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Ticket to Ride: Mystery Train Expansion» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Probably my last game of TtR with this group rss

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Valdir Jorge
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Date: March 5th, 2005

Game: Ticket to Ride: Mystery Train Expansion

Players: Ivan (my son), Valdir (myself) and Worthy Opponent (Name withheld upon player’s request)


Today I played what was possibly my last game of TtR. Yesterday we had played a session (see my report here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/445893) in which Ivan blocked me in his last move. There was nothing I could do in that game to "get even" because the game finished with his move, so I had to do it in this game today. He got the Vancouver-Montreal ticket worth 20 points and started working towards connecting the two distant cities. Earlier in this game he had unknowingly blocked me from completing one of my tickets, so I was already out of the game. Therefore there was nothing more for me to do other than block him from getting to Montreal. I forgot about my own tickets and just concentrated in taking all possible entrance points to this city. It took me a long time and it was nerve-wrecking but I got it, I filled them all!

WO said that if it is to play with this much rage, she’ll just stop playing the game with us. Unfortunately that was what happened to Carcassonne as well. We used to play it all the time but then Ivan started playing nasty, I responded in kind and the game never hit the table again. It’s a real pity, but there is no way I would just let him win without fighting back in his own way. As they say, what goes around comes around...

In case you care to know, WO ended up winning the game with 96, Ivan did 77 and I got 56 because I lost 52 points for not completing any of my three tickets. Ivan pointed out after the game that I lost more points than he did, but I replied that it didn’t matter, as long as could make sure he wouldn’t win...
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Re:Session Report
ValJor (#447373),

How did you know Ivan had Vancouver -Montreal?
 
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Valdir Jorge
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Re:Session Report
Well, he started claiming all the six-track connections from Vancouver all the way to the east coast, so it was an easy guess.
 
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Travis Hall
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Re:Session Report
ValJor (#447373),
This is the sort of thing that happens when players start carrying resentment from one game to the next, or start playing just to spite opponents.

Playing only to ensure that Ivan did not win was, IMO, unworthy of an honourable gamer. Playing to beat Ivan, while allowing your Worthy Opponent to take the win, would have been a reasonable objective. I can't bring myself to count a total and humiliating loss inflicted by a playing upon himself as any sort of victory, even a moral one, even if another player is harmed in the process.

Blocking is a part of the game of Ticket To Ride. I don't deliberately block often, and when I do it often isn't terribly malicious (many of my blocks are simply to slow opponents, or drive them into conflict with each other, not to stop them completely) but if there was no risk of being blocked, I would find TTR terribly boring. If you want to enjoy this game, I think you'll have to learn to accept being blocked every now and then.
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Johnny
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Re:Session Report
ValJor (#447373),

Taking a grudge over to the next game (or two (or three)) is fine. It'll teach him not to f*** with you.

I know that I'm definitely more hesitant to hurt that guy who's going to want revenge than the guy who bends over takes it. Not only in TtR, but pretty much any game.
And even though I don't enjoy doing it, I play vindictively sometimes, with the intention of helping myself in future games.
 
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Valdir Jorge
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Re:Session Report
Hi Travis!

You wrote:
Quote:
This is the sort of thing that happens when players start carrying resentment from one game to the next, or start playing just to spite opponents.

I agree and most of the times I don’t do this at all. But this case was special, considering the situation.

Quote:
Playing to beat Ivan, while allowing your Worthy Opponent to take the win, would have been a reasonable objective. I can't bring myself to count a total and humiliating loss inflicted by a playing upon himself as any sort of victory, even a moral one, even if another player is harmed in the process.

Yes, beating Ivan would have been sweet, but it was not possible at all. I had two choices:

a) play my usual tame game and complete two of my three destination tickets; or
b) do what I did in the game

Had I done a, the final result would have been this: Ivan, 117; WO, 96; me, 88;. Having done b, the results were: WO, 96; Ivan, 77; me, 56. Now you tell me how on Earth a is better than b.

Quote:
Blocking is a part of the game of Ticket To Ride. I don't deliberately block often, and when I do it often isn't terribly malicious (many of my blocks are simply to slow opponents, or drive them into conflict with each other, not to stop them completely) but if there was no risk of being blocked, I would find TTR terribly boring. If you want to enjoy this game, I think you'll have to learn to accept being blocked every now and then.

I do accept blocking in TtR, it is part of the game. What I cannot have is cold-blooded blocking in the last move of the game, for no good reason at all. He would have won that game anyway (he had a huge lead, the sixteen points I would have gotten wouldn’t be enough to change the result), he did it just for the sake of doing it. And this, after knowing that I had refrained from blocking him a few moves before. His blocking was totally uncalled for.
 
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Travis Hall
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Re:Session Report
ValJor wrote:
Hi Travis!

You wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
This is the sort of thing that happens when players start carrying resentment from one game to the next, or start playing just to spite opponents.

I agree and most of the times I don’t do this at all. But this case was special, considering the situation.

Oh, I wouldn't call it so special. From what you've described, it looks like exactly what occurred when your family played Carcassone.

Quote:
Yes, beating Ivan would have been sweet, but it was not possible at all. I had two choices:

a) play my usual tame game and complete two of my three destination tickets; or
b) do what I did in the game

Had I done a, the final result would have been this: Ivan, 117; WO, 96; me, 88;. Having done b, the results were: WO, 96; Ivan, 77; me, 56. Now you tell me how on Earth a is better than b.

You have missed option c) draw more tickets, construct a route that scores them and the two remaining tickets you have that are still possible, and win the game. Or if not that, there is option d) complete two tickets, perhaps draw more to trick Ivan into thinking you believe you are still in the game, and block in a more surgical manner so that Ivan still doesn't complete his route but you end the game with a half-way respectable score.

You only got blocked out of a 10-point ticket. You still had 16 points in your hand. Heck, the winning score was less than a hundred. I've beaten that with three incomplete tickets.

I'm not saying you should let Ivan off scot-free after he blocks you. I'm just saying that it would be better to learn to retaliate well enough that you don't have to spoil the game to do so.

Quote:
I do accept blocking in TtR, it is part of the game. What I cannot have is cold-blooded blocking in the last move of the game, for no good reason at all.

If you have a problem with what he did, I suggest you resolve it with him before you get involved in another game. Regardless of the moral qualities you assign to Ivan's play and whether your view is justified, carrying on with your grudge in games will reduce the enjoyment of all concerned and quite soon result in at least your Worthy Opponent refusing to play any more. I'm not going to tell you further what is the right thing to do. I'll just point out the consequences of some of your options.

Since this is being debated again, I figured I'd fix my tag screw-up to make this clearer.
 
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Lorenzo Mele
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Quote:
Had I done a, the final result would have been this: Ivan, 117; WO, 96; me, 88;. Having done b, the results were: WO, 96; Ivan, 77; me, 56. Now you tell me how on Earth a is better than b.



When I play I try to win. If I cannot, I try to score as many points as possible. The goal is to have the better possible performance.
Thus from my point of view a) is better than b)
If your goal is neither win or have a good score but just denying someone else the possibility to win, you spoil fun from yourself and the others.
Maybe is better to use you free time in another way, don't you think?
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Let me get this straight.

You wanted to be able to make a play that wouldn't have affected the outcome of the game but would have closed the gap between you and Ivan. You evidently consider being closer to the leader a good thing and being farther from the leader a bad thing. Conversely, if you are the leader, you would then think that being farther from the second player a good thing and being closer a bad thing.

Ivan evidently felt exactly the same way. Thus, he made a move that increased the space between you after you had failed to secure your route earlier in the game. Yet, this made you angry. You think that he should have felt that relative position made no difference and should have made a suboptimal play in order to let you get closer.

Does this make sense? Why should relative position be important to you but shouldn't matter to Ivan?

If he had not blocked you and you had completed that route, should he have been mad at you? After all, that move would not have mattered in the standings but it cost him part of his lead. Why shouldn't he expect you to not care about relative position while he gets as big a lead as he can?

Personally, I don't expect anyone to make a suboptimal move just to make my position better. If they take the best move for them available and I happen to get hosed, that's part of the game. I also don't expect someone else to take offense if I make the best move for me and it happens to harm them. It's not personal and I wouldn't dream of carrying something like that over into other games. As long as someone is trying to play their best within the rules of the game and not playing with the specific purpose of targeting me (i.e. hosing me even when it hurts them), I've got no problem with that.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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ValJor wrote:

Had I done a, the final result would have been this: Ivan, 117; WO, 96; me, 88;. Having done b, the results were: WO, 96; Ivan, 77; me, 56. Now you tell me how on Earth a is better than b.


1. In a) you were 8 points out of 2nd place and 29 points out of 1st place. In b) you were 21 points out of 2nd place and 40 points out of 1st place. Your relative position would be better in a).

2. As someone else pointed out, in a) you score 88 points and in b) you score 56 points. Your raw score would be higher in a).

3. In a) you don't risk causing WO to never play games with you again, as it seems that this person dislikes the metagaming that goes on. In b) it looks like you won't get to play TtR again. With a) you keep an opponent that you are likely to lose.

AFAICT the only upside to b) for you was the satisfaction at being able to get back at Ivan. I suppose that if that is your primary goal it could cancel out all of the advantages of a), but you will have to deal with whatever consequences arise from the metagaming.
 
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Jim R
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It seems to me that it is a pretty natural (emotional) reaction to want to get back at the guy who screwed you in a game. Not all players will be the cool and rational types who can ignore revenge impulses and concentrate on winning the game. For some people, getting back at players may be the main enjoyment they get from games. Maybe the rational players will always be at odds with the more emotional players for their different styles of gameplay.

I tend to play more rationally, to win, but I could see the appeal of a personal revenge attack: suddenly you can concentrate on the much easier personal goal of trying to destroy your one enemy, rather than having to face the more difficut task of trying to win the entire game against all the players. Maybe it is a relief, especially to players who dont know the game well, are unlikely to win anyway, or who are far behind.

I think this clash of play styles will be common in many types of multiplayer free-for-all games.
 
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Al Johnson
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ValJar,

I do not mean this to be harsh, but to put it bluntly - you screwed up. You basically wasted an large part of a game because of a vendatta to make sure one person did not win. I don't see where this was fun for anyone - well maybe for you, if you call it that. This is often how kids play. Plus you really gave no indication if in the first game you were blocked because of nastiness or because your opponent blocked you just because he wanted to win (or place higher). I have been the winner in games like this and it's absolutely no fun - and I wouldn't want to play again either. What happens in the next game; does he try to get you back for hurting him in this game? The cycle can go on and on.

A kind word of advice... Next game, play to get the best score you possibly can. Try something I teach my kids. DO YOUR BEST! It makes for a more enjoyable gaming experience for all. The opponents and you will have more fun. If you happen to run into someone that is vindictive, no matter how strong the urge, avoid spending an entire game just trying to get back at him/her. Eventually maybe they will stop too.

This is meant to be helpful. Carcassonne and TTR are 2 really good games. I know I would hate for them to basically be taken out of my collection because nobody wanted to play them. Good luck in the future.



 
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Valdir Jorge
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Hi all!

First of all, I really didn't expect that by correcting a few typos on this SR I would bring this dead horse back to life, I thought I had read the last of it after Travis's comments in March. Anyway...

Second of all, let me tell you that I'm a much nicer guy than can transpire from this SR. No, really, no joking! Just ask my gaming buddies!

Third, I don't think that you guys got the whole picture. Have you read my previous SR called "The seeds of discord"? In there I say, among other things:

Valdir wrote:
I could have easily taken Calgary-Seattle and if that was Ivan's next plan, then I could have taken a lot of points from him. But it's just not in me to play a blocking game like that, so I let that connection alone. Sure enough Ivan's next move was to claim it.

and
Valdir wrote:
Ivan had the dreadfully long Seattle-New York (22 points) destination ticket and had I taken that last connection from him, he would be out of contention. Instead, I just took care of my business and he won the game...

and
Valdir wrote:
My last move would be a one-track connection that would complete my 8-point ticket, but Ivan saw that and claimed that lowly connection, taking sixteen points from me. It wouldn't have made much difference in the final standings, but it hurt anyway...

And there is something else that is not written in that SR: in our house we play "nice", we don't annoy other players just for the sake of it. That is, almost all of us. My son, unfortunately always go for the "best move", no matter how much that hurts the other players. I'm not whining here, I'm just saying he's not capable of adjusting his gaming etiquette to the idyosincrasies of this specific group. When we go out to play with other gamers, it's ok to play the very best move possibly available, but in a family setting like this, I think that his behaviour is uncalled for. Therefore, I just wanted to teach him a lesson on proper group etiquette. He had done bad (according to the group etiquette) and I was getting back at him. I agree that it backfired on me as gaming has been very scarce since this incident, but I couldn't really foresee that the third player would react that way.

Now I'm going to reply on some of your personal comments:

Lorenzo wrote:
If your goal is neither win or have a good score but just denying someone else the possibility to win, you spoil fun from yourself and the others.
Maybe is better to use you free time in another way, don't you think?

Under normal conditions, my goal is the same as yours, that is, to do my very best and never just to deny someone else. But this game was not "normal conditions" at all. As for using my free time some other way, no thanks, I love board gaming too much to give it up because of this incident.

Paul wrote:
Conversely, if you are the leader, you would then think that being farther from the second player a good thing and being closer a bad thing.

Not true at all. If I can beat someone 345x344 I'm happier than if I beat him 345x100. Really! I would much rather win a hotly contested game than one where I'm crushing my opponent to death. But that's just me, I guess...

Paul wrote:
Ivan evidently felt exactly the same way. Thus, he made a move that increased the space between you after you had failed to secure your route earlier in the game. Yet, this made you angry.

Yes, this made me very angry because he had clearly seen that I had willingly not blocked him earlier (which basically gave him the victory) and then, in his last move he blocks for no other reason other than his mischievous pleasure. I go out of my way not to annoy him (as per this group's unwritten etiquette, let me remind you), I basically throw him the victory and he does that?! You're dead right I'm mad!

Paul wrote:
You think that he should have felt that relative position made no difference and should have made a suboptimal play in order to let you get closer.

When you say "get closer" like that, it seems that I would threaten his victory in some way, but that was the last move of the entire game, the result was already sealed!

Paul wrote:
If he had not blocked you and you had completed that route, should he have been mad at you? After all, that move would not have mattered in the standings but it cost him part of his lead. Why shouldn't he expect you to not care about relative position while he gets as big a lead as he can?

I really don't get this concept of "as big a lead as he can". When you win, you win. Do you get more pleasure out of crushing your opponent than just barely beating him? If so, well, let's say we're different...

Paul wrote:
Personally, I don't expect anyone to make a suboptimal move just to make my position better.

Neither do I.

Paul wrote:
If they take the best move for them available and I happen to get hosed, that's part of the game.

I agree.

Paul wrote:
I also don't expect someone else to take offense if I make the best move for me and it happens to harm them.

Same here, it's all part of the game.

Paul wrote:
In a) you were 8 points out of 2nd place and 29 points out of 1st place. In b) you were 21 points out of 2nd place and 40 points out of 1st place. Your relative position would be better in a).
2. As someone else pointed out, in a) you score 88 points and in b) you score 56 points. Your raw score would be higher in a).

They say you can prove anything with statistics...

Paul wrote:
3. In a) you don't risk causing WO to never play games with you again, as it seems that this person dislikes the metagaming that goes on. In b) it looks like you won't get to play TtR again. With a) you keep an opponent that you are likely to lose.

They say hindsight is always 20/20... Had I known she would have reacted this bad, I would have been more careful with my "lesson" to Ivan.

Paul wrote:
AFAICT the only upside to b) for you was the satisfaction at being able to get back at Ivan.

"Getting back" is not the point here, "teaching a lesson" is.

Jim wrote:
It seems to me that it is a pretty natural (emotional) reaction to want to get back at the guy who screwed you in a game.

That was not emotional at all on my part, it was pretty rational and thought out. I did it because I had to show him that he couldn't just go on hurting other players without a pretty good reason.

Al wrote:
I do not mean this to be harsh, but to put it bluntly - you screwed up. You basically wasted an large part of a game because of a vendatta to make sure one person did not win. I don't see where this was fun for anyone - well maybe for you, if you call it that.

No, it wasn't fun at all, but as they say, "it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it".

Al wrote:
This is often how kids play. Plus you really gave no indication if in the first game you were blocked because of nastiness or because your opponent blocked you just because he wanted to win (or place higher).

I hope that my comments at the beginning of this message clears that out.

Al wrote:
What happens in the next game; does he try to get you back for hurting him in this game? The cycle can go on and on.

No, lesson learned, don't do that again. For both of us, I hope.

Thanks for all your comments!
 
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Paul Sauberer
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I think that the solution is that you have to find games that are essentially "multi-player solitaire." If not, you will often be creating hard feelings if your etiquette includes not harming other players.

That becomes very difficult to apply. Let's take Ticket to Ride as an example. I have many options on where to place. If one of them is a place where I don't directly block you, but if you play next to it you will block me, do you get mad at me? I didn't block you per se, but I made a move that took a move away from you because of the "no harming" etiquette. Or would we have to stay far away from each other in order to avoid causing each other harm, thereby resulting in a game far from that whcih was intended by the designers?

I can also see Ticket to Ride as being particularly poor for you because it would probably end up as being a case of whoever draws the best tickets wins. If you can't mess with a player's tickets, then whoever gets the best ones will win.

Perhaps trying games such as Take It Easy would be better options to keep peace in your family.
 
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Valdir Jorge
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Hi Paul!

Thanks again for your comments.

Our "no harming etiquette" is more like "don’t openly and viciously harm" than a total "no harm" policy. Let’s take TtR again for our example. In this game it’s totally impossible not to harm the other players, you do it unknowingly, even sometimes unwillingly. But even then, it’s still possible to play it in a friendly atmosphere.

Another case is Carcassonne. When we started playing it, each one played in his/her "own space", but as soon as Ivan found out about how profitable taking over someone else’s structures is, he started doing that all the time, sucking up all the fun of the game for the other players. I understand that this is the best strategy to adopt in a game of Carc, but hey, we’re not playing for the World Championships, this is a family gaming night, for crying out loud!

I have to try out Take it Easy, from reading the rules it sounds interesting.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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There are also cooperative games out there, if you prefer more theme.

Some titles are Vanished Planet, Lord of the Rings by Reiner Knizia, as well as a new game from Days of Wonder called Shadows of Camelot that is getting rave reviews.

Shadows of Camelot, however, does have a possibility of one player ending up as a traitor who will be working against the others.
 
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