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Subject: "cheating" in cooperative games? rss

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Fnorbl Fnorblobson
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So, I play cooperative games with friends often enough. And every now and then situations happen where players say:


- "Oh, right... that would have been better. I wanted to do that, but then I forgot. So I'll do that now, ok? Ok I do that."

- "Did we kill that enemy? I'm not sure. We did, right? We killed it? Yes we did."

- "I actually dropped that die. I didn't roll it yet. Now I'll really roll it."

- Or the other way round: the player drops the die and says "Oh, a six. Well, that was a good roll, right?"


In short, people tend to bend the rules to give the team an edge. Now I'm torn about it. On the one hand, I like challenges. I prefer games where I closely lose than where I easily win. So I sometimes say "Oh no, that turn is over. Too much happened since then, you can't change that now". But at the same time, it's a cooperative game where people want to have fun. And nobody is "hurt" or put at a disadvantage if you bend the rules that way. And if some players have more fun that way, is it really a good idea to attempt to force them to stick to bad decisions or whatnot? How do you handle that? Especially when there are casual players around.

I'm known in my group to always aim at high difficulties with lots of randomness where we might tend to lose, because I love challenges. Other players in our group are known to be so nice that even if they should, they can't really "harm" other players.

 
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Daniel B-G
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If the game becomes unrewarding because it's too easy, this'll be the reason. You are only cheating yourself of the challenge.

Conversely though, if people feel they need to cheat to win because you set it at the highest difficulty, perhaps it's better to scale back and build up to it.
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Jesper Hansen
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Im playing with mulligans as I always have done since I read the rules for Mage Knight.

If nothing revealing happened so far, you can mulligan your turn. Revealing is rolling dice, drawing cards or turning over tokens.

I have done re-rolls of "stupid" rolls where the game smacks too hard because the randomness of the dice in a otherwise deep and strategic game.
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Austin Andersen
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Simple solution is to explain those situations as part of the rules, or to make a universal player aid with those rules on it that you can use with multiple games.
 
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Keith Presley
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We tend to take it on the chin and chalk it up to learning - co-op or not. I myself am pretty strict about it as I feel otherwise I feel I am cheating myself of any challenge. It has helped me especially in games I am not particularly good at. If I accept the challenge and learn, I eventually get better. I like to think of Rodney's from "Watch It Played" adage: We don't cheat, 'cuz cheaters...are jerks!". Every since I heard him first say that, I say it all the time.
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Russ Williams
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Orya wrote:
But at the same time, it's a cooperative game where people want to have fun. And nobody is "hurt" or put at a disadvantage if you bend the rules that way. And if some players have more fun that way, is it really a good idea to attempt to force them to stick to bad decisions or whatnot?

You could say similar things about a competitive game: People want to have fun. Nobody is "hurt" (in any significant practical way) by cheating. Some players have more fun that way...

I don't enjoy playing coop games without following the rules any more than I enjoy playing competitive games without following the rules... for pretty much the same reasons. E.g. it's not fun in Hanabi for me if someone tells more info than they're allowed to; the whole point is the challenge of winning with the limited communication / limited info.

If your group finds it fun to ignore the rules sometimes and you don't, I'm not sure of an obvious solution other than not playing together (just as would happen in the case of a competitive game with players who think it's fun to ignore the rules sometimes).

Perhaps propose a convention that the group can break a rule only if everyone unanimously agrees? Or at least if a majority vote in favor? That might help ameliorate it a bit... or make them more aware of the significance of ignoring the rules?

And yeah, don't play on very hard difficulty setting with them, if they don't like losing as much as you do.
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Ian Taylor
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I actually hate cheating in coops more than I do in competitive games. At least if someone cheats in a competitive game you can call them on it. In a coop if you call someone out for cheating you look like the bad guy but if you let it go then you just don't enjoy the rest of the game because you know that even if you 'win' you didn't really win.
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Steven Wall
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Pouvla wrote:
Im playing with mulligans as I always have done since I read the rules for Mage Knight.

If nothing revealing happened so far, you can mulligan your turn. Revealing is rolling dice, drawing cards or turning over tokens.


This. If no hidden information has been revealed then I'm generally OK about player's rolling back their actions. The only other caveat I employ is if it's too complicated to remember exactly what happened to roll back the state of the game - for example, this used to happen when players start moving their sliders in Arkham Horror.
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Jeff Warrender
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One thought is to lightly enforce that mulligans have to receive unanimous agreement from the group, and maybe that the number of mulligans you'll take should approach zero the more times you play through the game.
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Bryan Thunkd
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russ wrote:
Orya wrote:
But at the same time, it's a cooperative game where people want to have fun. And nobody is "hurt" or put at a disadvantage if you bend the rules that way. And if some players have more fun that way, is it really a good idea to attempt to force them to stick to bad decisions or whatnot?

You could say similar things about a competitive game: People want to have fun. Nobody is "hurt" (in any significant practical way) by cheating.
I don't buy this. In a competitive game if you do better, I do worse. So if fudging the results has some positive benefit for you, in terms of making you enjoy the game better, then it's likely to have some negative effect for me.

At least in a co-operative game the fudging is helping both us towards a win. While you may be robbing me of a challenge, at least you're not pushing my head under the water just to keep yours above water.
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Russ Williams
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Thunkd wrote:
russ wrote:
Orya wrote:
But at the same time, it's a cooperative game where people want to have fun. And nobody is "hurt" or put at a disadvantage if you bend the rules that way. And if some players have more fun that way, is it really a good idea to attempt to force them to stick to bad decisions or whatnot?

You could say similar things about a competitive game: People want to have fun. Nobody is "hurt" (in any significant practical way) by cheating.
I don't buy this. In a competitive game if you do better, I do worse. So if fudging the results has some positive benefit for you, in terms of making you enjoy the game better, then it's likely to have some negative effect for me.

At least in a co-operative game the fudging is helping both us towards a win. While you may be robbing me of a challenge, at least you're not pushing my head under the water just to keep yours above water.

Agreed, but that's why I said "similar". The statement depends on the ambiguity of "hurt" (i.e. hurt in the game vs hurt in real life practical terms).
 
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Keith Presley
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russ wrote:
I don't enjoy playing coop games without following the rules any more than I enjoy playing competitive games without following the rules... for pretty much the same reasons. E.g. it's not fun in Hanabi for me if someone tells more info than they're allowed to; the whole point is the challenge of winning with the limited communication / limited info.


Hooray! So glad to see someone mention Hanabi. My wife and I stumbled upon it by accident and bought it after reading the box. We really enjoy that charming little game. Sorry for the derail...back to the thread.
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George Louie
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Casual players or not.. if the only way members of you group can enjoy the game is by "winning", then you should find another group to play with. To me, "winning" in this way would steal any satisfaction I recieved from the game.

Games are about overcoming obstacles and challenges, not about revising the rules so the obstacles and challenges go away.
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Keith Presley
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glouie wrote:
Casual players or not.. if the only way members of you group can enjoy the game is by "winning", then you should find another group to play with. To me, "winning" in this way would steal any satisfaction I recieved from the game.

Games are about overcoming obstacles and challenges, not about revising the rules so the obstacles and challenges go away.


Couldn't have said it better. Exactly how I feel.
 
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Dandelion
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I don't really care. I think y'alls definition of cheating needs to be recalibrated. I see co-op games as a solo or group puzzle to be solved--if I figure out a solution to the puzzle a little too late--i.e. I could have played a turn better, I realize it after the fact--sure, why not go back and play that turn out differently, more advantageously?

re-doing card draws or dice rolls removes most of the tension that holds the game together, so I try not to do that, but I still wouldn't call it cheating.

How can you cheat a puzzle? it doesn't care. It's not alive, yo. I guess I see cheating as necessarily against somebody, a person, when it comes to games. I see re-doing turns better as no different than taking apart a jigsaw puzzle and putting it together in a better way--one that fits better. Why should I be locked into a previous mistake if the puzzle can be solved with an adjustment? The random elements create the game-puzzle, then I try and find a solution.

maybe this means I don't have as much respect for co-ops as you all do, I don't know. I wouldn't cheat against an actual opponent.
 
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Matt Brown
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Pouvla wrote:
I have done re-rolls of "stupid" rolls where the game smacks too hard because the randomness of the dice in a otherwise deep and strategic game.


shake
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Games are about overcoming obstacles and challenges, not about revising the rules so the obstacles and challenges go away.


I think co-ops can be a bit different, though. I tend to think of co-ops as having a bigger social component than a straight competitive game.

I don't care much for your feelings in a competitive game. I'm trying to win and if losing causes you emotional distress or something, it is more your problem than mine.

I don't mean to sound heartless...if you are really having a horrible time, of course it matters. I just mean I more attuned to what is going through your head and likely to care about it if we are on the same team and not opponents.

In a co-op, though, I tend to be more warm and fuzzy. I care more about your good time and feelings. So, if some wacky die roll or crazy card combo is going to wreck the vibe of the group, then just do away with it.

I guess this has to do with how you view a "challenge," or how much you really want to overcome it.

When I played single-player videogames, I god-modded through pretty much everything. I just liked that experience and never thought much about a "challenge." I saw videogames as a lark and not a crucible in which to test some skills, although I understand why people do.

I do see playing against other players as a challenge, but not so much the game itself. Yes, there is a challenge there, but since all the humans are on the same team, if we agree to lessening that challenge in the name of a good time, then so be it.

That's what I did with videogames.

In a competitive game, we aren't on the same team. Your personal desires or preferences don't matter much to me once the game begins. In a co-op, they would.

So, if revising the rules works for a co-op group, I'm all for it. Changing the rules once a competitive game has begun I wouldn't necessarily be fore. (Although, I would abide by what the majority decided for the rest of the game.)

Kevin
 
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Kevin Eastwood
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You can use a dice tower to ensure that there's no "oops - I didn't mean to roll that", or "oh, that hit something on the table, I need to roll again".

 
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Bryan Thunkd
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russ wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
russ wrote:
Orya wrote:
But at the same time, it's a cooperative game where people want to have fun. And nobody is "hurt" or put at a disadvantage if you bend the rules that way. And if some players have more fun that way, is it really a good idea to attempt to force them to stick to bad decisions or whatnot?

You could say similar things about a competitive game: People want to have fun. Nobody is "hurt" (in any significant practical way) by cheating.
I don't buy this. In a competitive game if you do better, I do worse. So if fudging the results has some positive benefit for you, in terms of making you enjoy the game better, then it's likely to have some negative effect for me.

At least in a co-operative game the fudging is helping both us towards a win. While you may be robbing me of a challenge, at least you're not pushing my head under the water just to keep yours above water.

Agreed, but that's why I said "similar". The statement depends on the ambiguity of "hurt" (i.e. hurt in the game vs hurt in real life practical terms).
I don't think it relies on any ambiguity. If you cheat in a co-op, you don't hurt my game position and you don't hurt me in real life. I might be a bit annoyed that we're not following the rules precisely but your action doesn't trigger the same anger and outrage that cheating in a competitive game would.

And I would be upset and feel hurt if you cheated in a competitive game. If you're willing to cheat that would mean that "winning" (although it's hard for me to call it that if you had to cheat to do it) was more important to you than our personal relationship. So your actions would hurt me in both the game and in real life.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Orya wrote:
How do you handle that? Especially when there are casual players around.


Let the dice fall where they may. No takebacks, no mulligans (unless rules specifically mention those being allowed).
 
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Russ Williams
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Thunkd wrote:
...

OK. To me there is a similarity in the argument in the OP about "hurt" and the analogous argument in my comment about "hurt". And I understand clearly that to you there isn't any similarity.

"Similarity" is not a well-defined binary objective thing.
E.g. "Is New York similar to London and Paris?"
Yes, they're all major centers of culture and commerce!
No, New York is not the capital city of its country!
Both answers have reasons for seeing a similarity or not seeing a similarity.
This discussion feels like that to me.
 
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maf man
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those are all really dumb things to say and I'd totally call it out no matter the game.
Die rolls should be on the table and if you actually drop the die you should be picking it up fast enough to not have time to explain yourself. Did you kill that enemy? well you should be paying more attention so I highly doubt it.
The forgetting a move I'm the most forgiving but only if they obviously forgot a move and nothing really happened after that. Taking back your move to make another though, that's shady.

Whats the point of playing a game if your just gonna change it so you win? Games are competitions not books.

keven c. -
I think you've highlighted a good point. There are times where you don't want a challenge. And I think in your examples you can call that rule changes rather than cheating. Your changing the game to easy mode. Like your video game example your not putting on god mode just to overcome the challenge and to say you won, your changing it so you can experience the whole game faster.
I think changing a game to fit the group is a good idea but there are better ways than the cheating methods.
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Alison Mandible
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In Space Alert, there's a mechanic for this. If you flip over a card you've programmed and it's really, really not what you were expecting, you say "I tripped". Then the card does whatever you originally intended, but you take a penalty (the rest of your actions are delayed).

The key thing is that the rulebook says you should never be thinking about whether to invoke this rule. If you are positive you meant to do something different, you trip (even if it turns out keeping the mistake would be beneficial to you!). If you aren't sure, you didn't trip. You never *decide* to trip.

I try to apply this same guideline to other co-ops. If somebody looks startled and says "Oh no, wait! I meant to play a card at the end of my turn! Look, there would have been no reason to buy more bananas unless I was going to do that. Seriously." then they can go back and do the thing, perhaps with some kind of improvised penalty. But if they say, "Oh, man, I just found a great move I should have made", then, sorry.

(Except that, as others are saying, if no random information has been revealed, it's always okay to unwind. But once a die is rolled or card drawn, you're out of luck.)
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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russ wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
...

OK. To me there is a similarity in the argument in the OP about "hurt" and the analogous argument in my comment about "hurt". And I understand clearly that to you there isn't any similarity.
I think most people view cheating in a co-op as a very different thing than cheating in a competitive game. When I see people cheat in a co-op they're usually framing it as "bending the rules" so that "everyone has more fun". When I see people cheat in games (which fortunately doesn't happen very often in my experience) it's usually viewed as "something very bad" and something that "ruins the game for the other players".

I don't know anyone who thinks that cheating in a co-op is equivalent to cheating in a competitive game. When you try to say that they are similar things, you're going against all my gaming experiences.
 
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Chris SC

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Shrug. There are shades to everything.

We played Legendary Encounters the other week and my friend died. It was then my turn. I was still drawing my cards (should have been done at the end of the previous turn but I like shuffling). Turns out I had a coordinate that would have been enough to save him...so we roll back the clock and say "yeah you didn't actually die." This is very close to the action, and has no game effect (no other major actions had occurred like a card reveal, like others have said), so it is fine. I can't imagine ANYONE having a problem with that. Yet this sounds like the first point the OP makes.

Now overtalking in a hidden info game...lame. Re-rolling bad dice that hurt you in a tough game...lame. That is actually game breaking. Then again, if you want to house rule it to make it be more fun for your group...go for it.
 
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