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Subject: Does having a reputation affect the games you like playing? rss

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Mario Lanza
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At my game night I'm the one hardcore hobbyist gamer. My friends love to play but are for the most part not actually buying games and hosting their own game nights. As a result I control what games we play since I'm the one buying them.

In games where players can directly attack each other, I'm the guy who gets whacked by default when there's no obvious reason to choose someone else. For me, this affects the kinds of games I buy. If a game provides direct means of attack (usually a war game aspect) or relies heavily upon diplomacy, I shy away from it. It's hard to foster good diplomatic relations when before the game even starts (it feels) players have a predisposed interest in bringing you down.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with these aspects since I know lots of people have different tastes and absolutely love both direct conflict and diplomacy. (This may just be a phenomenon specific to my group.) It's just that to me personally when you can't mitigate the the amount of player adversity to which you'll be subject, it doesn't make for much fun.

I personally love games with a high degree of player interaction; I just don't like it when one has no means of mitigating his exposure to incoming attacks. I think both Hansa Teutonica and Power Grid have good aspects of player contention without feeling too slanted. And I guess that's why I like Eurogames so well. They are generally designed to mitigate this circumstance.

I mean who can really enjoy a game when players -- if they want -- can pretty much decide that you won't have the possibility of winning no matter how well you play?

I'm sure I'm missing out on some good games from having developed this aversion, but I have to be honest, it's hard getting this thinking out of my head.

Thoughts?
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Pasi Ojala
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The group determines the games you want to play with that group.

Have you tried Cosmic Encounter? You get random encounters, so you can not choose to attack someone just for the heck of it.

Core Worlds (2-5 players) is a game we play often 3p. It has no direct attacks, but still plenty of interaction.
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CJ
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The other answer is to try and branch out and find new people to game with. BGG is good for that...
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Zeb Larson
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Yeah, if your group is preemptively attacking you in games simply because you've won in the past, that says some unfortunate things about the people you're playing with. It sounds less like you need different games and more like you need a new group.
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Christian Gienger
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Yes. I also have a group I play with semi regularly that isn't that much into board games and when going into more strategic/tactical games, I tend to win as I have more experience with the mechanisms and how they interact. So when there is targeted aggression I'm #1 target for most of the others. This is totally understandable, but sometimes they're carried away and still attack me after every chance for me to win the game has actually passed. So I prefer to take games when playing with that group in which there are enough random elements and no directed attacks.
On the other hand I don't think that's a problem with the people. I don't bring Munchkin to a group of 'pure-euro-cube-pushers' who never had any contact with role playing games or fantasy movies (ok I don't bring munchkin anywhere anymore...).

But if those people are the only one you play with, I can see that there is a problem if you actually want to go into games that have more negotiation or attacks.
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Enrico Viglino
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Yes. I like going into a game knowing everyone is gunning for me.
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Ryan James
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They probably see you as the biggest threat, even in a neutral situation where everyone is on the same footing. It probably seems "random" to you, but to them going after the most experienced player is both a way of telling you that you're the biggest eventual threat to them, and maybe another way of saying that if they have to attack someone for no reason, let it be the most experienced gamer, someone who will have been used to it.

Just a thought.
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Mario Lanza
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Sandmanx82 wrote:
They probably see you as the biggest threat, even in a neutral situation where everyone is on the same footing. It probably seems "random" to you, but to them going after the most experienced player is both a way of telling you that you're the biggest eventual threat to them, and maybe another way of saying that if they have to attack someone for no reason, let it be the most experienced gamer, someone who will have been used to it.


I know there's some truth as being perceived as the biggest threat and it's nice being respected that way, but like Chris G. I can still take punishment even after I've been knocked out of the running. I'm not thinking this situation can necessarily be solved in my group. I was just curious if others found that they steered their game purchases based on things like this. Occasionally, I branch out into things with slight wargame mechanics like Small World and still enjoy them; but I do have a general sense going in that I'll probably not be afforded an equal shot at winning. I can still have fun playing a game knowing that, but it can sometimes be a downer.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I am incapable of laying low. I immediately start making a run for the win. In conflict games this makes me a target and the other players pile on and bring me down. This is why I'm horrible at those games.
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Ryan James
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mlanza wrote:
Sandmanx82 wrote:
They probably see you as the biggest threat, even in a neutral situation where everyone is on the same footing. It probably seems "random" to you, but to them going after the most experienced player is both a way of telling you that you're the biggest eventual threat to them, and maybe another way of saying that if they have to attack someone for no reason, let it be the most experienced gamer, someone who will have been used to it.


I know there's some truth as being perceived as the biggest threat and it's nice being respected that way, but like Chris G. I can still take punishment even after I've been knocked out of the running. I'm not thinking this situation can necessarily be solved in my group. I was just curious if others found that they steered their game purchases based on things like this. Occasionally, I branch out into things with slight wargame mechanics like Small World and still enjoy them; but I do have a general sense going in that I'll probably not be afforded an equal shot at winning. I can still have fun playing a game knowing that, but it can sometimes be a downer.


I hear ya. A similar thing happened in our group with our most experienced gamer(EG). A friend who used to play with us would say, "I win as long as EG loses." He would purposely attack EG even though it made no sense. We stopped inviting him to game nights. He wasn't going to alter his game purchases around that one guy. Easier to just remove the guy. I realize this won't work for all situations.
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Brook Gentlestream
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In my groups, we have a J. It's a running gag in my group that before the game starts, the winning strategy is "Everyone gang up on J!" There's a reason for this. J is a beast to play with. he has two major strategies he uses, and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish which one he's using. The first is a "enforce peace through threat of total annihilation" strategy. The second is a "enforce peace by means of total annihilation". Half way through the game, nobody dares attack J because J will ruthlessly destroy you. Hell, he might do it anyway. J wins most of these games, so its usually a race to come in second.

We start every game tutorial with "Okay, rule 1. Everyone attack J." Everyone laughs. J just grins and plays innocent. J really enjoys buying these adversarial games.
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Paul Kimmel
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This happens to me, to some degree, and I think it is a problem. I'm not bothered by people ganging up on me, but I am bothered by people playing stupidly in order to do it. Let me illustrate by comparison to a similar issue I had with someone I used to game with.

X had an extremely overdeveloped sense of revenge. If you did something in the game that could be perceived as an act of aggression, the victory conditions for the game changed for him. He would do nothing but attack you, turn after turn after turn, until the game was over. It was obviously nothing more than a metagaming strategy to ensure that people would choose to attack others first, and in our group it didn't work. No one caved to a threat like that.

But it did ruin games, because X was deliberately playing in a way that didn't offer him any chance at victory. He would eliminate his own chance of winning along with someone else's, just to maintain his metagame persona. Even the winners of those games couldn't really take credit for the win, since they obviously had a lot of help from X. It wasn't fun, because "kingmaker" is a despicable role to play.

And your situation isn't that different. If they are intent on attacking you before the game has even started then that is a metagame decision which will actually prevent them from learning to play well. They are continuing to reinforce a situation in which you get better (by playing well in the face of adversity), while they don't. They're nerfing the playing field in order to give themselves a chance at victory, rather than doing the much more appropriate thing: trying to improve. Sounds like a maturity issue, to me.

I don't have any suggestions for how to deal with it, unfortunately. It sounds to me like you need a more experienced group of people to play games with.
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Derry Salewski
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kimerupooru wrote:
This happens to me, to some degree, and I think it is a problem. I'm not bothered by people ganging up on me, but I am bothered by people playing stupidly in order to do it. .


And it doesn't help that the person getting ganked for being experienced is probably in the best position to realize when someone is being stupid.

And of course if they point it out they're just trying to trick you!!

Kind of a vicious cycle that doesn't end if people don't stop being casual gamers.
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Xiong ie
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Oh my, I faced the same thing too! I'm really new to this hobby, and the first few games that I've bought, the moment each games started I was ganked, I protested and their response was, "because you are the most experienced." I remarked, this is my first time playing a Boardgame, just like all of you. And they went "oh yeah." But they never really seem to think much about it, as long as I'm the one getting the games, I must be the "experienced gamer". Usually a really smart and our best female player of the group will just steal the win amidst their incoherent attacks. In another situation, one of our gamer just have this crazy sense of chivalry and will almost never attack a female player, and hence points his attack on me with the same reasoning, and any protest and explanation of who is actually winning results in me being the one trying to "win by diversion" (technically he is not wrong, but still) And he always blurts, "my job is just to prevent him from winning"

Our gaming group is really small, so I really don't have a choice to omit players, and I've tried instead to take it as a handicap to hone my skills. But yes, every time I buy a new game, I will be thinking, who do I really want to play this with? Especially lately I've been considering to try some long epic strategy games, and I most certainly am hesitating because I'm not sure I want to play 4 hours of game watching someone just take the win away not because of good play.

However I still like the games that we've been playing, I just need to keep reminding myself that I'm just not a great enough player yet. (It's like how a pro Go player can go up against 3 others with handicap and playing blind. XD )
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Mark L
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Are these people your friends? If so, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be just to tell them how you feel.

Say that you would like to play more games with direct interaction, but it's no fun being ganged up on just because you own the game. And after all, if you're the one buying the games you should get to have as much fun as everyone else! Friends should agree to go easy on you, at least occasionally.

It seems to me to be bad play, too; among my groups (when playing a game like that) we usually pick on whoever's winning. Sure, at the start of the game, when everyone's equal, we might pick the person who won last time, or wins most often, but it won't take long for that to change.

And if player A is attacked by player B, player C will usually attack someone else unless A is winning, because everyone knows it's no fun to get ganged up on -- and you don't want to let someone get the upper hand by never being attacked.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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This is the reason I don't really care for direct confrontation games. It's usually all too easy for people to decide who's a threat and prevent them from winning. So someone is going to get pounded on early and then limp through the rest of the game, which isn't much fun.

There is a meta-game you have to play of "I'm not the threat here, look at Dave... He's the one who's going to win!" And then sneak in a win from behind. If you're good at that sort of thing you'll probably do well in these.


 
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Mario Lanza
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xipuloxx wrote:
Are these people your friends? If so, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be just to tell them how you feel.

Say that you would like to play more games with direct interaction, but it's no fun being ganged up on just because you own the game. And after all, if you're the one buying the games you should get to have as much fun as everyone else! Friends should agree to go easy on you, at least occasionally.

It seems to me to be bad play, too; among my groups (when playing a game like that) we usually pick on whoever's winning. Sure, at the start of the game, when everyone's equal, we might pick the person who won last time, or wins most often, but it won't take long for that to change.

And if player A is attacked by player B, player C will usually attack someone else unless A is winning, because everyone knows it's no fun to get ganged up on -- and you don't want to let someone get the upper hand by never being attacked.


They're my friends. I don't think they gang up on me because I own the game. And I don't necessarily feel like they're being jerks. I think they just perceive me as a strong player and I know I too attack people that I perceive are my strongest threats based on history. I think this kind of thing is unavoidable.

I guess my main complaint is that I don't like designs that afford more direct attacks because the situation is unavoidable. I wasn't really complaining that my friends are being unfair -- though it certainly does feel that way when they're attacking me by default.

Thanks for the thoughts (to everyone who replied).
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mlanza wrote:

Thoughts?


Oh yeah. Totally. I have a notorious record in negotiation games. I am a wicked negotiator.

I can no longer play games like Werewolf and BSG...I'll always be the first one lynched. Always.

It's become a running joke in my circles.
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mlanza wrote:


I guess my main complaint is that I don't like designs that afford more direct attacks because the situation is unavoidable. I wasn't really complaining that my friends are being unfair -- though it certainly does feel that way when they're attacking me by default.


My feeling is that in most games where this is the case, and the
players are reasonably trying to win, they may hit a perceived
'better player' right off, but that usually will change through the
game as that person is no longer the default threat - someone actually
arises as a bigger threat. I see no issue with this, but IF it is
generally disturbing, I'd suggest trying games that start out with
an inherent imbalance. That way, no one is making a default choice.
Pax Britannica is an excellent option for this (though taking
Great Britain down is a seriously difficult task). In general, games
attempting to portray a real fictional circumstance in anything but the
most cursory manner should serve well to provide that initial imbalance.
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J C Lawrence
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mlanza wrote:
I mean who can really enjoy a game when players -- if they want -- can pretty much decide that you won't have the possibility of winning no matter how well you play?


I have, as I took it as a challenge to win anyway. It sometimes took some dozens of plays to figure out how to wiggle through to the win despite, but the process of getting there was interesting.
 
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Jeff G
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mlanza wrote:
At my game night I'm the one hardcore hobbyist gamer. My friends love to play but are for the most part not actually buying games and hosting their own game nights. As a result I control what games we play since I'm the one buying them.

In games where players can directly attack each other, I'm the guy who gets whacked by default when there's no obvious reason to choose someone else. For me, this affects the kinds of games I buy. If a game provides direct means of attack (usually a war game aspect) or relies heavily upon diplomacy, I shy away from it. It's hard to foster good diplomatic relations when before the game even starts (it feels) players have a predisposed interest in bringing you down.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with these aspects since I know lots of people have different tastes and absolutely love both direct conflict and diplomacy. (This may just be a phenomenon specific to my group.) It's just that to me personally when you can't mitigate the the amount of player adversity to which you'll be subject, it doesn't make for much fun.

I personally love games with a high degree of player interaction; I just don't like it when one has no means of mitigating his exposure to incoming attacks. I think both Hansa Teutonica and Power Grid have good aspects of player contention without feeling too slanted. And I guess that's why I like Eurogames so well. They are generally designed to mitigate this circumstance.

I mean who can really enjoy a game when players -- if they want -- can pretty much decide that you won't have the possibility of winning no matter how well you play?

I'm sure I'm missing out on some good games from having developed this aversion, but I have to be honest, it's hard getting this thinking out of my head.

Thoughts?


Not sure if this advice applies, but since it may, make sure you're not introducing too many games too quickly. Almost better, stick to one or two games that you always play for a few months. It could be a problem that you have a general gaming experience advantage that the others aren't simply racking enough plays of a specific game to compete against. Again - not saying this definitely applies, but I've been guilty of inflicting this upon my group myself.

Other thing you can do is look for many vs. one type games - Letters from Whitechapal and Descent jump to mind. If you're going to be playing all vs. you anyhow, may as well grab a title that caters to it.
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Mario Lanza
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clearclaw wrote:
I have, as I took it as a challenge to win anyway. It sometimes took some dozens of plays to figure out how to wiggle through to the win despite, but the process of getting there was interesting.


Definitely. And I still pull out a win despite drastic adversity in a good share of cases. Makes it even more satisfying as I'm sure you can imagine.
 
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Mario Lanza
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Thunkd wrote:
There is a meta-game you have to play of "I'm not the threat here, look at Dave... He's the one who's going to win!" And then sneak in a win from behind. If you're good at that sort of thing you'll probably do well in these.


I don't care for this kind of metagaming. In my circles, many of the strong players (self included) are known for this kind of misdirection and so its very hard to offer advice even if its not slanted. The assumption will be often made that it is.
 
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I'm in a slightly different situation. My girlfriend notices I tend to be the largest threat, so she both encourages the other players to neutralize me, as well as go into the game keeping that fact in mind. This also means she tends to not sit next to me in any game where table order matters (specifically Glory to Rome and Eclipse).

I can handle the handicap, though.
 
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mlanza wrote:
xipuloxx wrote:
Are these people your friends? If so, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be just to tell them how you feel.

Say that you would like to play more games with direct interaction, but it's no fun being ganged up on just because you own the game. And after all, if you're the one buying the games you should get to have as much fun as everyone else! Friends should agree to go easy on you, at least occasionally.

It seems to me to be bad play, too; among my groups (when playing a game like that) we usually pick on whoever's winning. Sure, at the start of the game, when everyone's equal, we might pick the person who won last time, or wins most often, but it won't take long for that to change.

And if player A is attacked by player B, player C will usually attack someone else unless A is winning, because everyone knows it's no fun to get ganged up on -- and you don't want to let someone get the upper hand by never being attacked.


They're my friends. I don't think they gang up on me because I own the game. And I don't necessarily feel like they're being jerks. I think they just perceive me as a strong player and I know I too attack people that I perceive are my strongest threats based on history. I think this kind of thing is unavoidable.

Sorry, I got the impression you meant they consider you the biggest threat because you own the games. But the point is that they do consider you the biggest threat, whatever the reason for that is.

And I don't mean they're being jerks deliberately, just that always attacking one player is kind of jerkish even if it's not intended that way. Of course, if it doesn't really bother you and you're happy to just play different sorts of games, fair enough! I would say something rather than change the games I play, but that's me.

Quote:
I guess my main complaint is that I don't like designs that afford more direct attacks because the situation is unavoidable. I wasn't really complaining that my friends are being unfair -- though it certainly does feel that way when they're attacking me by default.

You say it's the unavoidable nature of the attacks, but I suspect if the attacks were more evenly spread out among the players that might not bother you so much.

Quote:
Thanks for the thoughts (to everyone who replied).

You're welcome! It's an interesting discussion!
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