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Subject: What's so bad about anaylsis paralysis? rss

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Billy McBoatface
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Often I'll see comments about "Oh, this game has too much AP," or "good game, as long as everybody moves in under 30 seconds to prevent AP."

Now, some games it sucks to see AP in. If somebody sits during Settlers and thinks for 5 minutes about whether to build a road in one place or another, I can see getting annoyed. But one of my favorite aspects to a "serious" game is when it rewards long, hard thought. To keep this from being boring for the other players, of course, they have to have a lot to think about too, while the current player is taking their turn.

I don't demand all games have this, I enjoy lighter games too. But to me, AP is a very, very good thing in a lot of cases!!! Examples of games where I love the AP they cause include of course go and chess, but even in a game like power grid, it's so rewarding to sit there and think through exactly how much you should bid for a specific power plant in order to have money leftover to buy your fuel and cities.

So am I in the minority here? Do most other BGG'ers say (as it seems sometimes), "if 60 seconds go by with nobody making a move, then the game sucks"? Or do most of you enjoy a good long think about a tricky situation?

(Edited, I forgot to give the name "Settlers" in the example where I don't want to see AP!)
 
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Brad Miller
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I tend to really like games that are AP-prone, but the sad fact is, one AP-prone player can completely ruin a game, by making it take waaaaay too long. It's a double-edged sword.
 
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I'm in your boat - it depends on the game. Some games benefit from putting thought in your moves, others are worse for it. I don't mind people taking time to do mental math in Power Grid - but taking time to map out all the possible movements and their consequences in Fearsome Floors would kill that game.

-MMM
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, its great to have a really complex game where you have to think each move and weigh up the options. But it is also great not to spend 25 out of 30 minutes of game time watching the other players agonise.

This is where Play by Email or the like can really help- remove the 'real time' pressure and something like Diplomacy can shine.

Anyway I don't mind people taking time over moves, as long as they are payign attention to the game. I am not normally playing in a time-tight environment- quite the reverse. And I sure hated playing chess with clocks, back when I had to.
 
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wmshub wrote:
"if 60 seconds go by with nobody making a move, then the game sucks"?


No, if 60 seconds goes by with nobody making a move, then the player sucks.

Actually, I will give them more than 60 seconds, but if it's a 4 player game and one player is taking more time than everyone else put together, then that's annoying. I will try not to play with that person again.
 
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Nick Case
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I guess all players who claim to like 'deep' or 'serious' games enjoy a mental stretch but that doesn't mean that they all accept extended thinking time as part and parcel of the game.

My take on AP is it's a negative hence 'Paralysis'. In other words the game is frozen and has slowed significantly as a result of someone taking TOO long over a move.

What defines too long is open to debate but for my 2d worth its when the suggested playing time looks like it will over-run or is already passed and the majority of players become disenchanted with the time taken over a players move. Symptoms of this are usually comments like;

"Whose go is it?"
"Come on we have x moves to go and we need to leave at y o'clock"
or
" FOR @**! SAKE YOU MUPPET YOU ONLY HAVE TWO OPTIONS. HOW HARD CAN IT BE?"
etc
 
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Chief Slovenly
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Tikal, while a brilliant game, is legendary for this. One AP-prone player can completely slow the game down for the rest. Hence, sometimes I feel it's necessary to play with a timer set to maybe a minute and a half.
 
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marc lecours
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i see that you have a go board as a symbol. I was in a tournament once where each player had 2 hours of clock time. It was great. There was not a moment of boredom. Sometimes a player would take 10 to 20 minutes to make a move, but I was busy the whole time thinking.

Why was analysis paralysis great in that case:
1. There were clocks. I knew when I sat down that the game would last 4 hours unless someone resigned. So psychologically I was prepared for my opponent to take his time. Also because there were clocks, I felt it was fair. If my opponent took a long time on the opening, he would not have much time for the end game. When he took a long time in the opening, I thought on his time to save my own time. It would have been a stupid game strategy not to think on his time, and wait for my move. I find that in games without clocks, players tend to be lazy and wait to see what the opponent does before thinking. The idea being why should I waste brain energy looking at all the possibilities, when if I wait a little my opponent will make clear his choice. Yet there is something wonderfull and intense about thinking on the opponents move.

2. In go it is easy to think on the opponent's move because it is a perfect information game and the board will be in the same position except for one extra stone that the opponent will place. On the other hand in many wargames, almost all the units will have moved, and there will be some semi random battles. Therefore in such a game it really will be a waste of time to think ahead. On the other hand some wargames have such a rich environment that there is always something to analyse. I fondly remember playing extremely long games of World in Flames. Most of the time during opponent's turns, I was filling my notebooks full of plans(each with a codename), full of analyses of strength on various front,full of plans for future production. The time went fast. My group of gamers is particularly slow but I did not mind for World in flames.

3. The length of a game is a factor. If players think a game is too long when players are playing at a normal rate then they will hate it when the is analysis paralysis. On the other hand if a game is pretty fast for its depth then analysis paralysis will be more of a factor.

If analysis paralysis is a problem for your group then I would recommend playing with a chess clock or for multiplayer games some other type of clock. This will encourage players to play at an agreed upon rate and it will encourage players to think on their opponents turn. As I said before, if a player thinks on the opponents turn then time will pass fast and he will barely notice if anyone else is slow.
 
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Tim K.
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wmshub wrote:
What's so bad about analysis paralysis?

I'd say it's the analysis part. Definitely. Of course the paralysis part is pretty bad sometimes too. So it's hard to say. On the one hand you've got your analysis. On the other hand you've got your paralysis. Now I usually go with paralysis, but then I start thinking about paralysis, and that's when I get into trouble. Yes, they sound the same but they really are quite different. Or are they? It depends. If it's a Monday then paralysis makes absolute sense, but not if the moon is waxing gibbous. Sheer lunacy? I don't think so. I don't know. I mean, really, it could go either way. I suppose it all boils down to the matrix of possibilities and options. When you think of it that way it's quite simple. Consider what are the best options and the least favorable options, then switch the two. This will help you see how it all depends on perspective, and Mexican food. Cheese will often help make any decision more palatable. Deep frying too. But not on Sunday night. That's a recipe for disaster. Do not play games with a Mexican on Sunday night, unless they are Mormon, of course. I had a pony once who would help me out of a bind, or did he help me out of a band? Yes, that's it. It was some horrid 80's synth pop abomination and the hair gel would make my scalp itch. Boy that pony sure saved me. So get a pony if you need help deciding.

Does that help? Or not? Please let me know if you need more input, or less.
 
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Nick Case
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In a nutshell I think Eviltimmy sums it up.
 
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
In a nutshell I think Eviltimmy sums it up.

Or do I?
 
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CHAPEL
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wmshub wrote:


(Edited, I forgot to give the name "Settlers" in the example where I don't want to see AP!)


Interesting. So what games that have lots of AP do you think fall into the category as OK AP, and which ones do you think don't?

 
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Billy McBoatface
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MWChapel wrote:
wmshub wrote:
(Edited, I forgot to give the name "Settlers" in the example where I don't want to see AP!)


Interesting. So what games that have lots of AP do you think fall into the category as OK AP, and which ones do you think don't?
I think I covered it in my original post. I don't want AP in settlers becausewhile the opponent is pondering where to put their road, there is nothing for me to think about. I make my settlers decisions in a matter of seconds, so unless there is active trading, etc., going on, I'm just bored.

On the other hand, in go or power grid there is always more information to run over in my head. While my opponent(s) think, I'm thinking too, so I'm having a good time.
 
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Michelle Zentis
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I'm with the geeks who get more annoyed with the people who take forever on their turn than with the games themselves. If a game requires players to think through their options, usually people can be thinking as other players take their turns. Sometimes, if a player does something unexpected, other players have to rethink their plans, but that's fine with me as long as it doesn't happen every single turn. What really drives me nuts, though is A) players who take forever in games where the decisions are not that tricky [I've played with two different people who average more than two minutes a turn with TICKET TO RIDE EUROPE, for crying out loud] or B) players who just space out between turns and only re-engage their brain when everybody is looking at them to do something. Maybe I have attention span problems, but in situations like this my tendency is to play my turns even faster in an effort to end the pain. Oh, and I plaster an "AVOID" sticker over their picture in my head.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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bbenston wrote:
Tikal, while a brilliant game, is legendary for this. One AP-prone player can completely slow the game down for the rest. Hence, sometimes I feel it's necessary to play with a timer set to maybe a minute and a half.


I like deep thinking games.

Isn't it great that Tikal is on SpielByWeb now? You can take an hour or four to plan your turn and nobody will notice.

The people who want turns taken in 5 seconds are the reason I don't play Puerto Rico on BrettspielWelt any more.

Yesterday, I played a 2 player wargame for 9 hours. A lot of people would call most of the game analysis paralysis, but we enjoyed every minute of it. On the other hand, I played a 7 player game of Citadels last week with 4 slow players and it was agony.

I think it's a balancing act and depends on the group and the game.
 
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Quote:
What's so bad about anaylsis paralysis?


Nothing, so long as the game (whatever it be) can be played within a time frame that all players agree to, and with that time frame allowing all players to take the same approach to AP.

It's the inconsistent expectations that players have regarding the playing of a game that lead to the problems.

For example, I would generally go into a game of Power Grid expecting all players to play in a way that sees the game finish before 3 hours. So it would be bother me if one player made his moves in a manner that was consistent with the game running 5 hours (assuming we all played that way).

My real peeve in the example would be that I don't want to be playing Power Grid for 5 hours. My peeve is not that the player is securing an advantage by taking more time than me. So my problem could not be fixed by playing in a similar way. The only fix would be to play with people who have the same expectations about how a game should be played
 
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IMO, there's no such thing as AP. The problem lies in impatient gamers who care more about the game itself; than the fact that they are playing (i.e. enjoying time spent together, enjoying each other's company) a game.

There is no such thing as ANALysis Paralysis, there are only whiny, impatient, nincompoop gamers who ruin the fun for others. They do nothing for the image of this hobby and are often seen pushing up their eyewear, sniveling and laughing at their own attempts at humor. Tsk, tsk. shake

If you have a problem with other players taking too long: go grab some chips, use the restroom, organize your bits, make conversation, share an anecdote, peruse the rules, go top off your beverage, et al.
 
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wmshub wrote:
think I covered it in my original post. I don't want AP in settlers becausewhile the opponent is pondering where to put their road, there is nothing for me to think about. I make my settlers decisions in a matter of seconds, so unless there is active trading, etc., going on, I'm just bored.

On the other hand, in go or power grid there is always more information to run over in my head. While my opponent(s) think, I'm thinking too, so I'm having a good time.


That's just the thing. AP is subjective. You think that AP is ok to ponder in Power Grid, yet not for Settlers for instance. The group I play with thinks that AP'ing in Power Grid would be unacceptable, but that's just my group. We have a few folks that suffer bad AP, to the point where their last name has become an analagous term for AP'ing. laugh

I think if your at a table of 5 people who make a move in 20-30 seconds, but there's just that one guy taking 5 minutes, you bet he's going to get a finger tapping or the occasional "GO!". I guess the mob rules when it comes to AP.
 
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It bores other players into apathy/disengagement. I play games to enjoy time with other people. But, in general, I don't enjoy spending lots of time watching other people try to make up their mind (about anything -- not just games).

That said, I agree with everyone who has pointed out that AP only becomes an issue when there's a big disparity between players wrt expectations about how long a move takes and that the problem is greatest when the game is one where the situation will change enough between turns that at least some other players can't really use the time spent waiting to analyze their own next moves.
 
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dare I quote Mr Petty:

"The waiting is the hardest part."
 
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joebelanger wrote:
The problem lies in impatient gamers who care more about the game itself; than the fact that they are playing (i.e. enjoying time spent together, enjoying each other's company) a game.

There is no such thing as ANALysis Paralysis, there are only whiny, impatient, nincompoop gamers who ruin the fun for others. ...

If you have a problem with other players taking too long: go grab some chips, use the restroom, organize your bits, make conversation, share an anecdote, peruse the rules, go top off your beverage, et al.


Hmmm...clearly we have incompatible gaming styles. When I'm playing a game, I DO want the focus to be on the game. My groups don't mind some conversation during a game, but if we're interested in hanging out and talking, we'll leave the games on the shelf and just hang out and talk. (And yes, we do choose to do that sometimes.)

In addition, if everybody has to find alternate activities with which to occupy themselves on one person's turn, the tension which makes games interesting evaporates and the game becomes more of an annoyance than a source of entertainment. It's like trying to watch a movie when the people behind me are talking.

It's great if you've found a group of like-minded people with whom to game, but to call people who like to pay attention to the game "whiny, impatient, nincompoop gamers" seems a little extreme...not least because we seem to be in the majority, based on the responses to this post. meeple
 
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For me, this is heavily player dependant. I'm fairly (how to put this nicely) impatient. I shoot from the hip, leap before I look, and play largely on instinct and gut feelings. While I don't begrudge my fellow players the ability to leverage their powers of analysis, there's an impossible to define point when that analysis goes too far for my tastes.

For example, I've tried many times to institute turn timers for some players, to encourage them to play at what I consider a reasonable pace (even taking into account my general speedy play style, I think I offer a fairly generous time bank for turns).

This is almost always met with disgust and disappointment that I would dare try to limit their strongest playing tool -- their penchant for analysis -- by imposing a perceived unjust and unfair time limit.

In a round about way, this brings me back to your original question, about what's "so bad" about analysis paralysis... While AP may allow some players the opportunity to leverage their best game playing assets to the fullest extent, it prevents other players from using their best assets: namely intuition, quick thinking and instinct.

All I want is a level playing field. Unfortunately, it's hard to determine exactly where that field is, let alone its dimensions. Allowing players unlimited time to fully analyze game information is unfairly biased against people who lack the faculty for that sort of thing.
 
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I'd define analysis paralysis in gaming as "treating time as though it were a resource with an infinite supply, when in fact it is a scarce resource." If you're playing solitaire, analysis paralysis may not be a problem (as long as you can afford to spend the time,) but if you're playing with others, you're spending a scarce resource belonging to someone else.

One cure for analysis paralysis, as mentioned above, is to use clocks. This forces you to treat the resource as a scarce resource. It was the existence of analysis paralysis that forced the introduction of clocks into chess during the 1800's. Using clocks makes many games more interesting if you don't mind the overhead.
 
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joebelanger wrote:
make conversation, share an anecdote


I did that. The guy I was waiting for joined in the conversation.
 
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Personally, I think it depends on the group more than anything else. I am with those who feel that if one player takes five minutes to make a move while everyone else is taking only one minute, then there's a problem.

Interestingly, I've been in groups where the opposite problem occurs, too. And I bet if you think about it, you have been, too. You've got a group that takes a game fairly seriously, and everyone is "into it" and taking their time planning their moves. Then there's one player who, when their turn comes, grabs a couple of pieces, moves them seemingly at random, and then finishes their turn. This can be just as irritating to me as the opposite situation.

I try hard to be flexible. If I'm in a group that plays fast, I try and play fast, too. If in a group that plays slow, I slow down and study the board. This enhances my own enjoyment of the game, and I think it helps everybody else have fun, too.

My favorite groups are those in which everyone takes a medium amount of time, and nobody seems to mind, for whatever reason. Perhaps players study the board when it's not their turn, or maybe they chitchat about the latest geek hobby, but the pace is RELAXED. Not slow necessarily, but not pressured, either. Just relaxed. Yeah, that's a good way to put it. A fleeting feeling, to be sure, but to be relaxed during a game is gaming nirvana to me.
 
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