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Subject: Games for a Gaming Pentathlon? rss

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Tim Tix
Germany
Hamburg
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During the Olympics I noticed how much combined sporting events. The modern Pentathlon was invented to find the ideal athlete. I thought It would be cool to create a Pentathlon of (designer) games.

So what would you recommend?


Here are some thoughts and guidelines:

The 5 (or 10 or so) games should cover a broad variety of gaming categories and mechanisms. This way the Gaming Pentathlon would determine the "perfect gamer".

Of course 5 or so games can just offer that much variety. But it shouldn't be 4 cardgames and only 1 other, for example. All broader cetagories should be included, say, there should at least be one purely abstract and one very thematic game among those 5. But however, the selection of games can be done when they're found.

So what games should it be?

It should be games of (mostly) skill. A bit of luck is fine - that's risk management after all.
The games should fall in the easy-to-learn-hard-to-master category. Or rather: easy-to-learn-lots-to-discover.
The games should offer the opportunity to rank the players (i.e. not just crown a victor, but give a ranking).
A point result would be cool because this way people could compare their results without taking part in the same group.*

A few more words:
I want this to work for loose groups that not necessarily consist of hardcore gamers. It should be fitting for any guy finding this thread and trying it on their own group. So the games shouldn't have a theme that turns a lot of people off (even if it is superbly implemented). It shouldn't have a vast amount of (different) components and be widely available so people wanting to do such a pentathlon can easily do it.

It should be easily explained because likely some guys in the particular group won't know game x and others are not familiar with game y. One should be able to play it somewhat properly right away (no time for a first game where you don't have a clue what to do). No time to read a lot of in-game-text (cards!) either or check the rules all the time.

Coops and Solos aren't ideal options either out of obvious reasons.

I guess I could use just some tradtitional games. Chess, bridge, poker... But that's rather what the Mind Sports federation does.

Perhaps I'll end up with the modern classics: TtR, 7 Wonders, Carcassonne, Catan, Dominion... Probably that'll be a satisfying selection already. But let's wait and see what else there is.


PS: I don't expect myself to be good at such a combined event. It's not my own glory I'm seeking for
PPS/*: Obviously you can never really compare your points from the 5 games with the players from another group since the circumstances might be different. When there's a guy smashing everyone else at game x that's tough luck compared to other groups. But however, even at the Olympic Modern Pentathlon some athletes struggle more with their horse than others.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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County of Essex
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Time is a factor.
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Simona Dostalova
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Interesting excersise If I were to do such a pentathlon, I would go with these (assuming a group of 4 players):

Battle Sheep - to test your abstract thinking
Dixit - to test your social skills, empathy and emotional intelligence
Cthulhu Wars - to test how you can orient in a theme-filled, area control, combat oriented game
Quadropolis - to test you spatial orientation
7 Wonders - to test your tableau and combo building abilities

I am missing a slot for some resource management themeless euro, but I don't play these very much anyway so no biggie
 
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John
United Kingdom
Southampton
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TimTix wrote:

The games should offer the opportunity to rank the players (i.e. not just crown a victor, but give a ranking).
A point result would be cool because this way people could compare their results without taking part in the same group.*

Both of these are potentially problematic. Knowing that's how it works when you play the game my or may not make it less problematic. Most games will be designed and play tested with the assumption that people are trying to win the game.

With the point result you could end up with a situation where some players don't care if they win a particular game - finishing 2nd or 3rd with a score that was higher than anyone in anything game might be the best thing to do, this could lead to people prolonging a game to increase their score. I don't see how you could rule against this so it'd probably mean you would have to eliminate games that gave players control over the game end.

Ranking doesn't always make sense either, the person with the 2nd most points might be a player who player in a conservative way which would give them a very low chance of winning but also a low chance of finishing last, whereas the 2nd best player might finish last. I don't know of that many games that rank the players in the rules. Ranking seems less problematic since if people know they are going to be ranked then playing for 2nd place is unlikely to break many games.
 
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John
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A Swiss-system tournament could allow 2p games and/or multiplayer games with a single winner.

Here are some ideas (some of which I've played). Some are more practical than others:

Abstracts: Hive, Hey, That's My Fish!, Connect Four, Mancala (Kalah), Go (probably 9x9)

Traditional ish card games:

Lost Cities, Haggis, Spades, Cribbage, Clubs, Ninety-Nine, 42

Others:

Star Realms, Carcassonne, Catan, Bohnanza, Ra or Priests of Ra, Backgammon

Dexterity:

Carrom, Crokinole, PitchCar
 
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Chris Willett
United States
Minnesota
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I feel like if you want easy to learn, hard to master there are a certain few to go for.

Crokinole - Dexterity based game.
Chess - Right? I guess, this or Go (maybe both)

After this, I start to want certain other factors in gaming to prevail:

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) – A Feast for Crows - This is a weird pick, but I love the social manipulation in this game. The best players I have seen are the ones who can control their opponents. Playing two enemies against each other so you can win at this takes some social manipulation, and I really enjoy that aspect of it. There may be better games for it, but I got 2nd in a tournament a while back for this and it was some of the best 3 days of gaming I have had.

Catan - This plays off the above game. The trading in Catan is all about doing what is better for you than for your opponents. Games are social, I would play off that.

Agricola - This is about adapting around your opponents. This is a good one.

Dominion - This comes to mind because of how much Dominion there is. I think a gamer would value someone who is adaptable to the situation. With random setups, the best player is usually the one who picks the best strategy in the game.
 
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Mark McGee
United States
Cary
North Carolina
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I'm thinking along the lines of the skills a game will test.

Divinare tests the ability to read players.
High Society tests the ability to asses the value of things.
Formula D test risk management.
Dominion tests the ability to identify synergies.
Hey, That's My Fish! or Blokus tests the ability to evaluate non-random deterministic situations.

This leaves out things like dexterity, spacial evaluation (positioning), speed, haggling, alliance-making. So maybe throw in Bohnanza and some other things (I'm not well-versed in some of those categories, so I can't make a good recommendation) to cover those bases.
 
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