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Subject: Phase-lexia rss

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Hardold Penobscott
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Hi Folks,

I'm a person who does a lot of solo gaming. This includes games designed to solo like "Nemo's war" or "Death Angel", and other games that are solo-able with a variant rule set or just playable by playing the opposing players yourself. These might be "Arkham Horror", "Nexus Ops", "Legend of Robin Hood" - I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at.

My problem is when I'm playing alone with no-one to catch my mistakes, I frequently skip a phase. "Oh I forgot to collect my Rubium last turn". "Oh I didn't roll for an encounter". This sort of spoils the game for me.

Anyone else have issues like this? Any way you solved them? Sometimes I try to enforce things with layout. Depending on the game I might place the dice in such a way that I have to reach over the encounter cards. Thus reminding me, "no you have to draw a card before you roll". But that's not a general solution.

Computerized alternatives are great like for Memoir '44 but not all games have such a thing.

I haven't tried it yet but I'm thinking of just making a big standup poster with the phases printed on them and a stick-on pointer. At the end of every phase I have to force myself to move the pointer. The size and ridiculousness of having the standy there will remind me I have to move the pointer and thus keep me on track. This seems like overkill but its the only general purpose solution I've thought of so far.

Anyway, any ideas?
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Linda Baldwin
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Interesting. It's funny, but I think I have less trouble with this playing solo than with other people, probably because with more players, there's a sort of drive to keep things moving. When I'm playing solo, I'm more methodical. I do find it happening with games I'm less familiar with, though; I kept losing track of what turn I was on in Roll through the Ages, for example.

I don't know about you, but I don't think the stand-up would help me. If I could remember to move the freakin' pointer, I could remember to do the next phase.

Honestly, I don't have a good solution. Sometimes I "punish" myself for screwing up by playing another game "to get it right this time." As you might imagine, this does not have the desired result -- except I play more games.

Unless I'm really draconic and force myself to start the game over if I forget a phase, I don't see an answer in sight. I'll be interested in seeing if someone has a good solution.
 
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Andrew Lloyd
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If there isnt one already, create a turn phases cheat sheet, and go through it step by step each turn to make sure you don't forget
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Mark L
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Yes. I'm very absent-minded and often forget to do something, even when I'm playing with other people. Usually not anything vital, fortunately! But when I'm on my own, playing more than one character or "side", there's no-one to remind me, and I also have more to concentrate on and remember. So i forget things a lot.

Having a written checklist of things to do, as clawlan suggests, is probably the best solution.
 
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Matt Kruczek
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Solo? I've been in whole groups that suffer from this. I can remember one game with a Byzantine phasing system where we contrived to get something different wrong every single turn. I'm not sure what it says about the game design that we don't think it altered the result one bit.

What really doesn't help is when a game assigns a phase to something that is actually a single action, such as moving a turn marker along or collecting a fixed amount of resources. To me a "bidding phase" ought to include assessment of and responding to other players bids, not just "Each player selects a bid card and places it face down in front of them."

A well-defined phase should be a set of actions or a process that has to be completed before the next phase begins: you can't reap a crop you haven't sown, you can't mobilise and army you haven't mustered or you can't start a machine you haven't powered.

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Hardold Penobscott
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Forgetting to "move the freakin pointer" is what I'm afraid of too.

Thanks!
 
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Hardold Penobscott
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clawlan wrote:
If there isnt one already, create a turn phases cheat sheet, and go through it step by step each turn to make sure you don't forget


Yeah, I'm going to have to do this and keep doing it even when I feel I've gotten the phase flow down.

I think this happens to me most when I "think" I have it all down pat. I get over-confident, ramp up the speed of the turns and BAM - "uh- did I forget the movement phase of this turn or was it the last one?"

Thanks all.
 
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Laura Creighton
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I've been using a cribbage board to keep track of such things when I am playing both sides of a 2 person wargame for years. For some reason, moving the little peg helps. I have no idea why.
 
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Scott Hill
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lacreighton wrote:
I've been using a cribbage board to keep track of such things when I am playing both sides of a 2 person wargame for years. For some reason, moving the little peg helps. I have no idea why.


You're a Kinaesthetic thinker.

And, to answer the OP - what will work best for you will depend on what modality of thought you favour.

If, like, Laura you're a Kinaesthetic, then some kind of physical, tactile, action will help.
If you're a visual, then some kind of visual chart, or diagram, with different colours for the different phases, and pictures instead of words, will help.
If you're a auditory, them something linguistic, such as a list, or perhaps describing out loud what phase your in, and what actions you're taking, for example, will help.

But, above all else, cross-modal systems work even better (because none of us truly use one modality, or even two, and one, or two, alone - we use all three, but just favour one, or two, above the other(s)).

So have a chart, of lists, with each list written in a different colour, and with each item in the list having an associated image to represent the action to be performed, and a physical pointer that must be moved, and then describe out loud the phase you're in and the action(s) you're performing, as you perform them (including the moving of the pointer on your chart).

And if that doesn't complete suck all the life out of whatever game you're playing, then nothing will!
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