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Dominion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Luck and Skill rss

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Andrew Staines
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Grimsby
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I love this game - all the right balance of luck and skill and lot's of player interaction, even I think in the games which have few attacks.

Anyway playing online I have a 70% win rate (from 6,200 plays) mostly under 2 player conditions, but I honestly think a lot of people on there seriously misunderstand the difference between when you have been lucky and when you have been skillfull. Do others agree?

I was just up against a guy who had 42% wins from 3,400 plays and he refused to say 'gg' at the end because he said I had just got lucky :s

Here's how it went... he bought Festival/Moat opening, I bought Silver/Smithy... I got a Forge on the first reshuffle and he got 2 throne rooms... he then bought a goons next and seemed to play the goons every time I had my Forge, THAT IS LUCK - but it's part of the game, I accept that

Middle of the game I had nearly got back into it though he had bought 4 Platinums and 3 more moats. It's at this point I noticed that 2 piles were empty and the moats had 5 left... his deck was more powerful and I had a goons after a string of festivals. I emptied the moat pile and won by a point.

He refused to say gg because he said I won by LUCK NOT SKILL... I mean seriously? The luck in the game seems to come in via reshuffles (whether you draw combos or not and whether you can play the right attack before your opponents killer hand)... spotting that I can empty a pile and give myself a chance is not luck it is skill. Why can't some people get that?
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Gastel Etswane
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I love Dominion in every way shape and form, however I seriously dislike playing on Isotropic (even though I play a lot of games on that site - so much so, that when I see the real cards I am temporarily confused why the graphics have changed).

I find it impersonal and needs to have a very good memory for cards. I have had many fun games on Isotropic with good discussion and a nice social atmosphere, but I believe for many it is simply a site to entertain themselves and they don't see another person on the other side of the table and simply play by themselves (regardless of the actual interaction, I mean they are not engaged in the fact another human being is involved).

I don't have a very good win percentage on Isotropic. I am okay with that. I have a much better percentage of wins in the real-game and that is ultimately where I get my best fun out of Dominion.

I'm not an Isotropic hater, but I think that it is a place where common courtesy is not as common as it should be.
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Matrav
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There are very few games we geeks like to play that have no luck involved. Even Puerto Rico has a tiny bit, and it is the Eurogame touted for being pure strategy. Dominion has more luck than many. I've played plenty of games where it came down to that last draw "NO!!! $7 Again! Third time in a row! Why do my cards hate me?!"

If you want no luck, try Chess or Mancala (2 games I love, by the way). I am a much better Dominion player than my wife. I am also a much better chess player than my wife. We still enjoy playing Dominion, because she can, and does, beat me on a regular basis. (I admit, I'm soft on attacks against her.whistle) I win more, but she does win. She does not enjoy playing chess with me because she has no chance.

Dominion is a game where total noobs can occasionally win one of their first few games, which I think is great is sparking interest. But overall the best players will win out in the long run. Besides, if you know what's going to happen, why play?

Isotropic does come across as impersonal at times. I hate it when players don't even acknowledge they were playing something other than an AI. A simple 'gl & hf' at the beginning and a 'gg' at the end goes a long way in being courteous and adding a human touch, even when you're not feeling especially chatty. I admit when frustrated I have not always done these things, but that was wrong. Hopefully this will remind me to do better.
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Jeremy Volk
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I don't think this is even an issue of skill vs. luck. This is an issue of etiquette and sportsmanship. Even if they think it, no one should ever say, "You won because of luck." To some degree, it's always true, but saying it is disrespectful and devaluing to the other player.
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The Compulsive Completist
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High Elf Andrew wrote:
He refused to say gg because he said I won by LUCK NOT SKILL... I mean seriously?

I'll say it for him:

gg
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Drew Spencer
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BaconSnake wrote:
I don't think this is even an issue of skill vs. luck. This is an issue of etiquette and sportsmanship. Even if they think it, no one should ever say, "You won because of luck." To some degree, it's always true, but saying it is disrespectful and devaluing to the other player.


thumbsup

I would add that the mentality of "I lost because of luck" is always counterproductive. Every time I lose, even if I think my opponent just got lucky or I got unlucky, I consider what I did that I should have done differently. If you assume you played fine and lost because of luck, you'll never get any better.
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Andrew Staines
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I'm glad you guys agree with me, it's common courtesy to always say Hi, hf + gl before the start and say gg at the end... if you want to discuss the game further to try and improve your own play thats awesome and I (and I'm sure other players would be glad to help players improve) but this really niggled at me that he just said 'you got lucky' - check the stats pal, 70% Win rate.

Anyway I must apologise I just noticed there is another similar thread on here debating luck and skill and I should have posted in there, maybe a moderator could move it?

As I said in my opening paragraph I love Dominion, more so the base game and Intrigue as I dislike the tokens and player mats. I think Dominion has all the right balance of luck, skill and player interaction. It requires players to build their deck correctly but also they need some luck drawing their combos together if they are going to beat a reasonable opponent. I think a large portion of skill comes in re-evaluating the strength of your deck and planning how on earth you can still win when it has all gone wrong, thats what I had to do in the incident I have cited.
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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Sometimes you make the right play and still lose. If you actually lost because of luck and you over-correct, you've gotten worse.

OTOH, I'd say most players are much less likely to over-correct than under-correct.
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Andrew
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It's just a case of the online social misfit who links his sense of worth to winning in a game. Be kind to others, win or lose, whether due to skill or luck!
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David Bell
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It's exactly the same as every other game, the difference between luck and skill is easy to recognize.

If I win, it's skill.
If you win, it's luck.
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J Valnor
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The gf, gg, whatever being an automatic response really devalues the terms. If it was a good game then I may say them, if it wasn't? yeah, not going to lie and say it was.
Maybe in the internet lingo they are common courtesy, but I do not always subscribe to that theory.
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Gastel Etswane
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sumsnu wrote:
The gf, gg, whatever being an automatic response really devalues the terms. If it was a good game then I may say them, if it wasn't? yeah, not going to lie and say it was.
Maybe in the internet lingo they are common courtesy, but I do not always subscribe to that theory.


What are the circumstances under which it was not a fair and therefore good game? I wonder why people hold back on this simple courtesy.
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J Valnor
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If the person did not have fun?
As in not an enjoyable experience.
I just find it a pointless expression, saying it directly means you thought the game was good. If you now expect everyone to think every game they have ever played was good? well I would disagree with that.

I do not oppose a "thanks for the game", but saying it was a good game, lol.
 
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Gastel Etswane
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sumsnu wrote:
If the person did not have fun?
As in not an enjoyable experience.
I just find it a pointless expression, saying it directly means you thought the game was good. If you now expect everyone to think every game they have ever played was good? well I would disagree with that.

I do not oppose a "thanks for the game", but saying it was a good game, lol.


Why would it not be an enjoyable experience?

1) Is it that you don't like Dominion?
2) Don't like Dominion on Isotropic?
3) Did the person insult you during the game?

If Case 1, don't play. If Case 2, don't play on Isotropic. If Case 3, then that person is being a jerk.

"Good Game" can imply that you thought the player did a good job in the game. (Notice my use of both Good and Game in the preceding sentence.) If you are holding back, then it sounds to me like sour grapes, which is a staple in the Isotropic community. Would you withhold a "Good Game" to a person who beat you in person? Probably not.

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J Valnor
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In this situation is seems fairly obvious the person felt like he put up his best effort, outplayed his opponent, and the luck of the game beat him. Would you really think that was a good game in most interpretations of the phrase?
One permutation which would be untrue would be commenting on the games design, which if you are playing a decent amount, you like.

In a magic tourny a while back my opponent had to mulligan down to 2, I of course won in an landslide, neither of us thought it was a good game. That was due entirely to luck, and I think there are parallels to this situation.

If you want to congratulate a person's game skills, comment on the person, not the quality of the game.
 
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Gastel Etswane
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So you don't like Dominion, is what I am getting. It sounds to me like you have a problem with game mechanics. If things are not perfectly smooth then the game is no longer good.

I used to like Magic, but like you I do not find it a "good game" anymore. I think financing rather than luck was what pushed me away from Magic.

Plainly, I believe it is arrogant to not congratulate the winner after a game. Isotropic has distilled this interaction down to two letters, gg. Two letters can only convey so much information. People have decided that it is too difficult to type gg after a loss because of whatever reason and those reasons are overly contrived and ultimately false. If simple courtesy cannot be maintained then the game as a whole losses its interest. Why do we play games, we play them for the benefit of interaction with others and entertainment for ourselves.

I think the main problem is that people don't see Isotropic as a game against a person, but rather a game against a computer. The visual of the person is not there, so they don't make the connection. (Certainly they understand that a person is there, but the social niceties are ignored.)

Also, you have failed to explain under what circumstances the game was unfair and therefore not good. Otherwise the game is good. Even in your Magic example, the game mechanic was the same for everyone. Sometimes big wins happen.
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David Bell
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In society in general, it's considered polite to say certain platitudes from time to time, like please, thank you, good game, have fun, whatever, even if you don't mean it. Civility is part of the social contract, and it shouldn't be a part that you opt out of just because the anonymity of the internet lets you get away with being surly and unpleasant.
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Travis Hall
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Chipacabra wrote:
In society in general, it's considered polite to say certain platitudes from time to time, like please, thank you, good game, have fun, whatever, even if you don't mean it. Civility is part of the social contract, and it shouldn't be a part that you opt out of just because the anonymity of the internet lets you get away with being surly and unpleasant.

The thing about a social contract is that it is only meaningful if all parties implicitly agree to it. Just because you wish "good game" to be considered part of the social contract doesn't mean somebody else considers it to be so.

"Please" and "thank you" are a bit different from "good game" in that they have been around much longer, and thus are almost universally accepted as part of the social contract - and yet, a good portion of the time, we do mean them. Or at least I do. Maybe you don't, for all I know.

People can be polite without using the particular platitude "good game". In real life, I almost never say things like "How are you?" because I usually don't care. However, I do greet people in some other way, perhaps just with "hi" and a smile. Nobody ever seems to get offended that I don't use one particular platitude, as long as I substitute some other politeness.

So why is "gg" so different? If the game was not so good, I'd avoid using it too. (And it can be. I've had face-to-face games where we've ended saying, "Well, that was a bit crap, really. Want to play again and see if we have a better game?") What's wrong with being told "thanks for playing" instead? It's still polite. Or "catch you later". You're still being acknowledged as a person.

Differing social contracts are not an indidation of being surly or unpleasant. Indeed, I'd regard inflexibility concerning social contracts as being quite rude.

Now, I think the person who sparked the initial complaint is probably wrong about his loss being largely just a matter of luck, but even if that wasn't the case, I still wouldn't assume that every game should be followed with "gg". If he was rude then he was rude, but that's not the same as just not typing "gg".
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Kevin Costello
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I guess I don't really get why some people take certain aspects of dominion "etiquette" so seriously. Its one thing if people are complaining and being jerks and saying mean things, but I generally think the hi/gl/gg/whatever are kind of superfluous. I usually say "gg" anyway, but I really don't care if others say anything at all. I've had people complain because I don't say hi, or every once and a while I'm frustrated and don't say gg after a miserable attack filled game, the other player will actually go into the lobby just to tell everyone that I'm a jerk.

I think the difference is that when I play on isotropic, I'm usually multitasking. Watching tv, reading in another tab, etc... So most of the time I'm pretty much ignoring the chat window entirely. I'm just genuinely not interested in social interaction of any kind. I just like Dominion, it doesn't usually require a ton of attention, isn't a big time commitment and I find it interesting to see how I stack up against other people.

That being said, like I mentioned above, I almost always still say "gg" just because for some reason it seems to be important to other players, but it really don't mean anything to me either way, and I kind of wish some people wouldn't take that stuff so personally.

Edit: Another way that I look at things. If after just obliterating someone with a torturer pin (possibly the most miserable and frustrating way to lose a game of dominion) I were to get upset because they didn't congratulate me, I think that would say as much, probably more about my own insecurity than it would about their etiquette.
 
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Jeremy London
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To those arguing about the appropriateness of "gg", I think the point is not that "gg" is essential per se, but that it is polite to thank or congratulate your opponent for the game, and that "gg" has become a shorthand for doing so, even if "good game" is not literally the exact sentiment intended.
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Travis Hall
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Mezzomaniac wrote:
To those arguing about the appropriateness of "gg", I think the point is not that "gg" is essential per se, but that it is polite to thank or congratulate your opponent for the game, and that "gg" has become a shorthand for doing so, even if "good game" is not literally the exact sentiment intended.

The original post makes it quite clear that the player in question did not simply vanish with no social interaction at all. If he had, the original poster could not possibly have known some of the things he has told us.

So if the argument is that this player was rude, then how he interacts provides the basis on which that can be judged, and this business with "gg" never enters into it.

If you think this discussion of "gg" is irrelevant, I'd suggest you take it up with those who brought it into the conversation. You can start with the original poster.
 
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Rob Kubiniec
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If i enjoyed the game, I'll say gg. If i didnt enjoy it (maybe my opponent dominated me because of a mistake I made or because of dumb luck), I wont lie and say good game, because it wasnt, but i will at least say thanks for the game and congradulate the winner.

I personally dont care much about that kind of thing. It doesnt make a difference to me whether my opponent says gl and gg or "LUCKY OMGWTF." either way, Im trying to enjoy a game against a random person on the internet, and if they want to blame it on luck when i win, that's fine with me. Dominion is great because it almost never comes down to luck: ultimately, the guy who buys one chapel, trashes everything in the right order, and ends up with 6 gold and most provinces will beat 99% of players who buy a bunch of terminal actions and neglect money/trashing. That remains unchanged by any polite or rude comments my opponents type to me.

That doesnt mean I dont appreciate a thoughtful, kind person. I haven't played much on isotropic, but my favorite game was my first. I tied my opponent and made a couple mistakes, but after the game we had a nice conversation for a couple minutes about what each of us did wrong, what we did right, and how we could have won.

tl;dr luck is almost nonexistant in dominion, so who cares if some arrogant guy on the internet says otherwise?
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Dave Green
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Don't discount the fact that he may have accurately observed that you won due more to luck than skill simply because you have a higher average win rate than him.

The same goes for the rest of you lot too.
 
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Shaka Zulu
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Koobadoobs wrote:
...
tl;dr luck is almost nonexistant in dominion, so who cares if some arrogant guy on the internet says otherwise?


For one game luck plays a major role who wins or looses. On the long run the better player has more wins.

If 2 viable strategies clash against each other and strategy A wins 6 out of 10 games, yes strategy A is better.

But 4 of 10 times the worst strategy won.

So you play 1 game, any strategy can win. This is how luck plays a big part in dominion, but that's why we love this game. Any beginner can beat some so-called unbeatable strategy with the right amount of luck.
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Jan Man
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I don't think there's any point in denying there's luck involved in Dominion, shuffling IS random and WILL influence your game. You can have the best combo in the world, if you never get the cards in your hand at the same time it's completely useless. Reading some of the strategies I'm still amazed by how easy it al seems:

play x + y then buy z
play x + y + z then buy another x
etc

Yeah okay, that's great, except that's always THE perfect scenario which will not happen most of the time in my experience. Same goes for "make sure you can play x in every turn". What? There IS no making sure without way overspending on card x which would be a bad idea..
Just yesterday I played a game where the opponent had 2 militia, I had 3 moats, and I was hit by militia 6 times in a row. Every time he drew militia, I didn't draw a moat, then when he didn't have militia I was stuck with 2 moats, etc. This obviously influenced the game.

BUT, I agree that in the long run game knowledge and skill wins over luck. Same as with poker, you will definitely lose, but if you keep playing a smart and correct game, you will eventually gain more than you lose. Another thing is that I think people (myself included ) pay way more attention to the luck of others/their own bad luck than they do to their own luck, which obviously also happens.
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