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Subject: A matter of Trust... rss

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S. R.
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Some of you might already have read my excessive discussion about several problems with the game here.
I pointed to many things I thought (and still think) were problematic.
But let's not heat that up again. If you want, go to the other thread and join in...

What I just now realized, is that the whole thing - my problems with the game, and all that - hinges on the trust issue in the game.

The game is about paranoia.
It is about not trusting anyone.

So, now my question is:
If anyone could be a potential enemy, why trust anyone? Why ever?

Let me explain:
We are all familiar with the forced trade aspect. Now, if I trade with another player, and he does not try to infect me THIS TIME, this suggests two reasons:
a) He is human
b) He is the Host or one of the Infected, but wants to create trust

Now, every player knows that.

Then, let us say that the same player trades with me several times more, never trying to infect me, but instead giving me useful items.

We now enter into trade 6 with the same player.
And my question remains - why should I trust him?
He could have been a human, and could have been turned any time in between.
He could have bided his time, and now decides to try an infection attempt.
Or he really is a human.
But how can I be sure? Why do I trust him?


Granted, the aspect that is missing here is the one of meta-gaming.
Meaning, in this case, gestures, facial expressions and acted strategies.
Those could all tell me (in case I am able to read body-language quite well), if the player is hiding something, or if he is genuinely trustworthy.
That is, if he is not a good actor, able to mask those things better than I can read them.

Psychology in itself is ambiguous.
Any action a player has done can boil down to two motivations - either he wants to help me or he wants to lull me in security.
It is virtually impossible to deduct which of those two is true, on psychological evaluation alone.

So it all boils down to body language and actions in the game.

My question now is - why trust my reading of body language, if it can be false? I could be wrong about the motivations of the other player.
I could have misinterpreted his actions, and his overal demeanor.

Why trust at all?
And please do not answer: "Because it is the only way the game works."

I genuinely want to understand the benefits of risking infection? Due to, in my opinion, a trust that can never be established in the game?
 
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David Ausloos
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Dumon wrote:

So it all boils down to body language and actions in the game.



Indeed, you can not underestimate behavior patterns on the board.
They are a trustworthy tool to see who is infected and who not. I regulary play this game when I see a group playing the game I take a look at the board and based on the positions of the pawns deduct who is infected and who not at that point.
It is almost uncanny how many times I am right on cue.
The more you play the game, the more you can spot behavior patterns and deduct alot of information attached to them.
That said, it is not obvious, because as a human you are most of the time so much involved in your own survival, that spotting the behavior of others over the course of several turns is not all that obvious.
that is why most of the time I only pick 1 or 2 players to observe over a number of turns. It use has helped me to find some allies amongst the team members.
 
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Jay Lacson
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Also, it's easier to get 3 gas cans between 2-3 people than it is with just 1 person.
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David Ausloos
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arcane220 wrote:
Also, it's easier to get 3 gas cans between 2-3 people than it is with just 1 person.


True.
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John Watts
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Dumon wrote:
What I just now realized, is that the whole thing - my problems with the game, and all that - hinges on the trust issue in the game.

The game is about paranoia.
It is about not trusting anyone.

So, now my question is:
If anyone could be a potential enemy, why trust anyone? Why ever?

So it all boils down to body language and actions in the game.

My question now is - why trust my reading of body language, if it can be false? I could be wrong about the motivations of the other player.
I could have misinterpreted his actions, and his overal demeanor.

Why trust at all?
And please do not answer: "Because it is the only way the game works."


This is a role playing game with some nice components to focus on. So it really does come down to how well you can read people and how good you are at influencing the way you come across.

If you don't enjoy role playing then i seriously doubt whether this will ever be a game for you since the most enjoyment i've had with it came from the interaction between players and the inevitable paranoia.

I don't think i can answer your question "Why trust at all?" because that will inevitably be determined by all of the aspects needed for good role playing - you (and you fellow players) either can or can't! But if you enjoy trying, keep playing!.

(Rules issues aside) If you are still questioning what the point is in sitting around trying to figure out who is on your side and who isn't and how to sneak an infection card to someone or avoid one then, in all honesty, you have reached the point where you should once and for all decide whether you will ever enjoy the game as it is, or that you really find this type of role playing system not to your taste.

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Kirk Monsen
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If you know where the host is, and you know who he traded with, then it becomes easier to trust someone unlinked to the host.

-Munch "there is a memory element to the game" Wolf
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S. R.
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@JPWatts:

It seems that you are annoyed by me asking questions that focus on the game itself, and put into question some of the basic aspects of the game.
If that is the case, I am sorry. And you should go elsewhere, because gaming is a hobby, and you should not be annoyed by any part of it.
If that is not the case, then...

...I have to say that PS is really not a RPG, as its game mechanics and structure leave nowhere near enough room for real roleplay.
Also, tactical evaluations come into focus that taint the real roleplaying experience.
Of course, this is only my evaluation. But before you ask - my experience with RPGs goes back about 18 years now. So I don't just state something without knowing what I talk about.
However, my opinion is not the only true one out there, and so anyone can judge this book by whatever aspect he likes, and give it any name he deems fitting.

That said, what the game actually IS is besides the point to the question mentioned above. The question is concerned with the value of trust in this game, and whether trusting is possible.

From a mechanical viewpoint I say: trust is an illusion, and cannot be gained. But this is merely mechanics.

However, David's explanation above helped me a lot, actually. More than the other thread in general ever did.

What I failed to understand is that trust is nothing that can be gained through playing the game. Trust can only be established by watching others, and judging by their strategies and their body language whether they are trustworthy or not.

In a way, it is like poker - you do not play the game. You play the players. Unlike Poker, however, there are more levels, and more (or different) tactics involved than only luck, bluffing and calling bluffs.

I still have some issues with the game.
But I now see how it can or will work. How it has to be approached.
Quite differently than you usually tackle a game played to win.
Also, quite differently than a RPG based on paranoia und horror.
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David Ausloos
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Seriously, I'm glad that in the end I have been somwhat of help with your issues with the game.
I think you correctly concluded this game has a poker-approach to it.
You are definitly not the first to make that statement.
I think PS is a mix between tactical play on the board and metagame regarding both the reading of behavior of players and verbal communication used as a tool to mislead and manipulate other players.

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S. R.
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Yes, and thank you for your help.

Although I still have several problems with the game, the trust issue is somewhat clearer now.

What this answers for me is "how" I could ever trust another player. By watching their moves on the board, and their behaviour in general, I can learn to "read" the other players. Thereby finding out who is trustworthy and who is not...

Unfortunately, it still does not answer the "why".
Yes, things can get easier if I trust somebody else. Exchanging gear, collecting gas cans, securing each other against infection etc.

But, as I have argued in the other thread, for the human "team" it is, in its purely mechanical state, not that hard to win.
Still, I do not want to open up this can of worms again in this thread.

So it seems I have to accept that the game only works if this method is employed. And if the group does not employ too much logical thinking or tactics.

The interesting aspect, here, is that basically every player has to play for (and trust only in) himself, deciding and acting by himself, until he (by means of observation of other players) has found out whom to trust.
Which strikes me as making a situation deliberately more complicated than neccessary, for the sake of the game, the atmosphere, and the experience...
 
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John Watts
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Dumon wrote:
@JPWatts:

It seems that you are annoyed by me asking questions that focus on the game itself, and put into question some of the basic aspects of the game.
If that is the case, I am sorry. And you should go elsewhere, because gaming is a hobby, and you should not be annoyed by any part of it.
If that is not the case, then...


I'm not annoyed at you in the slightest. BGG is a forum in which to raise any game related question which is just what you are doing. Moreover, i have tried on more than one occasion, to encourage Users to voice 'the other side of the argument' even if it appears to be a minority view.

So i'm sorry that you could have taken what i wrote as personal criticism. I read your post carefully and my response was intended to help you sort out a non-rules related dilemma which you appeared to be raising.

Quote:
In a way, it is like poker - you do not play the game. You play the players. Unlike Poker, however, there are more levels, and more (or different) tactics involved than only luck, bluffing and calling bluffs.


Is a very good summary of what i was trying to get at (I had decided to use your analogy before i saw David's later post).
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Andrew Morris
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If you scan someone and find out they're human, you can trust them until they trade with another player.

If you give someone the cure (in the expansion) you can trust them until they trade with another player.

If you have 3 gas cans and just need a particular item to win (security card, energy drink, etc.) you may have to trust them.

If you play a game with me, you can always trust me, because I'm NEVER infected. :-)
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