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Subject: How to prevent analysis paralysis in fellow gamers? rss

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Chris Leigh
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I've just returned from a day of gaming, and I got to play Tzol'kin for the first time with a random group. The game was really enjoyable, semi brainburnery and lots of fun.

However in the three hours it took for us to play, one hour was for 3 of the players and the remaining 2 hours were for one player to endless agonise over his decisions.

He obviously won, but only by a measly 5 points and most of the players were fed up of the game dragging on so long. I just cant understand why you'd perfect your turns to such an extent that the win costs the enjoyment of all your fellow gamers, surely the gaming part is whats important not the winning?

We asked him to hurry and jokingly suggested a timer but despite apologising for taking so long he'd then keep us waiting another 5mins. Just wondering what people do in similar situations. This was a convention of sorts and therefore I didnt know the guy, had it been my usual club i'd have started to moan
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Josh Lacey
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Great question. I play with some players who are similarly slow. I'm not always the fastest myself, but I have 3 guys who like to win and have to analyze everything before they move. Another guy is usually playing the games for the first time and overthinks stuff his first time through, but then is quicker. Myself, I don't mind winning, but the group I play with are all veterans to gaming where I'm newer so I've gotten more of a focus on playing the game vs a focus on winning. Reiner Knizia has a great quote on this...I'll try to look it up.

“When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”

I've recommended a VP penalty timer which we will try on Eclipse the next time we play. Something like 2 mins a turn. First one is free, then minus 1 victory point per fail. Thematically it works for Eclipse because in war you don't get to hit the pause button. Not certain it could work in other games or not if it means giving the thorough players a disadvantage. Eclipse is a long game though so they're sold on trying to speed it up.


Sorry for all the edits...smart phones.
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Scott Hill
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How to prevent analysis paralysis?

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J Holmes
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Step 1: Have the games group organiser have a private chat with them.
Step 2: Use a timer for each player's turn, give 2 grace overtimes for each player.
Step 3: Assuming the game uses VP to calculate the winner, deduct points each time they run out of time.

Step 4: If the problem still persists personally choose not to play "complicated" games with that person.
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Enrico Viglino
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Playing games which are well-linked to real decisions
usually helps me a lot. When something doesn't make sense,
you can't fall back on a strategy that makes sense - and end
up having to just play the game - which results in optimization,
a path which, once traveled down, yields further advantages to
further analysis.
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Tuomas Korppi
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I, personally, prefer a chess-clock type timing rather than a fixed limit for each turn. Chess clock allows a player take sometimes longer thinking times, as long as he compensates it by playing faster otherwise. In my opinion, it is normal that sometimes a tricky situation arises in which you must think, and there is a problem only when someone takes longer thinking times than expected consistently.
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monchi
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the problem with AP or APD(disorder) is that it is a human condition. There is very little that you can do to prevent it as even if and when you use timers or penalties the APD sufferer will find away to get their fix.

APD doesn't seem to target anyone type of person. That said it does tend to affect smarter people more severely. I can handle AP better when it is a more complex game, what drives me nuts is when you are playing a light or medium weight game that really doesn't require much thinking forward and the APD sufferer grinds things to a halt. I have gone blue in the face trying to snap an APD sufferer out it if in a game where they only had ONE option regardless of the outcome of that move!

as there is no cure in sight you might look into starting up something like Movember to help find a cure for APD. The logical month would be APril. During APril people would simply stop doing anything and everything drawing attention to the paralyzing effects APD has on sufferers. The only down side would be that donations might be slow in coming in due to people trying to determine is they should give, how much they should give, how they should give....hopefully one day we will all live in a world where the published playing time on a box holds true no matter who is playing
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Adrian Iordache
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Give him the Big Paws token whistle
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Kelly Bass
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I'd probably do the same as you, politely asking him and joking about the timer. It's a little tougher at a convention where you don't know everyone at the table, and may have different expectations about what kind of behavior is acceptable.

Other things like cel-phones, drinks on the table, trash talk, taking back moves, hidden money if not addressed in the rules, social talk between non-turn-taking players, etc. may be fine with some, but not all. That said, if everyone else at the table asked me to play their style, I'd try to adapt.

When Caylus was new, I was at a con a table with an incredibly slow AP player grinding out his turns. I lost all interest in the game. When it came to my turn, I'd make a lightning fast move as quickly as possible. The other players started doing the same, to the point where it was funny when it'd get back to his turn in about 10 seconds. Then he'd spend 10 minutes deciding where to place his next worker. Could've been painful, but we were laughing about it by then.
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Chris Leigh
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One point today we all went so fast he was still reading his latest building tile by the time it came round to him. I just can't understand the mindset I guess, even when I'm agonising over a choice I appreciate the others around the table aren't enjoying my slowness and I force myself to make a move.

Tzol'kin isnt even that advanced a game, you can only add or take off meeples!
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Jack Reda
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We just all chant "Do it!" until it happens.
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C M
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Stop joking about the timer and pull one out. Make the time on it reasonable. If everyone else is taking 3 minutes to his 10 set the timer to 5 minutes. Enforce it for everyone playing.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Instead of preventing analysis paralysis in others, consider developing patience in yourself. Gaming is a leisure activity. Best to relax and enjoy yourself, and allow others to do the same.
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jes m
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Sphere wrote:
Instead of preventing analysis paralysis in others, consider developing patience in yourself. Gaming is a leisure activity. Best to relax and enjoy yourself, and allow others to do the same.


Learning how to do exactly this has made me an infinitely better middle school teacher.
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Chris Leigh
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Sphere wrote:
Instead of preventing analysis paralysis in others, consider developing patience in yourself. Gaming is a leisure activity. Best to relax and enjoy yourself, and allow others to do the same.


I do relax and enjoy myself, but not when someone makes a 60-90 minute game 3 hours long. Whilst I agree some people need to calculate their moves 3 people watching someone think for 2 hours is not a real leisure activity...
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Scott Everts
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We had a Galactic Emperor game go on for 5 hours at a con. We had two AP players sitting side by side in a five player game. Three of us would do our turns in a couple minutes, the other two would take 15-30 minutes. So after the first hour of this, once those two were up to play we'd read a game manual, or chat, or get food, or go to the bathroom. We tried to be nice but even gentle hints didn't help. We started making moves that would help someone win so it would be over. The game's owner was so burned out after the game that he promptly sold it. The game was basically "tainted" with the horrible experience.

Patience is a virtue, but respect for your fellow gamer is also a virtue. I'm no saint, I tend to have AP issues but in the past few years I try to deal with it. If I think I'm going long and I see the glazed look in my fellow gamer's eyes, I just make the best move I can and deal with the consequences. Sometimes that means making a really stupid move, but I'm there to enjoy the company so losing isn't a big deal to me.

These days it's pretty easy to know when you are taking too long. Did someone pull out a smart phone when your turn comes up?
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blunder1983 wrote:
Just wondering what people do in similar situations.


Not play games with them again.
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Sphere wrote:
Gaming is a leisure activity.


Exactly, and my leisure time is limited, and I'd rather not spend it watching someone spin their wheels.
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TonyKR
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If using a timer, be sure to give them a 30 second warning or something so they know they need to start wrapping things up.
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Enrico Viglino
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ScottE wrote:


Patience is a virtue, but respect for your fellow gamer is also a virtue. I'm no saint, I tend to have AP issues but in the past few years I try to deal with it. If I think I'm going long and I see the glazed look in my fellow gamer's eyes, I just make the best move I can and deal with the consequences. Sometimes that means making a really stupid move, but I'm there to enjoy the company so losing isn't a big deal to me.
p


Pretty much what I try and aim for. It doesn't always work though -
especially in a group that is competitive. Basically, if they're
going to provide negative reinforcement for making a poor move
as well as for taking my time, I'm liable to choose to appear slow
over unconcerned.
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UA Darth
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In my group we have no AP. We all make the conscious choice that nothing will ever be perfect and that is how we choose to game. I'd never allow anyone to single handedly drag down a game. It is selfish and preposterous. Gotta have a backbone with people.
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J Holmes
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Sphere wrote:
Instead of preventing analysis paralysis in others, consider developing patience in yourself. Gaming is a leisure activity. Best to relax and enjoy yourself, and allow others to do the same.


By excluding the person with AP or by excluding youself from a game with them.

Sphere, if you have the choice between three 60 minute games where everyone is playing fairly and playing to win, or one 60 minute game that takes three hours because everyone is playing fairly and one person is trying to get second or third, which option do you choose?

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David Bull
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The trouble is AP is in the eye of the beholder. You often don't notice it so much in others until you have formulated a plan for your next few turns and are waiting to carry it out - that really makes the clock tick slowly.

But then I've never seen a game anywhere near as bad as described by some of the posters here. My attention span is around the 2hr mark - any more than that and I normally start seeking strategies that will advance the game end.
 
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Benjamin Kay
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This was a very sensitive issue with my old game group. We tried to innocently poke fun at the slower gamer and he took it very personally. We ended up with a compromise where 1) he knew we all knew he was the slow one 2) he would try harder and be more aware of the problem 3) as long as it didn't get worse we wouldn't bring it up. Things did improve some but not as much as we'd have liked. We shifted to a mix of shorter games as well because our experience is that when games are faster we play several in one evening and therefore people obsess less about the outcome of each game. On one or two occasions when we wanted to play a long game we waited for him to be out of town.

There is a multi-person chess-style timer (whole game, not per move) called the DGT Cube. I considered getting it and indeed still have it on an Amazon wishlist. I remain on the fence about it because it only works if your slow player won't have his whole game fall apart from being rushed. If he feels like he is always losing because of the timer he's going to have a bad time. Our game night is about hanging with particular people more (but not entirely so) than optimizing the gaming itself so I can live with a fair number of wrinkles in my friends' gaming play.
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Steve Finn
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Mentioned above already, but my answer is to choose games with limited decisions for each turn and offer kind prodding in a joking way.
 
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