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Subject: Small World Meta Game rss

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Shane Gelven
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Morphett Vale
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Small world has the element of no one knows the exact score of each player, unless you have a good memory.

When it is your turn, you pretty much need to attack another player.
Table talk starts at this point. "Don’t attack me, I not winning, he is" or "If you don’t attack me, I won’t attack you next" or "If you attack me, you know this means war" etc...

Those above phrases could be said with very different tonal inflections. One could sound like a bit of banter, the other, depending on the group, can sometimes degrade into lame comments and debates.

For me it is only a game and not about the game but about having fun.
For others, it is like the meta-game is the real game.

The reason I have raised this discussion is to see how polarized people are on these ideas. Some of you might have strong opinions of who you should and should not attack. And others might be more like, ‘let’s just have fun and see what happens’ attitude.cool

The question is what is the general consensus of the unwritten rules of this meta-game?
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Paul DeStefano
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This is not a Small World question as it applies to a huge number of multiplayer games.

I'm all for the politics of it.
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Jake Fernandez
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Well if we were just to talk about Small World, I would say that it's simply part of the game. An unwritten rule that happens anyway.

Personally I enjoy this part of Small World. I think that's why I really really like it. Besides the whole random power/races thing and the art. I love that everybody's got an opinion on what the best move is and they try their best to convince the whole table. Sometimes, it's as if it's a coop game as everybody tries to convince the other person.. "this is the best move for you" when in reality, they're just as in it to win it. Hehe.
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Shane Gelven
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Morphett Vale
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I agree that this could be applied to a lot of other games, I connected this to small world because of the hidden VP nature of the game. I'm not sure how many other Area-Control games also have hidden VP?

Also I do enjoy this aspect of Small World provided it remains in the category of in game banter.cool

The other extreme is where a certain group of players might have a lists of un-written rules of anything akin to King making, and if you brake one of these rules, everyone lets you know very loudly. In a case of hidden VP, I would question if King Making is a mute point. There have been so many games I have played where many thought I was winning when it was someone else.

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Philip Migas
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I believe it is part of every game, even Agricola. Smack talk and pointing figures can be the difference in winning Small World.
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Chad Hackman
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It seems very easy to tell who is winning at any given point so I don't think the hidden VPs have much of a factor in meta-gaming. Typically, your estimate of score is not off by a large margin.

While I am a competitive gamer, by nature, Smallworld is one of the few games where it really doesn't matter who wins and part of the fun is overcoming some great odds.
 
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Trent Stephens
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Honestly this one of my favorite parts of the game. Trying to feign innocence when you know you have a lot of points, getting you opponents to jump on someone that just had one big turn, or convincing everyone to gang up on someone that just got a powerful race while you pray that they don't notice you're making 13 VP a turn. Small World without table talk would make it much more boring game.
 
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Danny Mack
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If I may...what this thread needs is a poll!

Poll
In your opinion, does table-talk (and/or the metagame element) in Smallworld greatly effect the outcome of the game with regard to player scores and who wins? Either way, since it is not part of the rules, should table-talk/politicking be allowed?
a) Affect the game?! It ruins it for me. I'd prefer just playing our turns without being pushed & pulled at. Death to table-talk in Smallworld.
b) Affect the game?! It's the only reason I ever really win! (Call it "meta-strategy.") I wouldn't be interested in a quiet, mind-your-business game of Smallworld. Long-live table-talk!
c) I'll admit table-talk makes an impact, but I don't really get involved. I just play my game. I don't care if they talk.
d) Yes, table-talk makes an impact, and I certainly have a hand in it, but table-talk probably should be limited or banned altogether since it's not in the rules.
e) No, table-talk doesn't really change anything. People do what they want to do. The game is all about the race/power combos and whether you maximize the opportunities they present. People can talk all they want: table-talk is a welcome distraction for true strategists.
f) Table-talk doesn't really affect the outcome, but I still have fun trash-talking and conversing. It may not be in the rules, but I see no harm in it.
g) Talking changes nothing--especially the numbers. People have their minds made up by the time it gets around to their turn. If it's not in the rules, ban it.
h) This is a stupid discussion about "talking." I don't care what you guys do--whether or not it makes any difference and whether or not it's in the rules. Can we play already?
      21 answers
Poll created by bandit_boy7


I do want to address the original question of the OP. "What should the rules for the metagame be?" Personally, it's a game-by-game thing for me. For example: in trick-taking cardgames it's absolutely taboo to table-talk, precisely because it will affect the outcome. If you believe table-talk affects the outcome in Smallworld, you probably can make a good case that it should be banned here as well.

However, I find that new players get a better sense of the whole game (everyone else's combos, and how various actions will affect them personally) much quicker when the banter is allowed. Like Agricola, Smallworld is best "learned together" IMO and mastered quietly/secretly.

To make everyone at a given table happy, it's not a bad idea to maybe classify what is allowed and what is off-limits (especially for time's sake.) In the end it's all about how intensely competitive-or-conversational your group is. Setting boundaries is good, but I confess I wouldn't know what to propose here as being off-limits. Anybody else?

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Shane Gelven
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Morphett Vale
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I'll put this post in a list because it seems like a fun thing to do also.cool

This list is based on my personal experience over a 2 year period.

1) I originally enjoyed the meta-game
2) The meta-game got out of control and carried over to next game sessions
3) The meta-game slowed the game down way too much.
4) The meta-game skewed the results without question as new players were easily influenced. (taken advantage off)
5) The meta-game became the game.
6) The meta-game ruined the real game.
7) The players who a really good at the meta-game are not as good with the real game.
8) For some people, SmallWorld and the meta-game are the one and same thing.
9) For others, SmallWorld and the meta-game are two separate things.
10) Every time the scores have been counted at the end, no-one (in our group) has ever guessed correctly who the winner would be. Which has made every in game debate of who should and shouldn't be attack a completely worthless activity.

For me, I now play the game with players who also have come to the conclusion that table talk is a variant the we are not interested in. It is still fun to play this way, and a good test of skill and we also get more games in the same period of time.







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Linda Baldwin
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OK, here's the deal-breaker for me. ANY time the metagame extends beyond the current game is a BAD thing, AFAIC. Also, there's a difference between bullying and metagaming, IMO. It's one thing to say "Don't attack me, Joe's winning!"; it's quite another to spend half an hour arguing over who's ahead, or verbally beating a new player into submission. That's over the line.

It's supposed to be fun. If it stops being fun, stop allowing it. (Or get new opponents.)
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Anders Gabrielsson
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I picked "h" in the poll, though I wouldn't formulate my opinion quite like that. With regards to the metagame I can take it or leave it, depending on my mood and, most importantly, who the other players are. Some people will focus heavily on the metagame no matter what they're playing, and I generally find that tedious. (With the people I've played with, these tend to be people who have played Diplomacy a lot.) However, I certainly don't want to ban tabletalk, and for some games it is an essential part of the game - like Junta, Diplomacy, or Game of Thrones (which is pretty much a Diplomacy variant anyway).

I have played Diplomacy and Junta and enjoyed it, and I've played Risk with a guy who insisted that all kinds of tabletalk be forbidden (which I found silly in that game), and often when we play the tabletalk is more about honestly pointing out mistakes or better moves someone could make (probably because we rarely play a game enough times for anyone to really master it), though that's another topic I guess. When I play poker I rarely do anything beyond some banter unrelated to the game as in my experience there is little long-term benefit in trying to get someone else to act a certain way through words - I will, of course, mercilessly trap an opponent through actions.

Small World is somewhere in the middle here. When we play there is usually some tabletalk and guessing as to who's ahead, but there are no strong emotions or serious attempts at convincing someone to play differently. You might point out that "Timmy's been making a lot of points the past several turns so maybe you should take some of his territory" but it will very rarely go beyond that.

I find this a comfortable level to be at. I like to talk about the game when I'm playing it, but I don't like the talking about the game to be more important, or even nearly as important, to the outcome as playing the game.
 
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