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Subject: Less like James Bond, more like Jonny English rss

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Jamie Gibson
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Never has a game made me feel more stupid and hapless.

It may just be that I am terrible at the game, but I usually find myself looking at the grid, completely perplexed for many, many minutes trying to link war with fish or something (Go on, I bet someone can do it... I, however, can't). Usually at this point someone turns over the timer and I give up trying to link more than one word and just do 'battle, 1' or something.

I like being the guesser, it's pretty fun trying to work out how people's minds work and what words they would use. I can get into that, and we have had some really fun arguments as to whether or not someone would know that obscure reference about dildos (yes that was a clue once). However, being the spy is boring for me and I always feel like I'm slowing the game down and dampening the atmosphere. I really don't like the feeling of everyone's expectations being on you to do a really good, high number combo.

The reason I felt that I should write this is because some people in this forum have said that you are playing the game wrong if you give just one clue each turn. But, for me, this isn't a problem with the way I play it. I always intend to give as many as possible but it hardly ever works. I just find it really difficult to link words under the pressure of the timer. Maybe I have just always been unlucky with the draw, but I don't think so. I have played the spymaster role about 6 or 7 times now and lost every single time.

I always apologise before I start now because unless I get something obvious, like the dream 7 word combo then I know that my team will lose. I guess I am less like James Bond and more like Johnny English...
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Mark Nicosia
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sword 2

chainmail 2?

torpedo 2?

yeah, they're all kinda stretchy
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Ben Kyo
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Maybe you are aiming too high? Even really iffy clues can get the job done, as long as there aren't better fits on the board. For example, "trident". UK players might make a connection with the nuclear submarine, and everyone knows it's a weapon, which is used to spear fish, and weapons are used in war... it's tenuous, but it might just work. That's the kind of weak association people look for.

Maybe you aren't looking for suggestions, and just wanted to say that some people, like yourself, cannot enjoy being the spymaster. If so, please ignore the unsolicited advice above. I agree, some people just shut down when handed the spymaster role, and the solution might be to just not be the spymaster. Defer, and enjoy being a member of the team.
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Jamie Gibson
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zenpunk wrote:
sword 2

chainmail 2?
See what I mean?!

To be fair, I didn't try. I just plucked two random words out of the air. But I wouldn't have been able to link them under the spotlight.
 
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Jamie Gibson
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Benkyo wrote:
Maybe you are aiming too high? Even really iffy clues can get the job done, as long as there aren't better fits on the board. For example, "trident". UK players might make a connection with the nuclear submarine, and everyone knows it's a weapon, which is used to spear fish, and weapons are used in war... it's tenuous, but it might just work. That's the kind of weak association people look for.

Maybe you aren't looking for suggestions, and just wanted to say that some people, like yourself, cannot enjoy being the spymaster. If so, please ignore the unsolicited advice above. I agree, some people just shut down when handed the spymaster role, and the solution might be to just not be the spymaster. Defer, and enjoy being a member of the team.
That is what I would rather do. But we usually take it in turns so everyone gets a turn. Also I think I would feel as though I was missing out if I didn't get a go at it. I always want to get in the chair to have a crack at it, it's just when I get there... I freeze. blush
 
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Ben Kyo
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JamieGibson wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
Maybe you are aiming too high? Even really iffy clues can get the job done, as long as there aren't better fits on the board. For example, "trident". UK players might make a connection with the nuclear submarine, and everyone knows it's a weapon, which is used to spear fish, and weapons are used in war... it's tenuous, but it might just work. That's the kind of weak association people look for.

Maybe you aren't looking for suggestions, and just wanted to say that some people, like yourself, cannot enjoy being the spymaster. If so, please ignore the unsolicited advice above. I agree, some people just shut down when handed the spymaster role, and the solution might be to just not be the spymaster. Defer, and enjoy being a member of the team.
That is what I would rather do. But we usually take it in turns so everyone gets a turn. Also I think I would feel as though I was missing out if I didn't get a go at it. I always want to get in the chair to have a crack at it, it's just when I get there... I freeze. blush
For what it's worth, the timer doesn't see much use in our games. Some people don't like time pressure and we respect that. I'd much rather give the spymaster the time they need to reach a clue they are happy with than rush them into something:1, which is no fun for anyone.
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Jamie Gibson
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Benkyo wrote:

For what it's worth, the timer doesn't see much use in our games. Some people don't like time pressure and we respect that. I'd much rather give the spymaster the time they need to reach a clue they are happy with than rush them into something:1, which is no fun for anyone.
It does always seem to be the same people that turn the timer over. Sometimes they pre-empt the fact that I usually take a long time and turn it over really fast. This kills the game for me.
 
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Mark Carlson
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Being Spymaster is a challenge no doubt. The spotlight is on you and there's no dispersion of responsibility as there is with the team members; it's all on you. But I think the key is to try not to put pressure on yourself to connect anything or force words together. Let clues form naturally like any other associations would. Look over your 8 or 9 words and just read them to yourself in varying orders. Don't think about the timer even if it is flipped and just see what natural associations come to mind for you. Obviously you need to check that they don't indicate words besides those intended but just take a few deep breaths, focus on your words and something will come to you. It also helps to be a little more abstract; after people play the game a bit they know that clues can't always be as obvious as they might like, especially when connecting three or more words.
 
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James Clarke
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Nick Stables
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JamieGibson wrote:
I just find it really difficult to link words under the pressure of the timer.


I think studies have found the role of stress affecting brain function such as memory and language; trying to reduce the influence of hormones is key, but sounds like your fellow players are tactically invoking your conditioned response
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JamieGibson wrote:
Benkyo wrote:

For what it's worth, the timer doesn't see much use in our games. Some people don't like time pressure and we respect that. I'd much rather give the spymaster the time they need to reach a clue they are happy with than rush them into something:1, which is no fun for anyone.
It does always seem to be the same people that turn the timer over. Sometimes they pre-empt the fact that I usually take a long time and turn it over really fast. This kills the game for me.
We've never used a timer. It takes a while to come up with clues and it takes a while to deduct what they mean. Game easy. This isn't a timed chess match ya know.
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Nick Stables
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toober wrote:
JamieGibson wrote:
Benkyo wrote:

For what it's worth, the timer doesn't see much use in our games. Some people don't like time pressure and we respect that. I'd much rather give the spymaster the time they need to reach a clue they are happy with than rush them into something:1, which is no fun for anyone.
It does always seem to be the same people that turn the timer over. Sometimes they pre-empt the fact that I usually take a long time and turn it over really fast. This kills the game for me.
We've never used a timer. It takes a while to come up with clues and it takes a while to deduct what they mean. Game easy. This isn't a timed chess match ya know.
I think including the timer is a good thing to generally preserve the vibe as quickness means more prone to make mistakes and more fun trying to keep a straight face; taking your time for optimum word play can detract from the experience. However trying to 'enforce' it is difficult so best to try humour it in.
 
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Susan
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Fwiw, there are a bunch of regulars in our group who just absolutely refuse to be spymasters.

It IS a lot of hard work and some peoples brains are wired to see connections more so than others.

That being said it IS a learnable skill and you will get better the more you play and you start to see different types of connections.

I've done pretty well and other times I've shit the bed so to speak. I'll even cop to one time purposely giving a weak clue so my own team would pick the assassin word and we could end the game quicker. It was painful for all of us. Best to yank the bandaid off and move on.

One suggestion, although not sure how big your group is, is to team up with spymasters. Meaning 2 spymasters per team. This does two things, one all the pressure isn't all on one person and the clue giving goes much much faster. Which would help with your timer issue.

When it comes to spymastering two heads really are better then one.



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Will Yum
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JamieGibson wrote:


(snipped)

It may just be that I am terrible at the game, but I usually find myself looking at the grid, completely perplexed for many, many minutes trying to link war with fish or something (Go on, I bet someone can do it... I, however, can't).

(snipped)
How about TANK, 2?

One method to try could be to take one of the words and think of a bunch of words related to that single word and see if any of those other words resonate with another clue.

=====

For the War and Fish example, I was thinking....

Okay, what goes with Fish? Scale, net, food. Hmmm... does not remind me of War at all.

What are some other fishy words? Hmmmm... Catch, smell, tuna, trout.

How about the verb form? Look or seek, like fishing for compliments.

Stuff used in fishing maybe? Waders, bait, floats, boat, net.

Pet fish? Food, koi, tank. Wait! Tank is also a word related to War. That would be good.


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Nick Stables
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JamieGibson wrote:
Never has a game made me feel more stupid and hapless. It may just be that I am terrible at the game...
If you don't own the game, see if you can borrow it to play by yourself (or join one of the PBForums here on the geek you have more time), first without the timer, once you feel you are making progress, try it with the timer and see if you can do any personal goals etc. Obviously it depends on the layout, words present in the grid and if you can find coincidences, but maybe the practice will help....
 
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Paul Grogan
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If it helps... I'm a terrible spymaster. I'm terrible at word games, I'm not very clever, and I often struggle to come up with even a "2".

Also, if someone ever puts a timer on me, my brain freezes, so we never use the timer.

I love the game, but from the other side of the table normally.
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Denise Lavely
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Another possibility for 'war' and 'fish' would be 'Cards - 2'. War is a well known game to play with cards, and while getting 'Go Fish' might be a bit of a reach, it could work of there were no competing clues elsewhere on the board.

I totally agree with Will Yum's thought process, that's the way I get connections too.
 
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Jamie Gibson
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Denise wrote:
Another possibility for 'war' and 'fish' would be 'Cards - 2'. War is a well known game to play with cards, and while getting 'Go Fish' might be a bit of a reach, it could work of there were no competing clues elsewhere on the board.

I totally agree with Will Yum's thought process, that's the way I get connections too.
I think people are getting too hung up on fish and war. They were just two random words I plucked out of the air, not something I have had a problem with in the game.
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Jamie Gibson
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PaulGrogan wrote:
If it helps... I'm a terrible spymaster. I'm terrible at word games, I'm not very clever, and I often struggle to come up with even a "2".

Also, if someone ever puts a timer on me, my brain freezes, so we never use the timer.

I love the game, but from the other side of the table normally.
I am right there with you.
 
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Denise Lavely
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JamieGibson wrote:
Denise wrote:
Another possibility for 'war' and 'fish' would be 'Cards - 2'. War is a well known game to play with cards, and while getting 'Go Fish' might be a bit of a reach, it could work of there were no competing clues elsewhere on the board.

I totally agree with Will Yum's thought process, that's the way I get connections too.
I think people are getting too hung up on fish and war. They were just two random words I plucked out of the air, not something I have had a problem with in the game.
Oh, sorry blush But you know, we *are* gamers, put a puzzle-y thing in front of us and we just can't help ourselves!!!
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Denise wrote:
Another possibility for 'war' and 'fish' would be 'Cards - 2'. War is a well known game to play with cards, and while getting 'Go Fish' might be a bit of a reach, it could work of there were no competing clues elsewhere on the board.

I totally agree with Will Yum's thought process, that's the way I get connections too.
I also agree with Will Yum's ideas - you just have to think around the word(s) you are trying to clue. Just staring at them and hoping for inspiration doesn't generally work.

I wouldn't use 'cards' as a clue. That is one of the words (along with 'game') that tends to relate easily but unwelcomely to other words in the grid that you haven't noticed - if you are playing with gamers. It might work for with family/non-gaming friends, though.

This can of course happen with all sorts of words and guarding against it is virtually impossible. The other week I gave 'queen:6' as a clue. After correctly picking the two most obvious, and identifying but dismissing three of the others, my team found two more words (both belonging to the opposition) that fit - picked one, and then the other on their next turn.
 
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Denise wrote:
Another possibility for 'war' and 'fish' would be 'Cards - 2'. War is a well known game to play with cards, and while getting 'Go Fish' might be a bit of a reach, it could work of there were no competing clues elsewhere on the board.

I've never heard of a card game named "War".
 
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Geoff Watson wrote:
I've never heard of a card game named "War".
War
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Nathan Hoffmann
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JamieGibson wrote:
I like being the guesser, it's pretty fun trying to work out how people's minds work and what words they would use. I can get into that, and we have had some really fun arguments as to whether or not someone would know that obscure reference about dildos (yes that was a clue once). However, being the spy is boring for me and I always feel like I'm slowing the game down and dampening the atmosphere. I really don't like the feeling of everyone's expectations being on you to do a really good, high number combo.
So don't be spymaster. If your group is anything like most I'm sure several of the other players are chomping at the bit for their turn, and would be more than happy to take yours.
 
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