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Subject: It's over before it's over . . . rss

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David Pontier
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Do you prefer to know the outcome of a game before it’s over, or do you like to be surprised at the end?

Examples:

I played a game of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game a couple weeks ago and we all agreed the Cylons were going to win and there was nothing that could be done about it, but we still played it out till the end because nobody officially quit.

In Caylus, nothing is hidden, and the score is live so that those behind can tell if they have any chance or not and usually you know the winner before it is over.

In my usual games of Antike, others can all see a few turns in advance when the winner is about to take the last victory point and there usually isn’t anything you can do to stop it.

Then there are games were you could figure it out, but you don’t keep score during the game, like:

Nothing is secretive about Carcassonne, but since you don’t add up the farms and the partial points until the end, no one really knows until then, but you have a really good idea.

Agricola is all out in the open too, but you don’t add up the points until the end. Someone might play an occupation or minor improvement on the last turn that changes everything, but they usually don’t impact the score that much.

Usually with games like these we tend to look at everyone’s set up and "guess" who is going to win right before we add up the points, and I am usually surprised by who does win or perhaps by how much.

Then there are games like The Settlers of Canaan or Ticket to Ride or Puerto Rico where portions of the score are hidden and you don’t know who won for sure until the end.

Is it demoralizing to know that you aren’t going to win before the game is over? Do you like not knowing until the end? Or do you not care?
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Christopher Hill
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Personally, I like games that keep you guessing right up until the end. Games with close scores that everyone participating feels like they have a chance to win are the best. Why would anyone want to play a game where half way into it the winner is a foregone conclusion? Granted, this will happen in a lot of games occasionally, but if it's the norm than I don't want to play it. This question also coincides with the many threads on hidden versus public information in games, as parallels can be drawn from either preference.
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J C Lawrence
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Piqsid wrote:
Do you prefer to know the outcome of a game before it’s over, or do you like to be surprised at the end?


I'm not surprised often but don't mind either way. If I am surprised it means I didn't track or understand the game sufficiently and thus have more to learn there.

Quote:
I played a game of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game a couple weeks ago and we all agreed the Cylons were going to win and there was nothing that could be done about it, but we still played it out till the end because nobody officially quit.


I'm a firm proponent of conceding such games. If the other players agree, simply call the game and move on to something else. It is a fine thing.

Quote:
Nothing is secretive about Carcassonne, but since you don’t add up the farms and the partial points until the end, no one really knows until then, but you have a really good idea.


I keep a running tally of the farm values in my head as the game plays so there are no surprises there. Once a farm is fully surrounded we'll often score it and discard the meeples from the game simply to reduce unnecessary clutter and uncertainty.

Quote:
Is it demoralizing to know that you aren’t going to win before the game is over? Do you like not knowing until the end? Or do you not care?


I don't mind much as long as I retain the possibility of improving either my position or my understanding of the game.
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Tim P.
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Stone Age keeps you guessing until the end with normally over half the points coming from the scoring of the cards.
 
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Tiago Nunes
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oi_you_nutter wrote:

Stone Age keeps you guessing until the end with normally over half the points coming from the scoring of the cards.


More like the "huge chunk" of points coming from the civ cards.
 
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Japhy Sullivan
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Both. I like catan and puerto rico the way they score but carcasonne and alhambra and those, if i'm behind it makes me try harder then I would if I was ahead.
 
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Club Squirrel
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I don't play too many games, but certainly when playing some CMGs you can see the end coming. I play Star Wars & D&D minis, and while it's always possibly to fight back with lucky dice if you beatstick or Commander dies then you're usually on the back foot.

So as I love these games I guess I don't mind knowing who is going to win. Occasionally we will fight to the last man just to see how long a losing squad can last, other times we quit so we can get another game in.

 
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Seth Owen
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More often than not I'm playing a wargame and the nature of those is that it's pretty common to be able to see the writing on the wall before the bitter end and most of the time it's considered acceptable to resign, concede or otherwise agree to end the game early.
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Garcian Smith
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Ticket to Ride game I played yesterday was great in this aspect. We had a full 5 player game and blocking was abundant. I had barely completed my missions when the game was called. Two players had tied at the 100 point mark. I was at 64. I had a 17, 9 and 21 point mission that sent me over the top.
 
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Bob Kohut
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I played a game of Schotten-Totten where I controlled 4 stones. My opponent had zero. (You need to control 5 to win. There's 9 all together.) My opponent took 5 in a row. Ouch!
 
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