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Subject: Why do you choose to play games that are worse than others? rss

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Guido Van Horn
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I was thinking about this today as I was looking over my growing collection. Specifically I was looking at my copy of San Juan with disgust, and thought, why do I even have this game? I never play it, and I like other games better. Now, I actually like San Juan, but even in the same general genre, I like Eminent Domain better.

But, I can't bring myself to part with it, because I DO want to play it. However, can think of no compelling reason as to why I want to play it in lieu of games I like better. Then again, I haven't played it in a long while, so that should mean something, but I tell myself that I haven't played it recently because of other factors, not related to my desire to play it, namely, lack of opponents who also want to play it and trying to squeeze it in when I have games I haven't played at all, plus all the others games I want to play.

So maybe San Juan isn't the best example of what I'm thinking...But now I'm thinking of other examples...Why do I ever play Catan without C&K? Why do I play Catan: Trails to Rails? (examples of similar game play and options) I prefer vanilla to Trails to Rails and I love C&K, but I play trails to rails at least equal to vanilla and haven't played C&K for a long while.

I suppose the easiest answer is that it is all situational, I play Trails to Rails with my bro-in-law, and my wife doesn't like C&K...but then again why do I play Trails to Rails when both I, my bro-in-law and my niece get together when all three of us like Power Grid better than Trails to Rails??? Why would we ever make that decision??? but we do.

So, now that my stream of consciousness has been blurted out...why do you choose to play games that are worse than others?

 
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Aswin Agastya
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Variety is the spice of life.
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Wheels
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Variety. I'm new to the board game world, but in terms of video games I'd get sick of playing the same game over and over.

Often a particular game isn't better in every way than some other one - the 'worse' game will do something better, or have some cool idea or mechanic etc. That, combined with the chance to play something a little different (even if it's just the setting or story etc.) is enough to get me to play arguably worse games than the ones I own. If I want to play a first-person-shooter, arguably the best is Half Life 2. However, a bit of Far Cry 2 is more than welcome as it offers a different experience to HL2 (as an example).

Often I find that, while the really well received ("better") games genuinely are superior, it's the lack of polish that can give a game character (to a point). If I want a super-smooth, gleaming, perfectly harmonious game design I can get it, but sometimes something a little less refined is great as a palate cleanser.
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Benjamin Roffey
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What game our group plays really depends on our mood, game length, and how much though is required. For example, whenever we need a filler we play DC, even though none of us are real fans, and we all prefer wasabi, it is just far less mentally intensive. There's lots of similar situations where we play games that we don't like as much solely because they fit the mood where in far better.
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Guido Van Horn
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qiagen wrote:
My first thought on seeing the title thread was 'variety', but I'm late to the party.

I guess the other thing is that different people have different preferences, and gaming is inherently a social activity. So I end up playing a lot of games I don't really enjoy in order to spend time with people who do enjoy them.


I imagine that this is a pretty common response.
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Wendell
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Worse is in the eye of the beholder gamer.

Usually, playing a bad game is better than playing no game.

Variety, numbers of players, game length, etc... all factor in too.
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Guido Van Horn
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wifwendell wrote:
Worse is in the eye of the beholder gamer.

Usually, playing a bad game is better than playing no game.

Variety, numbers of players, game length, etc... all factor in too.


well...yeah. But why do YOU play games that you think are worse than others...
 
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Chris
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Someone else wants to play it, and you say, "Okay".
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N H
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Often times another person in my group doesn't feel the same way. For example, I vastly prefer Thurns and Taxis to TTR, but I would suspect that there are others here who don't agree with me.

San Juan v. Eminent Domain is an interesting one for me. They really do scratch a different itch for me, as the cards as a resource mechanic of SJ is one of its highlights, while EmDo really gains strength from its deckbuilding feel.
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Tim Benjamin
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Derek Stephenson
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Pretty much what other's have been saying. It's about variety and the situation. Play one game too much too often and unless it is your absolute favourite game your likely to grow tired of it. But if you like that type of game and have something you may not care for quite as much it still helps to mix it up and remind yourself A) what was good about the the other and B) why you really like the first game so much.

And situation is heavily important. I wouldn't pull out Cities and Knights if I'm teaching people Settler's, or even if they seem at the moment not interested in going that deep with the game. Besides nostalgia is a good thing
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Bryan S.
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GuidoVanHorn wrote:
Now, I actually like San Juan, but even in the same general genre, I like Eminent Domain better.


Aside from role selection, Eminent Domain and San Juan have very little in common.

I'm also a little confused about the topic of this thread. If by "worse than" you mean "games that I like less than," I'd imagine it's down to variety and nostalgia. I play plenty of games I don't particularly like with my friends because they like them, so there's another possible reason.

Nim
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Guido Van Horn
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4th stringer wrote:
Often times another person in my group doesn't feel the same way. For example, I vastly prefer Thurns and Taxis to TTR, but I would suspect that there are others here who don't agree with me.

San Juan v. Eminent Domain is an interesting one for me. They really do scratch a different itch for me, as the cards as a resource mechanic of SJ is one of its highlights, while EmDo really gains strength from its deckbuilding feel.


And that is probably a good reason why I still feel a want to play San Juan, they are enough different that they aren't clones, but they still have a similar feel to me. Obviously the limitations of what roles you can pick in San Juan make the tactics of San Juan different than EmDo.
 
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Jim Rice
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All the Better/Worse opinions about games aside, I do think that there are games that just work better and are more fun with certain people. For example, my game group played Apples to Apples in the rotation once , we all knew the game. We all like the game. But it was not well received and we haven't included it since. Yet, I play Apples to Apples with my family and others and I have a blast. Also, I have one group that loves Power Grid and wants it included every time and its always been fun. Another group I join on occasion doesn't play it much and the few times we did play it lagged and was not what I would have called a good game. Perhaps its the level of expectation of the players, the desire for a certain style of play or just the amount of alcohol drank. Either way, to me it just seems that certain games are just more fun with the right mix of people.
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Guido Van Horn
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Nim_Was_Taken wrote:
GuidoVanHorn wrote:
Now, I actually like San Juan, but even in the same general genre, I like Eminent Domain better.


Aside from role selection, Eminent Domain and San Juan have very little in common.

I'm also a little confused about the topic of this thread. If by "worse than" you mean "games that I like less than," I'd imagine it's down to variety and nostalgia. I play plenty of games I don't particularly like with my friends because they like them, so there's another possible reason.

Nim


I thought about changing it...but I felt worse was understood to be subjective enough that it didn't warrant the extra 2 seconds of my time to change it.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Mainly because other people enjoy the games I think are worse and get less enjoyment out of the games I think are better.
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Des Lee
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Well... variety, obviously.

Different people have different opinions and therefore in our gaming group we all have a chance to pick the games being played, so I end up playing games that (in my mind) are inferior to others. However, just because I regard a game as "better" than another game, it doesn't mean that the other game is not worth playing.

I listen to a lot of music, and would hate to only listen to the "best" album all the time.
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Michael Brown
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Straight up--I have realized that just because it has a great rating doesn't mean it will work for me. Twilight Struggle, for example, does nothing for my gaming group other than cause them to turn their heads sideways in confusion.

What do they prefer? Pit and Nuns on the Run some nights, Arkham Horror and the Resistance other nights. Race for the Galaxy and Defenders of the Realm. I really never know what will work, but we have all learned that a great rating doesn't necessarily make the game accessible and fun to everyone, and THAT is what matters.

Consider that with the emotional attachment or childhood recollections (my AH copy of Betrayal at House on the Hill will go to the grave with me because it was the very first game I bought with my own money) and you have your answer.

Ratings don't make the game--the experience you have with it does (works with video games, too).
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Brook Gentlestream
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I'm sure you have games that are better than San Juan, but not better in every single way imaginable. Clearly, San Juan does some stuff better, even if its hard to classify and occasionally you have an itch for that something.

Maybe its just nostalgia. Maybe the memory of playing this game is part of the foundation for your modern identity, based on all the choices you made before, including those that led to buying and playing this game. Maybe without it, that part of your identity will be void, leaving an emotional vacuum that will make it impossible for you to love or feel compassion ever again, leading you down a life of drugs, crime, and international assassination.

Perhaps the memory itself has simply been implanted by the shadow organization which hired you, and its layers of sleeper instructions are buried under false memories of playing San Juan... you know there's something important you are forgetting, but each time you remember, you think instead of San Juan. And the very thought of getting rod of San Juan makes you cringe.

Perhaps its not even a memory, but a symbiotic alien life form that has attached itself to your brain making you the perfect undercover sleeper assassin agent guy. This alien race has learned to upload itself, first into computers as digital data, and later into human brains as memories.

Or perhaps San Juan is a risidual echo memory created by your subconscious in a covert attempt to warn you something's wrong with the world you think you're living in. Perhaps the people outside the Matrix are trying to implant these memories so you will question everyday reality and break out into the mold, so that you, their one true savior, can awake from this alien nightmare and save the human race.

...and you want to get rid of it?

Dude.
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Have Dice Will Travel
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I think that's a matter of perspective really.

I guess the whole notion of being a rebel and playing something that not everyone is going to think is cool.

Games are like movies. Different strokes for different folks.
 
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chubber911 wrote:
Sometimes in the mood for a bowl of cereal instead of an omelet.


Different games do different things well. One game might be great, but maybe I'm in the mood for an auction game today. Or maybe I want to play Village, which might not be as good a game to me, because I like the neat action selection/meeple death mechanic. Or maybe I feel like playing Yedo because it has a great theme.
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Perhaps the premise of the question is false.

Is SJ truly "worse" than ED? It seems possible, if not probable, that they are in fact incomparable, and each has some advantages and disadvantages compared to the other. Apparently for you ED has more advantages than SJ, but that doesn't necessarily mean SJ is strictly "worse".

A bit analogous to how a knight in chess is not truly strictly worse than a queen: even though overall a queen is generally more powerful, a knight can do things which a queen cannot, and there are situations where if you replaced a knight with a queen, your situation would be worsened.
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roffster wrote:
What game our group plays really depends on our mood, game length, and how much though is required. For example, whenever we need a filler we play DC, even though none of us are real fans, and we all prefer wasabi, it is just far less mentally intensive. There's lots of similar situations where we play games that we don't like as much solely because they fit the mood where in far better.



You guys play Dungeon Command as a filler? whistle
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TS S. Fulk
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losfp wrote:
Well... variety, obviously.

Different people have different opinions and therefore in our gaming group we all have a chance to pick the games being played, so I end up playing games that (in my mind) are inferior to others. However, just because I regard a game as "better" than another game, it doesn't mean that the other game is not worth playing.

I listen to a lot of music, and would hate to only listen to the "best" album all the time.


Music might seem like a weird analogy but I think here you are correct.

One's mood, energy level and the situation determine what game should be played. If a game fits perfectly all the variables, how can it be worse than another game?
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Because some of my friends aren't wargamers yet.
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