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Subject: [POLL] Are semi co-ops considered co-ops? rss

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Alex Norris
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Edit: these polls are useless and nearsighted. I didn't know how many options there were as I am not an experienced BGGer. Can someone else try? I really am interested in the data that will be generated


In light of Russ' last discussion, I wanted to make another poll to clear things up.

Poll
Are semi co-ops considered co-op games? Or are they different enough to have their own classification?
Yes semi co-ops are considered co-op
No semi co-ops are different enough to have their own classification
I'm not sure
      100 answers
Poll created by Alextnorris


Also, the line for semi co-op can be slightly subjective. In Hanabi information is withheld from other players, however there are no personal goals so:

(In reference to the next poll, we are only talking about games where there is a way for both players to lose. When competitive scoring is mentioned, it doesn't necessarily mean "points" although it can. If you want to think of it as a competitive comparison, that may be more accurate)

Edit: my question number 2 should read as follows. I messed up typing it.

2) what is required in a semi co-op game?

Poll
1. Is Hanabi a semi co-op or a co-op?
It's a co-op
It's a semi co-op
I'm not sure
2. In your opinion, does a semi co-op have to have secret personal goals or is the only requirement hidden information from other players? (Select all that apply)
It has to have a secret personal goal
It has to have hidden information from other players
It has to have competitive scoring between the players
None of these are absolute requirements
I'm not sure
      88 answers
Poll created by Alextnorris
 
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Robert Bracey
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Okay, now we are in silly territory. You have clearly rigged the poll to support your personal prejudices. A huge chunk of people on these boards do not even believe semi-coops exist (the chickens would escape).

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RobertBr wrote:
Okay, now we are in silly territory. You have clearly rigged the poll to support your personal prejudices. A huge chunk of people on these boards do not even believe semi-coops exist (the chickens would escape).



That's an interesting view point. Especially since I don't have an opinion. I was just designing this based off of responses on the other poll, and I wanted some clear data. I did try to dig deeper into the subject, but please tell me how this poll is biased. I am curious if Hanabi will be considered a co-op or a semi co-op after the topic is dissected a little bit. Do people think mechanisms similar to Hanabi are co-op since that is how they are generally categorized, or will these polls show something different?


P.S. I used correct the correct annotations so there would HOPEFULLY be no chicken talk in this forum, however, it is BGG..
 
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Russ Williams
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My take on it:

As far as I've observed (in zillions of forum threads) "semi-coop" seems usually used as a "term of art" to mean a game (like CO2 etc) which is simultaneously "cooperative" (i.e. players work together and win collectively or lose collectively against the game/AI/environment/etc) and "competitive" (i.e. if the team wins, then one (winning) player is the "grand winner" who wins "more" than the rest of the team, and if the team loses, then they have all lost equally.)

Players are intended to value being the "grand winner" the most, then being a team winner but not grand winner, then being a loser as the worst outcome, but of course they are controversial since many regard the "coop team winner" outcome as "I lost since someone else finished better than me".

Nothing about any of that requires hidden info or secret goals per se. A multiplayer pure strategy game with no hidden info and no randomness could in principle be a coop or semi-coop.


In That Discussion Which I Mentioned, it was asserted that Hanabi is a "semi-coop" because it's not a "full coop" (since players don't "fully" communicate to cooperate), but that seems a very non-standard use of "semi-coop", in my experience.
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Silver Bowen
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Semi-coop isn't really a thing. A coop game is zero sum, where the game wins or the players win, and all winners get the same score. Anything else is a competitive game, albeit some competitive games have the possibility of the game winning or multiple players winning. The terms of any actual "cooperation" between players are irrelevant. In other words, mechanisms don't have a thing to do with whether a game is coop or not, only possible end states.

Example: Leave Through the Same Door is a 2-player cooperative game. It requires that the two players visit a room at different times. The room has two doors. The first player enters, chooses a door, exits, then records which door they exited by in ledger #1. The first player also records their name and the ID of their entry in ledger #1 in another ledger.

At some later point in time, the next player takes their turn. They visit the room, choose another player's name and entry ID, go in the room, leave and record the same information as the previous player. They then check to see if they chose the same door. If so, both players win. If not, both players lose.

This is a terrible game, almost entirely a "game of virtue". Yet it is a game. There is no active cooperation. A player can win without even realizing they are playing. A dead player can win. A player can take one "active" turn and win many, many times. Yet it is a coop. Make sense?
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Curt Carpenter
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silverbowen wrote:
Semi-coop isn't really a thing. A coop game is zero sum, where the game wins or the players win, and all winners get the same score. Anything else is a competitive game, albeit some competitive games have the possibility of the game winning or multiple players winning.

Such games are most often referred to as... 'semi-coop'.
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What, Hanabi is a semi co-op? No. No no no. NO!

A semi co-op is game in which the game can win (or all the players can lose, depending on how you look at it). So part of the players' efforts must be directed towards a mutual goal. However... the players also each have their own separate victory conditions. These can be mutually exclusive (only 1 player can win) or merely a bar that must be achieved (all the players can win, but they each have their own unique victory condition that may prevent them from sharing in the win).

Semi co-ops with only 1 ultimate winner:
Archipelago
CO₂

Semi co-ops where maybe everyone can win:
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

Then there are the co-ops which have a "best" winner but which many people seem to play as pure co-ops:
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Castle Panic


Hanabi is a game where all the players win or lose together. It is not semi co-op. That there is the added barrier of hidden information just makes the game more interesting. It is a barrier that all the players share together.

(And yeah, those polls seem a little loaded.)
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Russ Williams
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curtc wrote:
silverbowen wrote:
some competitive games have the possibility of the game winning or multiple players winning.

Such games are most often referred to as... 'semi-coop'.


A competitive game with the possibility of the game winning (i.e. "all players lose") or of multiple players winning is not a "semi-coop", I'd say, since if one multiple players win, then the other players lose.

In a "semi-coop", either "all players lose" or "all players win (with someone being a grand winner)". It's not possible for some players to win and others to lose in a semi-coop. (At least that is their intent. Of course many will say that "being a team winner when someone else is grand winner means I lost", but in the game's terms, all players were winners in that case.)
 
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PS: In the poll "It has to have competitive scoring between the players" was a bit confusing to me. "Scoring" sounds like "points" to me, and a competitive game might not have "scoring" per se (e.g. Chess has no scoring but is of course competitive). I assume now that the poll intends more generally some way of distinguishing a winner from a loser, right?
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If it has individual scores, then it's a competitive game whether it has a way for everyien tolose or not. There is no way games like CO₂ or VOC! Founding the Dutch East Indies Company

Then you get to games like Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game and Castle Panic (with the alternate rule of scoring). Some call them co=ops, but to me if you are playing the best you can, at some point you need to 'tank' the game if you know you are in last place. Tied with everyone is better than last place.

I have never heard anything about 'hidden' information making a game 'semi-cooperative'. In the past, a semi-coop game was one where one more more of the players where 'running/helping' the game beat the team.

In the example of Hanabi. Everyone wins or losers together. There is not one person that tales first. You are one team working together. Hidden information just makes a co-op playable. With a co-op with EVERYTHING open, then it's just a solo game for the 'strongest willed' player and a spectator game for everyone else around.
 
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russ wrote:
curtc wrote:
silverbowen wrote:
some competitive games have the possibility of the game winning or multiple players winning.

Such games are most often referred to as... 'semi-coop'.


A competitive game with the possibility of the game winning (i.e. "all players lose") or of multiple players winning is not a "semi-coop", I'd say, since if one multiple players win, then the other players lose.

In a "semi-coop", either "all players lose" or "all players win (with someone being a grand winner)". It's not possible for some players to win and others to lose in a semi-coop. (At least that is their intent. Of course many will say that "being a team winner when someone else is grand winner means I lost", but in the game's terms, all players were winners in that case.)


No they aren't all winners. In power grid, if I 'finish' the game in 2nd even if it's tied with all other players for second, I still lost tothe person that got first. Same thing in games like legendary. I played Big Trouble Friday night. When it was over, we counted up scores and I shook the hand of the winner because he beat me, There were no in ands or buts, he won the game. That's why there is a score.
 
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Larry L
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Dead of Winter is often cited as a semi-co-op. Putting aside the hidden traitor for the moment, the design is that each player can win or lose independently-- any subset from zero to all players can win. There is no team win condition, but everyone can lose.
 
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russ wrote:
PS: In the poll "It has to have competitive scoring between the players" was a bit confusing to me. "Scoring" sounds like "points" to me, and a competitive game might not have "scoring" per se (e.g. Chess has no scoring but is of course competitive). I assume now that the poll intends more generally some way of distinguishing a winner from a loser, right?


I was making the understood assumption that there was a way for all players to lose, since we are talking within the range of co-op games (semi or not)
 
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Alextnorris wrote:
russ wrote:
PS: In the poll "It has to have competitive scoring between the players" was a bit confusing to me. "Scoring" sounds like "points" to me, and a competitive game might not have "scoring" per se (e.g. Chess has no scoring but is of course competitive). I assume now that the poll intends more generally some way of distinguishing a winner from a loser, right?


I was making the understood assumption that there was a way for all players to lose, since we are talking within the range of co-op games (semi or not)


So, you stipulate that if a game has a way that all players can lose, it's assumed they are 'sem-coop' (which may or may not be a subset of co-op)??

So, you believe that games like Nuclear War and Supremacy are Semi-coops?
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Guantanamo wrote:
Alextnorris wrote:
russ wrote:
PS: In the poll "It has to have competitive scoring between the players" was a bit confusing to me. "Scoring" sounds like "points" to me, and a competitive game might not have "scoring" per se (e.g. Chess has no scoring but is of course competitive). I assume now that the poll intends more generally some way of distinguishing a winner from a loser, right?


I was making the understood assumption that there was a way for all players to lose, since we are talking within the range of co-op games (semi or not)


So, you stipulate that if a game has a way that all players can lose, it's assumed they are 'sem-coop' (which may or may not be a subset of co-op)??

So, you believe that games like Nuclear War and Supremacy are Semi-coops?


I am not familiar with these games, but this poll isn't really about my opinion. Personally, if these games are like CO2, I believe they are semi co-op! (But I don't know these games)


Edit: The longer this poll is going, the more possibilities I see are possible and that I didn't know existed. I'm really not the most experienced BGGer here. I tried to compile all of the replies in Russ' forum for some easy accessible and usable data, but I failed. Sorry. Just forget my attempt. Can someone else try?
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Guantanamo wrote:
russ wrote:
curtc wrote:
silverbowen wrote:
some competitive games have the possibility of the game winning or multiple players winning.

Such games are most often referred to as... 'semi-coop'.


A competitive game with the possibility of the game winning (i.e. "all players lose") or of multiple players winning is not a "semi-coop", I'd say, since if one multiple players win, then the other players lose.

In a "semi-coop", either "all players lose" or "all players win (with someone being a grand winner)". It's not possible for some players to win and others to lose in a semi-coop. (At least that is their intent. Of course many will say that "being a team winner when someone else is grand winner means I lost", but in the game's terms, all players were winners in that case.)


No they aren't all winners. In power grid, if I 'finish' the game in 2nd even if it's tied with all other players for second, I still lost tothe person that got first.

Yes, of course, 2nd place is a loss in Power Grid, but Power Grid is not a semi-coop and does not purport to have the concept of "everyone loses or everyone wins" like a coop and a semi-coop both do.

Power Grid is a traditional competitive game with one winner according to its rules. So I'm honestly confused what Power Grid has to do with what I said about semi-coops.

(I don't know Legendary, so am not responding to that example.)
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I'm not 100% certain about Legendary Big Trouble, but Marvel Legendary has the team win and individual win conditions that are typical of most semi-coop (I pretty much ignore the team win, as most of the time trying for the individual win helps the team win. There are cards designed to harm other players.)
 
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Would this definition work? Semi co-op - a game where two or more players must work together at some point or points to ensure the possibility of a winner or winners. A scenario must exist where both one or some players win and one or some players lose.

I have this game idea. Players actively compete to deliver goods to a publicly owned grocery store, using tractor trailers. The players themselves don't belong to this store and certainly don't have to (and shouldn't) work together. There can only be one winner. Would this be a semi co-op game?
 
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Savory Oliver wrote:
Count me on the side of believing there not is no such animal as a semi co-op game. Either a game is cooperative, or it is competitive, in my mind. If one person or a group of people can beat the other people at the end of a game, it is a competitive game.


That sounds suspiciously analogous to someone saying a couple decades ago "There is no such animal as a coop game. A game is competitive, someone must win and the opponents must lose."

I see no problem with genres expanding and new paradigms arising, including attempts at hybrids.

I see no problem in principle with a game saying "you should value the team winning more than the team losing, and you should value being grand winner more than not being grand winner when the team wins". But it has the problem in practice that many players do not buy into the paradigm, leading to frustrating experiences for many players.

(Just as someone who does not believe in the coop paradigm at all, and only believes that competitive games make sense, would be frustrated when playing a coop game. The difference is that it seems empirically easier to buy into the coop paradigm than to buy into the semi-coop paradigm.)

And it has the problem that if everyone buys into the concept, then once one player is clearly ahead, the others should not try to sabotage him if that would risk tanking the game (because the team losing is The Worst, after all), so played "in the spirit" sound potentially unsatisfying if one cares much about the competitive aspect.

If one cares more about the coop aspect than the competitive aspect, then I can imagine them working better. I.e. "Hooray, we won and defeated the Forces of Darkness! And congrats to Bob for being the Most Valuable Player!" seems perhaps more appealing than "Crap, Bob won, not me! Oh, and technically the team won, woo-hoo, what a consolation prize..."

dwacker wrote:
Would this definition work? Semi co-op - a game where two or more players must work together at some point or points to ensure the possibility of a winner or winners. A scenario must exist where both one or some players win and one or some players lose.

That seems to completely lose the "coop" aspect and simply be a traditional competitive game (with the additional property that a complete tie is not possible).

The whole point of games labeled "semi-coop" is that "we all lose as a team or we all win as a team; in the latter case one team winner is also the 'grand winner'".
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Savory Oliver wrote:
dwacker wrote:
Would this definition work? Semi co-op - a game where two or more players must work together at some point or points to ensure the possibility of a winner or winners. A scenario must exist where both one or some players win and one or some players lose.


This includes pretty much all multiplayer battle games--from Risk to Diplomacy to Dungeons & Dragons: Conquest of Nerath. You can't win unless you work with other people. You can tie in Diplomacy, as well as many others. Don't know why you'd want to label those semi co-op.


I disagree that people -have- to work together for there to be a winner in Risk. Diplomacy is an interesting one. I would define Diplomacy as a semi co-op.
 
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Guantanamo wrote:

Then you get to games like Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game and Castle Panic (with the alternate rule of scoring). Some call them co=ops, but to me if you are playing the best you can, at some point you need to 'tank' the game if you know you are in last place. Tied with everyone is better than last place.

I would posit that if it's possible for a person to cause everyone else (including themselves) to lose, that is cooperative in nature. If you don't work with the other people, you cannot win the game. You can argue how "semi" it is on a game-by-game basis, but that's certainly not a purely competitive game.

I think the point above referring to a team MVP is a good parallel. I highly doubt anyone would say only Ben Zobrist won the World Series last year because he was the MVP, and the other 24 people on the Cubs' roster lost.
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Quote:
That seems to completely lose the "coop" aspect and simply be a traditional competitive game (with the additional property that a complete tie is not possible).

The whole point of games labeled "semi-coop" is that "we all lose as a team or we all win as a team; in the latter case one team winner is also the 'grand winner'".


How so? I think that the "cooperative" aspect relates to having to work together to have any chance of a winner or winners. The fact that there has to be at least one condition with both winners and losers is what separates it from a truly cooperative game. Having that possibility doesn't preclude a tie as another possible outcome.
 
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This all reminds of this paper paper by John Krebs and Richard Dawkins. The link opens a pdf.

In completely cooperative situations, animals, or gamers in this case, have the same goals. This leads to honesty in signaling, like you might expect to see in Hanabi. It would never make sense to lie in Hanabi.

When a signaller and receiver don't have the same goals, it leads to dishonesty. There are manipulators who lie to get what they need from the other players, and those other players simultaneously try to successfully mind-read to detect those manipulators. Such interactions would, of course, occur in a strictly competitive game. But, perhaps the presence of manipulators in a game where players must work together in order for there to be any possibility of a winner or winners would be a way to define a semi-cooperative game?

 
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russ wrote:

In a "semi-coop", either "all players lose" or "all players win (with someone being a grand winner)". It's not possible for some players to win and others to lose in a semi-coop. (At least that is their intent. Of course many will say that "being a team winner when someone else is grand winner means I lost", but in the game's terms, all players were winners in that case.)


Is Dead of Winter not a semi-coop? Maybe it is a game that some people play as a semi-coop, just like many people play semi-coops as competitive or coop games?
 
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RingelTree wrote:
russ wrote:


Is Dead of Winter not a semi-coop?

(I have no idea; I've not played it and don't know its rules.)
 
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