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Subject: Do you get better at playing games? rss

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Chris Graves
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With many of the things we do in our lives, we get better at them the more we do them. Of course, you can always plateau and stop improving. Some people are just more skilled or more talented than other people at certain activities, while others just were NOT given an ability for those same activities.

I'm curious on your thoughts in regard to how it relates to playing games? Of course you can improve on individual games the more you play them as you learn strategies and so forth, but I'm really wondering if you think one improves at gaming (in general), the more they play? Are some people just going to be better no matter what? What are some other thoughts you have on the matter?
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Michael Oliver
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That's kind of like asking "Do you get better at sports?"

Playing certain games will likely improve your skill at similar games, games with similar mechanics or strategies, but, it will likely not improve your skills at vastly different games.

Just like playing baseball isn't likely to improve your basketball skills.
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Paul DeStefano
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Yes.

Except Russian Roulette.

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Geosphere wrote:
Yes.

Except Russian Roulette.



I haven't lost yet, so I might have plateaued. But at least I'm not getting worse.
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George Louie
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futiles wrote:
That's kind of like asking "Do you get better at sports?"

Playing certain games will likely improve your skill at similar games, games with similar mechanics or strategies, but, it will likely not improve your skills at vastly different games.

Just like playing baseball isn't likely to improve your basketball skills.


Not true at all.. training at one sport almost always helps other sports.. that's why athletes do cross training.. both my boys earned black belts in taekwondo when they were young.. that martial arts training undoubtedly helped them in their other sports, although neither sport is anything like taekwondo (one is playing collegiate lacrosse, and the other is being recruited to play volleyball).
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George Louie
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to answer the original question... absolutely yes, you get better at playing games the more you play.. the mental exercise aspects of gaming include understanding, predicting, and planning options strategies and planning... the more you do those things, the better you get at them..

Playing more games also makes it easier to understand, pick up and learn other games, as lots of games share the same or similar mechanics. So, it gets progressively easier as you play more and more games..
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voodoochyl wrote:
With many of the things we do in our lives, we get better at them the more we do them. Of course, you can always plateau and stop improving. Some people are just more skilled or more talented than other people at certain activities, while others just were NOT given an ability for those same activities.

I'm curious on your thoughts in regard to how it relates to playing games? Of course you can improve on individual games the more you play them as you learn strategies and so forth, but I'm really wondering if you think one improves at gaming (in general), the more they play? Are some people just going to be better no matter what? What are some other thoughts you have on the matter?


Some of the posts seem to be correlating or otherwise discussing bg with other games and activities in life. I don't think that was your intent... it seems like you were just asking if people get better and better at bg, and only in that context?

Assuming that, I generally get better at half of them, and not really for the other half.

For the ones I've gotten better at, Race For The Galaxy, Ascension, and Dominion have been GREATLY HELPED by their digital versions. Don't get me wrong... play against experts (online, or in-person), and I will be in for the fight of my life, as these are games where good players are not to be underestimated. Still, the experience even vs. "not the greatest AI" was still a great learning experience (not to mention fun )

In my early years, I've managed to play games over and over again, like Battlestar Galactica and Dominion, so that was helpful. If not repetition, playing in a group helps because you have others giving you strategy advice. These are competitive games, but we're not cutthroat by any means.

For the latter, there are some games I will never get good at. Power Grid, heavy set eurogames, ameritrash, etc. Granted, I've actually won at some of them, but they require lots of study I'm not interested in, or extra plays that I can't get in.
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Stephen Jacobsen
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I'd say yes, mostly.
As G.Daddy.Slim said, games often share similar concepts arranged in different ways. If you play one area control game, then you may have a general idea for strategy if you move on to a different area control game.

Even in games that require valuation of actions/resources/money, it is much easier over time to have a better guess of what something might be worth if you have played several games that require that skill.

Hex-and-counter wargames often use similar language (Terrain, ZOCs, Supply lines, combat results tables, etc). Once you play one or two of these, it's easier to jump right in to others.

18XX games have similar language, styles, and lineages to one another. If you say that 1889 is an "1830-style" game, you already have a good idea of how it plays.

Edit:

My implied point about getting better at games in general the more you play, is that when you are more familiar with the "language of games" and the basic strategies, it is easier to focus on the higher level strategies.
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Steve
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voodoochyl wrote:
...but I'm really wondering if you think one improves at gaming (in general), the more they play?
Yes

voodoochyl wrote:
Are some people just going to be better no matter what?
No

The Talent Code is a pretty good book:
The Talent Code wrote:
Although talent feels and looks predestined, in fact we have a good deal of control over what skills we develop, and we have more potential than we might ever presume to guess.
 
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yes and no... really depends.
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George Louie
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darthhugo wrote:
yes and no... really depends.


That pretty much covers it.
 
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I consider having fun to be the goal of playing games. I feel it's successful if fun was had. So this goal would be hard for me to track by if I got better or not. I don't even try to win laugh. I'm one of those.

So I probably don't get any better blush
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Robert Ligon
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After playing so many games, I pick up games quickly. I think this was developed by playing thousands of games over a lifetime. I would characterize it as great familiarity with games and their design rather than a skill.

It is not goal of mine to master specific games beyond knowing the rules and basic strategy.
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Pete
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Board gaming is a skill, or rather a set of skills. Skills are improvable with practice.

Pete (has been in training for most of his life)
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George Louie
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Monky wrote:
I consider having fun to be the goal of playing games. I feel it's successful if fun was had. So this goal would be hard for me to track by if I got better or not. I don't even try to win laugh. I'm one of those.

So I probably don't get any better blush



I guess that depends.. if you have fun by letting other's win, then yes it might be hard to determine if you've gotten better. If you have fun by playing your best and then not worrying about who wins, you certainly can judge if you're improving. Also, its not always about wins and losses.. if you feel like you're able to try different strategies.. or start pairing up combo's or make 2, 3 or 4+ plays, where before you were only playing the hand/board in front of you, then you're improving.

I just re-read the post I quoted.. I originally didn't catch the "I don't even try to win..." part.
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April W
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voodoochyl wrote:
With many of the things we do in our lives, we get better at them the more we do them. Of course, you can always plateau and stop improving. Some people are just more skilled or more talented than other people at certain activities, while others just were NOT given an ability for those same activities.

I'm curious on your thoughts in regard to how it relates to playing games? Of course you can improve on individual games the more you play them as you learn strategies and so forth, but I'm really wondering if you think one improves at gaming (in general), the more they play? Are some people just going to be better no matter what? What are some other thoughts you have on the matter?

I think it's like anything else- if you are driven enough to improve, you will. I have gotten better at games in general the more I've played because I've learned more about strategy. I've also gotten better at specific games which I originally played poorly after thinking and changing the way I approached them. Then there are always those games that just "click" on the first play.
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Jerry Martin
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I would certainly say yes.

I imagine that I would certainly do better at a brand new game than the average person. Mainly because of the overlap in mechanics between games.

I do have a specific example. I have been playing Magic since a couple years after it was originally released. Over 20 years now. I played fairly competitively for a few years in the late nineties and early 2000's. Once I had children I very rarely have played competitively. I am lucky if I get to a tourney a few times a year. The last three tournaments I have played I have played "good" opponents and I have won all three drafts I played in. These are always a couple months between games. Each time it was a newer set of cards and it was the first time I had ever touched cards from the new set.

I think it mostly comes from thousands of hours of playing cards. Being able to evaluate card value and synergies in the vacuum of the draft. Plus some luck. But I have done it the last 3 times I have played so skill has to be a part of the situation.

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Vladimir Teneslav
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Like in any other domain, doing it more gets you better. I have a story about this about a friend of mine. One evening me and my friends decided to play Game of Thrones and we had this friend of ours that never played boardgames, or games in general. But he was in for the night.

We explain the rules, play a round or two and we see him get more and more agitated. He wasn't handling it all that well. The game was hard to get but he was an intelligent person. At one time he just says, I cannot play anymore, I am overwhelmed, I don't understand anything.

Fast forward 1 year, he has a growing son and started playing lots and lots of games with him. Now the game concepts are in the back of his mind and he can now understand and play boardgames a lot better because he played lots of them since. He was just too new to gaming one year ago.
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Doug Hook
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I think some people have a mind set that can’t improve in games. My wife tells me that since she was not raised playing games that she still does not do well in any game these many years later. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. In all fairness, there be other factors involved like preferring to socialize, although it happens with 2 player games too.
 
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Chris Mcpherson
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stevepop wrote:
voodoochyl wrote:
...but I'm really wondering if you think one improves at gaming (in general), the more they play?
Yes

voodoochyl wrote:
Are some people just going to be better no matter what?
No

The Talent Code is a pretty good book:
The Talent Code wrote:
Although talent feels and looks predestined, in fact we have a good deal of control over what skills we develop, and we have more potential than we might ever presume to guess.


Of course some people are going to be better no matter what. Now if you play one game a lot you may catch up to this type of person but there are going to be people that if you both play a game together for the first time, that person will have better odds of winning. This is only in games that don't have a lot of luck involved but rely more on player choice. The person, or people I'm talking about are analytical people, people who excel at problem solving, creative people and so on. My mother is the exact opposite of this and it takes her a few plays of a game to catch on. Others can pick up the game faster because of the above skills/personality traits and this will give them a better chance to win, most of the time.

Edit: this could also be true for games that are luck heavy but you then have the chance to be extremely unlucky and it cancels out your advantage.
 
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George Louie
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Re4isnumber1 wrote:

Edit: this could also be true for games that are luck heavy but you then have the chance to be extremely unlucky and it cancels out your advantage.


If its truly luck, this would only be true for an instance of a game, but over the long run it should even out..

However, many games today that are heavily luck dependent (random dice rolls, etc) usually have ways of mitigating "bad luck", either through modifier cards, or through player choice which maximize chances to benefit from random events.
 
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