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Subject: Too seriously, or not seriously enough? rss

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Hunga Dunga
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I asked the following question on a geeklist when one person accused another of taking board games too seriously:

gogoapoxy wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
gogoapoxy wrote:
you take gaming TOO seriously.

What is too seriously, and what is not seriously enough?

I would say too serious is where you play by the book all the time, and I'm sure there's tons of people like this. No mulligans, no misdirection, nothing that is not stated in the rules.

I would say not serious enough is where people give up on a game before they play it and it shows. Chronic-cheaters are clearly people that have no respect for any game, location, or their fellow players and will cheat whenever and however. This I am not and I believe I've stated this multiple times (though just now using "chronic-cheater"), nor are any of the people I play games with.

Can we agree on what is "too serious" and what is "not serious enough"?

Can we define a happy medium broad enough that makes most of us happy?
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Everett Scheer
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I don't think there can be such a definition for either too much or not enough. Most of this is situational. I would expect a tournament to be run in a "too serious" mode, while plenty of people will enjoy and thrive in what was called "not serious enough.
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Murray Lewis
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I think the 'happy medium' you speak of, for the vast majority of people, would be to play by the rules wherever possible, but allow for some fudging here and there - particularly in the case of new players, who are bound to make mistakes.

Regarding the other aspects, players who cheat have no place in gaming - let alone in a happy medium. The same goes for players who 'give up' (including both those who have no desire to play to begin with and those who, after spotting that they are probably going to lose, suddenly become severely disinterested and spoil the game for everyone else).
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Sean Conroy
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Rules Nazi [outside of tournament] = too seriously.

Not serious enough would be hard to define, maybe if you only played mass market games once a month.

Middle ground is just what it implies...even keeled on rules and tries to get a concensus on rule interpretatons if there are questions.
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Caleb Frazier
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Too serious also entails those that throw game components (or anything really) out of anger when something does not go in their favorite.

Too serious is being to rigid to bend the rules for any reason.

Too serious is not cheating in Munchkin

-----------------

Not serious enough is never thinking about your move/turn.

Not serious enough is chronic-cheaters (this means every game, as much as possible).

Not serious enough is watching something else while your game is in session (you should always pay attention to your game!)
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Hunga Dunga
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gogoapoxy wrote:
Too serious also entails those that throw game components (or anything really) out of anger when something does not go in their favor

I've actually seen an adult do this.

I'm not sure "too serious" quite captures it.
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Jim Cote
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Hungadunga wrote:
Can we agree on what is "too serious" and what is "not serious enough"?

No. laugh
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Hunga Dunga
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ekted wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
Can we agree on what is "too serious" and what is "not serious enough"?

No. laugh


"I came here for a party and what do I get? Nothing. Not even Ice cream."
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Glenn Ironhat
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Hungadunga wrote:
ekted wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
Can we agree on what is "too serious" and what is "not serious enough"?

No. laugh


"I came here for a party and what do I get? Nothing. Not even Ice cream."


I will feed you ice cream if you bring over a copy of Endeavor. Just to play, you can take it home afterwards.
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Gordy Crozier
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I think it is too subjective for one definition. Everyone has their limits and boundaries which they place on the scale. I would be a lot more relaxed during games than other people i play with, they would be all about winning, i'm just happy having people round a table together. Some people take life very seriously and its reflected in their game playing. Its a good question. But it comes down to your personal definition and the limits you set as acceptable
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Caleb Frazier
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Hungadunga wrote:
gogoapoxy wrote:
Too serious also entails those that throw game components (or anything really) out of anger when something does not go in their favor

I've actually seen an adult do this.

I'm not sure "too serious" quite captures it.


In my personal view, if you get so mad that something happened that you throw/kick/punch then you're taking it too serious. Here you are implying that taking a game serious is not applicable to an adult? Maybe I misunderstood.
 
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Ian Klinck
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I think that trying to get everyone to agree on a definition of "too serious" and "not serious enough" might verge on "too serious" itself...
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Hunga Dunga
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gogoapoxy wrote:
In my personal view, if you get so mad that something happened that you throw/kick/punch then you're taking it too serious. Here you are implying that taking a game serious is not applicable to an adult? Maybe I misunderstood.

What I meant to imply was that it was more than "too seriously", but probably more pathological in nature.
 
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norman rule
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I agree with most of your post, but this one could use a little tweaking.

gogoapoxy wrote:
Too serious is being to rigid to bend the rules for any reason.


We have a player who forgets...something. He's played the games dozens of times but frequently manages to forget to buy/place/sell/move at least once or twice in a game. We got tired of having to redo things so we cut him NO slack on those points anymore.

We're sure it's not intentional, because he STILL forgets and knows he's not going to be allowed a mulligan.

We had another player who would say "oh, wait... I want to do this," after her turn. That got old as well and we clamped down on it. That forced her to think her move through more thoroughly and the problem ended.
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James Boardgame
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Too seriously :
"Congratulations, it's a boy!"
"Great, now will you just let us finish this game. You know, you told us it'd be at least 30 minutes of labour, and yet there's still 2 provinces left in the stack."

Not seriously enough :
"Do you mind taking my turns for the next few minutes? I've got to go phone in my vote for Pop Idol."
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Hunga Dunga
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Too serious: not allowing another player a mulligan (unless it gets ridiculous per above)

Not serious enough: trying to cheat or watching a ballgame while playing
 
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Caleb Frazier
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Hungadunga wrote:

Not serious enough: trying to cheat or watching a ballgame while playing


What about a game like Munchkin where you are encouraged to cheat to win? Would that still count as not serious enough?
 
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norman rule
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Hungadunga wrote:
Too serious: not allowing another player a mulligan (unless it gets ridiculous per above)


That's the problem with a question like this... There are too many gray areas.

Our group plays by the rules. If you screw up, you screw up. Deal with it... Except maybe if:

You're a new player.
It's a little used rule.
You've had a really bad week.
Someone distracted you.
You're under the weather and maybe not thinking clearly.
You said "done," but the other person hasn't started their turn yet.
You haven't played this game for several months.

And so on, and so on.

The bottom line is that sometimes you have to be flexible, but there are other times you need to be a hard ass.

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Kevin C.
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As has already been said, “too serious” is a direct function of the group ethos in terms of gameplay. I think people tend to seek their own level in terms of leisure and pursuit of a hobby, so if one found a group “too serious,” he or she would just move on to a different one.

The label would be meaningless outside of the group without a “…for me” attached at the end.

The only objective issue, I think, would be when someone takes gameplaying so seriously that it starts to interfere with basic functioning or leads to perspective problems, it is a problem.

Haranguing others about their game choices or classifying people as “lazy” or “stupid” based on the games they (don’t) play would be an example of this loss of perspective, to my mind.

When the leisure pursuit starts to become a “way of life” or it becomes the prism through which general behavior is judged, I think it is “too serious.”

Kevin

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Mike Pranno
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gogoapoxy wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:

Not serious enough: trying to cheat or watching a ballgame while playing


What about a game like Munchkin where you are encouraged to cheat to win? Would that still count as not serious enough?

Ok, I am curious now. Where in the Munchkin rules does it encourage cheating?
 
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Hunga Dunga
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gogoapoxy wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:

Not serious enough: trying to cheat or watching a ballgame while playing


What about a game like Munchkin where you are encouraged to cheat to win? Would that still count as not serious enough?

I don't know the game myself, but another example might be Diplomacy, where anything goes negotiation-wise. But since that's actually written in the rules, I'm not sure it would qualify as cheating.
 
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Caleb Frazier
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mcpranno wrote:
gogoapoxy wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:

Not serious enough: trying to cheat or watching a ballgame while playing


What about a game like Munchkin where you are encouraged to cheat to win? Would that still count as not serious enough?

Ok, I am curious now. Where in the Munchkin rules does it encourage cheating?


I'll have to check when I get home, but there's a line that encourages you to attempt to win by any means and it lists some examples, such as cheating.
 
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Bert Nerdsen
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Too seriously (quoted from an anonymous bgg user profile):

Quote:
Game preferences:

-- Relatively strong zero-sum patterns. While I have no interest in Take-That! games, advancement explicitly at the cost of the other player's positions is appreciated. Screwage should be clearly but not dominantly expressed, and must be matched and balanced by personal player self-interest. Arbitrary hosage is uninteresting. Carving on and foiling other player's plans and positions while advancing my own is desirable. On the other side, if I can't positively and negatively affect another player's game fortunes, why am I wasting my time with this pansy activity? There must be struggle, and it is good if at least a portion of that struggle is zero-sum. I am generally not interested in efficiency-race games.

-- Small random effects. This is often thought of as a requirement for perfect control. That's false. I simply find random events/effects uninteresting and even mildly depressing (why am I bothering?). I'm interested in the other players as the source of prediction challenges, not the game. I find no tension or interest or anything but mildly distasteful disinterest in rolling dice or pulling cards to see what whatever comes up. I'd rather go do something actually interesting and have the game tell me what happened later.

-- No hidden trackable information. If it is trackable with pencil and paper then almost without exception I'll play it open. Making such hidden trackable information open doesn't change the logical definition of the game. Example cases include an open Castillo in El Grande, open hands in Settlers of Catan (I know about the thief not being trackable), open money in Container (and most other games), Tigris & Euphrates with open cubes, Acquire with open shares etc. The realisation that I could potentially make a better decision if only I'd tracked (whatever) is an excellent means of persuading me to either not to play that game again, or to only play it with open information in future.

-- Emergent strong player incentive structures. The ability to control, direct and even dictate other player's interests, as well as to have my own interests similarly declared by other players is wonderful. Frequently this manifests as either explicit negotiation or implicit negotiation via board play (moves that make offers to other players). Quite possibly the one pattern I enjoy more than any other in gaming is to setup another player so that their primary in-game interest is to help me win (or to be setup that way myself). In short, Set it up so that the best way to improve your game position is to help me win.

-- Networks and graphs. They are simply fine and enjoyable things. Topologies, especially inferred or implicit topologies, are a wonderful thing.

-- Counter-intuitive. Games which work against the player's own intuitions and presumed natural proclivities are especially liked.

-- Ambiguity. Games without ambiguous decisions are uninteresting. I specifically look for games that allow players to manipulate how, why and to what extent other player's decisions are ambiguous (or not).

-- Unfriendliness. Simply, my favourite games seem to specialise in making their player's game lives difficult. They have absurdly high penalties for failure, they disproportionately abuse early errors and they appear capricious and even arbitrary (despite being perfect information games) until the secret dances and languages are learned. Ideally merely playing the game could be catharsis for deistic sin.

-- No combinatorics or economic snowballs or efficiency race games. I'm simply not interested in presumably clever combinations of special powers, features or abilities and I reserve an especial dislike for economic system/economic snowball/grow-like-a-fungus games. Not my thing, don't expect me to play them, do expect me to sit out if that's the only thing on offer as that's what I expect you to do in the same situation of a game you dislike.

-- Blood only. I do not play party games and will generally only play family or gateway games under protest. My preference is to simply avoid those games and somewhat even the people who play them, and when that's not possible, to sit out until something worth playing hits the table.

-- Game first. When at a game group I'm there to game, not socialise. Socialising is fine and I enjoy it, but that's not what I'm there for -- let's play! The gaming comes first and second. The socialising and shared experience maybe comes fourth. I'd rather play a game I love with people I dislike than a game I dislike with people I like. If your friends/game group won't play the games you like, get a more amenable game group or friends.

-- Poker chips. I always use poker chips for the money in games, no matter what components the original game did or didn't come with. Monopoly money and little coins are simply not worth the hassle. If you don't have poker chips, play something else.

-- Right/Left binding bad, variable turn order good. Player left of the newbie wins is a death knell, as is leaving it up to the player to the right of the leader to stop the leader. No thanks. 'Nuff said.

-- All games are abstract. Theme is just a source of convenient nouns and verbs for explaining a game. Once in play all games are abstract. Narrative is emergent and occurs in the player's heads; it does not require the game to explicitly support it.

-- Tabula rasa. The only thing that should enter the game is the players and their knowledge. The only things that may leave the game are the players and the results. Every game begins and ends on a perfectly blank slate. Emotions, history, relationships, outside considerations, metagames, social contexts, cultural considerations and all the rest of that claptrap and the people who wish to carry it with them have no place in the games I play.

-- Play the game. The only things that are allowable in the game are the bits of the game itself and the players with their knowledge and skills. Unless explicitly cleared before-hand the only acceptable goal of a player in a game is winning or some suitable approximation of that if winning is no longer possible (ranking, absolute score, percentage of winner's score, etc). All other considerations are not part of the game. Once in a game players are merely resources to be exploited in the pursuit of victory just like any other game resource. Adding external considerations like friendship to a game is unacceptable metagaming. Out of the game more social considerations may hold but that has no relevance inside the game.

-- Negotiation. Negotiation is only acceptable in games if the rules explicitly allow it or negotiation has been explicitly cleared and accepted by the players before the game starts. With rare exception if a game doesn't explicitly allow negotiation in the rules I will not allow negotiation when playing it.

-- Exponential rating. My game ratings are according to an exponential scale (Okay, a small base). Yes, I consider a game with a rating of 5 to be exponentially better than a game with a rating of 4, likewise for the difference between a rating of 9 and 8. I do not rate any games a 10 but two player Blokus probably comes closer to that target than any other game.

-- Start player. I almost exclusively play the remainder game to pick start players. Number the players in rotation starting with 0. Have each player stick out some number of fingers on a count of three. Add up the fingers and get the modulo of the total number of fingers by the number of players (remainder after division). The player with that number is the start player. The requirements that drive use of the remainder game are:

a) Efficient
b) Deterministic results
c) Actually random
d) Short constant execution time
e) Works with any number of players in any situation
f) Works with any game in any situation
g) Is clearly auditable by all concerned

Note: Properly the number of fingers displayed by the players should be in the range of zero to one less than some multiple of the number of players, otherwise there's a bias toward the #0 player and descending to his left. I don't consider this bias large enough to add this complexity to the instructions.


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Jim Cote
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bert_nerdsen wrote:
(quoted from an anonymous bgg user profile)

90% of BGGers could guess.
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Dan Beale-C
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Too serious is analysis paralysis on every turn, combined with anger at thinking they're not doing as well as they want. Especially on games that are winnable on the final move.

I play games for fun. I enjoy playing games when I win, and usually when I lose. That fun soon goes if people are getting grumpy.
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