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Subject: The Infamous Metagame rss

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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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I was researching Mare Nostrum last night, because I've recently become enamoured with the idea of trading mixed with conflict. When I research a game I like to check out sessions, reviews, rules questions, etc. and also geeklist items to see what off-the-cuff comments people have about it. Well I noticed one geeklist "Un-written rules known to all gamers" which seemed interesting, even if it wasn't about Mare Nostrum. Well the entry for Mare Nostrum was uninteresting, but the next one...

"All the games that were played before the current game will always have a impact on a player's actions. Don't let so and so win he won last game. Or you screwed me over last game so I am going to screw you over this game."

My comment on it was, seen through the light of a year and a half, one of my defining philosophies on gaming:

Quote:
I always wonder about people who say "I will not play with people who do this."

I think, and maybe this is just because I play wargames or conquering games, that it adds a personal touch behind the motivations of the players. A game is boring when you're just (let's use Dune as an example) the Atreides trying to win by getting 3 fortresses. I mean who cares, whoo, you got control of the planet. But that means NOTHING unless you completely destroyed the Harkonnen in the process (your best friend who stabbed you in the back last Shogun game), and there is where the real gaming comes in!

I see this a lot in Game of Thrones, where we get very angry over past grievances and therefore try and pick on the last winner, and then fight amongst ourselves while also trying to keep the stupid Baratheon player down... and it just adds a whole new level to these wargames that you don't get from the basic setup of the rules


The only way I would amend this is change "wargame" and "conquering games" to "ameritrash games," seeing as how there was no distinction at the time. But still, this is how I see games, as narrative where everything from personal grievances to what mood I'm in to what role I'm playing in the game (I don't care how happy you are or how nice the day is, if you're Harkonnen you are required to be moody, angry, and cruel).

Since a geeklist isn't the best place for a discussion, and since this was also a year and a half ago, I thought I'd bring this up again and see what opinions people had about it. Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he "always win this game"? Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he won the last game and you don't want them to win again, even if it was a completely different game? Is it okay to actively campaign against somebody just because they did something mean to you last game and you want revenge? Does it ruin the game to add extra "meta" victory conditions on top of the game's winning conditions, or does that only make the inevitable victory sweeter?

Now for eurogames, or wargames, where things are usually more deterministic I wouldn't think this is a great idea. I couldn't imagine trying to "harm" somebody in Tikal because I know any action wasted is only going to hurt me in the end. Optimization, as it were, precludes this kind of behavior and goes against the design of the game. This kind of behavior may be more readily available in war-euros (wallenstein) though I really don't play these kinds of games so I wouldn't know.

Ameritrash games are far more luck-driven, though, and often let players gain by hurting other players. Dune, the example I used in my post those months go, is a place I without fail see this factor in. People choose very early who they like and team up whether or not it's entirely beneificial. Grudges are drawn early. Harkonnen and Atreides would never, EVER ally. I think the game's more fun that way, and adds the narrative level.

The line is very confused, in my head at least, for games like "Citadels" which has a very strong in-game interpersonal element but discourages someone from, say, reading the list of characters they have so the assassin can figure out who Dan chose. I know my group is more than happy to do this (the only time you can avoid an assassin attack when you're really far ahead is if you're first or last, and even then it's 50/50) but I have a feeling this kind of behavior wouldn't fly at conventions or game days or somesuch. It undermines a very big aspect of the game (guessing who took what) but my group cannot pass up the ability to screw each other over

So does your group do this? Would you act differently when playing Amun-Re as compared to Dune Where is the line for this kind of behavior? Am I just rambling?
 
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J C Lawrence
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BagpipeDan wrote:
"All the games that were played before the current game will always have a impact on a player's actions. Don't let so and so win he won last game. Or you screwed me over last game so I am going to screw you over this game."


For me each game is a clean slate, a tabula rasa where the only things imported to the games are the players and their knowledge, and the only things exported are the results. Each game effectively exists in its own private universe which is created newly at the game start and then implodes without trace when the game ends. As you may guess, I don't significantly value narrative in games.

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Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he "always win this game"?


Only to the extent that it serves your own victory.

Quote:
Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he won the last game and you don't want them to win again, even if it was a completely different game?


No, not even slightly and I will strenuously avoid playing with people who do this to the extent of simply sitting out games rather than play with them.

Quote:
Is it okay to actively campaign against somebody just because they did something mean to you last game and you want revenge?


No and that's a great reason to avoid playing with them.

Quote:
Does it ruin the game to add extra "meta" victory conditions on top of the game's winning conditions, or does that only make the inevitable victory sweeter?


As long as such activities don't distract from the game definition I don't care.

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Grudges are drawn early.


Grudges are inefficient and distracting.

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Harkonnen and Atreides would never, EVER ally.


They would in my games if that better served their individual pursuit of victory.
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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My initial comment (the one on the geeklist), by the way, was actually a response to yours, which was

Quote:
I refuse to play with people who do this, and will either not invite such people back to the group next meeting, or campaign for them to not be invited back.


So I guess these answers aren't surprising from you
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Trencher for Life
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I guess it depends on my mood. When I was in college, Me and my fraternity brothers would play Illuminati, Nuclear War, and Pro Draft incessantly. Granted, I was the one providing the games and I ended up winning more often than not, but grudges would sometimes carry over from game to game.

Mind you, the "grudges" were in the spirit of fun, but somehow they added an extra element of excitement and enjoyment to the game. You'd know you'd have to watch out for player x and put extra effort to counter his attempts to crush you, which often left him open to the attacks of another opportunistic player. devil

For me, winning was great, but became a hollow achievement in and of itself. I wanted to play and to have fun. Winning didn't matter. Screwing with someone made the game fun.

Even though it's been 17 years, I still remember the paranoid (yet in jest) exclamation of one of my fraternity brothers when we were setting up seating arrangements for Illuminati: "I'm not sitting next to Scott! He's always out to screw me!"

Today, I don't metagame much because I've grown soft in my old age. I play to have fun... Not to be a sore winner or loser, but to have fun; enjoy myself, talk a little smack, and eat far too many petroleum based snack food products.
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J C Lawrence
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BagpipeDan wrote:
My initial comment (the one on the geeklist), by the way, was actually a response to yours, which was

Quote:
I refuse to play with people who do this, and will either not invite such people back to the group next meeting, or campaign for them to not be invited back.


So I guess these answers aren't surprising from you


Heh.
 
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Lajos
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BagpipeDan wrote:
My initial comment (the one on the geeklist), by the way, was actually a response to yours, which was

Quote:
I refuse to play with people who do this, and will either not invite such people back to the group next meeting, or campaign for them to not be invited back.


So I guess these answers aren't surprising from you

I didn't know that quote, but still Clearclaw's response was hardly a surprise to me.

Personally, I have no objections to meta-gaming as long as it doesn't get to grudge level. Rallying openly against a player because he won the last couple of games is perfectly fine IMO. Even better is rallying openly against a player under the pretence that he won the last couple of games (especially if that's a lie). As long as the players can deal with it (and don't take it personally) any nasty meta-gaming trick is allowed.
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The only way I would amend this is change "wargame" and "conquering games" to "ameritrash games," seeing as how there was no distinction at the time.


And there still isn't. As far as I can tell the whole Ameri-Treasure rampage that took place was about the attitude one has while playing a game and had nothing to do with the games themselves.

Quote:
Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he won the last game and you don't want them to win again, even if it was a completely different game? Is it okay to actively campaign against somebody just because they did something mean to you last game and you want revenge? Does it ruin the game to add extra "meta" victory conditions on top of the game's winning conditions, or does that only make the inevitable victory sweeter?


Everyone should be trying to win the game (following the rules of the game and of sportsmanship as defined by your group). I was playing some first person shooter video game where the goal was "king of the hill". The player who stayed in a specific location the longest won the game. Well, one player decided he was just going to sit on a hill and snipe anyone at the location, spending no time there himself. He came in last place but declared himself the winner because he had the most kills. He would have won if WE HAD ACTUALLY BEEN PLAYING THE SAME GAME HE WAS. Did he have more fun, playing it his way, sure. But declaring himself the winner was absurd.

This is one thing that bothers me about THE meta-game. It's usually not the game I want to play. And every game just becomes THE meta-game once THE meta-game starts. Why even play king of the hill if you just want to play deathmatch.

Quote:
Now for eurogames, or wargames, where things are usually more deterministic I wouldn't think this is a great idea. I couldn't imagine trying to "harm" somebody in Tikal because I know any action wasted is only going to hurt me in the end. Optimization, as it were, precludes this kind of behavior and goes against the design of the game. This kind of behavior may be more readily available in war-euros (wallenstein) though I really don't play these kinds of games so I wouldn't know.


This is an argument I've never understood. A game is a game. I don't see how THE meta-game, if it's appropriate at all, is somehow inappropriate in Tikal (where two players making promises not to contend with each other to unite against a third player is easily as viable a meta-game tactic as it is in any other game) when it would be appropriate in Dune.
 
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Eugene Tackleberry
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The game should have an enjoyable enough experience that I don't need an outside "meta-game" to make it more entertaining. A game, that needs a meta-game to make it fun, is probably not that good of a game to begin with.
 
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Andrew H
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BagpipeDan wrote:
The line is very confused, in my head at least, for games like "Citadels" which has a very strong in-game interpersonal element but discourages someone from, say, reading the list of characters they have so the assassin can figure out who Dan chose. I know my group is more than happy to do this (the only time you can avoid an assassin attack when you're really far ahead is if you're first or last, and even then it's 50/50) but I have a feeling this kind of behavior wouldn't fly at conventions or game days or somesuch. It undermines a very big aspect of the game (guessing who took what) but my group cannot pass up the ability to screw each other over

So does your group do this? Would you act differently when playing Amun-Re as compared to Dune Where is the line for this kind of behavior? Am I just rambling?


I think the first time someone tried the Citadels trick (read cheat) that you are talking about there would be an immediate do over of the character selection and a reminder that that was not accepted in the game. If someone tried it again not only is it likely their behaviour would offend other players but I see it as entirely reasonable that they be excluded from the game. Clearly your group has a different attitude towards gaming and a different take on rules.

There is a little metagaming that goes on in my games group.
Some players openly say that they will hinder one player rather than another player because they know from the results of previous games (even different games) that the player they choose to pick on is a talented opponent and is likely to do well. Generally every player I have played with in our group does their best to win the game themselves within the rules and tries to avoid kingmaking. Leader bashing is much more likely than player bashing for the very reason that leader bashing helps your chances to win in many games but grudge play usually ruins the game by taking two players out of contention and handing victory to someone else- not fun or satisfying gaming in my book. Besides if players hold grudges between games there is the potential for players to take grudges personally and let it effect their relationships with the other players.
It may be that in the kinds of games your group prefers, picking on players helps you to win, in which case it makes some sense. But I can't imagine a less fun gaming situation than playing an extremely long game knowing that you can not win or even come close because players are holding a grudge based on past games results or past plays.
 
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I think it really depends on the game and the situation.

When I started playing Magic, there was a guy in our group who had significantly better cards than the rest of us. Magic was his life. We were in the military, and since all of his fundamental requirements like food, shelter, etc., were taken care of, he could afford to blow paycheck after paycheck on "Power 9" cards, Arabian Nights sets, etc. This was back in 1996-1997, but the value was still high.

Anyway, when we would play large scale group games, sometimes he would get upset by the fact that people were ganging up on him. Of course, if we didn't gang up on him, he would crush all of us, but he didn't get that. He never wanted to play in the Standard, Type II format (which would have equalized the board somewhat) because he had spent all of that money on his power cards.

In this instance, the metagame was born out of necessity. We might not know what he was playing, but we knew that it would always have some sort of acceleration that we couldn't beat in a normal multiplayer game. The choice was simple; gang up, or lose.

Doug
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Antonio Chavez
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Depends on the game, the crowd, and even the specifics of that game night.

If the metagame makes people unconfortable, it's bad. If it adds to the fun, it's good. I do not think you can have an all encompassing rule here.

We play games to have FUN. However you have fun is your --and your group's-- own problem. And if you are having fun, you are doing everything right.
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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rayito2702 wrote:
This is an argument I've never understood. A game is a game. I don't see how THE meta-game, if it's appropriate at all, is somehow inappropriate in Tikal (where two players making promises not to contend with each other to unite against a third player is easily as viable a meta-game tactic as it is in any other game) when it would be appropriate in Dune.


Because in this case one person is going to obviously interact with the third person more than the other, and the person who is part of the alliance but interacts less is probably going to win. In a game like Game of Thrones if I decide as Baratheon that along with winning, I'm going to make green (whoever the flower-crested people are) suffer for their betrayal last game, I am still doing what I need to do (attacking, conquering, etc.) only much more at the expense of one person than a group of people.

I also find that the metagame can help, in games like Dune, highly influence the decision of who to ally with. If it's about a tie in your mind for who will help you, the metagame can play a big part in that. In Tikal, you'll never be put into a similar situation because the general standing of things are clearer (in my mind) than in Dune, so you can make a more logical decision and won't have to rely on this metagame influence.

Quote:
Everyone should be trying to win the game


This I agree with (mostly, but that's my next point of discussion). I agree in general, though, that people need to play to meet the requirements of the game, even if they do spice it up a little.

Funny note: I added my own metagame to a recent FoD. I decided I would jump around and play with a van Helsing who was hunting around E. Europe. There was no need, I just wanted to be able to say, after the game, "Look at what I did I just bounced all around you I was just laughing my head off the whole time!" It was unecessary, actually hurtful to my game, but really, really fun, and we both enjoyed what I did after she finished skewering Dracula's corpse. I would've enjoyed it more if I had lived, but whatever

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A game, that needs a meta-game to make it fun, is probably not that good of a game to begin with.


I'm not saying any game needs it, just that I (my group) needs it. Does that make me a bad player to begin with Probably laugh
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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If the metagame makes people unconfortable, it's bad.


Okay, this I agree with 100%. I would definitely not act this way in conventions, I'd wager (wouldn't actually know). The point of gaming is to make people feel relaxed and happy in my book.
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J C Lawrence
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BagpipeDan wrote:
I also find that the metagame can help, in games like Dune, highly influence the decision of who to ally with. If it's about a tie in your mind for who will help you, the metagame can play a big part in that.


This doesn't make sense with your above assertion that:

Harkonnen and Atreides would never, EVER ally.

Surely if the Harkonnen player and the Atreides player feel that they can more profitably work together in a game of Dune, be that for character, personality, game position, history, or whatever reasons tyhan some other alliance then they should ally? Why would the narrative backdrop override?
 
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BagpipeDan wrote:
Because in this case one person is going to obviously interact with the third person more than the other, and the person who is part of the alliance but interacts less is probably going to win. In a game like Game of Thrones if I decide as Baratheon that along with winning, I'm going to make green (whoever the flower-crested people are) suffer for their betrayal last game, I am still doing what I need to do (attacking, conquering, etc.) only much more at the expense of one person than a group of people.


Call me dense, but I don't see the difference. The mechanisms of conflict are different perhaps, but playing to jack one player, all other things being equal, is equally viable in Tikal as Game of Thrones or what not.

Quote:
I also find that the metagame can help, in games like Dune, highly influence the decision of who to ally with. If it's about a tie in your mind for who will help you, the metagame can play a big part in that. In Tikal, you'll never be put into a similar situation because the general standing of things are clearer (in my mind) than in Dune, so you can make a more logical decision and won't have to rely on this metagame influence.


This is where we differ because it's the same in my mind either way.

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Quote:
Everyone should be trying to win the game


This I agree with (mostly, but that's my next point of discussion). I agree in general, though, that people need to play to meet the requirements of the game, even if they do spice it up a little.


I don't mind spice (we're talking about Dune, right). Why just do something if you can do it with a flourish? But I like these things to be within the context of the game, not THE meta-game.

When I play a game I want players to look at the board and make their best decision about what they need to do to win and who they should tacitly ally with. Based just on your in-game movements you can indicate you don't intend to attack a certain spot and give your opponent the choice whether or not to take advantage of you. Whether they do or not is the same as if you discussed it with them and they choose to stab you in the back or not. It seems unnecessary and distracting to discuss the board status constantly in order to influence others' moves.
 
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Mr.Baggins wrote:


If the metagame makes people unconfortable, it's bad. If it adds to the fun, it's good.


Well said.

I know people in both camps. I'll give examples of both: one is a formidable tournament level player in a number of diplomacy style games. He believes you need credibility, and in a game it's nearly impossible to get that. Therefore, you need to meta-game. Size up the real opponents, not the in-game actions. Some players for example, feel second place is a valid pursuit if first place is extremely unlikely. If that's the case, you need to know this and play accordingly. You could say that is a form of kingmaking, or you could just as easily say it is a valid reflection of the game's intent. Anyway, you need to approach each person as a person, not a game-nation or whatever, and even act "irrationally" if the situation calls for it (for example, pursuing a person who broke a treaty even to the detriment of your own position). In the end, it's very psychological. He plays that way because he is best suited to it, and wins a lot with his meta-gaming strategy. He has no problem playing others this way too.

My more regular group plays much more abstractly, and tries to take each game on it's merits. There are no grudges, and players will even sometimes point out moves to one another. No one takes offense, as the outcome isn't as important as the experience. I enjoy some of both, personally.

Back to Mare Nostrum, it's a cool mix of AT and Euro, and the trading system is both unusual and very good. It's a game that needs 4+ players, and you shouldn't buy it IMO unless you're going to pick up the expansion at some point --it's a very big improvement over the base game.
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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clearclaw wrote:
BagpipeDan wrote:
I also find that the metagame can help, in games like Dune, highly influence the decision of who to ally with. If it's about a tie in your mind for who will help you, the metagame can play a big part in that.


This doesn't make sense with your above assertion that:

Harkonnen and Atreides would never, EVER ally.


We have in-game influences, and we have meta-game influences on all in-game decisions. Often the in-game influences win, but sometimes, in some games, the meta-decision can shape strategy. Decide where you go, who you screw, how far you screw them, even if it's maybe a little detrimental. Sometimes (ex: Atreides/Hark) it dictates strategy. You don't do X because the theme dictates Y. You don't help Ed because Ed always wins, or won last game. You don't take Crete because Tim goes ballistic if you take Crete (he loves Crete). These "meta rules" can become as important to the game as the rules themselves. Atreides/Hark is one of those big ones.

And Rayito, I guess I don't have it clearly defined, and that's why I enjoy these discussions. I don't quite know where the distinction is, but I just have a different "feel" in games like Tikal than in games like Risk. I would say it has to do with theme, with the type of conflict, with the goals of the game, and with the attitude towards the game. How they interact exactly... well that's why discussion is fun
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Gamer_Dog wrote:
Some players for example, feel second place is a valid pursuit if first place is extremely unlikely.


Not to get too off topic, but this is exactly what I was going to write my next little musing on. This is a natural progression of the metagame, where two players can go for a "kingdom" sort of win. To follow is an example that might demonstrate the extent of the metagame in our group:

Samurai Swords (Shogun). Risk-like game in Japan, but with different unit types and 3 Daimyos. Normally you can only make one attack out of each province per turn, but the Daimyos can carry a lot of men and "level up" allowing them to make more attacks (or moves) up to 3. You lose all your Daimyos you're out of the game.

I was down to one Daimyo in the first 3 turns (unfortunate attacks, unfortunate ninjas, lots of bad luck) but instead of dying I agreed to be my friend's attack dog. I built that one Daimyo up as much as I could and ignored my provinces for the most part. DJ, the friend, would threaten people with my army if they attacked his provinces. Quid pro quo, he always made sure I had 12 provinces to build up (but never more than 15, so I stayed a good humble servant). When someone attacked him, I went beserk and tore through their countryside. I didn't defend terrorities, didn't care about "over-extending." I had the most powerful Daimyo and two fortresses that I could run to and regroup after an attack. People were afraid to attack DJ, meaning he never got "betrayed" and people were cautious attacking me (always checking with DJ first, sometimes grabbing the occassional territory of mine to finish out a set of 3).

Of course, DJ won because he basically had 4 Daimyos working for him. In fact my one Daimyo was the most powerful in the game. I would've betrayed him if the moment arose, but it didn't. I was always overextended, usually on DJ's orders. He played our scenario out wisely. Besides, I had fun mindlessly attacking. At the end of the game, when it was just me and him, I submitted. I might've been able to take him out (he only had two Daimyos, one weak and near me, the other not too much stronger) with a little luck, but I was true to my word. I submitted, and he "gave me governorship" over Kyushu and Shikoku. Silly, completely made up, everybody booed at me (mirthfully), but what did I care, they were the dead rebels and I was a powerful governor under Shogun DJ!

Could the scenario have changed? Certainly. At one point Josh, who was holding out in Shikoku and Kyushu, was the target of my attacks. Could he have said, "I will reward you greatly, Daniel-san, if only you betrayed your lord and aided me in my conquest of Japan" but his pride was his undoing. If he'd killed me, he would've gained my lands and had a foothold into DJ's realm, and he went for that instead. So the game didn't become a stale "oh look DJ and Dan are destroying us," it was engaging the whole time, but I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't have appreciated what we did
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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While one can deny it, the meta-game is always there. Better to openly admit it.

Beat on the player who backstabbed you and screwed you over last game.
Beat on the player who wins 90% of the time.
Don't beat on the players who haven't played before.
Don't beat on your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend.

When in doubt, beat on the guy who's played the game before.

Me, I like to lay my cards out on the table. Let's attack so-and-so because of X, Y, & Z.

You ignore the impact of the meta-game at your peril.

P.S. IMO, the BEST EVER meta-game example is Bobby Fischer at the 1972 World Championship. He spent his entire career playing virtually nothing but 1.e4, and he shows up playing 1.d4! In fact, you are likely to see annotations of the first game with 1.d4! where the "!" means "brilliant move."
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Eric Jome
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BagpipeDan wrote:
Do you think it's okay to pick on somebody because he "always win this game"?


No. That would be unsportsmanlike behavior. The social contract of playing a game implies that each player is doing their best to win. If you instead give up on trying to win to exact revenge on another player, you have broken the social contract. This is very likely to make other players unhappy with the game.

Would it be ok for me to offer your opponent US$5 to attack your position? These two questions are essentially the same.

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The line is very confused, in my head at least, for games like "Citadels" which has a very strong in-game interpersonal element but discourages someone from, say, reading the list of characters they have so the assassin can figure out who Dan chose.


Talking smack is perfectly fine, but remember that each player must be trying to win the game (or place as high as possible) for it to remain a true and valid game. If someone should abandon their goal of winning partway through a game to exact vengeance on another player, that is, technically, unsportsmanlike and inappropriate.

Can it sometimes be fun? Sure. Driving too fast in your car is sometimes fun, too. That doesn't make it any less illegal.

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So does your group do this? Would you act differently when playing Amun-Re as compared to Dune Where is the line for this kind of behavior? Am I just rambling?


For myself, I expect other players to try to do their best no matter the game. The minute someone stops trying to do their best, I usually suggest we fold the game and do something else. I've certainly lost interest in playing at that point.
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Eric Jome
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Some interesting questions in game ethics, then;

1) Is table talk ok? - Unless specifically prevented by the rules of the game, yes. You are under no moral obligation to tell the truth or remain committed to agreements or ultimatums. You may spin, threaten, cajole, and whine. This is an important and fun part of almost every game. Of course, the rules of the game take precedence over ethical concerns in general.

2) So it is ok for me to threaten to hit John if he does not trade me all of his brick for nothing? - No. The principle here is "keep it in the game". Ethically, you may not bring external rewards or punishments into the game to try to influence the result.

3) If I threaten another player with in-game repercussions if they take such and such an action against me, can I follow through on my threat even if it does not help me win? - For a threat to be credible, it must at least occasionally be followed up on with action. Unfortunately, the defining principle of playing a game is that all players will try to win. Ethically, this takes precedence over table talk threats. This makes threats a weak tool for the table talk metagame among players striving for ethical game play. Instead, consider offering quid pro quo arrangements or other diplomatic or rational arguments. Yet, on occasion, you may be able to make a threat that you can follow up and still remain on high moral ground. If such a case arises, feel free to do so, but remember it can be a slippery slope.
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Jeffery Qualey
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My group welcomes playful grudges. Sometimes a group member dominates in a particular game. We'll make sure everyone is aware that so-and-so has been winning all the time at this particular game. We may try extra hard to keep that person from winning the particular game, but not by sacrificing our own individual performance. For the dominating player, it can be an additional boost for them by winning again.

As an example, we may be playing Settlers of Catan. On a roll of "7", I have 2 equally good places to place the robber - one place to impact the current winning opponent and one place to impact the person who normally wins this game. I may be inclined to impact (and take a card from) the latter, because he/she has demonstrated a threatening proficiency in the game. If the current winning opponent is far ahead, it would be more appropriate to try and slow him/her down.

It is not fun when the grudge is more serious and players unfairly team up - in my example, to kick the second player when he is down in a distinctly losing position. That just makes the game extremely unpleasant for that person.
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Curt Collins
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1. Don't take grudges from game a to game b. You will lose every time, and everyone else will see you as a jerk.

2. Make one thing clear to people that play with you. Eliminate ME from having a chance to win, I spend the rest of the game eliminating YOU in retaliation. It gives people something extra to think about. When everyone knows to expect it, you don't get the nuclear blast that often. This stays in the game, and does not carry over.

3. Keep a wary eye on people that seem to be taking a grudge, or targeting you. Reduce interaction with them as much as you can. If someone makes it clear they want you eliminated, take them out even if you still had a small chance of winning. It's satisfying, and with them being a jerk you had no chance of winning anyway.

4. Pay attention to who keeps their word and who doesn't. People who tend to break alliances/deals should not be dealt with. This is their personality and it's too much of a risk to deal with them.

5. Always keep your deals. You should never be the one to break an alliance or deal. Sure, you might win the one game, but people will be less likely to trust you in future games. A second place now could mean many more first place games later.

 
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J C Lawrence
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Spleen wrote:
1. Don't take grudges from game a to game b. You will lose every time, and everyone else will see you as a jerk.


Agreed except that the point on what other people might think is irrelevant.

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2. Make one thing clear to people that play with you. Eliminate ME from having a chance to win, I spend the rest of the game eliminating YOU in retaliation.


Hell no. If eliminating you from contention improves someone's opportunity for victory then I expect them to do that every time it makes sense. You are a contender and removing you removes a challenge to their own victory. Turning an N player game into an N-1 player game is often an excellent course, most especially if it also makes the eliminated player's best in-game interest to then assist their eliminator's success.

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It gives people something extra to think about.


Something that isn't part of the game. I'm interested in the game, not some other extraneous crap.

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If someone makes it clear they want you eliminated...


Make sure you beat them. Ideally beat them egregiously and glaringly. That simple.

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4. Pay attention to who keeps their word and who doesn't. People who tend to break alliances/deals should not be dealt with. This is their personality and it's too much of a risk to deal with them.


In-game deals are servants of the individual player's pursuit of victory. In the simplest case if breaking the deal gives you the victory and keeping your deal gives someone else the victory, then I expect you to break your deal every time without fail and would be upset if you didn't. Deals and negotiation in general are tools used by players in pursuit of the win. Like any other tool, they are there to be used, abused and discarded as appropriate to the goal: the win. The win comes first.

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5. Always keep your deals. You should never be the one to break an alliance or deal. Sure, you might win the one game, but people will be less likely to trust you in future games.


Then word and phrase and constrain your deals more carefully. The other players know your self interest as well as their own. There should be no surprises here.

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A second place now could mean many more first place games later.


Blech! No. This is unacceptable meta-gaming.
 
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clearclaw wrote:




Hell no. If eliminating you from contention improves someone's opportunity for victory then I expect them to do that every time it makes sense. You are a contender and removing you removes a challenge to their own victory. Turning an N player game into an N-1 player game is often an excellent course, most especially if it also makes the eliminated player's best in-game interest to then assist their eliminator's success.


This is more the style of play for a particular player. People know that if they are going to take my chances for winning away, I'm not going to simply say "thanks for eliminating me, I hope you win." I will get bloody vengeance. Leaving a player completely out of the game, especially early, you should expect this from them and they have every right to do what they want. Playing like this helps you in the long run because with the choice of eliminating player a, and player a then just attacks you the rest of the game, or eliminating player b and they keep playing as if they could still win (though they can't), player b will usually be the one who loses out.

clearclaw wrote:
Something that isn't part of the game. I'm interested in the game, not some other extraneous crap.


I'm talking more about say, in hockey, player a likes to shoot 5 hole, while player be shoots up high. Translated into games, it's just a different personality and style of play.

clearclaw wrote:
Make sure you beat them. Ideally beat them egregiously and glaringly. That simple.


You better beat them so hard they don't get to take turns anymore.

clearclaw wrote:

In-game deals are servants of the individual player's pursuit of victory. In the simplest case if breaking the deal gives you the victory and keeping your deal gives someone else the victory, then I expect you to break your deal every time without fail and would be upset if you didn't. Deals and negotiation in general are tools used by players in pursuit of the win. Like any other tool, they are there to be used, abused and discarded as appropriate to the goal: the win. The win comes first.


I somewhat agree, but when you never break a deal, more people are willing to make a deal with you. Wreaking bloody vengeance on those who break deals with you is fun too. I like to use people I know will break deals with me in a way that sets up a new alliance with someone else to take advantage of that. Be more subtle as I like to say.


clearclaw wrote:

Then word and phrase and constrain your deals more carefully. The other players know your self interest as well as their own. There should be no surprises here.

agreed


clearclaw wrote:

Blech! No. This is unacceptable meta-gaming.


It may be meta gaming to a point, but I'm sure there are players that you would never make a deal with simply because you know how they play. I'm simply suggesting that you not be one of those players.
 
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