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Subject: Helping people beat you. rss

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Greg
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After a few games of something, if I'm losing a lot I like to get some suggestions from the people who're winning. If I win several in a row I start trying to teach people to beat me. I find a lot of the strategies people default to against a clear winner are unfun and generally not good ways to play.

For instance in most trading games both sides benfit from an even trade. Thus I can offer an uneven trade to four other players around the table, doing things that gain them two mcguffins so that I can gain one mcguffin. If I do this with everyone and they don't do it with each other I wind up with four mcguffins while they have two each and win. I find just expressing that this is what happened makes the next game a more interesting affair, but not doing it can lead to "trading clearly makes Greg win so lest never trade".

Doesn't always work. A while back I told my friend Holly that I noticed after a major setback she'll waste a disproportionate level of resouce to avenge herself on whoever caused it I started offering people two mcguffins to use one mcguffin worth of resource to attack her - leading to effectively eliminating two opponents. Now whenever anything bad happens to her she takes it out on me, unless I can prove conclusively that I had nothing to do with it :O

How do you help people beat you? What works? What doesn't?
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Joe Salamone
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My wife and I often have a "recap" session for a few minutes after we play a game. We will point out different actions we either took or didn't take during the game, and will discuss the "turning point" that allowed one of us to pull ahead. I think this helps us identify good moves and bad moves.
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Lang Bedang
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Not sure what you're asking for. At first I thought it might be, "how do I get people to help me get better (and how can I help others)?" If that is it, I don't think there is a magic formula and it depends on the game and people involved. But some people don't want advice and would prefer to make their own mistakes. This is one reason why co-op games (for example) aren't always fun. Someone thinks they know better than everyone else. So as long as Holly knows that you're willing to help if she wants it, let her reach out to you when she does.

If it's about, "How do I get Holly to recognize that I'm not out to get her?", I will share the following:

There are some games where you build a reputation for yourself (e.g. I'm slimy when playing A Game of Thrones). But that is part of the game (gaining trust and stomping on people when it benefits you) and so, people enjoy it for what it is. If they don't, they should find a game with less conflict.

In other cases, there are times where specific people make it a habit to target a specific player all the time, regardless of the type of game. If it's because that person is always perceived to be a threat, that's fine. If it's part of a mutually enjoyable, ongoing war, ok. But sometimes people can take it too far.

All that being said, I believe that if people aren't having fun playing a board/card game, can't take the good with the bad, or don't enjoy interacting live with people in a 3D realm, they shouldn't play.

My $0.02
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Adrian Hague
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I feel it's just as important to teach people how to win as it is important to teach them how to play.
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x_equals_speed wrote:


How do you help people beat you? What works? What doesn't?


We are a competitive crew, but we are a friendly crew, and on learning games, or games with new people, it's usually unwritten to help them with strategy tips as much as possible. We like to have people who are competitive and have the tools to play competitively. I don't like playing with clueless people just to pad my win/loss ratio. It's more satisfying if they(new to a particular game) can get to the same level as the table.
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MWChapel wrote:
x_equals_speed wrote:


How do you help people beat you? What works? What doesn't?


We are a competitive crew, but we are a friendly crew, and on learning games, or games with new people, it's usually unwritten to help them with strategy tips as much as possible. We like to have people who are competitive and have the tools to play competitively. I don't like playing with clueless people just to pad my win/loss ratio. It's more satisfying if they(new to a particular game) can get to the same level as the table.


I'd like to add more to what you stated but I can't - I'm in the same boat.

I WANT you to learn how to play (and I always ask if people would like a tip) so that when I do win against you (assuming I do), it is because I played a better game, not that I knew a secret nuance of the game that I didn't share.
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David Boeren
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It sounds like your group does not use their logic much - jumping to all sorts of weird and nonsensical conclusions instead of thinking things out or listening as you explain how the mechanics work *again*.

Perhaps the problem is that they are too resistant to being taught anything? I've seen people like this. Not exactly dumb (although some of them may be) but mostly just stubborn. They may tend to assume that because you're winning any explanations you offer are attempts to mislead them so you can keep winning. TOTALLY missing the point. If all you wanted was to keep winning, you wouldn't have to do anything at all.

Unfortunately I don't have any useful suggestions. "Get smarter or more open-minded gaming partners" isn't practical in most instances. If you're trying to beat a paranoid bias though, maybe you can somehow teach some nuggets to a not-very-suspicious third party and let THEM teach the group? Maybe in a covert "I'll show you guys the secret way to crush Greg next time" fashion?
 
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Neil Brooks
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joe_salamone wrote:
My wife and I often have a "recap" session for a few minutes after we play a game. We will point out different actions we either took or didn't take during the game, and will discuss the "turning point" that allowed one of us to pull ahead. I think this helps us identify good moves and bad moves.

Definitely this. I think it does more than help you identify good and bad moves too. My wife and I have been playing board games for just over two years and I think it helps us understand each other better as gamers, which in turn helps us identify our own weak spots.
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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x_equals_speed wrote:
I wind up with four mcguffins while they have two each and win.

Before you started trading, you had 8 and they had 1 each. Your position has not improved.
 
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nyn -
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I've always been of the opinion that sharing information is best for everyone. I rarely conceal my strategy during a game and never do so after a game. Typically I'll explain what I did (if it merits explanation) immediately after the effect is realized. I'm more interested in my ability to adapt on the fly tactically with a flexible strategy than in learning an unbeatable sequence of moves that I can't share (boring!). As soon as the information gets shared, the game gets interesting.

What I love is the occasional trash talk that can develop out of this sort of sharing.

"You see what I did there? I just pulled 10 points from you."
"Oh? You think you're actually going to keep that? Watch and weep my friend!"
 
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Daniel Mendes
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AdrianPHague wrote:
I feel it's just as important to teach people how to win as it is important to teach them how to play.


Totally agree!
 
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Greg
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Smoo wrote:
x_equals_speed wrote:
I wind up with four mcguffins while they have two each and win.

Before you started trading, you had 8 and they had 1 each. Your position has not improved.


The premise was "in most trading games both sides benfit from an even trade.". Take for instance Twilight Imperium, if player 1 holds their own value 1 trading card and player 2 holds their own value 2 trading card they will each recieve 0 when trading comes up. If they trade player 1 recieves 2 and player 2 receives 1 - both parties profit from the trade but player 1 clearly profited more. Even where the game does not produce extra resources out of thin air trades can still profit both sides, for instance in vanillia Catan if one player has three bricks and one has three wood both profit from a brick-wood trade even though in real terms they still have the same quantity of resource. Rather than get into specific terms about a specific game I just referred to these kind of gains as "mcguffins".
 
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Christopher Scatliff
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x_equals_speed wrote:
The premise was "in most trading games both sides benfit from an even trade.". Take for instance Twilight Imperium, if player 1 holds their own value 1 trading card and player 2 holds their own value 2 trading card they will each recieve 0 when trading comes up. If they trade player 1 recieves 2 and player 2 receives 1 - both parties profit from the trade but player 1 clearly profited more. Even where the game does not produce extra resources out of thin air trades can still profit both sides, for instance in vanillia Catan if one player has three bricks and one has three wood both profit from a brick-wood trade even though in real terms they still have the same quantity of resource. Rather than get into specific terms about a specific game I just referred to these kind of gains as "mcguffins".


I agree with all of that. Trading in a way that gains you resources without losing any is a net gain over those not involved even if it's a net loss against the one you traded with. And a trade which converts a resource from a useless type to a useful type is a net gain even if the quantities are unchanged. Of course I agree with that.

I didn't realize that your use of "mcguffin" was context sensitive and didn't refer to the same generic good across the board.
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Jeff Meunier
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Winning one time against my wife is sufficient for her to figure out how to beat the crap out of me forever more. No help necessary.
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Patrick
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I try teach people to play well, too. For example: I introduced a total newbie to Ascension and we all pitched in with our strategies and what we think would be a good move when it was his turn - he, of course, decided what to do and also bounced his ideas around the table. It was very interesting to hear everyone's opinion ("That card is awesome, get it!" - "True, but the game is advanced quite far yet. I think this card would be more helpful at such a late state." - "Yes, but remember that card x has not come up yet"...) and in the end our newbie actually won. By a landslide, I might add.
That was a lot of fun.
 
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Tim Rourke
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I have found occasionally when people teach me strategy as well as rules they can often tell you what they usually do.

Maybe it's because I'm a contrary person it tends to make me not use their strategy and try to find a different one which may beat the one they've just taught me.

I'd love to say this is because I'm an ace strategist, I think it is probably because I like finding my own path. It sometimes works though because I know what they are going to do, but they have never considered what I am going to do.

It also fails totally sometimes
 
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