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Subject: Do you mind playing "the bad guy" in a 1-vs-all game? rss

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David Boeren
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The other day I was talking with my buddy after a gaming session, just a bit of conversation before we had to pack up and go home.

I asked him if he was interested in trying Last Night on Earth sometime and gave him a brief description.

He said he would, but that he didn't want to play the zombies, because he didn't like playing the bad guy against everyone else and that he always seemed to get stuck in this role whenever he played Mansions.

"No problem", I said. "I can play the zombies, I'd revel in it". This was followed by a brief taunt about how doomed they'd all be with me in command of the monsters in any such game.

It got me thinking though... In addition to boardgames, I'm also accustomed to playing things like minis wargames, Call of Cthulhu LCG, etc... games which consist of extremely direct conflict where the *MAIN GOAL* of the game is to brutalize the other guy's gamepieces of whatever type. To be short, I have no issue with the idea of trying to hurt someone in a game.

But, I wonder if a lot of people who are only used to playing very light conflict euro boardgames might feel as he does, that playing the bad guy is a little uncomfortable for whatever reason. Maybe it makes people feel like they're not part of the group or something?

The same thing kind of applies to the traitor in games that feature those, do you feel like it's less fun being against everyone or more fun?

I'm just curious - how many of you also dislike playing such a role, and what is it about it that you don't like?
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dustin boggs
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The only thing I do not like is often the decisions are not as interesting. LNoE is a perfect example in that zombies are mindless and have to move in certain ways. I dont care what side I play for the most part especially if it means getting a game on the table.
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Mike Jones
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Funny, I don't really mind 1 vs. many games.

But, the interesting thing is that for LNoE, I much prefer playing 6 players so that there is a 'team' feel even for the zombies.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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There is one member of our group who is the "My god, he would brutalize the rest of us" sort of guy. We are thinking of getting Descent, but if he's going to run it, then we're all sort of dead men anyway.

On the other hand, for most 1 vs all games, I tend to be the one selected to run the opposition. My group started off as a role-playing group with me as the gamemaster, so I just sort of settle into that role. It's a bit of pressure though, because I feel like if I don't manage everything just right, the whole group suffers for it. Also, sometimes I miss just being one of the adventurers and getting to level up and such.

For Mansions of Madness, my brutal psychopathic friend ran the opposition and that turned out to be a mistake -- that game needed more of an impartial manager than a terrifying opposition, and so the game would have been more smooth if I would have run it. For Descent, however, we are seriously considering letting our Mr Boeren equivalient run the opposition.

Maybe he should run the zombies for Last Night on Earth, too. I think he would enjoy that. We'll have to look into it.

In general, I don't like these kind of games though because I usually end up being the one who is selected to run the opposition and I'm not usually in the mood for that too much unless I've played the game enough times to be specialized at it, such as in my roleplaying experiences.
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It's the part I was born to play, baby! devil
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Patrick OLeary
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As long as the bad guy has interesting gameplay decisions to make. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is a good example. I really like being the cylon. You get to play the same game everyone else does, you just have a different goal.

But player conflict is not an issue in our group, as long as its balanced.
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Samantha RD
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Being the 'bad guy' is one of the things I love most about Middle-Earth Quest. I mean really, who wouldn't want to play Sauron? devil
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Ryan Powers
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dboeren wrote:

He said he would, but that he didn't want to play the zombies, because he didn't like playing the bad guy against everyone else and that he always seemed to get stuck in this role whenever he played Mansions.


I don't mind playing the bad guy at all, I even prefer it in most games. However, if this part isn't just a perception thing then I see his point. I want to get my chances to play the cooperative good guy side sometimes as well.
 
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Chad Burnett
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The only time I do mind it is in games like Battlestar Galactica and Shadows Over Camelot where you're secretly the bad guy. I'm terrible at bluffing, and trying to keep my dastardly plans hidden. And I'm never even sure what I do wrong that tips people off. It just seems like everyone just instantly knows I'm a Cylon (hence my geek badge).
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James
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I love it in all but one respect. If I win, then everybody else not only loses, they lose as a team. If they win, they all win; if I win, they all lose. I sometimes don't feel like doing a taunting victory dance!

I've heard the criticism of Last Night on Earth, but my mileage has varied in that respect. I feel like, yes, the zombies move in a set manner, but because the zombie player knows this, they just have to think ahead. I will grant that the play is much more how the zombie player plays their cards. I do play with the expansions, too, which gives some more options to zombie players so I concede that there may be valid reasons to disagree; It's just a different impression. Cylons are definitely fun, too.
 
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David Boeren
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ramkitty wrote:
The only thing I do not like is often the decisions are not as interesting. LNoE is a perfect example in that zombies are mindless and have to move in certain ways.


Now that *is* a valid concern, but also a game-specific one. Hopefully not all such games have a less interesting "bad guy" side.

I haven't played LNoE yet, that's sort of why I was asking if we could get it on the table sometime. I can kind of see though why zombies actually shouldn't be all that smart, it's part of their theme in a way. But, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't get some meaningful decisions in some other way if their movement choices are constrained. I have the Growing Hunger expansion (got all of it in a trade some time back), perhaps that will help?

Thinking about it though... maybe there IS a reason why the bad guy side should be at least a little less fun. I mean, if it was MORE fun, then everyone would want to be the bad guy (except non-competitive people I guess) which messes with the one-vs-all thing. How do you convince several people to all play the less fun role? Also, if I was designing a game and it was more fun to play the one than the many, wouldn't I probably take that as a sign to redo the game so EVERYONE is doing what the one bad guy does now?

So maybe it's better that it be a role that doesn't appeal to everyone?
 
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Greg Filpus
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dboeren wrote:
I haven't played LNoE yet, that's sort of why I was asking if we could get it on the table sometime. I can kind of see though why zombies actually shouldn't be all that smart, it's part of their theme in a way. But, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't get some meaningful decisions in some other way if their movement choices are constrained. I have the Growing Hunger expansion (got all of it in a trade some time back), perhaps that will help?


In LNoE, the zombie's options aren't always constrained, only if they're within 1 square of a human. Even in the base game, avoiding that situation if it's harmful to you is part of the zombie strategy. (and conversely for the humans)
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Rauli Kettunen
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Being the one in a 1-vs-all means there are fewer idiots on my team blush . Plus I know the goal of the team and plans go just like I want them to go, nobody goes off-script (people do all kinds of silly things that aren't related to advancing toward a win in co-ops yuk ).
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Jeff Hampton
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I grew up in a family that it was always me versus them. Granted, we were playing the stuff you found in the local discount store. But now that I have discovered this whole other world of games, it is still my family versus me in a game. So I embrace the 1 vs. many concept and revel in winning!arrrh
 
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Benjamin Maggi
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When it comes to one-vs-all games (Shadows over Camelot, Scotland Yard, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, etc.) I don't mind being the solo person. However, my wife hates it. In games with HIDDEN traitor elements, it is much tougher if she draws that role.
 
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Ryan Langewisch
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DoomTurtle wrote:
It's the part I was born to play, baby! devil

I literally laughed out loud when I saw this posted by "Doom Turtle"
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Christopher Dearlove
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Bad guy here.
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I loved playing Sauron against my buddies for LOTR... Not enough of that in my group.
 
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Sica wrote:

Being the 'bad guy' is one of the things I love most about Middle-Earth Quest. I mean really, who wouldn't want to play sauron devil


FTFY

 
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Carl Nyberg
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I have played Germany many times in Axis & Allies Europe, where it's all the allies vs Germany. I don't mind that at all. In fact, I think playing the bad guy adds to the escapism that board games provide.
 
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Jason Smith
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I get pissed and just throw the table over every time we play Betrayal at House on the Hill when I don't get to be the bad guy.
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Byron
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Mind? I PREFER it. I'm the GM that occasionally aims for TPKs.
 
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Ben Bateson
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I will always ask if anyone else wants to play the Dungeon Master in HeroQuest or the Overseer in Catacombs, but I'm always happiest when they all say know, because I'd rather do it myself. devil

I think I'll be lucky if my game group let me play The Resistance again.
 
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Karrde
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I enjoy playing against the rest of the group as normally I'm explaining how to play any way.

The problem is that when we play any game with a traitor mechanic everyone assumes it's me no matter what I do...

Any I like to play Baltar in BSG so I AM the traitor
 
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I enjoy playing the "bad guy", but then again most of my gaming seems to sit similarly with the OP.

If anything, I prefer playing as the one against all. I like want need a challenge when gaming. I love being forced into situations of having to think really hard about not only my next move, but what to do 3 moves from that. Then again games with conflict are my preference.
 
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