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Subject: Letting go of the tension rss

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Peter O
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I've played RFTG a few times now and I'm very pleased with it. But as I play I've noticed a peculiar response in myself. As I play and design my strategy I find myself on edge hoping that I can complete it before I'm forced to discard or a key card is wiped out.

Then suddenly it dawns on me... again.

I don't have to worry about discard! I don't have to worry about discard! No one is going to force me to discard or destroy any of my worlds. You see, I'm a fan of multiplayer magic (MTG) which creates all sorts of paranoid thoughts in ones head as you play. It's been fun to play a game where that element is not present.

Personally I think its a brilliant move. One of the most common complaints from new magic players is when they first run into discard, counterspell or land destruction strategies. Many will initially refuse to play against these decks as they're "unfun." Of course, the game can be fun with them provided you are willing to accept that they exist and plan accordingly. I use to think (not so very long ago) that the "unfun" aspect of discard was purely irrationality and inexperience on the part of new players. But as I've played RFTG, I find myself unwinding and really enjoying the game in ways I can't with magic.

Don't get me wrong, I love the chaos and politics of a 6-player magic game (and I'm a Diplomacy fan as well). It's just that sometimes I like to simply build and watch the interactions. I don't have to worry about this player holding an infinite combo or the other one wiping out my hand.

Instead, I have fun guessing how I might take advantage of what my opponents are doing. Do I put the pedal to the metal concentrating solely on optimizing myself, or do I make sure every phase has benefits for me? (along the line of covering all the production numbers in Settlers of Catan) Oh sure, it can get a little more tense when someone's point machine clicks in before yours does, but hey, hopefully your extra care in building yours will in the end be the difference (and sometimes you're simply thankful it is a quick game).

There is an interaction to this game which for some reason I compare to playing defense in bridge. You are anticipating the moves of the other players with imperfect knowledge, but the tells are there if you know what to look for. Two players can even cooperate to reign in a third who is ahead.

I find it sad that much of the debate on these boards about "interaction" seems to reduce interaction to directly changing an opponents board against their wishes. As I said before, I enjoy Diplomacy (my only 10 rating) and Magic quite a bit and don't wish to deride games based on that sort of interaction. Rather we need to expand our conceptions of what is present in the games we play and more accurately describe what we mean.

It's also nice to occasionally let go of the tension inherent in games that directly "mess" with other players and enjoy a nice build by outwitting your opponents, rather than overpowering them with force.




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Eric Jome
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tranenturm wrote:
Many will initially refuse to play against these decks as they're "unfun."


That's because these strategies really are not fun.

When we play a game, we want to play the game, not sit idly by having no impact on the game at all. A card that destroys all my cards in play is infinitely more palatable than a card that makes me discard my entire hand - we are interacting. But when you shut me out of acting completely, then I am not even playing the game anymore.

The worst games provide ways to completely lock out an opponent. In Magic, this was a Stasis lock deck. This was not fun... for anyone! And the designers realized that and stay far far away from it now.

But what does this have to do with Race? That feeling you are having is the pleasure you get from playing the game. This is a design advantage of many "euro" style games, intended to keep players playing the game even in a losing position. Because to be included in the game playing is part of the joy of gaming. Player elimination and locks are the opposite of good gaming even when they are effective ways to win.
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Chris Jones
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cosine wrote:
Player elimination and locks are the opposite of good gaming even when they are effective ways to win.

I once read 150 pages of a book after making a stupid move and getting knocked out early in a Multiplayer Titan game...really enjoyed that evening!
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Matt R
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That was a nice post Peter - you made some nice observations and I agree with you...

Cheers, and welcome to BGG!
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Patrick Runyan
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Magic is unfun.

That's why it is so easy to convert them to Race for the Galaxy.

edit: uh, by "them" I mean Magic players.
 
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Eric Jome
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jpwrunyan wrote:
Magic is unfun.


I dunno... I like it a lot. I don't like spending the money on it, but I enjoy the game.

Magic has a lot going for it. Lots of replayability, quick, lots of history and variations, easy to find opponents, lots of events to attend, pretty solid rules... the online play is great. In fact, Magic (like Chess or Go) deals really well with elimination because it is the end condition of the game. If the game didn't cost so damn much, I'd still be playing it a lot I think.

Of course, I'd probably rather play Race For The Galaxy.
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Kevin C.
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I haven't played Magic seriously for about ten years now. (Last set I made decks with was probably Stronghold, but I was already waning. Really Mirage was it for me.)

I used to love building those lock and bounce decks. It was always a rush to see if I could finally get that darn Air Elemental out and start dealing damage before I got slammed.

I'm not sure if playing against me was any more "unfun" than playing against a weenie or burn deck. If you were prepared, you were prepared, if not...you lost.

Getting counterspelled and bounced seemed no worse to me than being attacked by a score of 1/1 tokens and having two blockers.

Although I will say that those millstone decks were just absurdly frustrating to play against. You spend tons of money and time on a deck only to see half the cards discarded before you knew what hit you.

Kevin Cantwell

 
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Peter O
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Noonespecial wrote:
That was a nice post Peter - you made some nice observations and I agree with you...

Cheers, and welcome to BGG! :star::star::star:


Thanks! It's funny, technically I've had an account for a year two, but clearly I've only recently started to really use it.
 
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Matt R
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tranenturm wrote:
Noonespecial wrote:
That was a nice post Peter - you made some nice observations and I agree with you...

Cheers, and welcome to BGG!


Thanks! It's funny, technically I've had an account for a year two, but clearly I've only recently started to really use it.


Interesting - your profile shows a registration date of October '08. Oh well, welcome anyway
 
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Peter O
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natsean wrote:

I'm not sure if playing against me was any more "unfun" than playing against a weenie or burn deck. If you were prepared, you were prepared, if not...you lost.

Getting counterspelled and bounced seemed no worse to me than being attacked by a score of 1/1 tokens and having two blockers.

Although I will say that those millstone decks were just absurdly frustrating to play against. You spend tons of money and time on a deck only to see half the cards discarded before you knew what hit you.

Kevin Cantwell



I still think magic is fun. However, it's a different sort of fun. Unless a magic group is very mellow, you have to want to get into the boardgame equivalent of a fistfight. Everything goes, no punches pulled. It's certainly the case when going to a store and playing random folks. Most people have their fun casual decks, but eventually someone pulls out their turn two combo deck that recently won worlds and all the gloves come off. You have to want the bloodsport or be able to set it aside and enjoy the strategy. Myself, when getting hit with one of these killer decks I'd respond by going home and making sure I found a deck that could trump the one kicking but (metagaming). I could always find a deck that could beat the one I got killed by, but of course my new deck might just get mauled by a different strategy.

RFTG just lets me play my fun "casual" deck without worry of opponents pulling out something crazy and my having to completely tailor a response. Everything is available in the cards before us and even if I don't win I ca have fun finishing my section of the galaxy.

I could see RFTG getting cutthroat competitive in the right group of people, but even in that case a less cutthroat person will simply not win but still be able to play and have fun.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
I still think magic is fun. However, it's a different sort of fun. Unless a magic group is very mellow, you have to want to get into the boardgame equivalent of a fistfight.


I think you are spot on with this. Whenever I lost playing Magic (quite often), I always took it hard because my idea or concept failed. Sometimes you just got hosed on a draw, but more often than not, a "better" idea beat you. The game was really a laboratory to change your theory to practice. If your theory beat mine, I always felt like I should have prepared a little better. It's one of the reasons I stopped playing, really. I started taking losses personally.

With games like RFTG, I don't feel that way. I have to make the best of the draw I get without all the time and resources in the real world to put something together. I guess I feel that there isn't as much of "me" at stake in a game like RFTG. Different feel altogether.

Kevin Cantwell
 
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Peter O
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Noonespecial wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
Noonespecial wrote:
That was a nice post Peter - you made some nice observations and I agree with you...

Cheers, and welcome to BGG! :star::star::star:


Thanks! It's funny, technically I've had an account for a year two, but clearly I've only recently started to really use it.


Interesting - your profile shows a registration date of October '08. Oh well, welcome anyway :)


Um, apparently I'm going insane. You're both right. I've certainly been lurking for a few years. I'm not quite sure why I thought I had an account. I've been a lurker WITH an account on other sites. Anyway, didn't mean to mislead. Sorry about that.
 
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Matt R
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Heh heh. Its all good.
 
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