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Subject: The 80th Edition of Blott's TGIF Poll rss

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Ben Lott
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If you want updates on when new polls are posted, go to The TGIF Poll Subscription Thread.

Poll: The 80th TGIF Poll
Which is more important when playing a game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
A Great Game
16.0% 49
Great Players
84.0% 257
Voters 306
Do you think a single great game-playing experience can upgrade your opinion of a less-than-great game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Always
6.2% 19
Often
43.3% 133
Sometimes
43.0% 132
Rarely
7.2% 22
Never
0.3% 1
Voters 307
Do you think a single bad game-playing experience can degrade your opinion of a great game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Always
2.3% 7
Often
23.4% 72
Sometimes
52.3% 161
Rarely
20.8% 64
Never
1.3% 4
Voters 308
This poll is now closed.   308 answers
Poll created by Blott
Closes: Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:00 am


Any discussion is encouraged.
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Hammock Backpacker
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My intellectual side likes board games and is always curious about the game itself, how it's made, the mechanics, etc. but, for me, games are an excuse to get together with friends and have fun. It's all about the camaraderie, the food, the laughter, ...

I suppose that's why I'm not strongly drawn to conventions. Not that I can't form new bonds or haven't had fun at cons when I go but I don't have that existing bond with the people I'm playing with.




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Ben Lott
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1 - The players make a greater impact on my enjoyment of the game. I can play some of the worst games around but still have a lot of fun if it's with great people.

2 - Sometimes. However it's usually easier for me to tell that the fun came from the players and not the game. It's even more obvious when we are all laughing at the game instead of things that happen during it.

3 - Often. I've played some games that I thought were real gems, but with the wrong group I will be very disappointed. For instance, I loved Why Did the Chicken, but when played with a couple groups that had trouble getting into the spirit of the game my rating really dropped. It's gone back up now that I know who the right people are to play with.
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Scott Halvorson
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There are a number of games many people consider great that I personally had a bad experience with because of something that happened in the game, not necessarily with the other players. The first time I played Brass, it was not a lot of fun, partially because we didn't understand the rules well. Several months later, I was convinced to try it again, and it was a much better experience.

A friend taught my group of friends how to play Bolide, and it was a great game until I had to roll a die because of a car crash. That happened at the last bend before the home stretch. Because of this one die roll, I went from 2nd place to last place. I guess I could have played the game differently to avoid the car crash, but I was kind of goaded into it (is that the right word, goaded?) The other players wanted to see what would happen in a crash, and I unwillingly volunteered to be the guinea pig for that experiment.

I played The Adventurers for the first time a week or two ago. It wasn't a bad game until my memory failed me, and I confused one rune-covered tile with another one, and when I stepped on it, my first adventurer died and I lost all my treasure. Naturally, I ended the game in dead last place. If the penalty for dying wasn't so harsh, I would have liked the game much better. It may be a great game, but this one experience soured it for me.
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Joe Huber

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It's all about the players. I'll take an awful game with great opponents over a great game with OK opponents any day. Better still, a great game with great opponents...

But, as a result, I'll rarely upgrade or downgrade my opinion of a game because of a single play. The cases where it happens are those in which an aspect of the game which I'd missed previously comes to light. But as often as not, the great or awful session is a result of the opponents...
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Darrin Williams
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I used to be very bad at picking the right game for a given group.
As I've gotten better at choosing the right game, all my games have gotten better. (Or maybe my friends have gotten better.)
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Jeff Wolfe
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My initial reaction to the first question was, "Great game." Then I thought, so why do I always seem to play games with the same people, even though my game group has hundreds of members? Well, it's the people. It's not that the other members are jerks (we do have some, but not many, really). It's just that I like gaming with my friends.

The game itself is important, too. It's not an all or nothing thing. I have one friend I don't game with often because we have a different taste in games. A great game with an indifferent group is better than an awful game with a great group. But the balance favors the people over the game. And, of course, I'd rather have a great game with great people any day.

I have another friend who, whenever he wins a new game, says, "Best game ever!" And when he loses, "Worst game ever!" The rest of us have taken to imitating him, especially when we win. It's our way of acknowledging that our opinion of the game is influenced by the result. I try to take that into account when I evaluate a game. Did I like (dislike) it because I won (lost), or did I like (dislike) it because it's a good (bad) game? Sometimes, I never play it again, so I never have a chance to find out.
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If I had to choose between Agricola with dour, glowering poor sports, and Monopoly with my awesome, competitive, and exuberant friends, I would choose Monopoly. Every time. It's not even close.
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Robert M
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d10-1 Great players can make a bad game good, but bad players can make the greatest game painful. If it is one or the other then I'd have to go with the people. Of course some "games" can't even be saved by that.

d10-2 Often -- The good times are remembered more than the mediocrity of the gameplay

d10-3 Sometimes -- If the opinion of the game is already formed then it is easy to blame the group, but if it is a new game then it would have more impact.
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Dave Terhune
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I chose game for the first question, but it's not so much that the game is more important as it is that the game being played influences my decision to participate. I would far rather simply hang out and watch a game that I dislike than I would play it and possibly spoil others' enjoyment.

That said, there have been times when I've gone ahead and played anyway, and enjoyed it because of the company. Likewise, I've had good games ruined by bad players. But on the whole, I prefer not to actually play unless I can get both a good game and good players.
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Russ Williams
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1. Of course I'd rather play a game (and indeed do any activity) with people I like instead of with people I don't like, and ultimately I suppose the people are most important.

But I also would rather play games that I like. If it's a lame game, I'd rather do something else with those people, like simply converse, or go for a walk, get a coffee or bite to eat, etc. It's more fun to spend time doing something we all enjoy instead of playing a lame game.

2. If a game is not so good, but I had a good experience playing it, this was presumably due to the fun camaraderie during the game, not because of the game itself. So I would still think the game itself is not so good.

3. If a game is great, but I had a bad experience playing it, this was presumably due to unpleasant social interactions during the game, not because of the game itself. So I would still think the game itself is great.
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Randy Cox
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I checked "often" and "often." It's all about the gaming to me, not about the game. I will sometimes try a game a second time after it falls completely flat once. But since I always attempt to play with the same gamer types (those who treasure the gaming over the game), my original opinion almost always stands.
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1. I voted for "players" over "game", but that's not entirely true. When playing a game with minimal social interaction (say, Dominion or Race for the Galazy) it doesn't really matter who I play with, and I would rather play a great game where I can interact with strangers. But as long as there is some interactive element, I'd take a crap game with my group (e.g., Citadels, Bohnanza) any day.

2. 2008 was a funny year because the two most memorable sessions by far involved games that are among my least favorites: Shadows Over Camelot and Citadels. It caused me to really think hard about how I rated these games and games in general, and I eventually upgraded my ratings for these games from Thumbs Down (3) to Thumbs Up (6). I voted Often.

3. I am sure every game on my Top Ten has had a bad match. So I voted Never.
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Daniel Rose
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1) I think the first one has to deal with the players. I have played a fair ammount of games and if one of the players is a bad apple then the game wither its the best game ever is almost always ruined. One such friend/acquaintence I stopped inviting to anything we were doing because of his sour attitude.

2) Sometimes I think that my single play of a midiocere came can upgrade it to be more then it really is. An example of this is my wife's new favorite card game Ligretto. It's a fast paced put out as many cards as possible card game. I'm not fast but I play the game because of the interaction and even thought I always get slaughtered and my wife almost always win's I give it a higher score then I might otherwise might because of the positive interaction.

3) Often I think that my single play of a great game can be negatively effected. The first time I played Bonanza I was like what is the point of this game. I had recieved it from a friend as a christmas gift but after one play I was like to kiddish plus I didn't understand all the rules. I played again about a year latter and it became a great game I don't mind playing with my group.
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Joe Gola
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For me, the people have more impact on the experience than the game, but the game is still a factor. If I were at a convention and I had the choice of playing a long, boring game with good friends or a game I really liked with a group of strangers, I might choose to take a chance on the strangers.

An exceptionally good or bad play can nudge my estimation of a game up or down, but it's proably not going to make a drastic change to how I feel about it. When I think about how I feel about games, I think about what I imagine the "average play" to be, not the ideal situation or the worst-case scenario. For example I've had some great times playing Liberté, but I've also had plays that were frustrating or anticlimactic, so my rating is sort of in the middle.
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Mike Jones
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I mediocre game can be a lot of fun with the right crowd, while a great game can be mediocre with the wrong crowd. Then again a mediocre game with the wrong crowd can be torture. So, the crowd is more important then the game to me.

As I've said before I normally rate a game after one play. But, from time to time I don't. The most likely reason I don't is if I have a BAD experience most often related to the people I play with. So, I do consciously acknowledge that a bad experience can negatively impact my feelings of a game. So, I make a point of not letting it cloud my judgment.

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1 - I usually try for both, but without great players you're sunk.

2 - Hard to say. Certainly great players might help me see more in the game than I initially thought was there.

3 - Rarely. I've had a couple of bad experiences recently with a particular player. The games are still great. The player will not be in the same game as me in the future, if I can help it.
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Michael Edwards
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Great game + blah players = snore

Blah game + Great players = laugh


I think this works if you are a social gamer, or a "gamer" gamer. Fun, social people make for a fun time. Good gamers make for an exciting game. I'd think a poor game would detract more for the latter type of folks, tho'.
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Dan Conley
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I recall getting our RPG group together for our weekly Call of Cthulhu session. Once, we never actually played the game!!! We had SO much fun hooting and laughing around the table that we packed it up after 4 hours without a single investigation or die roll.

THAT was a one-shot deal, but lots of our sessions were AT LEAST an hour of socializing and batting the breeze. And that was a Good Thing.

Good Folks = Good Times. Period. The game itself might totally blow goats. If that's the case, you make some quick house rules...or just make fun of it!!! A great game is a bonus to make good times with friends even better.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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russ wrote:
1. Of course I'd rather play a game (and indeed do any activity) with people I like instead of with people I don't like, and ultimately I suppose the people are most important.

But I also would rather play games that I like. If it's a lame game, I'd rather do something else with those people, like simply converse, or go for a walk, get a coffee or bite to eat, etc. It's more fun to spend time doing something we all enjoy instead of playing a lame game.

2. If a game is not so good, but I had a good experience playing it, this was presumably due to the fun camaraderie during the game, not because of the game itself. So I would still think the game itself is not so good.

3. If a game is great, but I had a bad experience playing it, this was presumably due to unpleasant social interactions during the game, not because of the game itself. So I would still think the game itself is great.


My answers are the same as Russ'. However, since my game group is static, I focus on the game more than the players--because they are ALWAYS the SAME and GREAT!!!

I still remember great gaming experiences I've had with not so great games.

I rarely remember any bad experiences I have had gaming. Although one of my parents was always a poor sport--it didn't detract from my enjoyment though.

I think the worse gaming experiences, to me, are meh games regardless of the players. If the game is meh AND long........I probably won't even remember it or ever want to play again with any players!
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d10-1 Great Game or Great Players?

Has to be great players. I'm also defining great as friendly, fun players and not necessarily players that are great at a particular game.

Games are about the experience of playing. I consider the game to make up 1 third of the experience and the players the other 2 thirds.

d10-2 Can a single great experience upgrade your opinion of a less than great game?

Sometimes.

I play games for the experience, the memorable outcomes and situations. If an ordinary game on the whole can give me just 1 amazing experience that we all speak about for years to come then the game goes up in my estimation beyond ordinary.

Hero Quest is a fine example. Some of the rules and mechanics are fairly basic and not satisfying long term, but it has still manages to give me a lifetime of great experiences.

d10-3 Can a single bad experience degrade your opinion of a great game?

Sometimes.

This depends on whether the bad experience was a result of the game's rule set or as a result of the playing group.

Generally it is the playing group and that is why I think the players make up 2 thirds of the experience.
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