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Subject: Anyone lose on purpose to keep a budding gamer from losing interest? rss

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M D
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Cos Cob
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I've got a friend I've recently introduced games to, mostly card driven wargames. I'm considering playing sloppily to give him a win since I've won the last 7 to 8 games. What do ya think?
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Hammock Backpacker
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The way I usually handle this is coming up with some sort of handicap system or, play a bit more openly and help the other play make "good" moves. This accomplishes two things (if they can tolerate it). They 1) learn what a good move is and what items should be considered in making it and 2) learn your thought processes which make them better at beating you (but not necessarily other players).

Seems to work for me than just tossing them a win. Consider it a teaching moment. Maybe you'll learn a thing or two about your own weaknesses too... win/win.
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Let a gamer win or lose on his own accord, and if he comes back then it was meant to be. If not, set him free.
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Bruce Padget
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Flat out lose on purpose? Never. Teaching games, openly disclosed as such, are very useful. But even there, you have to let the student play their own game, with you giving advice. Maybe if I do this for a few more decades, I'll nail that balance.
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Ian Klinck
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Playing some "open hand" games to let him see how your strategy works is good. Also, you could try out some different strategies against him, to see how they work. Or, if there are some unbalanced scenarios you could play, and take the weaker side...

"Losing on purpose" is rarely a good idea... If your opponent realizes you did it on purpose, it won't be satisfying for them.
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Harlan Rosenthal
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I'm thinking you missed this thread: Cheating the Other Way
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Mac Mcleod
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Yes.

By a handicap or by a self handicap.

Handicaps are nice because you can use them always.
Self handicaps can beackfire because you win anyway.

Possible handicaps in a card game.
1) start with an extra card (the weak player)
2) start with one fewer card (the strong player)
3) allow the weaker player to cancel one play (you can't make that play this turn).
4) In magic, give them an extra life per loss.

Etc.

If they are too much of a wus and too dumb, it won't help. But over the last 30 years, I've seen so many promising beginners "cabbaged" by experts and driven away from the activity, be it ultimate frisbee, photon, magic the gathering, dominion, etc.
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Leo Zappa
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No - never. What I'd rather do is play games in a teaching mode and openly discuss typical strategies for the game in question. Walk and talk through a game a few times with your opponent to allow him to gain a basic grasp of the game. Let him say when he's ready for a competitive match, and then play to win. Most people I know don't respond well to being allowed to win (my wife, for one, hates it if she thinks I let her win at a game, which I never do...anymore! I have learned that lesson well!)
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Mystery McMysteryface
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iklinck wrote:
Playing some "open hand" games to let him see how your strategy works is good. Also, you could try out some different strategies against him, to see how they work. Or, if there are some unbalanced scenarios you could play, and take the weaker side...

"Losing on purpose" is rarely a good idea... If your opponent realizes you did it on purpose, it won't be satisfying for them.


Since my husband and I learn new games together, our first game is generally an "open hand" game in which we trade ideas and make suggestions for optimal play. I have handicapped myself when playing some games with my 9-year old daughter.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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I never try to lose on purpose.........except in Candyland!!! (in order for my little one to win QUICKLY and end the nightmare!!!)
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JEREMY WILHM
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Yes and No.

My answer will mirror others here, but if it's her first time playing a game then yes I will lose to my wife if both she and I have a chance to win. I know that she will enjoy the game more if she gets a win under her belt early. She'll have a little more confidence dealing with the game in the future and that confidence is important to her. However, if I'm way ahead and she has no chance despite any discussions or taking back of moves for misunderstnadings, then I'll go ahead and try for the win.

If I'm teaching the game to a "budding gamer" like my children, then I will do as others have said - openly discuss strategies, allow for taking back of moves if rules or opportunities are missed or misunderstood, etc.

As far as your friend goes, do you think he will lose interest if you keep winning? You've won several times in a row already - is he still wanting to play the game, or do you have to convince him to play it now? If he is still suggesting the game and volunteering to play, then I don't think you need to lose purposefully, but find a backup game that you can substitute in if/when he does get tired of losing.

If you have to suggest the game and convince him to play, then let him win one and see if it sparks his interest more. If it does, great. You'll probably play again in the future and given him a little confidence to build on. If it doesn't, well, his interest was waining anyway so you haven't really lost anything.
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Gary Selkirk
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No. However, I've played different, unusual strategies just to see what I can get away with as far as casualties, ground gained and if I can atain my objectives.
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CJ
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I will never purposefully lose a game but I will play sub-optimally/less ruthlessly with beginner players. That said, I often find that when teaching new players games I invest so much energy and thought into mentoring them and policing the game that my play suffers and they beat me of their own accord.
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Mark Crane
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I general lose even to budding gamers, so it's not a problem.
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This Guy
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Two arguments against, for me:

1. My opinion is that playing well is the best demo you can provide. But I always explain why I'm playing that way and point out where I might be weak. You can't teach someone how to play well if neither side is playing well.

2. For me, how a person handles losing is a shortcut to seeing what sort of person they really are. If it's a new person, I'd like to find out if they're a sore loser sooner than later. I've found several such litmus tests over the years, like what are friends like when they're drunk. The best friends I've had in my life are good losers and nice drunks.
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Bruce Padget
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Aetheros wrote:
You can't teach someone how to play well if neither side is playing well.


FTW!
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Craig Phillips
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I only lost on purpose once...my wife and I had made a bet and I knew that if she lost the bet, my life would be very unfun for quite a while...so I lost, but not so badly that she even noticed and to this day, she doesn't believe me when I tell her. (BTW, it was a game of Tetris Plus in the PS one, but it still applies)
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Jay Sheely
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I never lose on purpose unless I'm playing a 5 year old.

But what will draw a new gamer in is the interesting and dynamic new social environment they'll find themselves participating in while playing the game. THAT'S what they will find compelling, not being the winner of their first game.
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Christopher Hill
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I never lose on purpose, even to the five year olds. Problem is, I lose a lot, even to the five year olds.
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Marc Fortin
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I tend to play less aggressively with my inlaws. There have been times were I openly discussed what I was trying to do so that they would in turn be able to position themselves for a win. I just enjoy playing games so much that I don't really go for the win I just enjoy the time together. Now with another group of friends that would not fly! I think it just depends on who you are playing with and you really have to ask yourself this question: If I beat them continuously, will they want to play again? Now you could debate that this train of thought would make them sore loosers... I would still rather loose on purpose and play a few more games than keep winning and eventually the interest will be lost.

Just a thought.
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M D
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Cos Cob
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I should probably add that we've been playing games that are new to both of us so counseling him on strategy is a bit like saying I'm better than him outright rather than just letting the win say it for me.
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M D
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Cos Cob
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LINCSANDWINKS wrote:
No. However, I've played different, unusual strategies just to see what I can get away with as far as casualties, ground gained and if I can atain my objectives.


I like this idea a lot.
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Paul Thompson
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My son is six years old and willingly plays Memoir '44. I have to admit to throwing one game to keep his interest alive. However it is easy to lose a game when having to explain rules / strategy to a group of new players. I find it difficult to keep a game going and concentrate on my own strategy!!
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Josiah Miller
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I am with the posters who say they will try a different strategy. If I have a good handle on a game, then teach it to someone for the first time, I will usually the same way I normally would but not with the intention of losing. I use those sessions to explore the game a little deeper. I won't keep track of hidden information as strictly, and will usually be very quick with the advice and hints.
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J Fitzpatrick
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I purposely lose games with my daughter all the time. She's 4. I have decades of experience playing strategy games, strategy-based video games, etc. etc. It wouldn't be much fun for her if I was gunning for her every game. I play with her as an exercise to increase her spatial and logical reasoning skills, eventually she'll be old enough for us to play on fairly even terms, but for now the games are for her benefit.

As for adults... I don't throw games to keep people interested, but I do play open/cooperative games to help them learn for the first few games. Like the other day I played Small World with some people who had never played it and one of them didn't have a lot of non-party game, game experience. My wife and I both offered lots of advice and focused mostly on beating on each other so the other two newer players could explore the map and try out new game characters without getting beat down.
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