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Subject: Analysis Paralysis rss

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Pasi Ojala
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AnalyticGamer wrote:
A:"That is one person's opinion."

You: "It is the opinion of someone that counts, if you want to keep playing with him."

AnalyticGamer wrote:
Like seriously... How can someone not see the clear side of that argument or at least consider it.

They don't see it because they don't see the difference between options in the game either. devil
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Analysis Paralysis isn't by choice. You can't just convince someone to stop having AP. Some people just take more time to make a decision. You can force them to just pick a random action to speed up play, but those people will not have as much fun. The best solution is to pick games that are less senstive to AP.
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An important part of a successful game night is to have a group where everyone is happy and enjoys the atmosphere, the games and most of all, the people on the table.

If this atmosphere is disturbed - by whatever reasons (AP, animosities, behavior, etc.) - it's time consider a change in the group or looking for a different group.

I went through this, and after I abandoned my "regular" group, I have much more quality time when gaming. meeple
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You may say that a game is more fun when it is played quickly. I counter that a game is more fun when players give a worthwhile opposition. I mean, a game could be played very quickly if everyone just performed some random actions, but would it be fun? Would you have fun playing -for example- Carcassonne against someone who isn't trying to optimise his score?

It also depends on the game, I'd say. In Chess, it is expected that players take their time to find the most optimal move, that they think a few moves ahead. It would be silly to do so in Candyland. I would find it most irritating if you, as my opponent, would try to hurry me in a game of chess, have me speed up my play without giving me time to properly assess my options. Especially if you're more experienced.

Next time you play with A, perhaps you should select a game that is AP-prone; that does not require deep analysis. Or you should play a game he is experienced in.


I can live with AP-prone people. At least they think about the game. It's better than someone in a group I used to be part of. She saw the game evening mainly as a means to socialise and gossip with her friends. During other people's turns, she would distract everyone with her chatter, and when the turn came to her, only then would she look at the board to see what had happened since her last move, and start thinking about her move.

Really, at least AP-prone people take the game seriously and give worthwhile opposition.
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As much as I dislike AP in players, I haven't found a good way to approach it. If you mention they are going slow, they tend to lock up even more. If you sit and say nothing, this doesn't solve the problem. I 100% agree that people going slow absolutely hinders the enjoyment of a game.

I've come to two "solutions". Either a) play less analytical games with the person or b) just stop playing games with them.

There are some games I can't play with certain people and there are certain people I just refuse to game with. Not the best advice, but I can't stand it when someone is taking 5 times the amount of time as everyone else around the table.
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Whymme wrote:
Really, at least AP-prone people take the game seriously and give worthwhile opposition.

I've often found that not to be the case in my experience. Just because they take longer, doesn't mean they are actually doing better. I've often had slow players take suboptimal moves or only marginally better moves. And for example, is getting 11 points that much better over 10 points when the scores are in the hundreds? Is it really worth the 5 minutes it took to get there when it took the rest of the table 30 seconds?

I'm not trying to rush AP players, but my game time isn't unlimited.
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Whymme wrote:
You may say that a game is more fun when it is played quickly. I counter that a game is more fun when players give a worthwhile opposition. I mean, a game could be played very quickly if everyone just performed some random actions, but would it be fun? Would you have fun playing -for example- Carcassonne against someone who isn't trying to optimise his score?

It also depends on the game, I'd say. In Chess, it is expected that players take their time to find the most optimal move, that they think a few moves ahead. It would be silly to do so in Candyland. I would find it most irritating if you, as my opponent, would try to hurry me in a game of chess, have me speed up my play without giving me time to properly assess my options. Especially if you're more experienced.

Next time you play with A, perhaps you should select a game that is AP-prone; that does not require deep analysis. Or you should play a game he is experienced in.


I can live with AP-prone people. At least they think about the game. It's better than someone in a group I used to be part of. She saw the game evening mainly as a means to socialise and gossip with her friends. During other people's turns, she would distract everyone with her chatter, and when the turn came to her, only then would she look at the board to see what had happened since her last move, and start thinking about her move.

Really, at least AP-prone people take the game seriously and give worthwhile opposition.


I know someone like this, but the thing is you can socialize, gossip, and track the game flow all at the same time. That one really isn't analysis paralysis, so much as neglecting the game entirely.

AP doesn't create better players or a better opposition, it is just indecision which results in wasted time. If you have a solid strategy, aside from the odd turn where you get shut down your next move should be apparent.
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As others have said, AP isn't really a choice for the afflicted player.
I can even explain why, but it's one of those things that generally doesn't help - like recommending to someone with AP they play fast

This doesn't mean they'll never play fast though - for many, it just means they are slower to learn, because they need full knowledge of the game "in memory" before they can move quickly.

There no "fix" for some games except playing it enough so they learn - good with people you play with regularly, but useless for randoms.

OTOH if you choose a game that can be learned quickly by playing, and play just the first few moves once or twice, they might speed up a lot.
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Dennis de Vries
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Interesting subject. I'm curious: did you ever time all the players their turns?

The reason I ask is that many (gamer) friends say I have some form of AP, because I can take some time making a decision. I do this mostly in silence and my friends can read my face (they see I'm having difficulty deciding). At some point I started timing the turns and you know what? We all took on average the same amount of time per turn!

...

Except with (not timed) chess...

...

Now I'm trying to 'think out loud', which makes the game more social and gives a feeling to the other players that there is something happening. And suddenly the perceived AP is gone...

If you're not the only one of the group that finds person A is taking a lot of time for a decision, then let the group speak up, not only yourself. And don't be too harsh: take steps. I like it when you say that if you play x games 'with AP' and x games 'faster' you never want to go back. Then give person A a chance. Play the game again and ask (as a group) person A to try and play faster than he normally does. Evaluate at the end.

Or play some games to speed up the thinking process (timed games and coops do a great job) before starting the main game.

Let person A share his difficulties ('thinking out loud'), maybe the group can help him/her decide.

Don't be too serious yourself, make fun. Not only about the game, but also about the 'meta game'.
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marc lecours
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People who like to play fast should play together. People who like to play slowly should play together. (Except some players with analysis paralysis (AP) like to play with fast players because they don't like waiting either.)

Now a short defense of slow play:
In the past, I used to play a lot of "go". I have played a lot of 10 minute speed games and I have played a lot of long games (up to 6 hours in tournaments for one game). There is a place for both speeds. By far my most memorable and satisfying games are the slow ones, where you think, and think and think. There is a wonderful meeting of minds when both players spend 10 minutes thinking about the same situation. On the other hand a speed game is more relaxing as you play by instinct and explore more since there is less at stake.

Some players never slow down when playing boardgames. They play automatic moves of their favourite strategy. This especially happens with players that have played a game dozens of times before. They have stopped thinking out their moves since the proper moves have become obvious.

Now a not so short comment on Analysis Paralysis:
Some Analysis paralysis people can never speed up even if they want to (which they often do). I can play slow or fast, they cannot play fast even if their life depended on it. I read somewhere a few years ago (in other words I don't guarantee that all the facts are still correct) that a certain part of the brain can analyze situations logically then can choose the best option for others. But a totally different part of the brain uses a sort of gut feeling to makes decisions for yourself. The theory is that someone who has analysis paralysis can analyze the situation in the game as easily as you or I, but somehow the part of the brain that makes personal decisions does not work very well.

As an example, let us say that in a game there is a situation with two equally good moves. I will just choose between them using the emotional gut feeling part of the brain. Someone with analysis paralysis will be unable to choose between the two options. They will freeze. They are barely capable of deciding between equal options.

On the other hand, I have seen such a player able to suggest good moves for another player easily. This is because the part of their brain that analyzes functions well and it is the part that gives them enjoyment when playing games. As long a decision is not personal there is no problem.

I have seen such people being unable to choose between two restaurants. They can analyze and give the pros and cons of each restaurant. They can can tell you which restaurant to go to (as long as they are not going). But if you ask them where do you want to go? A or B . They freeze or send the question back to you: "I'm good with either one, how about you?"

I have seen such a person frozen in front of a shelf with 3 brands of electric can openers to choose from. They stood there frozen for 10 minutes. I had to make the choice.

Such people's lives will be saved by either having a significant other who makes buying decisions for them or by detaching themselves from the decisions ("I just wear whatever, I don't care").

Solutions in gaming:
1.coop games with you the alpha player.

2.play with someone else.

3. play with a game clock. But expect your opponent to lose on time often.

4. Make the game as impersonal as possible. The more pressure you put the more the player with analysis paralysis will take the game personally and the slower they will play. Remove the pressure and they can step back and not have to use the emotional decision making part of their brain.

5. Bring a book or cell phone. This is terribly impolite unless all players agree before hand that it is acceptable.

6. Be patient. Think about your moves. Rethink your strategies. Analyze the situation with more depth than ever when it is their turn. Then play your move quickly.

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Dan Renwick
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I think it's bad form rushing people who are less experienced in the game than you are. If your example was someone who had more experience than you in playing the game then you'd have a stronger case.

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Menghini wrote:
Interesting subject. I'm curious: did you ever time all the players their turns?

The reason I ask is that many (gamer) friends say I have some form of AP, because I can take some time making a decision. I do this mostly in silence and my friends can read my face (they see I'm having difficulty deciding). At some point I started timing the turns and you know what? We all took on average the same amount of time per turn!



'.



It may be you started playing faster once you were being measured.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Convincing anyone to change their beliefs is unlikely. You're not going to convince an AP player that they're doing something wrong. Just don't play games with them anymore.
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AnalyticGamer wrote:
I dislike analysis paralysis. More so, I cannot stand how most people who have it treat you when you try to explain to them how the game would be more fun if it was sped up.

I tried to explain it to someone tonight. This is how the conversation went, I will refer to this other person as person A.

A:"How can you expect me to go fast when you have more experience with the game so I need to take more time to decide."

Me:"I have played many games I have never played before and done it quickly. Sure I lost a lot of them, but it is more fun when you do not think so much about your turns, it is not all about winning. The faster a game is, the more rounds of the game you can play. That way, if we play faster, rather than play one game in 2 hours, we could play 2 in that time [referring to a game that should only take 45 minutes]. In this manner you could get more used to the game by getting more rounds under your belt. If you played 50 games where you did it the one way and then the other, you would never go back. When you play faster you also think less about winning and it is more about moving the game along and making sure nobody is waiting around for you."

A:"That is one person's opinion."

Like seriously... How can someone not see the clear side of that argument or at least consider it.

And dare you bring it up in the middle of the game, it is YOU who is making things less fun by asking them to go at a pace that they don't want to and that you need to relax.

Just to make a note, I really do not play games with this guy often. I have recently found a group of board gamers who are serious about their gaming and know what it takes to have a good time playing a board game. I just figured that the ignorance of some analysis paralysis gamers should be posted.

Not all analysis paralysis gamers are like this, some are just inexperienced and realize that they should take less time on their turns.


Well, I will be a dissenter here, mainly for the part in bold above:

1.) Why play a game if you aren't concerned about winning?
2.) Why play a game if you're just going to "go thru the motions" (paraphrasing)?

Yes, games are for most people more about the social and less about the game, but to others (including myself) it's less about the social and more about the game. At least in my case, I'm going to think longer about moves whether you want me to or not. If that sort of thing bothers you, you'll have to find other people to play with.

In my group, it's not so much analysis paralysis, my issues are analysis distraction (AD) and min/maxing. People in the group like to talk, which means they aren't thinking about their next move, and some have issues thinking when others are talking about something else. I'm actually one of the quicker ones in this group, mainly because if I didn't move quick, a 1 hour game would take 3 instead of the normal 2.
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Arrogance + Impatience is not a good strategy.

Some people don't "connect the dots" as quickly as others. When I have a hand of cards or whatever, I recognize combos/good moves quickly in a lot of cases, but not everyone does this. You even implied that this person will get faster at it the more they play, so let them go slow until they're comfortable going faster.




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You need to find people where you are not imposing YOUR idea of fun as more important than theirs.

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Quote:
1.) Why play a game if you aren't concerned about winning?
2.) Why play a game if you're just going to "go thru the motions" (paraphrasing)?


That's a false dichotomy though. In a new game you still are trying to win, but your main concern may be to learn, unless you already know that you will never ever play that game again. The best way to learn in many cases is to try something out that seems to fit your style, and then see how things proceed from there.

Quote:
As others have said, AP isn't really a choice for the afflicted player.


It is a choice, but not in the way they think it is. They think they have no (reasonable) choice but to play slow (which they usually perceive to be average, not slow) because the only alternative they see is making super-speed random moves that will usually be poor moves.

When you play enough games, most people realize that unless you know a game pretty well, extra thinking does not equal better decision. Coming up with alternatives to your *immediate* instinct is worthwhile , but third-guessing and fourth-guessing yourself usually does not produce a better move.

It isn't really a "no-choice" scenario, but avoiding AP is an acquired skill.

Quote:
A:"How can you expect me to go fast when you have more experience with the game so I need to take more time to decide."


This sounds so logical, but it is often not. If I'm new at a game, I have no idea which move is better. If I think for 3 times as long, I still have no idea which move is better. If I'm experienced, then that extra time might actually be productive. Experience produces faster play in some situations (i.e. if you don't know the rules yet you might be slower, and some plays are 'automatic' where experts don't even think and just do what they've memorized) but not in all or even most situations.
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Dennis de Vries
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cannoneer wrote:
Menghini wrote:
Interesting subject. I'm curious: did you ever time all the players their turns?

The reason I ask is that many (gamer) friends say I have some form of AP, because I can take some time making a decision. I do this mostly in silence and my friends can read my face (they see I'm having difficulty deciding). At some point I started timing the turns and you know what? We all took on average the same amount of time per turn!



'.



It may be you started playing faster once you were being measured.



Could be. For me it looked like I didn't change my ways. Ask my friends. Only now I can also speak to them about their 'AP'.

I must add that I did play a lot faster after playing a few games of 'Escape: the curse of the temple'. So, timed games do help me play a lot faster.
 
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If you don't like playing with him, do not do so.

That's the bottom line. Even if you could make an objective case that you are correct (you cannot), it would not affect the speed at which "A" feels subjectively comfortable at playing.

For some perspective, I regularly play with the US champion of Empire Builder family, so effectively the world champion. Usually, he plays very quickly; he should: he's immensely experienced. Still, rarely, he will take several minutes considering a position; that's why he's such a good player.

I've seen the same in Backgammon. Usually, it's a very fast game, but rarely you need to exactly calculate your lead or deficit, or exactly calculate what your probability of getting hit (or hitting) among the various positions available.
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The type if game matters as well. Puerto Rico, for example...I can study my move for 10 seconds or an hour, and still have no better idea which is the correct move; the gameplay is so chaotic that it's simply impossible to plot out how futute turns will progress. The only path to better play is to play more often. Faster play=more games=more experience=better play.

Axis and Allies, however, is a game that can be studied. A relatively new player can see many of the ramifications of each option Deciding whether or not to throw that extra Tank into Ukraine comes down to "running the numbers" and deciding how much risk to take. A newer player can be expected to take a lot of extra time deciding.

Still, AP is primarily a personality trait...I've played chess against a player who could be down a Queen, a Rook, and 2 Pawns with no tactical advantages, and he'd still spend 15-20 minutes trying to find a good move, rather than conceding that he didn't have one.
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Our group has two players that suffer from AP. We have instituted a few things that help mitigate it:
1. We try to encourage them to plan their turns before it gets to their turns. For example, right after they finish their turn, we encourage them to start planning for their next turn.
2. We try to do a "no talking" rule if it is your turn. That means we try to minimize talking to the player whose turn it is, and we discourage them from talking to the other players while it is their turn.
3. We try not to rush or pressure the AP players, this slows them down.

Overall, it mostly works. I tend to be one of the more decisive players in our group so it can be a tad bit frustrating.
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