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Subject: Luring 'em in with unbalanced games rss

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Gunky Gamer
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Lately it occurred to me that I have had remarkable success luring friends and family to broaden their gaming horizons through Memoir '44. Like other "gateway" games, Memoir is relatively easy to learn while falling outside the mainstream. People feel like they have tried something new and different, and that is good. Being two player, Memoir offers an intimate experience as well, which takes away the social fears some people have toward learning in front of a larger group.

But, I think the real ace-in-the-hole for Memoir is its use of unbalanced scenarios. It is almost as if there is a built-in handicapping system. The first-time player, using the stronger Allies in the Pegasus Bridge scenario, feels like they are playing well and succeeding almost from the start.

Can you think of other (non-war) games that offer a similar opportunity?
 
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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) has a lot of asymmetric play.
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Gunky Gamer
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MWChapel wrote:


Asymmetric -- Ahh! That was the word I was looking for. It was stuck on the tip of my tongue and wouldn't come out. Thank you!
 
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Matt Brown
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And asymmetric play doesn't need to mean unbalanced play. It's just that each player gets their own thing so the newer player isn't trying to directing compare themselves to the more veteran players.
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David
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matthean wrote:
And asymmetric play doesn't need to mean unbalanced play. It's just that each player gets their own thing so the newer player isn't trying to directing compare themselves to the more veteran players.


To be fair, Memoir is fairly unbalanced all the way through.
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David Boeren
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Right, asymmetric doesn't necessarily (and ideally shouldn't) mean unbalanced.

The OP's point was that it's advantageous to give new players a handicap advantage so they're more likely to win or at least feel they did well, which may result in them liking the game more. And if you can find a game with poor balance, you can do it without being obvious about it. If I'm playing chess with a newbie and play without my queen to make it more even, he's gonna notice that. He probably won't notice that a certain scenario in Memoir '44 favors one side over the other.

Of course, this all hinges on the idea that the new player is unreasonable (expects to do well in a game he has no experience in vs. someone who does), illogical (cannot be explained why this is unreasonable), and is probably immature enough that he needs his ego stroked in order to enjoy playing or agree to play again. It's sad, but unfortunately this is probably true more often than not though

Personally, if someone cannot understand or does not agree that a player who knows a game well SHOULD have an advantage over someone who is just learning - then I do not wish to play anything with them anyway.
 
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Gunky Gamer
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dboeren wrote:

Of course, this all hinges on the idea that the new player is unreasonable (expects to do well in a game he has no experience in vs. someone who does), illogical (cannot be explained why this is unreasonable), and is probably immature enough that he needs his ego stroked in order to enjoy playing or agree to play again.


...I did say "family", right?
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David Buckley
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Just about any LCG or CCG would work as the decks can be constructed to be unbalanced.
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Ryan Meeker
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The introductory scenario for Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game seems custom crafted for this very thing.

It serves as a comfortable introduction, and it's an easy one for the humans to win.
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George Falconer
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Battle Cry

The scenario's favor the Confederates. One of the reasons that I think it is a good Father/Son game, dad plays the Union.
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Gunky Gamer
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Gwfalcon wrote:
Battle Cry

The scenario's favor the Confederates. One of the reasons that I think it is a good Father/Son game, dad plays the Union.


That's one I've wanted to try for a long time.
 
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tommy wortley jr.
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i am not sure it is totally about whether someone wins a game in order to like it. i think at least for the people i play games with, it needs to be fun and maybe have a good theme or mechanic.

recently we had gotten gloom. some unique game mechanics and cards (at least to us they are unique). my friend and i love it especially if you play while telling a story. the rest of your little group (another friend and some family members) are not that interested in the game.

finding the right game for the right person is a bit hard. unless the person is really interested in learning. i have a friend that will come over on card (poker) nights but will only play certain games. he refuses to learn new games.
 
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Matt Brown
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Gwfalcon wrote:
Battle Cry

The scenario's favor the Confederates. One of the reasons that I think it is a good Father/Son game, dad plays the Union.


Since my Dad was born and raised in 'Bama, he would think the game is balanced.
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