Do you suffer from Lackofocusitis?
Mike K
United States
Fairless Hills
Pennsylvania
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Lackofocusitis: a condition that affects boardgamers of all areas and skill levels, whereby a player's decisions, though well-intended, overlook a basic shortcoming of one's position. Though not a serious affliction in over-the-table gaming among friends, it can lead to serious in-game problems when playing online or in a tournament setting.

What follows are common examples of lackofocusitis; I urge others who have been stricken with this disease to step forward and add their stories.
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1. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Mike K
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A game where L.F.I. (as the condition will henceforth be referred to) occurs all-too-often. A simple case is one where a player with no cloth to begin a round places a worker on a cloth farm, later going to the joust to use said cloth (which, of course, will be unavailable for immediate use). Not quite as common is when a player goes to the joust but forgets to save a coin; this is especially troubling if the player was intending to get cash for his favor.


Here's a variant that has stricken me a couple times:

Having no wood to begin a round (but other cubes), I place a guy in the wood/food pink square in an effort to block another player from getting food. (I also go to the carpenter square, located a few spaces further down the road.) Other moves are made, players pass, and the top of the board is sorted out.

The provost is moved, perhaps, and finally we acquire our resources. We get to the wood/food square and I instinctively take a food ...

Just like that, no carpenter. Had I taken the wood-only square (which is strategically inferior), I would not have made such a mistake.
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2. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Mike K
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This happened to me online the other day:

Three placements I made, in no particular order, were to the one-resource card, a hut requiring a gold, and some people in the forest for wood. I had no wood or gold at the time (but had other resources), and have some tools at my disposal. The card in question would allow me to roll two dice for gold, which I would need for the hut. There was no risk in getting at least one bar, as I had 4 points in tools (2-1-1) to use in case I got snake-eyes. I just needed a bit of luck in getting the wood.

So we finish placing our guys, and production begins. I was last to act for the round (and perhaps had some distractions at home while playing; I forget), and of course went to the forest first. I rolled something like a 12, ample wood for the card.

In that moment, I forgot about the card I was to get, and used 3 tools for an extra wood. Needless to say, the 3 I rolled for the gold left me with no gold and a wasted meeple on the hut I could no longer claim.
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3. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:231]
Mike K
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A classic example of L.F.I. stems from the starting wood guy; without him you can't buy wood, but if you get the 4-coin-for-wood guy you can now safely discard that starting guy.

Problem is, by the last turn (when you have no use for money) you've forgotton all about this ... but not before you placed a guy in the market with full intention of buying that one wood needed for 6 points with the card you just picked up ... the one that caused you to discard the 4-coin-for-wood guy. Bye bye, extra 6 points!
 
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4. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:114]
Mike K
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In your current position, you have a wide-open build to a cube-rich city that no one can block ... but you need Engineer, as it's 4 spaces away with no intermediate town to urbanize. So you take an extra share or two and make a bid. The auction progresses, and L.F.I. sinks in.

Eventually you place 2nd in the auction, and watch the first player deliberate for a bit before taking Urbanization ... and you immediately grab Locomotive. It's only after all roles are taken that you realize what you were going to do, and as your current position cannot take advantage of the loco boost you've given yourself, you shake your head and ask yourself how you could be so stupid.
 
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5. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:230]
Mike K
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A common effect of L.F.I. is to forgot bonuses you may have accrued during the game. This happened to me at Euroquest 2007; I posted about it in a previous GeekList, but here's the summary:

A player who had the '-1 for aristocrats' green booster card forgot she had it when she payed. When she caught her mistake, she graciously refused to take back the money she shouldn't have spent ... setting a precedent.

Later on, it was found that another player made the same mistake, not once but twice. Again, this gentleman accepted the penalty (of nonrefunding).

When the game is over, the latter player is found to have lost to a 3rd player by a single point ... and had 18 bucks in hand, which was the most. Add the 2 bucks he overspent, and (a) he gains a point for having 20 bucks, and (b) wins the tiebreak for having the most money.
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6. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Mike K
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Have you ever traded 3-to-1 at a port you own, only to remember after the fact that you also had an appropriate 2-to-1 port at the time? If so, you've just suffered a case of L.F.I. .
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7. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Mike K
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You've already accumulated a number of early Niles, and use your last bid to secure 3 more along with a God tile. Oh wait, you can't use the God tile now to get the flood ... but you've already called Ra.

L.F.I. strikes again.
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8. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:54]
Mike K
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Never forget who's won the Veto! L.F.I. can cause short-term memory loss, which lasts up to the moment you reach for the 'score the region of your choice' card that you put your 12 up to get. (I'm still thinking about my WBC trip 3 years ago when this happened to me.)
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9. Board Game: Cuba [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:418]
Mike K
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A game this filled with tactical decisions and shifting needs is bound to cause cases of L.F.I.!

One example: you win the right to choose the two Acts for the round, and one of your choices is the Harbor Act (perhaps to avoid putting something else into play). Next round, you ship two or three commodities onto the last spaces on the 3-boat, then watch it sail as the next player (who was working for the 2-boat) scores 15 points by filling the new 3-boat.
 
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10. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:416] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
 
Mike K
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The last example I'm including is easily the oldest game that lends itself to L.F.I., one that continues to do so to this day.
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11. Board Game: Catan: Cities & Knights [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.47 Unranked]
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The Barbarians are coming, I have the most knights on the board, but two of them are inactive. I am 1 VP from winning. I don't have any grain, so I trade for it. I then go through my whole turn without activating my two knight and end the turn with two wheat in hand.

The next player rolls and in comes the barbarian horde. He has more active knights, so he is Defender of Catan. He then builds a city and wins...
 
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12. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.35 Overall Rank:4]
Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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This was slightly embarrasing, but I'll share anyways.. blush

I was playing as the Soviets and I was dealt two scoring cards, I believe Europe and Asia, and many other good cards. I was stoked and thought I could really jump out to a early lead. I mean it was the very first turn.
Even at the beginning of the turn, I had reminded myself "I have to play those scoring cards" per the rules in TS.

Everything was going great! I had a master plan. devil I was playing cards racking up the influence in Europe and Asia. However, due to Lackofocusitis my opponent played his last card and begin checking military ops and low and behold I looked at my hand and I still had those two bloody scoring cards in my hand! surprise

A true Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment.

Good news though, I now have something to blame. Lackofocusitis! laugh
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13. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:583]
Kyle
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Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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Player 1 is the only person producing containers of a certain color, and has three sitting in his factory store. Player 2 needs those shipped out to the main island so he can grab them for his own collection. So, he hands over a stack of cash to buy them from Player 1, and then puts all three in his own harbor store at a very enticing low price.

Player 3 sees a great opportunity to make some money, so he jumps at the chance and moves his ship into Player 2's harbor. Just as he's about to hand over some money to buy those three containers... wait a minute, you only have two warehouses!

D'oh! shake



We've only played Container about a half-dozen times, and this has happened at least twice every game.

Fortunately it wasn't been the same person every time, and it's been relatively easy to back up and correct it...



(For those unfamiliar with the game, the maximum number of containers you can have in your harbor store is equal to the number of warehouses you have, so Player 2 was only able to buy two from Player 1.)
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