should be implemented. They represent different types of games, and the definitions are very clear:

Quote:

Typical game: All players against each other
Co-operative: All players against the game (Arkham Horror, Hanabi)
All-against-one: All players but one team up against the last player (i.e. Descent, Fury of Dracula)
Partnerships: Teams compete (World of Warcraft the board game)
Traitor games: Everyone _should_ cooperate, but there are hidden traitors (Battlestar Galactica, Shadows over Camelot, Werewolf).
All-may-lose: the game's mechanisms allow for "no winner, all losers".
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Simon Lundström
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Chris C wrote:
While the rest of the rules say it's Players vs the Old One the existence of such a title smacks of a single player victory moving this--I don't expect anyone to agree since it's an "honorary" title and the rules don't say "this player wins more than the others"--from "co-op" to "typical".

Or "All-may-lose".

("Typical" was a bad choice of words. "Competitive" maybe better)
 
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Chris C wrote:
Red November allows a player to escape the doomed boat. It has to be played co-op or everyone is doomed to die, it allows for no winner, all losers, but, without being hidden, a player can decide late in the piece to abandon ship and become a sole winner. So, Zimeon, since you've given this some thought and have been writing considered opinions I've enjoyed reading on BGG for years, how is the line drawn on Red November?


Sounds like a traitor game with the "All may lose", but it sounds really weird.

Not to mention Alcatraz: The Scapegoat. There is ONE loser, everyone else wins. A co-op where the players vote for a scapegoat each turn, and he doesn't get any points. The player with the worst combination of points when the game ends loses. Everyone else wins.

With a crude categorization of just 6 types, some games are bound to be "none of the above". Still, I agree with the OP that a "all against the game" and "all against one" and "all against the game and/or an unknown traitor" are different enough to separate them.
 
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Daniel Gerbner
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Zimeon wrote:
Wasn't there someone who said there were five types ofmultiplayer games:

Typical game: All players against each other
Co-operative: All players against the game (Arkham Horror, Hanabi)
All-against-one: All players but one team up against the last player (i.e. Descent, Fury of Dracula)
Partnerships: Teams compete (World of Warcraft the board game)
Traitor games: Everyone _should_ cooperate, but there are hidden traitors (Battlestar Galactica, Shadows over Camelot, Werewolf).

?


selwyth has a similar analysis in his geeklist The Taxonomy of Board games (Part 3: Inter-player relationships).

Competitive, cooperative, semi-cooperative, team/partnerships, 2v2, hidden loyalties.
 
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