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Subject: Giving in game advise during the game rss

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Shawn Harriman
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When I play board games I play with very similar rules of behavior as at a poker table (many more hours spent there...)

I have been gaming with a regular group of guys & there are a couple that simply cannot allow the other players to make their own choices & turns (without advising what they would or would not do.) This infuriates me at the table. I feel "you should move there, it will give you this or take that from player x" is colluding & disrupting the game.
Generally this is not a game changer but plenty of times I have seen players either make a mistake or almost make one to be "saved" by the advisor & I feel at best this is not fair.
He is not trying to do this, I feel it is an OCD thing which because he & they are friends I put up with it. I believe he feels he is "helping."
I have made it clear I do not like or want this to continue but I seem to be in the minority in my group.


My question is this:

Am I being too sensitive?
Do I just not play well with others? (I do not seem to like co op ameritrash either....)
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Donnie Clark
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I think you can answer this by yourself by asking yourself why you play games at all, and compare your motives to those of your friends.
Are you playing to have fun and enjoy company, or are you there to compete and win? Perhaps your table-mates don't share your outlook.
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Tony C
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There are some people who are bossy/controlling/OCD/over analytical/whatever.
I play with them once, discover that, try to avoid playing with them again.
If it's a learning game, or if they are very experienced and are offering some tips for a brand newbie, that's one thing, but if it's consistent, I'm surprised they find people to play with.

Also depends on the game.
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Pasi Ojala
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There is a difference between using diplomacy to better your own position through "helping", and genuinely trying to help a player. During the first game or two small hand-helding is okay, but after that the crutches have to come off.

Even tabletalk / metagame should be limited to pointing out the leader, alluding to the leader's strategy, and not giving detailed instructions about how to make your moves.

If one player is practically playing two characters / colors / whatever, then it is not really fun for anyone, perhaps not even for them (but they make up for the loss by getting a fuzzy feeling of being helpful).
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Nathan Clegg
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I'm one of those talkers you don't like to play with.

For me, gaming is a social activity. I actively despise silent play. I don't mind chatting about the weather or whatnot, and that does happen, but it usually comes back to the game. Even though we are competing against each other (I don't play cooperative games at all) I still see it as a group activity. I want to talk about what we're doing, while we're doing it.

I see these discussions as an opportunity to share strategies and improve at the game. I like to discuss afterward as well, but that's not as impactful for me as during. I might ask an opponent why he's doing something so I can learn from it, an I might volunteer an explanation for what I'm doing so that a less experienced player gets more exposure.

I occasionally participate in collusion. If Alice is about to win the game and only Bob can stop her, why shouldn't I point that out? It's still Bob's call, but we both benefit from him stopping her.

I like to win but I want to win from superior play. I don't find it satisfying to win when my opponent just forgot something or made a stupid move. If public information shows that I can win on the next round, I might point it out, and I'd do the same for other players. The facts are out there and I'd consider the hour we spent playing a little wasted if it came down to an oversight or distraction.

I understand your perspective. Are you too sensitive? Yes, for me. It's hard for me to say you're wrong. If you game for the tournament-style contest, then your outlook makes sense. I'd play that way, too, if money or fame were on the line. But different people game for different reasons. The talk you dislike is one of the primary draws of the hobby for me and I get as annoyed by being told to be quiet as you do by the talk itself. Maybe we are just incompatible. And maybe you and your gaming partners are, too.
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Joe Salamone
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When someone in my group introduces a new game, it is fairly common for the players to discuss various moves and provide assistance to players who do not seem to be "catching on" to the rules and strategies. After we play a few times, this type of assistance tends to dwindle. I don't mind it as long as it doesn't turn into collusion against a particular player.
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Paul Evans
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For me there needs to be a bit of a balance. On the one hand you don't want someone playing for another player, and on the other hand you don't want a game ruined by a completely broken play. But who is to say where that balance is - a bit subjective.

And there is another dimension - the meta-gaming in multi-player games. If I am playing with a new player I am more likely to offer genuine advice - when solicited, and to caution them if they are about to make a really broken play. If I am playing with more experienced players I am more likely to present it in the form of a negotiation.
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Alison Mandible
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That bothers me too, both when it's unsolicited but helpful advice (let people learn the game on their own! or at least ask before butting in) or political maneuvering. But if your group likes it, it hardly matters what a bunch of us BGG posters think.
 
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Gregg S.
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Have the one that needs help sit to the right of the helper. That way, when he takes his turn you can help him make the most optimal move against the helper. Or, see if the helper is as helpful in that situation.
 
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Derry Salewski
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If it's just down to tabletalk. Meh. I don't want every game to turn into a negotiation game. I'd prefer in-depth analysis when it's over to suggesting moves while playing.

If it's legitimately helping a bunch of newer people, then okay. Help them until they get better, but don't be stifling.

Because what it seems like it really comes down to is a skill difference. If one gets annoyed by player A who is as good as them pointing out better moves to player B who is not as good as either player . . . well why are they playing with player B?

Because now they're just back to arguing about table talk, and with one player refusing to engage in it, of course that players is going to lose the diplomatic game!

You can't just say 'let them learn.' There are plenty of ways people learn that will be better reinforced by immediate feedback or preemptive analysis. And there are players that will act like you're cutting their junk off if you even try that.

I dunno.

My situation is that I'm a good gamer (I spend so much time doing it, I would hope I am.) I'm also a fairly good teacher, which I enjoy. I also introduce a lot of new games to people. I also play a lot of two player games. I'm also quiet and don't like stepping on people's toes, but also am not afraid to be darkly cynical/sarcastic. So it's not an issue I run into a whole lot.
 
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Mark Nicosia
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Helping doesn't bother me unless the helper is also playing and the only strategies he offers someone are ones that help himself and/or hurt everyone besides himself.

I'm actually a little odd in that I enjoy discussing strategies and tactics and interesting game mechanics during a game almost more that 'playing the game". I've been known to say things like "oh, man, you can really screw me over right now if you did (such and such elegant but not obvious move)". Usually followed immediately after by "Did I just say that out loud?".
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Chris Weeks
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If this is the first or even the second time we're playing a new game and everyone is learning then I don't have a problem with someone (sometimes I am that someone) helping other players. With that said, I have reached a point where telling other people how to play their turn after we've played twice is really pissing me off. I've been watching now for a few months and it seems that the person giving advice is doing so to improve their position in the game. I've even seen said player advise against a good move because it was going to hurt them. At our last get together he was giving advise on a game that our group has easily played 50 times. He had already lost and couldn't stand to see that a certain other player was going to win. So he took it upon himself to advise all the other players on how to play their turn so that player wouldn't win either. His actions are really starting to get on my nerves.

I have decided that from here on out I will ask this person to let everyone play their own turn. If it causes someone to win that 'didn't deserve it' then who cares! We're here to enjoy one and other's company and in the process if you win a game great. If he can't 'keep his mouth shut' then I'm going to stop inviting him. I'd rather play a man down than listen to him play everyone's turn.

I don't think you're being over sensetive. Explain how you would like everyone to play their own game and if he can't then find another group. If you're not enjoying yourself then move on.
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M. B.
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I wouldn't say you're being unreasonable. You just have different gaming expectations; no more, no less.

If it bothers you that much, voice your concerns. If no one cares and it still bothers you that much, then don't be rude about it but, don't play any more games with X and X players until they get the message. You're there to have fun too, not be frustrated. If it is still not working for you, then find new gamers to game with as a final measure (or try to find games that don't promote that behaviour if possible). That's just the way of the world unfortunately.
 
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Chris Wilczewski
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I think it depends (as always, seems like this is the answer to these morals questions)

If I'm playing a game, I almost never offer unsolicited advice, unless the move someone makes indicates that they may not be grasping a rule (or perhaps I'm not).

Take Splendor - if someone has 9 chips and decide to take a blue chip when there are 7 in the stack. I might point out to them that they would be better off taking a gold and reserving a card they want. Their move indicates they may not totally grasp the rules of the game.

Otherwise, the "advice" could just be meta-gaming. In cosmic encounter, plenty of table talk is really alliance making and breaking, and that's part of how the game works.

But all that aside, if the advice giver is using his role as instructor as a means to winning the game himself, then yeah, I think it would bug me too.
 
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paul cleveland
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From what you presented I would be inclined to say that you are being sensitive but not overly so. It's your time for fun as well. Teaching, helping and continued mentoring are seperate. The continual assistance would bring me to a point of saying something to the individual. Then if that didn't work I would do something such as be less available for gaming with that friend.
 
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Shawn Harriman
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Thanks, I hear a lot of understanding & constructive thought there.

When we are learning I am all for group help in getting a new game down, then it is on.
The times I am referring to are in games we all should be fine running on our own. He is a really good guy & this is a small sliver that I will have to get over.We are in a small town so pickins are a slim.
I am branching out a bit as well as building to host more so I think having a more diverse crow to play with will help us all.
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J Holmes
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As a cylon in Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game I'm always giving the humans handy advice but they often seem to ignore it
 
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J.M. Diller
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riastradh wrote:
I think you can answer this by yourself by asking yourself why you play games at all, and compare your motives to those of your friends.
Are you playing to have fun and enjoy company, or are you there to compete and win? Perhaps your table-mates don't share your outlook.


I think this sums it up well. I wouldn't call the OP sensitive, but it sounds like he's very competitive. That's OK, unless the rest of the group isn't.

I know for me, if I think a player is making a terrible move(or is just learning the game), I will freely offer advice. I won't continuously do it, but now and then is good.


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David Witzany
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jmdiller wrote:
...I wouldn't call the OP sensitive, but it sounds like he's very competitive. That's OK, unless the rest of the group isn't.

I know for me, if I think a player is making a terrible move(or is just learning the game), I will freely offer advice. I won't continuously do it, but now and then is good.


The OP noted that this person may try and help every player every turn. That can make a game's length triple--imagine this guy playing Caylus, for example. I've had this happen in games before. I'll jokingly comment that it might be time to let people play for themselves--with the afore-mentioned exceptions for newbies and bad moves.
 
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Josh Chen
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I love it when my family talks about the game state while we are playing. I think that is the best part of this hobby!

But I guess you feel different with your friends. That's too bad. Lighten up and enjoy the game.
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When playing at a low level (i.e. first play of a simple game or first few plays of a complex game, and the whole group is at about the same level) I'm okay with this because nobody has much idea how the game is supposed to play out, and we may be making rules mistakes too. Though I would totally understand if someone wanted to stop this.

At a low level, games are won rather than lost, by players discovering new strategic space. Conversely at a high level, games are lost rather than won, by which I mean skilled players generally play close to their theoretical best, and mainly make small mistakes with the occasional mid-sized or big mistake. It's these mistakes that separate the pack, and the way to get ahead is to try and make fewer mistakes than your opponents.

If someone else at the table is error correcting, even in a purely 'helpful' way, then you are now required to make fewer mistakes than both of them combined. If the whole table is doing it (at which point you might as well be playing a co-op game, or have one player play all the positions), then the winner needs to play better than the rest of them put together, and see pros and cons that no-one else can see (or just roll more 6's if it's that sort of game). Someone not even playing the game? That's right out. Imagine Chess with a crowd of spectators all helping one player. Is that cool?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
No.


I was assuming here it's not a game where you can win through random chance, but it still applies to games with lots of random factors. For example I've been in games of Battlestar Galactica as a revealed Cylon, and the other revealed Cylon is pointing thing out to the humans that they otherwise wouldn't have noticed. WTF! Sure, this is simple, visible information that everyone can see (e.g. a Centurion, or being able to jump at -1 or one Civilian ship at risk etc.), but one thing that game has taught me is that people - even whole teams of people - make mistakes often. And it's best to keep your mouth shut.
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Shawn Harriman
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paulclarke339 wrote:
Conversely at a high level, games are lost rather than won, by which I mean skilled players generally play close to their theoretical best, and mainly make small mistakes with the occasional mid-sized or big mistake. It's these mistakes that separate the pack, and the way to get ahead is to try and make fewer mistakes than your opponents.

If someone else at the table is error correcting, even in a purely 'helpful' way, then you are now required to make fewer mistakes than both of them combined. If the whole table is doing it (at which point you might as well be playing a co-op game, or have one player play all the positions), then the winner needs to play better than the rest of them put together, and see pros and cons that no-one else can see (or just roll more 6's if it's that sort of game).


Exactly what I am looking at. Reading responses to this I realize I am becoming more competitive than I thought I was.

paulclarke339 wrote:
I was assuming here it's not a game where you can win through random chance

Yes, El Grande is a specifically tough one on this for me. I feel it is a very tight game and one "you sure that is where you want to go?" or a "he is leading in the castillio ya know" type of comment can swing the game big.
paulclarke339 wrote:
And it's best to keep your mouth shut.

Words to live by

 
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Eric Brosius
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I hate this when it is done in an overbearing way. I don't mind banter. I don't think I can give a logical definition of which is which.
 
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Ray
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I don't offer it unless:

1. They are playing the game for the 1st time

2. They have expressed they want to get better at a game I'm really good at and want me to help them out.

3. My advice only negatively targets me (i.e. I don't want to ruin someone else's strategy). If there is something to learn from the actions of another player, I wait until it is done and then ask that player if I may explain what they did.

Advice should be given when someone really needs it (first time playing) or if asked for. Almost like real life
 
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Drew Hicks
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Dostradamas wrote:

My question is this:

Am I being too sensitive?
Do I just not play well with others? (I do not seem to like co op ameritrash either....)


If it's the first time I've played a game, my goal is to learn how to play the game. Table talk helps this by showing me how to look for moves.

If it's the first few times I have played a game, my goal is to learn how to play the game better. Pointing out my mistakes as I make them is good for learning.

If I have played the game may many times, but my opponents have not, my goal is to teach them how to play the game. I will show them what I think are mistakes or missed opportunities so they can get better.

If I have played the game many times and my opponent has played the game many times, my goal is to test my skill at the game against my opponents. I would not appreciate table-talk or kibbitzing in this kind of environment; Luckily most gaming tournaments forbid it, and that's the only environment where I think I am likely to encounter this.

If you care a lot about winning first games, I think you need to get over that. Winning a first game against another newbie is very often a test of chance (starting down the right path early on), or in the best case pattern-recognition from having played many other similar games. That's not a skill that is likely to factor in to later more experienced games.
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