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Subject: Love board games, but terrible at them. rss

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Juan Mejia
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So I'm quickly learning that I'm terrible at board games, which is disproportionate to how much I enjoy them.
When I first started the hobby I was winning every game, and as a long time Warhammer 40k player, in the years I played I have only lost a handful of times. After my initial winning streak I started to lose on purpose to get my girlfriend into it, and as to not discourage my friends from wanting to play.

Lately though, now that my group has more games under their belt, I'm trying to win and just NOT getting there most the time. I feel like partially I'm still in the mindframe where I'm trying not to be too mean and confrontational, and then I get too caught up on just doing my own thing and making sure everyone else is having fun.

Does anyone else here notice that they love games yet seem to lose most the time?
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Mario Lanza
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I admit it's nice to win, but the main thing is are you having fun? If so, it's not too shabby a way to spend the time.

I definitely do think you ought to be willing to play aggressively (even if that means hurting someone else's position). That's par for the course in my game group. See if that make a difference.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Des Lee
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Oh, I'm awful at gaming. Sometimes I jag a lucky win, but I'm generally bad at them. I love games, and love how games work, but I've never really been one to work hard to getting good at playing them. I dislike it when players take a long time at their turn, so I will usually use downtime to plan for my turn and then immediately perform my actions when it's my turn. Sometimes it's not the optimum move, but I usually have a plan B and C, and pick one of them if my preferred option isn't there. I won't sit there and spend five minutes deciding which move gives me the absolute most points - I don't see the fun in that at all.

Sometimes that's good enough to win, and most often it's not. I'm still enjoying the game either way.
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Matt Brown
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It took me 8 plays to finally win at Survive: Escape from Atlantis!.
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It's not the quality if your play that matters. It's the quality of the time spent that matters.
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Juan Mejia
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Oh I'm not particularly complaining about it, as I said I love the game and really enjoy any chance I get to bring one out. I do wish I could win a little more though. Haha.
 
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C Bazler
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It depends on the kind of game. I tend to win more often at tactical, less confrontational Euros, which I prefer possibly because I am better at them than pure strategy games. On the other hand, I am happy to play certain games even when I know I will lose. I'm terrible at heavy economic games, but my husband loves them (and is much better than I am!), so even though I might not request heavier economic games very often, I play gladly because I have fun playing with him. I lose every time, though! Damn you, Martin Wallace!!!
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Ryan James
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Professor, isn't it time for your nap?
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Triceranuke wrote:
Isn't it crazy how everyone around here loves games yet seems to lose most of the time?


FTFY
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Mary Martinson
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I have a history of being a nice gamer. But then one time playing "Shadows Over Camelot", I ended up being the unknown traitor and for once was a little devil and ended up winning the game!!!! Now I play to win most of the time.....

Also, when I first started playing board games a few years ago, I felt like a dunce most of the time. I always had great fun but didn't win much. But I kept on playing them and now that I've learned a lot I sometimes even WIN! That said, I still stress that the most important thing about playing board games is HAVING FUN and the time you share with your friends and family. Even if I never won, I'd still play!
 
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bort
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I'd hate to see my win/loss %, I suspect it would be very low. But I don't care, cos I always have a great time when I play.

I have learned to savour my occasional victories. ;-)
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Jesper Hansen
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You cant be terrible at boardgames if you enjoy them - thats the purpose of them.
 
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Mario Lanza
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I used to run a club and walk-ins would join us. Casual gamers can be discouraged by not knowing what to do. One woman I recall would want someone else to tell her what move to make on pretty much every move.

The thing that I generally encouraged was to try to notice how certain moves played out in a game. The key to doing well is being able to -- even if ever so gradually and this may take several plays -- pick up and understand that connection between cause and effect. You have to ask "what was good about that move?" and "what was bad about that move?" Talk about the games afterwards. Our group regularly has a postmortem discussion (I really enjoy these) about how a game played out and why certain moves were made. Pay attention to these kinds of details.

If I learned one thing, it's that there's real value in exploring a game. For example, I have an every-other-week game night. We recently played The Great Zimbabwe on 4 consecutive game nights. We also recently played an older favorite --Tigris & Euphrates -- over 3 consecutive game nights. I had forgotten some T&E details because I hadn't played it in a while. I used to be so cult-of-the-new that I would just keep teaching and playing new games, but lately this trend of having more consecutive plays has helped us grasp the cause-and-effect relationship which, in turn, allows us to better enjoy the games.

Without understanding that relationship it's hard if not near impossible to improve at a game. There are some games that I can figure out almost right away and others that I don't get even after 5 or so plays.
 
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Steve S
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I'm really awful actually even though I love playing them. I'm at the point now where my goal in multi-player games is usually "try not to be in last place" rather than trying to win.

I figure there are a couple of reasons, one of the main ones being that I just don't get to play that often, and when I do I frequently want to try something new since I have a crazy number of games that have never hit the table - so I don't play anything enough to really develop any good strategies.
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Jeff Carlson
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If you're playing with three friends of similar skill, you should be winning roughly 25% on the time, and that certainly won't feel like you're winning very often. Just try to have fun with it.
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Zuggy
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I'm like the Wil Wheaton of my group, I might win one in every 8-10 games, but honestly I almost prefer it that way. I don't play games to win, I play to have a good time. What's nice about that way of thinking is if I'm playing I'm having fun and then on the rare occasion I win it's super exciting for me.
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GeekInsight
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Triceranuke wrote:
as a long time Warhammer 40k player, in the years I played I have only lost a handful of times.


I wonder if this skews your perception. If you played mostly two player, then winning as little as 50% of the time puts you in the average column.

In a five player board game, that drops to 20%. So even if you're pulling in a statistically awesome 30% of victories, you're still losing 70% of the time.

That said, as long as everyone is having fun, the victory at the end is quite ancillary to the whole experience.
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Juan Mejia
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MyParadox wrote:
Triceranuke wrote:
as a long time Warhammer 40k player, in the years I played I have only lost a handful of times.


I wonder if this skews your perception. If you played mostly two player, then winning as little as 50% of the time puts you in the average column.

In a five player board game, that drops to 20%. So even if you're pulling in a statistically awesome 30% of victories, you're still losing 70% of the time.

That said, as long as everyone is having fun, the victory at the end is quite ancillary to the whole experience.

This actually makes a lot of sense, thanks!
 
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