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Subject: Moving pieces while working out your turn rss

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Pete Goch
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Do people generally object to this? I thought this was a fairly standard way for people to work out their turns. It certainly is in the groups I play with. Players freely manipulate the pieces in order to visually work out how their turn will go not committing to a move until they say their turn is done and their move is seen to be within the rules by the other players.

Is this how the rest of you play or am I experiencing some seriously anomalous behavior in the board gaming world? Do you all play by chess's touch and move rule? The only time I hold a player to his move is when the game turn is so complicated it becomes almost impossible to unwind the turn.

This thread is what triggered the line of thinking.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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I generally find it's too easy for people to mess things up if you do it this way. Invariably there comes up a question of whether something is moved back to the right spot or not. Or an argument comes up of "Wait, that's not where you pulled that guy from, he doesn't go back there." and "No, I know I had at least one guy in x spot" etc. If the game is easy enough that you won't mess this up, then it's easy enough that you don't need to be moving the pieces to see all the different options.
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Joseph Betz
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I think it depends on the situation. In a tournament setting it could be not allowed.

For regular non-tournament gaming I think it depends on how much/many things are being moved around.
For example if someone moves something and then decides they want to take the move back and do something different most people do not care.

But someone moving 7 different things around and then wanting to move them all back is another thing as far as trying to remember where everything was.

Also I think it depends on the group you are playing with. Is it the same guy moving 7 things around every turn and then taking them back but no-one else does.That might not be fair to the others players some might think.

Also it could be annoying if it slows things down to much.
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Pete Goch
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Thunkd wrote:
If the game is easy enough that you won't mess this up, then it's easy enough that you don't need to be moving the pieces to see all the different options.


This is pretty obviously not true. The turn itself may be "simple" but still have ripple effects that are difficult to see. This will be true for any game with any significant depth that still limits each turn to a simple action. For some people "going through the motions" helps them think these things through. It's just how they think.

With games that are somewhat more complicated in their turns there are usually ways to get tentative moves separated. As an example one can work out their mancala in Trajan by setting the stones on the icons next to the trays when trying to decide on how you want to manipulate the mancala. That way it's easy to unwind and gives you a way to easily examine the impact of putting the stones into the intervening trays in different orders.

Rarely do we ever run into problems where the turn is so complicated it can't readily be unwound.
 
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Elyse S.
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For me mentally moving everything around is part of the game. It's much easier for me then other people so I can see why they need to.
If lots of pieces are being moved around it can be an issue placing everything back and cause problems.
I don't mind taking a turn back if nothing else has changed and the next person hasn't started their tun yet as long as it is not a consistent thing.
I kind of expect people to plan their turn while other people play unless the game has to much randomness for planning. If the game has lots of randomness then it is likely it's not a serious game that has much depth though.
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Feel free to point, count, or place your own small tokens in places, but unless you only have a couple of pieces it gets far too confusing to know which bit started where.
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Bryan Thunkd
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
As an example one can work out their mancala in Trajan by setting the stones on the icons next to the trays when trying to decide on how you want to manipulate the mancala. That way it's easy to unwind and gives you a way to easily examine the impact of putting the stones into the intervening trays in different orders.
If you're going to assign your mancala bits in Trajan, then putting them on the icons is a smart step. I've seen too many people just put them in the mancala bowls and then try to unwind the move and eff everything up. But to me, making the move on the board is typically along the lines of putting your bits in the bowls, as in most games there isn't an easy way to show that it's simply a potential move. And thus things get messed up when they change their mind. I don't mind so much if there is an easy way to track it though... for example, when building in Power Grid we let people put the power plants down sideways to show it's just a possible move, and when they commit to the move, we set them up correctly.
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Chris Johnson
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Yeah, unless there is someone with perfect memory willing and able to reset the board, there's way too much chance of (supposedly) accidental error for that sort of thing to be acceptable on a regular basis. (And yes, I've both seen and heard of people using that kind of "accidental" error to deliberately cheat.)

Now, if you're willing to do so with the caveat that if there is a difference of opinion, you meekly accept your opponents' memory, we might be able to talk.

Occasional take-backs happen, and aren't a problem, but this sort of thing is effectively a continual take-back, and that *is* an issue, unless the culture of your specific group accepts that.

And I agree with the poster above, if it is trivially easy to re-set, you don't need to be moving pieces around. (And if you *need* to, either get better, or play different games. (Or find a group that doesn't mind that sort of thing.))

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D S
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I think it's a practical thing: sometimes when people start making moves, it's hard to track whether they've used them all. Not about cheating, just the chance of getting it wrong is irritating. The classic one for me is Dominant Species with the 'migration' action. Moving seven cubes if you start moving them back again you can quickly lose track (mainly because you might know that you moved three into a certain hex but forget where from).

In Go, there's a principle of not physically placing stones on the board while 'reading', I assume because it wouldn't be allowed (and would give stuff away!) in tournament games, so you need to build up the practice of doing it in your haed.
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Pete Goch
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fnord23 wrote:

Now, if you're willing to do so with the caveat that if there is a difference of opinion, you meekly accept your opponents' memory, we might be able to talk.


If we can't all agree on how to reset the turn, the turn stays as played. It's rare that we can't, though. And this is with many different groups of players at several different meetup groups and conventions.

I really was under the impression that this was more or less typical.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I really was under the impression that this was more or less typical.
Not really.
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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The problem I have had with this is sometimes players forget where their piece was originally. To work around, I have players mark their space if they choose to do so. I obviously don't do this with every game, but some games have a ton of spaces and one space may look very similar to another. Ex: Battleball


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Thom0909
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I come from a chess background, so this isn't kosher. I'm OK with touch move (until you release your finger, you can take it back). I consider being able to visualize things as part of the game, but again, that's a chess thing.
 
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Thunkd wrote:
I generally find it's too easy for people to mess things up if you do it this way. Invariably there comes up a question of whether something is moved back to the right spot or not. Or an argument comes up of "Wait, that's not where you pulled that guy from, he doesn't go back there." and "No, I know I had at least one guy in x spot" etc. If the game is easy enough that you won't mess this up, then it's easy enough that you don't need to be moving the pieces to see all the different options.


It definitely can make things easy to mess up, which I think is the best argument against it. That being said, I don't play for blood so I don't worry about it as long as people are being careful. I'll even let someone take back a move after ending his turn if it's clearly a howler.
 
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Pete Goch
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The Grinch wrote:
That being said, I don't play for blood so I don't worry about it as long as people are being careful. I'll even let someone take back a move after ending his turn if it's clearly a howler.


Pretty much. Everyone is playing competitively and wants to win but no one is pretending we're playing in some sort of high level tournament mode.

Another factor is that since I'm playing at groups with a rotating cast of characters almost every game is a teaching game for 1 or more players. I suppose we're a bit more lax by necessity. It simply isn't fun if we force the learners to commit to every game piece they touch. And since we've introduced a level of laxness we let it slide all the way around the table.
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Elyse S.
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The Grinch wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
I generally find it's too easy for people to mess things up if you do it this way. Invariably there comes up a question of whether something is moved back to the right spot or not. Or an argument comes up of "Wait, that's not where you pulled that guy from, he doesn't go back there." and "No, I know I had at least one guy in x spot" etc. If the game is easy enough that you won't mess this up, then it's easy enough that you don't need to be moving the pieces to see all the different options.


It definitely can make things easy to mess up, which I think is the best argument against it. That being said, I don't play for blood so I don't worry about it as long as people are being careful. I'll even let someone take back a move after ending his turn if it's clearly a howler.


If everyone in the group constantly sat around and moved pieces to plan their turn I would find that annoying. Just like someone with AP staring at the board for 10min. I don't play for blood and am easy going generally but people need to plan ahead.
I make plan A, then a plan B and maybe even plan C depending on the game and what other people are doing.
I make mistakes and have taken turns back or set a pieces down then realized I wanted to do something else but it's not every turn and it's not how I plan turns.
I suppose if that is how your group works it is fine but I don't think it's typical.
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Pete Goch
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I'm not saying that people unwind their turns every single time. In practice it seems like maybe 2-3 times a game (more or less depending on the game) per player (and not necessarily every player). It's just that it's common enough in my experience that I've adopted the perspective that turns are fluid and can be altered until the player announces that his turn is finished.
 
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Matt B
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If it's a game in which you do several different things on your turn before anyone else has a chance to act, such as Through the Ages, we'll usually allow players to take back moves if their turn hasn't ended yet. However, we usually don't move pieces around just to see how the board would look if we made those moves.
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Shane Hockin
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We play by the "your hand leaves the piece, then it stays" rule. Simple. Easy to enforce. No questions or interpretation. Everybody knows the rules and there are no arguments.

But I do admit that there are exceptions to the rule. We are very lapse on the rule when there are new guests or we're learning a new game. And some particularly puzzlely games require a little leeway. Mage Knight comes to mind.
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Russ Williams
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TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I'm not saying that people unwind their turns every single time. In practice it seems like maybe 2-3 times a game (more or less depending on the game) per player (and not necessarily every player).


FWIW, your OP ("I thought this was a fairly standard way for people to work out their turns. It certainly is in the groups I play with. Players freely manipulate the pieces in order to visually work out how their turn will go not committing to a move until they say their turn is done and their move is seen to be within the rules by the other players.") gave me a very different impression, i.e. it sounded like it was, well, "fairly standard" and that's how people typically do their turns in your group.
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Pete Goch
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russ wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
I'm not saying that people unwind their turns every single time. In practice it seems like maybe 2-3 times a game (more or less depending on the game) per player (and not necessarily every player).


FWIW, your OP ("I thought this was a fairly standard way for people to work out their turns. It certainly is in the groups I play with. Players freely manipulate the pieces in order to visually work out how their turn will go not committing to a move until they say their turn is done and their move is seen to be within the rules by the other players.") gave me a very different impression, i.e. it sounded like it was, well, "fairly standard" and that's how people typically do their turns in your group.


By unwind I mean reset their whole turn and start over again. People do that just often enough for me to consider any move subject to change until the player says their turn is over. There may be minor alterations in a player's turn as they go through the stages of their turn - I wouldn't necessarily call that "unwinding" the whole turn, though. There are degrees.
 
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J Holmes
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Space Alert encourages it
 
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Christian Gienger
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I don't mind people take back a move every now and then, but to make about 10 different moves to see how it works out is just bad. First it means that you can only start planning your turn when it is your turn as moving pieces through other players' turns just is really not an option and chances are too high that after 3 rewinds you don't remember what the position exactly was.
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Russ Williams
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Locu wrote:
I don't mind people take back a move every now and then, but to make about 10 different moves to see how it works out is just bad. First it means that you can only start planning your turn when it is your turn as moving pieces through other players' turns just is really not an option

Good point; and conversely, if one player continually rearranges the board during their own turn in a game with other players who are better able to simply look at the board and decide on their moves and who can normally do some planning ahead during other players' turns, then those other players unfortunately cannot plan ahead easily during the turn of the one player who's continually rearranging the board.
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Andi Hub
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j_holmes wrote:
Space Alert encourages it

For space alert it is irrelevant to the game (maybe not the players), which pieces you move during the planning phase. You do not change the game state, but just visualize your planning.

Unless you are unfamiliar with the game and you are overwhelmed by the possibilities in your turn, such that you need moving the pieces the realize the effects of your move, you should try to minimize moving pieces around and take the movement back later. Unfortunately, I also happen to do my move and in execution I realize, that the move is not valid and have to take all back. Especially with resource conversion games this can happen quite easily, when you are just one resource short (after a cascade of conversions).

 
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