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Subject: Intentionally Playing Poorly (Poll!) rss

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Jade Knight
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So, how do you feel about sub-optimal play? Take the anonymous poll!

Poll
When playing a game with adults, have you ever, of your own free will, (check all that apply):
Intentionally played at less than your best / played sub-optimally, such as against a new player or someone you think is far worse than you
Intentionally lost a game (for any reason)
Intentionally played kingmaker (i.e., focused more on making someone else win/lose than winning yourself)
Intentionally played quickly (so as to move the game along) to the point where it reduced your ability to play perfectly
Tried a strategy you have never tried before with the explicit intention of having it reduce your ability to play well
Intentionally cheated so that you would lose
Intentionally cheated so as to win unfairly
None of the above
      218 answers
Poll created by The Jade Knight


Did I miss anything?
 
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Trevor Taylor
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None of the above. If I'm playing against new players and the game has a big advantage for experienced players, I will generally pick a new strategy to try. This may end up better OR worse than my favoured strategies, but essentially it means I don't know how well I might perform and still get full enjoyment out of playing the game. Destroying an opponent using what I've done in previous games is fun for no-one.

I don't like the idea of 'pretending' to make another playing think they are doing better. Unless that person is incredibly shallow or wants to win at ANY cost (so not people I would choose to play with anyway) they won't enjoy the game any more than if you played properly and you'll just enjoy it less. Also, if you play completely sub-optimally, the learning player might get confused, trying to guess your strategy and might get a false impression of standard tropes of the game.

Finally, if your opponent/s find out you threw a game, you risk them feeling VERY insulted. 'What you thought I was too dumb to beat you without you help?'
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Jade Knight
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"Of your own free will" is key here. Don't check the "played quickly" box if you've only ever gone quickly because you felt obligated.
 
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Jade Knight
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negatrev wrote:
None of the above. If I'm playing against new players and the game has a big advantage for experienced players, I will generally pick a new strategy to try. This may end up better OR worse than my favoured strategies, but essentially it means I don't know how well I might perform and still get full enjoyment out of playing the game.


Aww, I should have added that to the poll!
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Jade Knight
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So, I've gone and replaced the poll to include "None of the above" and new strategies.

Those of you who have already voted, I'm very sorry! Please vote again!

The previous (discontinued) poll was poll 353137, for those interested in finding out what the 9 initial respondents said.
 
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Nate
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I have also, when learning a new game, assumed an action I was about to take was legal, or that a triggered effect applied, rather than stop the game and ask questions.
 
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Clayton Stewart
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I've only played less than my best when teaching a game. Sometimes it's necessary in order to highlight a particular rule or strategy.
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Jack Dowden
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The Jade Knight wrote:
Did I miss anything?


Um...

Tried a strategy you have never tried before which resulted in reducing your ability to play optimally.

Not sure what specifically you are looking for, but trying new strategies and not taking forever to take your turn are both things I do and prefer to play with like-minded people. The guy who takes 5 minutes every turn sucks the life out of the game for everyone. End of the day...it is a game and it is supposed to be fun. Take your turn and see what happens.

If you're looking for what to do with brand new players, I never try to lose, but I play quickly so I don't bog the game down and I want them to do well, so if I'm winning I stop piling on.
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John
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Intentionally played quickly - I've certainly done that, either with the understanding that everyone else will too, or because I'm also teaching the game.

I have occasionally given up when playing something like Bananagrams
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Shaun Morris
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I will play sub-optimally against new players, as I think it's more important to teach the game than to win so I don't worry about winning. That's not to say I make intentionally bad moves, it's just that I don't worry as much about trying to make the absolute best move.

I've definitely played kingmaker before. The best example I can think of was my group's game of 100 A.D., where we ended up forming factions just because one side didn't want someone to win and the other side didn't want someone from the other side to win.

I have intentionally expedited my turns when I find a game boring and want it to end OR in the case of a convention setting, we're running out of time due to scheduling.

I've also intentionally cheated my way to victory, but only as a practical joke with friends and family, and never in a long lasting game. It's also been years since I've done it.
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Jade Knight
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MajikJack wrote:
Tried a strategy you have never tried before which resulted in reducing your ability to play optimally.


That's a little different than the entry in question, which says:
"Tried a strategy you have never tried before with the explicit intention of having it reduce your ability to play well".

Basically, trying a new strategy as an attempt to play poorly.
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Trevor Taylor
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MajikJack wrote:
The Jade Knight wrote:
Did I miss anything?


Um...

Tried a strategy you have never tried before which resulted in reducing your ability to play optimally.


But trying new strategies won't necessarily result in you playing sub-optimally, it might actually be an amazing strategy. This is about choosing to play poorly. You didn't choose to play poorly, it just turned out that the strategy you tried didn't work.
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Trevor Taylor
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Oh, I've also Kingmake'd (Cheers Haig) once. But it was to ensure I placed as best as possible. In a game of Smash Up, it was impossible (mathematically) for me to win. So I could either play a card, that guaranteed me second and let either my friend (F) or my wife (W) come first. Or I could choose to continue the game, meaning the next player (N) had the same choice as me (which would mean I'd come last, he'd come second) or if he continued the game like me, I'd be 3rd, he'd be last and my friend (F) would win, my wife second.

I chose my wife to win as it didn't matter between her or my friend who won, I'd still come second and that play meant I finished the highest place I could.
 
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Jade Knight
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negatrev wrote:
Oh, I've also Kingmake'd (Cheers Haig) once. But it was to ensure I placed as best as possible. In a game of Smash Up, it was impossible (mathematically) for me to win. So I could either play a card, that guaranteed me second and let either my friend (F) or my wife (W) come first. Or I could choose to continue the game, meaning the next player (N) had the same choice as me (which would mean I'd come last, he'd come second) or if he continued the game like me, I'd be 3rd, he'd be last and my friend (F) would win, my wife second.

I chose my wife to win as it didn't matter between her or my friend who won, I'd still come second and that play meant I finished the highest place I could.


That's not kingmaking. If helping someone else get a higher score also helps you to achieve the highest rank possible for yourself, that's just playing well.
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Will Wilson
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I will never cheat, but I do sometimes play less than my best in the interest of generating repeat plays with people. I had to learn this the hard way. I would personally be very upset to learn that someone let me win at a game, but not everyone feels that way.
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Trevor Taylor
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The Jade Knight wrote:
negatrev wrote:
Oh, I've also Kingmake'd (Cheers Haig) once. But it was to ensure I placed as best as possible. In a game of Smash Up, it was impossible (mathematically) for me to win. So I could either play a card, that guaranteed me second and let either my friend (F) or my wife (W) come first. Or I could choose to continue the game, meaning the next player (N) had the same choice as me (which would mean I'd come last, he'd come second) or if he continued the game like me, I'd be 3rd, he'd be last and my friend (F) would win, my wife second.

I chose my wife to win as it didn't matter between her or my friend who won, I'd still come second and that play meant I finished the highest place I could.


That's not kingmaking. If helping someone else get a higher score also helps you to achieve the highest rank possible for yourself, that's just playing well.


Technically it is. As I chose to make a specific player win the game the game. What I didn't do was Kingmake instead of playing to my best position, it just happened that they both occurred. If I had to make one specific player win in order to come second that wouldn't be Kingmaking as it was my only choice, but because I could pick who won, that's the key point.
 
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Trevor Taylor
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timestandstill wrote:
I will never cheat, but I do sometimes play less than my best in the interest of generating repeat plays with people. I had to learn this the hard way. I would personally be very upset to learn that someone let me win at a game, but not everyone feels that way.


Do unto others?
 
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Played "too fast" in games such as Terra Mystica, where planning out resource acquisition and expenditure in detail several turns in advance is definitely to a player's benefit, but if everyone does, the game is utterly unbearable.
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Boaty McBoatface
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I have tried an non optimal strategy occasionally for the purposes of "role playing" (such as charging headlong with British cavalry, which has also sometimes worked).
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negatrev wrote:
Oh, I've also Kingmake'd (Cheers Haig) once. But it was to ensure I placed as best as possible. In a game of Smash Up, it was impossible (mathematically) for me to win. So I could either play a card, that guaranteed me second and let either my friend (F) or my wife (W) come first. Or I could choose to continue the game, meaning the next player (N) had the same choice as me (which would mean I'd come last, he'd come second) or if he continued the game like me, I'd be 3rd, he'd be last and my friend (F) would win, my wife second.

I chose my wife to win as it didn't matter between her or my friend who won, I'd still come second and that play meant I finished the highest place I could.


Kingmaking in the last round of a game in the sense of handing a player the win is wayyy different than what's in the poll, which implies that it's a concerted effort over the course of the game.

I've definitely played to end a game rather than win, either when I was far enough behind that my actions had little relevance, or when the mood at the table indicated the game was going too long.

I've intentionally played sub-optimally only by being less aggressive than I otherwise might have been. Sometimes when you're learning a game, it's no fun to have someone continually messing with your plans so I might target neutral troops instead of my opponent's, or choose options that benefit myself rather than harm my opponent (lowkey avoiding attack cards in a game like Dominion, for example).

My favorite plan is just to try wacky/fun/unproven strategies, in part because it puts us on more equal footing if I have no idea how it's going to go, in part to see if I can pull it off in a low-stakes environment, and in part to show off the possibility space of the game.
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Great poll! I have definitely played sub-optimally in order to help new players grasp the strategies of a game I'm teaching. Depends on the game and psychology of my gaming partners.

Ironically, more than once I have stumbled into new and better strategies for a game while playing sub-optimally. Goes to show that when you think you have a game "all figured out..."
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Will Wilson
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negatrev wrote:
timestandstill wrote:
I will never cheat, but I do sometimes play less than my best in the interest of generating repeat plays with people. I had to learn this the hard way. I would personally be very upset to learn that someone let me win at a game, but not everyone feels that way.


Do unto others?


I tailor my play to my guests at the table. Not everyone feels as strongly as I do about these games, and I'm more concerned with them having a good time. I have fun regardless. I know who I can give a 100% with and who I can't. I'm certainly not recommending this to everyone, but it works for me.
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Pete
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There's a big difference between what you do on general principle and "have you ever done something" once.

Pete (thinks he has done every single one of those things at least once, but generally does none of them)
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
negatrev wrote:
Oh, I've also Kingmake'd (Cheers Haig) once. But it was to ensure I placed as best as possible. In a game of Smash Up, it was impossible (mathematically) for me to win. So I could either play a card, that guaranteed me second and let either my friend (F) or my wife (W) come first. Or I could choose to continue the game, meaning the next player (N) had the same choice as me (which would mean I'd come last, he'd come second) or if he continued the game like me, I'd be 3rd, he'd be last and my friend (F) would win, my wife second.

I chose my wife to win as it didn't matter between her or my friend who won, I'd still come second and that play meant I finished the highest place I could.


Kingmaking in the last round of a game in the sense of handing a player the win is wayyy different than what's in the poll, which implies that it's a concerted effort over the course of the game.


I agree, which is why I didn't tick the box in the poll.
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Jade Knight
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plezercruz wrote:
There's a big difference between what you do on general principle and "have you ever done something" once.

Pete (thinks he has done every single one of those things at least once, but generally does none of them)


I fairly doubt anyone intentionally loses games "on general principle". A poll asking as much would be absurd, though you're welcome to make it.
 
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