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Subject: Comparing Chess with other Games rss

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Ben Goodman
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This topic partially stems from another thread currently being discussed on this forum and something that happened over the weekend.

Now before I get into this, I want to make this clear, I like chess, I think it is extremely well designed, especially given how old it is. I would not consider myself a real chess player, I am okay at best. I like chess because it makes you think and you truly do only have yourself to blame for a loss or a win. My issues with it though is that it lacks theme and because in order to win consistently it involves a lot of practice, memorization and skill that it can be tough to find someone at the same level as you.

Just this last weekend I hosted a game night. We played Sentinels of the Multiverse, one of my favourite games, especially since it is cooperative. The guys I was with had never played it before, I started us off against Baron Blade and if you have ever played you know how easy he is to beat. Everyone had a blast and said how much they enjoyed it.

Later in the evening we broke it out again. This time the players themselves decided they wanted to fight Spite without conferring with me about which villain might be a good one to go up against next. Then they did not really confer with me much or take any advice while picking heroes despite that I warned them that certain heroes play well against certain villains and some do not. So we played and we won by the skin of our teeth, but at the price of having to play conservatively and slowly. One player in particular got upset about this after the game and went on a 5-10 minute rant about how dealing damage to heroes who use powers takes away from the gameplay and was a "bad" game mechanic (although he did not say so, that was his meaning). He complained how when we were in a bad situation we had no choice but to play conservatively and he ended up playing the same card over and over. Now he said he had no other choice, but I actually saved the game for us near the end by looking at his hand and seeing that he had a card that he was not going to play which would win us the game. Now it is my opinion based on my experiences with the game that he probably had more options than he was making out but was too frustrated to realize (he said he only had the one option though so I guess I will take him at his word).

He then said that as a chess player he knows what it is like to be in a bad position and to have options, and I felt like it was a poor comparison for a few reasons. Here are the reasons I feel he was wrong to make that comment:

-The games are entirely different. Sentinels is a coop/card/randomized/complex(in terms of the number of different things you can do with each card and the combinations) game that is primarily a thematic game, also sometimes the end of the game is drawn out simply because it takes a long time to defeat a hero but you could know it is over long before that. Chess is complex in a different way in the number of different outcomes you can have, also chess ends very suddenly, it is a 2 player competitive game which has the same set up everytime and is far from being thematic.

-I personally felt like the game was a struggle, but that was part of the theme and I enjoyed that challenge, the point is that each villain provides you with a different type of challenge. I felt like we were a bunch of heroes that were getting the crap knocked out of us but we were still in the fight. Legacy was down, Visonary was down but the other heroes were trying to do their best to stay in the fight and take out the supervillain. I mean I felt like it went along with the theme of a comic book superhero fight.

-I feel like the player did not understand that us picking certain heroes for that villain was a mistake technically and the combination did not work, which is partially what the game is about.

I did not argue with him about it or anything, figured there was no point. I was just a little peeved because I brought in a game that had given everyone an experience unique to any other game that they had played and I feel like the guy complained for the wrong reasons.

I dunno. My question to you guys is, is it fair to compare a game like chess to a game that is almost completely unlike chess?
 
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Weston Burk
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Firstly, I think it is entirely fair, though not advisable. If you can make what can be seen as a logical connection between the two things you are trying to connect, then go right ahead. Just because two games are not alike does not mean that they cannot share tactical and strategic similarities from time to time. The majority of the differences that you mentioned are fairly superficial and can be ignored.

Secondly, when you are frustrated, pretty much anything is fair game.

Thirdly, the player you mentioned sounds a bit childish.
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General Norris
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Seems like your friend is trying to assert superiority over the game.
 
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Ben Goodman
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General_Norris wrote:
Seems like your friend is trying to assert superiority over the game.


Well I can guarantee you I will not be playing it with him again, so it does not matter whether or not he was trying to assert superiority. I have had issues with him playing coop games in the past.

As to what the other guy said, I can understand what you mean about that you can make a point about comparing the fundamental parts of the game which I guess is what the guy was doing. But the two games really do give completely different experiences which I do not think should be ignored entirely. I think you made a good point in that it is not advisable to make such comparisons. Just saying if someone made a comparison to it like Pandemic, or Robinson Crusoe which are games I have not played yet, it would make more sense to me because they are thematic coop games as well, different in many ways of course but they are under the same heading sort of (for those of you who are fans of either of those games I hope I am right in calling them thematic coop games).
 
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DJ Wilde
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One thing to understand about a Chess enthusiasts is that many of us are also Chess philosophers. Basically we compare "life" and it's events to playing Chess in a number of ways. Among this set are "Chess snobs" who feel that mentioning the game gives them an intellectual leg up on the conversation or makes them automatically right.

I feel the latter is the direction your friend was going.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to compare Chess to other games if that's how your mind works. It just does with some people. I can see where the comparison fails. In your friend's case it just makes him look like a poor sport.

The true downfall for him was not following your advice on how to play the game (a game I haven't tried yet but very much want to).
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Bryan Thunkd
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AnalyticGamer wrote:
I like chess because it makes you think and you truly do only have yourself to blame for a loss or a win.
When I lose, I blame my opponent for playing better than I did.

AnalyticGamer wrote:
My question to you guys is, is it fair to compare a game like chess to a game that is almost completely unlike chess?
I can't speak to fairness... you start getting into deep waters when you try to say what's fair and what isn't. My opinion on the matter is that anyone can make comparisons between any two things, but whether that comparison is useful, interesting or appropriate is something that can be judged and evaluated. Maybe that touches on what you would consider to be fair.

If you're going to compare one game to another, I think there should be enough similarities between the two games that the comparison makes sense. Comparing two things that shares no similarities simply throws two completely different things up against each other to no purpose. It's much more interesting to show how two things that have some similarities differ... then you can evaluate how the way they differ has some sort of impact on the gameplay/theme/feel/etc. and make some interesting conclusions.

I recently got into a discussion with someone on this subject as they tried to say that Aquasphere was like Chess (Not Bored Review - Like chess on steroids) As it turned out, the only similarity that was claimed for the two games was that they required planning and intelligent play... but then again, most games do. So if that was the point you could have just as easily compared it to almost any game. There wasn't anything particularly interesting to be gained from that comparison. The poster would have been as well served to simply say that Aquasphere required planning and intelligent play. Since the games share no other similarities, there was no place to go after the intitial claim.

This to me is the epitome of a bad Chess comparison. After making the claim that they both share an almost universal property of board games, there was no opportunity to point out other similarities, or to draw inferences from how the ways they differed affected the games. It's along the lines of saying that Go and Candyland both share a board... obvious, trite, and utterly without point.

If you're going to compare a game to Chess, it should at least be somewhat similar to Chess, otherwise what's the point?
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Mindy Basi
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My gaming group compared Five Tribes to Chess the other day.

In terms of planning moves ahead on a board, moving pieces orthagonally over spaces, I guess it is similar. But I don't play chess, so I couldn't really argue the point.

Certainly it has as much AP as chess in our group, that's for sure!
 
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