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Subject: What Has Game Playing Taught You about People? rss

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p55carroll
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I read the following in another current thread, and I think it clearly deserves a thread of its own--so here goes!

bippi wrote:
RobertaTaylor wrote:

As an example, my daughter was teaching Battleline to a friend, telling him how to win flags and how different card combinations worked, when he interuppted, asking "but what am I doing?" He wanted to know the overall goals first.

On the other hand, I usually learn a game by opening the box, getting out the rules, and following the directions step by step, confident that the overall goals and main strategies will reveal themselves as I go along. This is NOT how my husband prefers to learn- again, he is another big-picture person.


This is huge, because I'm a "big picture" learner, and my wife is a rules learner. I'm told the big picture, and then I attach the conditions and exceptions onto it.

My wife, however, will front-to-back the manual. She abhors the "you can't triple stamp a double stamp" rules. She wants to know the ins and outs of everything before the game starts.

(this is for a different thread, but, It's really interesting, overall---the differences between people that you find out while playing boardgames. I think you can take different approaches to almost anything in life, but somehow boardgames will ferret-out what you can't take different approaches to, and what you can.)

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Jim Cote
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I learn by induction. Given a growing set of special cases, I always seek to find the general rule that encompasses them all. The more complex this general rule needs to be to describe the game, the more stress the game puts on my enjoyment of it (ie inelegance).

I am amazed, yet somehow not surprised, by the extreme differences between people, even in the tiny niche of boardgaming. People who have the same passions for the same hobby can still detest playing together.
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Jason Miller
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People's personality flaws continue into playing boardgames. Their attitudes about others, their insecurities, their bad habits. None of this is surprising - but you can often learn quite a bit about someone's life by playing a game with them, especially Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game.
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p55carroll
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I mainly play games with my wife these days, so I tend to focus on the differences between us--and the similarities.

For one thing, we both like games and we both prefer games with a nice mix of luck and skill. Games without randomizers (e.g., Hive) might be respected, but we almost never play them; it feels too much like work.

As to learning new games, she says, "I either catch on right away or not at all." It's true. I'll start reading rules to her, or I'll try to give a synopsis after having read the rules myself, and either way she usually gets antsy and wants me to cut to the chase. She wants to pick up the whole of the game instantly and intuitively--and sometimes she pulls it off. When she doesn't (maybe because the game is too complex or the presentation is unclear), it can be a deal-breaker; she'll want to just play some other game instead.

I'm very different. I enjoy complex games if the complexity somehow seems worthwhile to me. But I'll read the rules, play the game solo to see how it all comes together, then read the rules again. And periodically I might reread the rules just for fun, or to be sure I've got them correctly and completely memorized. As to catching on to how the game works, I'm a little slow about that. I have to play around with it, try stuff, and see what does and doesn't work. Sometimes it might take several games before I start to get a good overview. That process of learning the game is usually a lot of fun for me (sometimes more fun than actually playing), so I get into it and try to make it last.

She has a sharp, quick mind and will spot the "leverage points" in a game right away. So, she usually beats me the first several times we play. I tend to get distracted by the details (or even the theme), and the tricks for optimizing strategy and tactics take a while to finally occur to me. When they do, my game becomes much stronger; and then I start winning more often than not.

She loves trading and negotiation; I hate those things.

She prefers games with three or four or more players. I'm content with two-player games or even solitaire.

We can both tolerate very long games. We've sat happily through some marathon sessions of Advanced Civilization, History of the World, and Merchant of Venus.

We both like richly themed games but can enjoy more abstract games too. But there has to be more than just a theme. If it's just a runaround, we get bored. It has to be a challenging, interesting game, whether it's themed or not.

She plays faster than I do.

I'm constantly in the mood for a game; she's only up for one on rare occasions. But we'll both play solo vs the computer most every day.

Maybe I'll add more later, as it occurs to me.


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CHAPEL
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That people are extremely smarter than myself.
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Andrew W.
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I learned there are people who are good company, and I will go out of my way to continue to play games with them.

I learned there are people who are unpleasant company, or who come across unpleasantly over the medium of the internet forums, and I will go out of my way to be sure that I never see them again.

I learned that many people care about winning more than I do, whereas I like the company more than the winning. I also learned that people put a lot more effort into learning game strategies than I am often willing to do. I like to fly by the seat of my pants.

But I learned I want to feel like I have a clue what is happening in a game, even if I am losing. I also learned that when teaching a game, if I ever want to see it played again, I also have to bring the participants to that same level of understanding.

I learned a long multi-hour game has an equal chance of being really good or an opportunity to warm the seat of a chair while the true contenders labor to a finish.

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Brad N
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Redbeardin84 wrote:
I learned that many people care about winning more than I do, whereas I like the company more than the winning.

Completely agree here. I try to win and I do enjoy winning... it never defines the game experience for me though. In fact, I've had a lot more fun losing some games than winning others. I tend to enjoy just about any game regardless of how I finish, except when someone at the table gets caught up in the frustration of losing... it's really the one big thing that can ruin a game.

A few specific game sessions that stand out for me as being fun while losing big were Ra, Puerto Rico and Red November. And, a few specific game sessions that stand out as terrible while winning include Dominion: Intrigue, Ticket to Ride and Agricola.
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p55carroll
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ejcarter wrote:
Whatever makes them tick carries over in their game playing. . . .


But I've also heard that people's game-playing personas can be the opposite of their real-life personas. Someone who's shy and reserved in real life might be an aggressive, highly interactive negotiator in a game. Someone who's serious in real life might be silly and careless when playing games. And so forth.

Has anyone else ever noticed a shift like this?

I guess what I've experienced (in myself and others) is that some of the social mask falls away during game playing. Since "it's only a game," you feel you don't have to disguise your true nature so much; you can relax and be yourself more.

Which sometimes comes as a surprise to me: I find that my true self is a lot more uptight and intense than I would've thought. I care a lot about every little thing--keeping the components neat, following rules to the letter, and everything. I like people enough that I'm tolerant and easygoing around other players, making allowances for different styles and personalities; but if other players are too sloppy or careless, or if they take the game too lightly and get silly about it, I might be seething inside--and I won't want to play with those people again.

OTOH, I can also react negatively (but inwardly, keeping it to myself) when a player is too serious about a certain aspect of the game and neglectful of other aspects I consider important. For example, ignoring the theme or subject of a wargame or RPG and playing with mathematical precision, as if it's a game of chess. To me, that dishonors a whole dimension of that game's design; it reduces it from a narrative art-form to a mere vehicle for competitive mental exercise.

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Martin Gallo
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Probably no big surprise, but I have learned that many people are not worth the time and that many more are very much worth the time spent with them. There are some utter bastards out there who think they are above reproach, while most are really good people whose interest in life is more about helping and teaching and enjoying and that finding the latter group is worth the search.

I played with a great group on Saturday and will be getting together with another great group tonight. There are two other groups out there that I am unable to game with because of geography and my health. There are also some scattered individuals that I have lost through the machinations of time that have also made this hobby and its participants the best group overall that I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with.

There are a few people that I am never going to enjoy the company of. Whether I have just met more of them through gaming because they and I spend more time there than in 'the real world' is not something I really know, but competition does seem to bring out the worst in some.

Sorry, been a rough day.
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Magic Pink
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I learned that the players will always accuse the person teaching the game of cheating despite the fact they didn't bother to read through the 60 page rule booklet I fucking sent them GOD DAMN IT cry
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Godspeed the Punchline
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It's taught me that a fair number of people need to brush up on their social skills (including myself).
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J C Lawrence
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Orthodork wrote:
It's taught me that a fair number of people need to brush up on their social skills (including myself).


I brushed mine and found seven new species of insect, two of which were thought extinct!
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Mike Aubuchon
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It's taught me that some people don't understand the difference between caring about winning and respecting the integrity of a game. I'm generally a pretty easy-going guy, but nothing upsets me more (in this setting) than having played a friendly game for two or three hours only to have someone decide they've had enough and deliberately punt the game to a random person. Yes, I understand that when it comes down to it we're all here to just have fun and that fun has in fact been had, but if we're not going to see the game through, why not just watch a movie or something instead?
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Christian Link
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Boardgames are just models or simulations of the real (or imaginary) world. Put strangers through the paces and you'll involentarily learn alot about them. (I like to play strangers.)
People do not even have to play a game, all they have to do is just pick one and you find out a lot about them. Some folks would rather or rather not) play games with another than someone else and even a specific game with (or without) one than another.
This is all for good (do not use for evil). Its fun to watch a group of mostly strangers learn (love, hate...etc) alot about eachother without speaking a word.
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J.L. Robert
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I've discovered that gamers are mostly an introverted lot. And that gaming allows those introverts to release much pent-up aggression because "it's only a game."
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Tom
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It taught me not to play games when I am hungry (grumpy).
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James Burns
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It has taught me how to be a mean player and how to really screw the opponents with the optimal move. ]

It also has taught me how to teach people new board games and then when they get good at the game I then drive them into the ground. Just kidding.
 
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Jeff Johnson
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Board game sessions have shown me that attached males behave differently than unattached males.

Married men seem to be less self-focused and more aware of the nuances of the group dynamic.
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Jage
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Diplomacy has taught me that some people can't play games. Also, some friends aren't worth having (I've lost 2 to Diplomacy. Haven't played it since).
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Murray Fish
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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Quote:
What Has Game Playing Taught You about People?


Gaming has taught me that some people are cylons.
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Jeff Johnson
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Another thing I learned was that my learning style really *is* different.

I don't understand anything that comes at me verbally-- at conventions when people are teaching games... I only pick up on about 30% of what they're saying when other people are actually learning the game. I'm usually lost while playing the first time, and people running the game are often visibly annoyed when I ask the same question more than once.

After playing, I often read the rules cover to cover. The experience of playing gives the minutia something to latch onto in my mental landscape. From there I can play a pretty good game, though I will have missed at least one key rules nuance. Then I need one game to try a dumb strategy and one more to overcompensate-- then I'm actually ready to play.

I thought the whole learning style thing was a bunch of hooey until I observed this.
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p55carroll
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Jeffr0 wrote:
Another thing I learned was that my learning style really *is* different. . . .

I thought the whole learning style thing was a bunch of hooey until I observed this.


Yeah--I did too. I used to assume everybody thought and learned just about like I do. Experience teaches otherwise.

I don't know if I've been observant enough to be able to describe my learning style as well as you did, though. I probably learn well enough from hands-on experience or verbal instruction, but it makes me nervous to have to learn that way, and I always doubt my ability to comprehend. So, my preferred way of doing it is to go off by myself and closely read the rules all the way through, then play a practice solo game, referring to the rules as often as I need to. Then I'll reread the rules, to make sure I didn't miss anything, and maybe play another solo practice game.

At that point, I'm comfortable enough to play the game with others or even teach it. (But in my case, I actually often end up just continuing to play the game solo. I rarely get around to playing face-to-face.)
 
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David C
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I know who can and who would flip a table now...
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Bill J
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Out of all of the games I play, the one where I seem to learn the most about people would be Go. In a game with a good friend, I noticed how he constantly liked to create situations where he was taking risks with a game position. It could pay off...or it might just blow up and lose the game for you. On the other hand, I played fairly conservatively. Never jeopardizing my position, but never really creating any spectacular opportunities either. I learned as much about his personality, as I did about mine. I guess that is the appeal of the game for me. It almost works as a Rorschach test for the gamer.
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Richard Maurer
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How you present yourself and other perceptions can make all the difference in a game. If you appear to be weak, they will utterly crush you. I've seen this happen in several games.
 
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