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Subject: Does the best player usually win? rss

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Pas L
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Just a question here that I am interested in hearing everyone's opinion on. Does the best player usually win in your games of DS? If not do they usually come close to the top?
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Curt Carpenter
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Depends on your definition of 'usually'. In every game I know (other than Candyland, or other games that give players no meaningful decisions), the best player wins more often than any weaker player. But that's a tautology. That's precisely the definition of "best player", no? But if you have a specific percentage in mind significantly above other players, then again it depends on your definition of 'usually'.

But this may be useful for you:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/725830/strategy-or-chaos
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Kristof Bodric
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Yes, although the skill/win ratio is in inverse proportion to the number of players.
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I would definitely say yes to this, although I feel like some people here will disagree. "The best player" has probably played the game several times and is familiar with nuances in the strategy of most animals. "The best player" will probably never mistakenly adapt to an element that is about to be regressed, nor will "the best player" ever take multiple Domination actions when there is a good chance he/she can lose the rest of his/her dominance cones on the board.

What I am trying to say is that little mistakes like that can be a pain and if one person never makes them they're at an advantage. Now I will also say that with careful planning it is definitely feasible to beat "the best player" in any given game, unlike a game like Caylus, where I feel like the experienced player has an infinite advantage over a not so experienced player.

"The best player" will most likely be towards the top in most games, yes.
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Adam Fenrick
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curtc wrote:
the best player wins more often than any weaker player

I assume he meant "most experienced." Certainly experience helps in every game, but there are games where you can explain strategies quickly and a nub can win...say Catan.
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Luke Stirling
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vidra wrote:
Yes, although the skill/win ratio is in inverse proportion to the number of players.

Agreed. Though this is more a consequence of DS have a reasonably high level of interactivity than anything else.
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lamaros wrote:
Just a question here that I am interested in hearing everyone's opinion on. Does the best player usually win in your games of DS? If not do they usually come close to the top?

In my experience, the best player is the one who best understands the entirety of the game's path and how each round's turbulence fits into that. More often than not, that player is a strong contender for the win.

Occaisionally, the table will recognize who the better players are and make an effort to take them down pre-emptively. (I've even played a three-player game where the only two experienced players concentrated on taking each other out, despite board position that indicated it was a bad move for each of them.) That usually leads to very close games, and sometimes a weaker player overall will pull out a surprising victory.

That said, I've never seen someone win the game where I felt it wasn't deserved. The game requires skilled play to win. I've never seen a bad player luck into a win, irrespective of what the other players are doing.
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Kristof Bodric
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paralipsis wrote:
vidra wrote:
Yes, although the skill/win ratio is in inverse proportion to the number of players.

Agreed. Though this is more a consequence of DS have a reasonably high level of interactivity than anything else.


I'd say that the higher the player count, the less control you have. Having 4 or 5 options denied to you each round tends to limit planning and deny the opportunity to react, while with 2-3 players you are able to do both to a reasonably high degree.
 
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In my experience the player who seams less threatening usually wins. Sometimes is very advantageous to play suboptimaly just so you don't draw heat. Bash the leader is extremely easy and effective in this game.

The game doe not have a super catch up mechanic so if you play badly the whole game you will loose but recognizing when is time to go for the kill is key. Also if a player is recognized by others as a stronger player they may just beat him down anyway.

My tip is put a helmet, take a scooby doo lunch box and put your shirt backward, drooling a bit during the game also helps
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Pas L
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curtc wrote:
Depends on your definition of 'usually'. In every game I know (other than Candyland, or other games that give players no meaningful decisions), the best player wins more often than any weaker player. But that's a tautology. That's precisely the definition of "best player", no? But if you have a specific percentage in mind significantly above other players, then again it depends on your definition of 'usually'.

But this may be useful for you:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/725830/strategy-or-chaos


You make a good point. I guess what I was asking was about the variance in placing results that a more skilled (better understanding of the game, better strategic play) player would have compared to others.

If you have more 'skill' in this regard, will you ever come last? Will you win considerably more often? If you lack 'skill' will you ever win? Will you come last more often?

(Thanks for the link to that other thread)

vidra wrote:
Yes, although the skill/win ratio is in inverse proportion to the number of players.


Hmm, I would have to agree with this. It does seem that with a larger number of players being good will mean you don't come last, but being first is something of a lottery.
 
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John Richert
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vidra wrote:
paralipsis wrote:
vidra wrote:
Yes, although the skill/win ratio is in inverse proportion to the number of players.

Agreed. Though this is more a consequence of DS have a reasonably high level of interactivity than anything else.


I'd say that the higher the player count, the less control you have. Having 4 or 5 options denied to you each round tends to limit planning and deny the opportunity to react, while with 2-3 players you are able to do both to a reasonably high degree.


While true, I think many people tend to discount the number of players in their planning. However, the number of people in the game should be integral to your planning. Look and see other players' position on the board. What do you think they will do? You might find that due to the other player's position, your alternate is the better plan than your ideal one.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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lamaros wrote:
curtc wrote:
Depends on your definition of 'usually'. In every game I know (other than Candyland, or other games that give players no meaningful decisions), the best player wins more often than any weaker player. But that's a tautology. That's precisely the definition of "best player", no? But if you have a specific percentage in mind significantly above other players, then again it depends on your definition of 'usually'.

But this may be useful for you:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/725830/strategy-or-chaos


You make a good point. I guess what I was asking was about the variance in placing results that a more skilled (better understanding of the game, better strategic play) player would have compared to others.

If you have more 'skill' in this regard, will you ever come last? Will you win considerably more often? If you lack 'skill' will you ever win? Will you come last more often?

Honestly, the answer is still the same. The only thing I'd add is that this is a conflict-oriented game. Players in all positions usually have opportunities to affect virtually any other player to some degree. As such, there's a political meta game. If the table decides that someone must not win (or even "come in last", it's pretty easy for the table to collectively achieve that. I've seen/heard different groups approach this in different ways, with equally different results. YMMV
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Yup. Whoever wins we brand the new best player. And then the next game whoever wins, he/she is the new best player. Pretty easy actually. Haha.
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I think the original OP meant best player as that guy that we all know is always really good at all games. He just has a knack for being damn good all the time and is competitive every single game no matter what he's playing. My answer..yep, that guy'll win more often than not. Every dog will get its day every so often but most of the time that guy will win.
 
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lamaros wrote:
Just a question here that I am interested in hearing everyone's opinion on. Does the best player usually win in your games of DS? If not do they usually come close to the top?

Yes, the best player does usually win.
But in DS, you should remember, that the best player in DS is not the Excel-headed math geek, but also the best diplomat with extraordinary "beat others instead" skills. Math counts as well, but diplomacy matters more. Best player is the one, who can make the largest leap on the last move or two, and not the one, who can take the lead by the flow of the game, by using slightly better calculated moves.
 
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I think it is hard to someone to win consistently in this game as it has so many variables. Some may mistake these variables as luck or chaos. Others realise it is good chaos management and, as said, being able to influence others is the way to win.

So the best player will eventually get to the point they may consistently win but that point may take several games to get to.

The only time luck may come into it is when two or more players are very tightly matched. But it is not luck that lost or won someone a game it is all the play that got to that point which matters.
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I don't think it's possible for the "best" player to "consistently" win against "non-novice" players, in 3 player or more games (so many caveats!).

If you truly have a better strategy for this game, you will still be unable to win consistently because it's easy for players to hurt your position, sometimes dramatically so or with no opportunity cost whatsoever. If I were to write down how many times this happens in a game, I think it would demonstrate the point emphatically.

To use an analogy, if DS is an obstacle course, this is a race were random factors will add new obstacles, and the other players may also put obstacles in your path only. You may be the best competitor, but the random and group elements will matter more.

I do believe you can win more against newer players, or against good players that have not yet evaluated your skill, assuming you are markedly better (and I do believe you can be markedly better, thus the appeal of the game to me). I also think that this is a game you can play extremely well and not win.
 
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I agree wholeheartedly with what Mark said.

In my group, you can only win a game of DS if you play well AND fly under the radar. I am perceived as a threat because I won the first few games and usually do well, so now it is impossible for me to win a game of DS. I still have a lot of fun playing it, though. devil
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I think some folks have an overly narrow definition of what "play well" means. In any particular game, if you subtract any real or perceived gains or losses due to direct randomness from the game, the resulting positions are the direct result of how well each player played. Thus if you want to say "flying under the radar" is required to win, then that is included with, not separate from, playing well.
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Curt, I partially agree with what you say, but there have been a few games where the person flying under the radar won despite making notoriously poor choices. Why? Because the "sharks" were fighting one another and it was too late when they tried to catch up.

I don't think there is much randomness in Dominant Species besides the element discs. The biggest random factor by far comes from the players. For example, there was a game where I finished dead last not because of any choice I made, but because everyone else was attacking me for fear of a comeback, even after it was clear my position was hopeless. There is a lot of metagaming in my gaming group, though.
 
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Canales wrote:
Curt, I partially agree with what you say, but there have been a few games where the person flying under the radar won despite making notoriously poor choices.

Consider again what you just said. I'm saying those choices were not poor if they led to a win, at least not poor relative to the choices by others in that game.
 
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curtc wrote:
I'm saying those choices were not poor if they led to a win, at least not poor relative to the choices by others in that game.


It seems like we have different ideas of what is good play. For you, the end justifies the means, i.e. winning means you played better than the other players.

For me, playing well is something different, i.e. making the most of your position, specially in multiplayer conflict games. For example, if the winner wins by just a few points when he could have easily won by a bigger margin, he did not play that well imho. On the other hand, another player could have made more logical moves but was ultimately brought down by the irrational moves of other players. Finishing second after a horrible start could also be considered good play, for example.

All I am trying to say is that winning a game of DS is not as straightforward as winning a conventional eurogame because you can only control so much.
 
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Canales wrote:
For me, playing well is something different, i.e. making the most of your position, specially in multiplayer conflict games.

In Euros, that's quite a reasonable standpoint. But in games with more direct conflict, and hence a strong political element, it's not quite as clear cut as that.
 
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curtc wrote:
Canales wrote:
Curt, I partially agree with what you say, but there have been a few games where the person flying under the radar won despite making notoriously poor choices.

Consider again what you just said. I'm saying those choices were not poor if they led to a win, at least not poor relative to the choices by others in that game.


I find Curt's argument to be revisionist. It's circular to say you play "well" if you win, and therefore no one can fault your play as long as you win. It's entirely possible, and I have seen it, to have players mark one another such that an expert player scores lower than a new player. DS is full of king-making through brinksmanship, miscalculation by opponents, and element draws.

I can beat an expert poker player, but I'm not a poker expert.
 
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Canales wrote:
Curt, I partially agree with what you say, but there have been a few games where the person flying under the radar won despite making notoriously poor choices. Why? Because the "sharks" were fighting one another and it was too late when they tried to catch up.

I don't think there is much randomness in Dominant Species besides the element discs. The biggest random factor by far comes from the players. For example, there was a game where I finished dead last not because of any choice I made, but because everyone else was attacking me for fear of a comeback, even after it was clear my position was hopeless. There is a lot of metagaming in my gaming group, though.

Why are the so-called "sharks" playing so poorly? You claim you've seen games won by players making poor choices, but then explain that the result was due to the other players making worse choices.

Dominant Species is a very open game. There is randomness in the element and card draws, but, beyond that, the relative position of each player is readily capable of being discerned. I think Curt's argument (which is similar to the one I would make) depends on players not making irrational decisions that cost them the game. It should never surprise an experienced player when another player who is far behind on points catches up on end game scoring. If it does, you are playing with the wrong crowd.
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