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Subject: What counts as cheating? (POLL) rss

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CARL SKUTSCH
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Riffing off a current thread (Are you more likley to cheat when.....) a poll on what counts as cheating. (For more on what we think of cheaters, you can also go to this poll/thread Poll: How do you feel about cheating in games?).

Poll
Would you use the word "cheating" to describe these behaviors?
Secretly breaking the rules in a 2+ player game for your advantage (a better chance of winning).
OPENLY breaking the rules, without any permission from the other player(s), in a 2+ player game for your advantage (a better chance of winning).
Secretly breaking the rules in a 3+ player game to give an advantage (a better chance of winning) to another player.
Secretly breaking the rules in a 3+ player game to give an advantage (a better chance of winning) to another player, but only if they are a beginner or a young player (a child).
Secretly breaking the rules in a 3+ player game in order to end the game sooner because it is an awful game (Monopoly, Card against Humanity, Candyland etc).
Secretly breaking the rules in a 2+ player game with very little interaction (multiplayer solitaire).
Secretly breaking the rules in a party game.
Openly breaking the rules in a party game.
Breaking the rules in a solo game.
Openly breaking the rules in a co-op game.
Conceding that you have lost in a solo or co-op game, but then changing whatever ended the game so you can play on and "see what happens".
Openly changing the rules before the game starts (house ruling).
Openly changing the rules in mid game.
Performing a 'take back' or 'do over' with the awareness and acceptance of other players at the table.
Going easy on a player.
Going easy on a player, but only if they are a beginner or a young player (a child).
Making an unintentional rules mistake during play.
Not answering honestly in a poll.
      433 answers
Poll created by skutsch




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Shawn Harriman
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Intent defines cheating
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Performing a 'take back' or 'do over' with the awareness and acceptance of other players at the table.

This is called doing a Griff in our group and everyone gets one

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I like the clarification that a child is a young player😜
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I think thats an easy one, any you've said "breaking the rules"

I'd bet the people selecting any more than that simply consider changing the rules breaking them because your breaking the game as it was. Which makes sense but then is more about the social setting your playing the game in rather than the actual act of rule changing.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Obidiah wrote:
I like the clarification that a child is a young player😜

Had to. Otherwise people would be querulously asking "What if the player is 50 and I'm 70, does that count as a young player?"
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Some might think it is cheating when there is a rules debate/question and you bias the rules to favor your position but you the players know that is how you are interpreting and executing the rules. Assuming that it could go either way, Is this cheating?


For the longest time, I would be impartial and would try to interpret the rules in a fair/equitable way. However, I realized that everyone was out for their own self interest (in the game groups I played in) and at the end of the day the rules were often biased in their favor. I gave up trying to be fair/equitable because it unfairly yoked those that were trying to be impartial. Therefore, I adopted the creed/mantra that everyone's best interest is served when everyone serves their own best interest. Nice guys finish last.....and impartial ones finish just in front of last. It is a slippery slope for some for sure because I think interpreting rules for your own best interest can transmogrify and mutate into warping and perverting rules to one's own benefit. It is a thin line or a blurred line to be sure. However, I will end on saying that when playing with gamer that are not "selfish" (out for one's own self interest), I revert to just being impartial.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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cbrook29 wrote:
Some might think it is cheating when there is a rules debate/question and you bias the rules to favor your position but you the players know that is how you are interpreting and executing the rules. Assuming that it could go either way, Is this cheating?


For the longest time, I would be impartial and would try to interpret the rules in a fair/equitable way. However, I realized that everyone was out for their own self interest (in the game groups I played in) and at the end of the day the rules were often biased in their favor. I gave up trying to be fair/equitable because it unfairly yoked those that were trying to be impartial. Therefore, I adopted the creed/mantra that everyone's best interest is served when everyone serves their own best interest. Nice guys finish last.....and impartial ones finish just in front of last. It is a slippery slope for some for sure because I think interpreting rules for your own best interest can transmogrify and mutate into warping and perverting rules to one's own benefit. It is a thin line or a blurred line to be sure. However, I will end on saying that when playing with gamer that are not "selfish" (out for one's own self interest), I revert to just being impartial.

First off, how can the rules be biased against you?

Secondly, how can you interpret a rules question without input from the other players? When we have a rules question pop up we either a) rush to BGG for an answer, or, b) come up with our own answer that we all agree on. This is never a big problem. The people I play with are generally pretty fair.
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C Bazler
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I think another distinction should be between "cheating" (breaking rules to get a better score/position for you, another player, or your group) and doing something "wrong" or "immoral." For example:

1) It is both cheating and wrong to break rules secretly to benefit some player(s) over others.

2) It is cheating, but not wrong or immoral, to break the rules openly and with everyone's consent. That includes "take-backs," house rules, re-rolls, or an illegal move that helps one or all players win.
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Nathan Beitler
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Pretty easy answers here. If the option included the phrase “breaking the rules” then it is cheating. The others I do not consider cheating.
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Steve C
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Cheating is anything you do that makes me not win.
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Mike Watne
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I wrote up a detailed response to the "You are more likely to cheat when..." thread, but decided not to post it because it morphed into a pretty cynical rant. I'm in a better headspace here, so I'll add a little.

First, cheers to you, Skutsch. Your poll skills are leveling up steadily, and I appreciate the attention you pay to the nuances that are inevitable to arise in discussion.

I like that you included conceding a game and then rewinding the clock to "see what happens". My group really loves to do this. Full credit goes to the proper winner, but we really enjoy exploring the "what if..." scenarios of the last few turns. We find that this is some of the best territory to really develop an understanding of the game and to better inform all players of important considerations for future play. And we find that subsequent plays (particularly soon-thereafter plays) experience a notable ramp-up in relative intensity. But we have had people join who find it akin to cheating, as it somehow "gives away" what some regard as closely held "secrets" of their strategy. I consider this more of a philosophical issue than a litigious one, and I personally hold the philosophy that elevating all players with knowledge and enabling the best potential for maximum play on all sides creates a better experience for everyone and encourages mastery. Others believe that the work they put into mastering the system deserves to be rewarded with victory, and sharing that knowledge cheapens the experience. Sadly, I haven't found a very good way to reconcile the two, so while I do my best to accommodate preferences in our sessions, we find that we have a hard time retaining secretive and competitive types. So I get that some consider this a form of cheating, but I personally heartily recommend allowing for this activity.

And I know it came up a lot in the other thread that the notion of cheating in a solo (and to some extent, co-op) game seems silly because the opponent is a system. Personally, I actually find it much *worse* to cheat in solo/co-op play. I conceptualize these games less as "contests" and more as "tests". In multiplayer games, there is a strong (and IMO culturally over-valued) drive to win, and while I do not condone cheating, I can understand to a tiny extent that some people rationalize breaching the rules to their benefit while not getting caught as a legitimate edge and a feather in their cap. "Contest" is the tone, and doing better than your opponent might tempt some players to risk expulsion for a sneaky lead. But a solo/co-op game has a "test" tone. There is nobody over whom to gloat when you win, just an impartial system designed to defeat you unless you can exploit that system better. Breaking that system kills it and invalidates the entire challenge, and I just can't tolerate it.

Putting it another way, I think of a multiplayer game as a relative assessment, and a solo/co-op game as an absolute assessment. Where the former determines which participant is *more* capable, the latter determines whether the participant *is* capable of the given challenge. While cheating destroys the integrity and validity of either challenge (barring the high-tuned mindset that getting away with a cheat is a skill itself and deserves reward), the latter situation feels much more egregious to me.

Anyway, good times.
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Some of these are still ambigious, but I doubt a poll could ever embrace every single nuance of how we play games, both inside and outside of the rules. It's certainly interesting to see some things are near universal while others are quite contentious.

Take for example how Saboteur is played at my house. We've turned it into a co-op that bears little resemblance to the original. Are we cheating? I don't personally consider it so; I mean it's a different game played with the same components. You can't even compare scores between the two, but technically we've 'broken the rules'.

Dostradamas put it well; intent matters. I'll venture that consent also matters; if it's done by agreement of the players and meant to increase fun/enjoyment for all, it's not cheating.
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skutsch wrote:
Obidiah wrote:
I like the clarification that a child is a young player😜

Had to. Otherwise people would be querulously asking "What if the player is 50 and I'm 70, does that count as a young player?"

Then you could have just written "child" and dispensed with "young player."
 
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thegreybetween wrote:
But a solo/co-op game has a "test" tone. There is nobody over whom to gloat when you win, just an impartial system designed to defeat you unless you can exploit that system better. Breaking that system kills it and invalidates the entire challenge, and I just can't tolerate it.


But who is being hurt by rule-breaking in a solo/co-op game? Unless someone goes to a public forum to brag about their (false) score, there are no negative consequences or persons harmed by the infraction. I will agree it is still cheating, and wouldn't be a satisfying win, but I see no harm in it.

I'll give Gloomhaven as my own example: my husband and I tried a particularly difficult scenario a few weeks ago, and we failed miserably. So we tried again on "easy mode" and failed again. On our third attempt, we were both talking about how annoying it was getting having to keep redoing the same scenario.

At the end of our last try, the only remaining player died from exhaustion (running out of cards) very close to killing the last monster, and we said, "screw it," and moved on with the campaign. We were not going to redo the same scenario yet another time. Yes we cheated, but it was in the service of all players having more fun, and no one was adversely affected by our decision. I see nothing wrong with that.

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CARL SKUTSCH
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Prop Joe wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Obidiah wrote:
I like the clarification that a child is a young player😜

Had to. Otherwise people would be querulously asking "What if the player is 50 and I'm 70, does that count as a young player?"

Then you could have just written "child" and dispensed with "young player."

What if I'm playing with my child, but he's 50?

You really can't win. I do what I can.
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skutsch wrote:
Prop Joe wrote:
skutsch wrote:
Obidiah wrote:
I like the clarification that a child is a young player😜

Had to. Otherwise people would be querulously asking "What if the player is 50 and I'm 70, does that count as a young player?"

Then you could have just written "child" and dispensed with "young player."

What if I'm playing with my child, but he's 50?

You really can't win. I do what I can.

I'd say "a child" is different from "my child." The former implies pre-adulthood.

Or you could have used "minor," but people might misread that as "miner."
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Adam Perry
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Where's "conceding you've won a co-op, but agreeing to continue and see what happens"?

My wife insists on eradicating all the diseases.
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Maybe some of the above wouldn't count as cheating for purposes of calling someone a cheater, but all of them count as cheating for purposes of questioning the validity and integrity of the game being played.

Said another way, I would consider every single one of those items to be cheating if they happened in a tournament or otherwise officially run game, and would at least void the game and potentially disqualify players.

Pete (thinks you can do whatever the hell you want in your own games)
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cbrook29 wrote:
For the longest time, I would be impartial and would try to interpret the rules in a fair/equitable way. However, I realized that everyone was out for their own self interest (in the game groups I played in) and at the end of the day the rules were often biased in their favor. I gave up trying to be fair/equitable because it unfairly yoked those that were trying to be impartial.
I try to interpret ambiguous rules in the way I think the designer meant them to be. I wouldn't ever try to argue for an interpretation that I don't think the designer intended, even if it would benefit me to do so. I wouldn't want to play with people who deliberately misinterpreted rules in their favor when they were pretty sure that their interpretation wasn't how the rule was really intended. If it is really ambiguous you should pick the interpretation that makes the most sense... not the one that favors you.

Skutsch wrote:
First off, how can the rules be biased against you?
I think he means that the other players would argue for rules interpretations that helped them or hindered him.

Skutsch wrote:
Secondly, how can you interpret a rules question without input from the other players?
You can't... but this is where the term "rules lawyer" comes from. It's that guy at the table who knows that the ambiguity in the rules doesn't mean he should get four points but argues that that's exactly what it means. And the next time you're playing the game and he's sitting in your seat, he'll argue that it doesn't mean you should get four points. He's argumentative and he's going to exploit any ambiguity to try and make the ruling in his favor. (And after twenty minutes of arguing about it, you'll give up and tell him to do whatever he wants... while you secretly vow to never play with him again).
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Prop Joe wrote:
I'd say "a child" is different from "my child." The former implies pre-adulthood.
Let Skutsch have his way... he's such a child when he doesn't get it.
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Thunkd wrote:
Prop Joe wrote:
I'd say "a child" is different from "my child." The former implies pre-adulthood.
Let Skutsch have his way... he's such a child when he doesn't get it.

Wah.
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cbazler wrote:
thegreybetween wrote:
But a solo/co-op game has a "test" tone. There is nobody over whom to gloat when you win, just an impartial system designed to defeat you unless you can exploit that system better. Breaking that system kills it and invalidates the entire challenge, and I just can't tolerate it.


But who is being hurt by rule-breaking in a solo/co-op game? Unless someone goes to a public forum to brag about their (false) score, there are no negative consequences or persons harmed by the infraction. I will agree it is still cheating, and wouldn't be a satisfying win, but I see no harm in it.

I'll give Gloomhaven as my own example: my husband and I tried a particularly difficult scenario a few weeks ago, and we failed miserably. So we tried again on "easy mode" and failed again. On our third attempt, we were both talking about how annoying it was getting having to keep redoing the same scenario.

At the end of our last try, the only remaining player died from exhaustion (running out of cards) very close to killing the last monster, and we said, "screw it," and moved on with the campaign. We were not going to redo the same scenario yet another time. Yes we cheated, but it was in the service of all players having more fun, and no one was adversely affected by our decision. I see nothing wrong with that.


Again, it is more of a philosophical issue. In my perspective, if we're unable to defeat a challenge, then we haven't yet learned the "lesson" offered by the challenge, and that moving on prematurely is itself a negative consequence. Many puzzle-based games (and I can't speak for Gloomhaven here) tend to escalate the difficulty by building on previous challenges, so forcing past one challenge means that there is a very likely probability that you'll find yourself forcing past deeper challenges that rely on similar concepts. Sure, it may be boring to replay a scenario. It is also likely that the repeated failure is uncomfortable as you struggle to figure out an approach - perhaps a wholly foreign one - with better results. Dropping $150 on a hot new inadequacy complex is never good times. But therein lies personal growth and eventual mastery, and that reward - be it advancement, cracking open the spoiler box, or just the satisfaction of success - is going to be sweet.

In the end, what you seek from a game and how you enjoy your time is up to you. You're totally right that no one in your group is "hurt" by the decision to skip the challenge (provided that it was a unanimous decision), and that moving on was much more satisfying relative to what you seek from that experience. I salute you for recognizing that and for taking action to continue to ensure you are enjoying the game.

To me, the point of solo/co-op gaming is to develop mastery of that system. That is what is fun to me. Particularly with solo play, where the whole "shared experience" argument isn't even applicable. Defeat isn't boring; it means that the challenge is actually a good one and I need to grow to best it. If I start skipping levels or cracking open the goodie boxes just to see what comes next, then I might as well just go watch a movie.

Again, what your group decided was totally acceptable and commendable relative to your group. I'm not admonishing people for different interpretations here. But if I was in your group, I wouldn't have agreed to skipping ahead and would absolutely contend that, to me, it was cheating. I'd suggest we play some comparative/competitive games instead and come back to this fiasco scenario when we felt better able/willing to tackle it.

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CARL SKUTSCH
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cbazler wrote:
thegreybetween wrote:
But a solo/co-op game has a "test" tone. There is nobody over whom to gloat when you win, just an impartial system designed to defeat you unless you can exploit that system better. Breaking that system kills it and invalidates the entire challenge, and I just can't tolerate it.


But who is being hurt by rule-breaking in a solo/co-op game? Unless someone goes to a public forum to brag about their (false) score, there are no negative consequences or persons harmed by the infraction. I will agree it is still cheating, and wouldn't be a satisfying win, but I see no harm in it.

I'll give Gloomhaven as my own example: my husband and I tried a particularly difficult scenario a few weeks ago, and we failed miserably. So we tried again on "easy mode" and failed again. On our third attempt, we were both talking about how annoying it was getting having to keep redoing the same scenario.

At the end of our last try, the only remaining player died from exhaustion (running out of cards) very close to killing the last monster, and we said, "screw it," and moved on with the campaign. We were not going to redo the same scenario yet another time. Yes we cheated, but it was in the service of all players having more fun, and no one was adversely affected by our decision. I see nothing wrong with that.


I see nothing wrong with your choice. I might have made a different one, maybe not. I'll find out when I sit down with Gloomhaven someday! I do feel a little Puritanical about playing by the rules so that might keep me from straying from the straight and narrow.
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thegreybetween wrote:
cbazler wrote:
thegreybetween wrote:
But a solo/co-op game has a "test" tone. There is nobody over whom to gloat when you win, just an impartial system designed to defeat you unless you can exploit that system better. Breaking that system kills it and invalidates the entire challenge, and I just can't tolerate it.


But who is being hurt by rule-breaking in a solo/co-op game? Unless someone goes to a public forum to brag about their (false) score, there are no negative consequences or persons harmed by the infraction. I will agree it is still cheating, and wouldn't be a satisfying win, but I see no harm in it.

I'll give Gloomhaven as my own example: my husband and I tried a particularly difficult scenario a few weeks ago, and we failed miserably. So we tried again on "easy mode" and failed again. On our third attempt, we were both talking about how annoying it was getting having to keep redoing the same scenario.

At the end of our last try, the only remaining player died from exhaustion (running out of cards) very close to killing the last monster, and we said, "screw it," and moved on with the campaign. We were not going to redo the same scenario yet another time. Yes we cheated, but it was in the service of all players having more fun, and no one was adversely affected by our decision. I see nothing wrong with that.


Again, it is more of a philosophical issue. In my perspective, if we're unable to defeat a challenge, then we haven't yet learned the "lesson" offered by the challenge, and that moving on prematurely is itself a negative consequence. Many puzzle-based games (and I can't speak for Gloomhaven here) tend to escalate the difficulty by building on previous challenges, so forcing past one challenge means that there is a very likely probability that you'll find yourself forcing past deeper challenges that rely on similar concepts. Sure, it may be boring to replay a scenario. It is also likely that the repeated failure is uncomfortable as you struggle to figure out an approach - perhaps a wholly foreign one - with better results. Dropping $150 on a hot new inadequacy complex is never good times. But therein lies personal growth and eventual mastery, and that reward - be it advancement, cracking open the spoiler box, or just the satisfaction of success - is going to be sweet.

In the end, what you seek from a game and how you enjoy your time is up to you. You're totally right that no one in your group is "hurt" by the decision to skip the challenge (provided that it was a unanimous decision), and that moving on was much more satisfying relative to what you seek from that experience. I salute you for recognizing that and for taking action to continue to ensure you are enjoying the game.

To me, the point of solo/co-op gaming is to develop mastery of that system. That is what is fun to me. Particularly with solo play, where the whole "shared experience" argument isn't even applicable. Defeat isn't boring; it means that the challenge is actually a good one and I need to grow to best it. If I start skipping levels or cracking open the goodie boxes just to see what comes next, then I might as well just go watch a movie.

Again, what your group decided was totally acceptable and commendable relative to your group. I'm not admonishing people for different interpretations here. But if I was in your group, I wouldn't have agreed to skipping ahead and would absolutely contend that, to me, it was cheating. I'd suggest we play some comparative/competitive games instead and come back to this fiasco scenario when we felt better able/willing to tackle it.



It could also just be a poorly balanced scenario in an otherwise good game. That's a thing that happens, especially with a high degree of randomization or when the designers have to pump out a ton of content.

I won't skip a scenario until it gets to the point where I feel like I've understood everything I can learn from it, and the more tightly designed the game, the less likely I am to skip a scenario because the the likelihood is higher that it's me and not the game.

A situation like the one cbazler described, in a game that's best described as "sprawling", is precisely the time I'd be most likely to make the call to skip. Is it cheating? 100% yes. Is that totally understandable, and probably a good choice in this case? Also yes.
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