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Subject: Tough questions - should weak players just leave the strong group? rss

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Iori Yagami
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So, what do you think?
It is always worse if you quit and don't play? You win already if you are participating? 100% shots not taken are misses?
Or should players who constantly lose and don't get better, don't understand, have (probably) mental problems with memory, concentration, patience, etc just play simpler stuff with other people? I.e., you'd rather avoid/not invite/kick them out (politely).
Do they annoy you? Or do they make you happier about your own skill level?

Sometimes you see yourself right in the bottom 5% of ratings table. You lose any game, even against newbies, but have been playing for long.
Is it because normal behaviour is to quit playing when you openly suck? Or is it okay to continue? You might like the game for whatever reason, just not be any good at it? Is it OK?
Is it abnormal to continue playing in this situation? I don't know. I feel there is a lot of pretense and lies about this issue. Or maybe it is paranoia.
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Beverly Bates
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I think that this can be remedied by having multiple gaming groups or specifying the mood for the night. If you wanna have a hardcore group/night, do it and maybe inform/exclude the weaker players.

It sucks, but basically work to cater to everyone's needs and potentially just separate the groups.
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Jeff Saxton
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I thought the whole idea was to enjoy yourself while playing, whether you play well, or play poorly? Social situations should seldom ostracize folks for being consistently bad at a game.
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mortego
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I don't mind what level a player is at for a game, I'll play with them no problem but I can appreciate those who'd rather not waste their time & just play with people who are equal to themselves or better in playing ability & such (just don't count me as among them though).

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K S
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I feel like you're needlessly complicating the question:

1) Is everybody having a good time?
1a) Yes: carry on
1b) No: change something, then refer to (1).
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Iori Yagami
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Well, when not everybody is having fun, but some definitely do.
This is when chicken counting and finger pointing starts and it actually becomes interesting. goo
 
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Steve C
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If the weaker players are enjoying themselves, that's good.
If the stronger players are enjoying playing despite non-equal opponents, that's good.

If one or more players are not enjoying themselves, then it's worth looking for other options. Perhaps splitting the group up becomes a viable option.
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BG.EXE
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wamsp wrote:
I feel like you're needlessly complicating the question:

1) Is everybody having a good time?
1a) Yes: carry on
1b) No: change something, then refer to (1).


Perfect answer! I have a group that meets regularly. One player loses preeeeeeeeeeeeeetty consistently. We're talking... I think he has 3-4 wins (not counting co-op games) over the entire last year. But he has fun playing. We do try to get a solid blend of games in my group (I love worker placement but we don't play all WP games, for example) which goes a decent way to making sure we're not always playing to one person's strength, but our group definitely has strong players and weaker players.

But not everybody is playing only to win so long as everyone is having fun, we'll keep on going.
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It depends. Do you play to enjoy the gaming experience or is gaming just an excuse to gather for socializing?
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Neph Ilium
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
I don't mind what level a player is at for a game, I'll play with them no problem but I can appreciate those who'd rather not waste their time & just play with people who are equal to themselves or better in playing ability & such (just don't count me as among them though).



There's one player in our group who seems to have issues grasping the rules to games, which can get quite frustrating at times. As an example, we're playing Concordia, which is a fairly simple game on the rules side. Play a card, do what it says. For four turns in a row he wanted to play the Minerva card to produce tools... when he had no buildings in any tool producing cities.
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Mark Iradian
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I'm not a fan of players who have trouble learning the game. I try to keep my collection to have understandable rules, but if I have a player at the table that cannot comprehend King of Tokyo, I will likely not to play with that person again.

That also includes players with a very low skill levels. I've seen 8 or 9 player games of Resistance go sour because the Commander/Merlin doesn't talk, doesn't participate, or prefers to be on their phone.

At the end of the day, when people go to someone's place to play board games or to a meet up, they are donating their time to enjoy themselves that they could've spent doing any other activity. Having players who have to trouble learning the rules (thus making a 45 minute game into a 2+ hour game) or players who just throw dynamics of the game out of the window due to them refusing to adapt to the game's mechanics aren't worth the group's time.

It's one of the reasons why I don't play heavier games like Gallerist, A feast for Odin, or Lisboa. I respect the other player's time to not intrude myself onto the table "just because". I have plenty of other lighter options available to me.
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Iori Yagami
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I just am curious of typical is that behaviour? I think it's pretty rare. Many of board game skeptical people avoid games exactly for feeling of inadequacy, even if they like the players as people and friends. While in person many are taught to be polite, esp. with western traditional values upbringing (don't say anything unless it is nice, etc), though Online it doesn't take long till 'not a game for you' starts flying around, not to mention 'lawl scrub', esp. in hard competitive stuff, like as you might have guess from my username, 1v1 fighting games. And many many people just avoid it. I like to stay, but always feel like I am doing something silly and ridiculous, like a playing a dog's dance( louse waltz? chopsticks?) on a grand piano when I am supposed to perform symphonies/concertos or whatever it's called.
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K S
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Iori_Yagami wrote:
Online it doesn't take long till 'not a game for you' starts flying around, not to mention 'lawl scrub', esp. in hard competitive stuff, like as you might have guess from my username, 1v1 fighting games.

I might be confused. I assumed that you were referring to playing boardgames in person. Are you talking about playing boardgame apps online? Or are you just making an analogy to online gaming?
 
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Iori Yagami
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Just competitive games in general. Of course, in person it is more humane and tame.
Boardgames are the ones, where you don't get excuse of 'lag' or 'bad controller' and don't really have to have reflexes, just attention and wit.
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Keith Craig
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My favorite game is War of the Ring (Second Edition) I know that I am not good at this game despite playing it over 100 times.

I have always finished last in the online ladder results and I get knocked out of the tournaments in the first rounds.
I even lose to people who are playing it for their second time ever.

However I love to play it as I enjoy the narrative it plays out and the challenge it presents me.

There are people I will not play the game with. I have had the experience where people would submit the results of our game to the ladder and stated that the game was a joke for them it was so easy.

In the end I guess I like the experience more than the winning although I do try to win every game I play.
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Kevin C.
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(Iori_Yagami wrote:
Just competitive games in general.


Different games and genres have different ideas of competitive. I think most "competitive" online games take Sirlin's concepts to heart with the idea that skill is laudable and not having skill makes you a scrub.

I think that is crap, but if you buy into that ethos and community, that is what you get for that choice.

MMO's usually have the same sort of idea at endgame. So, to do the hardest stuff (raids, trials, veteran dungeons, etc.) you need the best gear and you have to "know your class." You will get booted from groups if your DPS isn't up to snuff or possibly won't even get into a group if you don't pass a gear check.

This is entirely different from something like Yucata, I think. I haven't had anyone tell me not to play certain games or trash-talk like MMO's and I suck at most games on Yucata.

If you are talking about boardgame groups, each one is different. As has been said, if everyone is having fun, there is no problem. If someone constantly losing or misunderstanding rules is a problem, then a conversation will probably ensue. Maybe the group decides to play different games or maybe the odd-man-out decides to leave the group.

I don't think there is a hard and fast answer. It really depends on what the "competitive" environment consists of and how it is moderated.

I certainly don't care about people losing in my game group. It is awesome just to play and they are all cool, nice people to hang with. I don't play "fighting" games online and I don't much care what people say in MMO's about my style or skill. If they boot me, they boot me and if we get the content done, then it gets done. I do avoid some of the more "intense" content, though, if I don't feel I am up to it.

But with boardgames, I don't. I think social first and if someone has a problem with my play, we can talk about it.

Kevin
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Pete
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I've yet to find a player who isn't strong at some type of game.

Pete (is including his 4-year-old, who is a master of Gulo Gulo)
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Iori Yagami
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Well, that's nice to hear about social first.
I wonder what about traditional board games, like chess, bridge, go and mahjongg? I've read quite a few mahjongg and hanafuda fan blogs, and they give out impression of cutthroat competition, even if it's not for money. I guess, modern boardgaming is closer in tone to RPGs or even Bingo, in that case, where experience is more important than result.
 
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K S
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Iori_Yagami wrote:
Well, that's nice to hear about social first.
I wonder what about traditional board games, like chess, bridge, go and mahjongg? I've read quite a few mahjongg and hanafuda fan blogs, and they give out impression of cutthroat competition, even if it's not for money. I guess, modern boardgaming is closer in tone to RPGs or even Bingo, in that case, where experience is more important than result.


I think it might help you to get a better perspective on this issue if you think about players rather than about games. Any game can be played in a hyper-competitive way focused primarily on success, or in a casual way focused primarily on enjoyment; this is even true of competitive online games where filthy casuals (such as myself) can still be found.

While there are certainly competitive boardgamers (and boardgame competition), my impression is that most boardgamers can enjoy a game just fine even if they're losing. After all, in any game with 3+ players, most players are losing most of the times that they play. Personally, if a game is not fun for me to play even when I lose, then I simply don't play it. I generally only play games with people who I like (and who like me), so for us it is more important to enjoy ourselves together than to succeed at the game.
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Bryan
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It's ok to suck. Gaming is about having fun. If you can have fun while sucking, then have fun.
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Klaus Gunther Herzog
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The solution is simple. The weakest player buys drinks for everyone else. Preferably tequila or gin. Instant handicap.
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Brent Brown
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Solaine wrote:
I think that this can be remedied by having multiple gaming groups or specifying the mood for the night. If you wanna have a hardcore group/night, do it and maybe inform/exclude the weaker players.

It sucks, but basically work to cater to everyone's needs and potentially just separate the groups.


I think this is the best answer.

While it feels good to say "it's all about the fun experience" a consistently weak player can ruin that experience.

We had a situation with A Handful of Stars. One player would consistently leave territory undefended, and other players would either have to not attack (to be nice) or would have a string of easy victories which won them the game. We got to the point where we just stopped playing that game. There was no way to explore and test new strategies with one player unintentionally destroying the game balance.

We're happy to play other games and have no intention of banishing that player. However, I also don't think it's reasonable to say we are never going get to play A Handful of Stars as it was meant to be experienced. We can do both by having events with different people invited to each one.
 
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Francisco Gutierrez
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If you are finding yourself getting upset at "bad players" you need to consider who is actually having an issue.

If "bad players" are getting upset by losing then they need to think about why they are playing games. If the only person getting upset is you, then you need to think about why you are playing games.

I mean, if everyone in the group is happy except for the guy who thinks we need to play "better" then that guy should leave. If everyone is playing competitively, but one guy isn't trying, he should leave.

There isn't a right answer, unless you look at the group. In my experience, the guy with a problem is the problem.
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Kevin C.
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(Iori_Yagami wrote:
I wonder what about traditional board games, like chess, bridge, go and mahjongg? I've read quite a few mahjongg and hanafuda fan blogs, and they give out impression of cutthroat competition, even if it's not for money. I guess, modern boardgaming is closer in tone to RPGs or even Bingo, in that case, where experience is more important than result.


I can only speak to Chess, as I was a tournament player for about 20 years. The USCF has a ranking system, so in formal tournaments, you will only play against opponents in your Class. For example, Class C,Class B, Class A, Expert, etc.)

So, unless you enter the Open section of bigger tournaments, you play against people at your level. If you lose, get better, because the competition was supposed to be at your level. (Obviously, there are "better" Class A players than other. It's based on points.)

As I said, I can't speak to how the other games you mentioned do it.

But I feel you are conflating some things here. "Formal" competition" is a choice and different from the "casual" competition" as is the norm in most groups.

I go to the WBC each year and I can tell you that playing RA Dice or TTR there is different from playing those game at home with the family or the group. It is the same game, but the atmosphere and ethos is quite different.

If my kids were constantly losing a specific game at home, we probably wouldn't play it anymore. If they lose at the WBC, well...tough noogies, those are the breaks in formal competition...get better.

At the WBC this past summer, my son got a train and some keychains for winning all his heat games. Then, he lost in the next round because he forgot to drop one train to connect like five tickets on the last turn.

If he did this at home, I would have busted his balls to no end. It's just a game at home and no real formal competition was going on. At the WBC, I consoled him and empathized with him because he was really down about it.

Different atmosphere, different reaction.

"Modern" boardgames can be cutthroat and brutal. To go back to the WBC, you should hear people bitch, moan and insult their opponents in the bar after losses. This doesn't take place after a Saturday Meetup at the library, I would wager.

It comes down to how formal you or your group decides to make it. What is on the line?

To my mind, in formal competitions, like tournaments, bad players are speedbumps. In an informal setting, like a gamegroup, bad players are your friends and valued partners. (And you might very well be the bad player depending on the game.)

So, you adjust your expectations and behaviors according to the specific situation.

Kevin
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Jeff Saxton
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I think the answer is actually quite clear. The poorly performing players should be butchered, cooked, and then eaten by the better quality players. That'll teach them to try and have fun in a hobby setting!
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