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My Little Scythe» Forums » General

Subject: Conflict in Family-Friendly/Casual Games rss

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Hoby Chou
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For those passing by, I'd like to hear about your experiences with conflict in games. You can infer from the pie fight dials (yes you read that right) in our photos that My Little Scythe inherited some conflict mechanics from Scythe. However, conflict had always been optional.

When you play games with family or more casual groups, what has the tolerance level been for conflict? Did it add to the fun or contribute to frustration? Are there any specific types of conflict that either make or ruin a game for you? is there a sweet spot?

There's no right or wrong answer--I'd like to learn from your thoughts!
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Geremy
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I introduced my daughter to Pengoloo when she was about 4 years old. She loved the game until I stole one of her Penguins... that did not go over well. Around 5 is when she understood the whole "conflict" aspect and now we enjoy games like Gobblet, Coconuts, Stuffed Fables and Pingo Pingo!

Is it May yet?!
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Eric Brosius
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Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I agree that I (like most small children) was dismayed when someone took my stuff. But on the other hand, it's thrilling when you get to take something from a parent.

For me, it was valuable to learn in a game context that things can go either for you or against you, and to learn not to gloat when things go well or despair when they go poorly.
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Alex Churchill
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For my two daughters, they're quite happy with conflict on its own. But they both get quite frustrated when things don't go their way. That can be losing direct conflicts like pie fights in MLS, but equally it can happen in games that are much more hands-off but just when the die rolls don't go their way.

An anecdote: My 4-year-old having been a fan of MLS for several months, she asked to play "big" Scythe with me. We spluttered that it might be too complicated, but she was quite insistent (having seen her big sister playing it with us), so I sat down to play Scythe against a 4-year-old. Each turn I'd give her a quick summary of the 2-3 options available to her and she'd take the turn. She's learned from MLS to love encounters and big piles of resources, even if she doesn't plan precisely which resources she'll want. But to my surprise she was extremely aggressive with starting mech fights. Even after she'd won two combat stars she'd go on kicking me out of spaces just for the fun of the fight. There's something about Scythe's / MLS's pie fight mechanic, the dynamic of guessing how much power and how strong a spell to put in, that my girls really love.

By contrast, the kind of conflict that happens in Blokus where someone gets blocked out of a space, finds their options restricted and their plans foiled, gets both my daughters frustrated and likely to burst into tears.

So yes, there definitely can be good and bad kinds of conflict for kid-friendly games, and MLS has the good kind, at least by my family's standards.
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Chris Laudermilk
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It depends on the kid. My 5 year old daughter (for whom I built the game) absolutely LOVES beating up on daddy's ponies and stealing their stuff. She does ok when the tables are turned, too.

In less direct conflict, she also does great in Ticket to Ride: First Journey (U.S.) wherein you can have a route you planned on using pulled out from under you--just like in the full version of the game. She makes the appropriate comments of despair, then figures out another way around. Of course, mommy and I have also heard the mini-supervillain laugh as she figures out a particularly good move, and have been told "prepare to get beat" at the start of a game (which, incidentally, she backed up said boast). We have created a monster. surprise

So, short story long, the pie fights in MLS are not a problem for us.
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"Compared to You, I'm just a nighlight, against the blazing Son." --Jimmy Needham
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Very, very low tolerance level for conflict among my kids.
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Rachel Bruner
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My six year old daughter and I play a lot of games together. Her favorites are the cooperative ones because we work together vs against each other. I prefer to play those with her too, but we do still play competitive ones too.
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Hoby Chou
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Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences everyone. The community is a treasure trove of insight--I love it.

As a followup, would your friends and family feel differently about conflict when it's not against another player? ie, What if the conflict was between them and "the game"?
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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hobychou wrote:
Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences everyone. The community is a treasure trove of insight--I love it.

As a followup, would your friends and family feel differently about conflict when it's not against another player? ie, What if the conflict was between them and "the game"?
Well...that's known as a "co-op" game.

We have a few of those and everyone enjoys them. I have one conflict-averse relative that will only play co-ops.
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Vandel Arden
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I have got good experiences with Games like Robinson Crusoe with mixed ages.

A lot of collaborative games are horror or survival genre or concentrate on dungeon crawling and slaying monsters (Arkham/Eldritch Horror, Dead of Winter, Descent, Betrayal at the House on the Hill), which is in most case not very suitable for very young gamers.

Inspired from the current discussion about MLS, I started to think more about this topic and realise how few games are suited for young gamers, while having interesting and challenging mechanics.

I would love to see Vienna's and your take on something like Dead of Winter


Despite current discussions, I think that the art from Vast and Root are very accessable for different ages and the fairy tale style is heart catching.

Viral had the funny images from Mihajlo Dimitrievski, while still teaching something about virus and bloodstream. It still is a card driven area controll wargame. But i sold it at my booth to nurses, teachers, doctors and families, who would have never touched a historical war game.
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Hoby Chou
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Avalain wrote:
I would love to see Vienna's and your take on something like Dead of Winter

I'll take a look!
 
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Marianne Waage
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Avalain wrote:
... which is in most case not very suitable for very young gamers.

Inspired from the current discussion about MLS, I started to think more about this topic and realise how few games are suited for young gamers, while having interesting and challenging mechanics.

I would love to see Vienna's and your take on something like Dead of Winter
This is a large reason why, when I've been retheming games, I try to make them more kid appropriate. At some point, I'll retheme the Sons of Anarchy game to be about groups of stray cats and dogs fighting for territory. I think I have most of the ideas sussed, but it's a lot of art and my son is only 4, so I've got time. (I'm not too keen on the Sons of Anarchy theme for personal taste either.)

From the mechanics, it kind of sounded like Scythe should be about bullying on the playground, as it sounded like fighting wasn't often the best play, and having good bravado was usually enough. But piefights or such is good too.
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Dreadknot Knotdread
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All of my 4 kids don't really like conflict in games. They don't enjoy screwing each other over our taking something away from each other. It's a problem for me, from a gaming perspective and I've often wished we had taught them differently.

However...I can't fault them for it. They've internalized what we've taught them all along. Be nice to each other, treat others how you want to be treated and think about how other people feel due to your actions. It's not full altruism or something but the need to be aware and considerate.

So I find games that will work, like cooperative adventure or puzzle games. We play some games where there's a little bit of knocking each others pieces around but we always make sure it's a laugh. If we're all not having fun then we're doing something wrong.

So yeah... Do I mourn the fact that I may never really get to enjoy a good skirmish miniatures game against my sons? You bet I do. But in the end...I have to choose what's more important to us in the long run. If my kids don't really enjoy licking my butt in something... Can I really feel bad about that?
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Diego PC
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My kids have been trained to enjoy conflict. Piratatak was a great entry point because the bad guys came from the deck.

My wife, on the other side... whistle
 
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