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Subject: Am I a "dirty cheater"? rss

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Justin Dion
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Quick history to get you all up to speed: played Attika with the missus for the first time at a board game group on Saturday. We both LOVED it. Bought it on Sunday. We played it twice on Sunday night. She won both games 30-29. (I was misunderstanding a crucial rule though - I thought each set of buildings should be treated like a tech tree. For example: the Stadium isn't free off of the Gymnasium unless that gym is connected to my city center. This likely cost me both games, given I was one card away from winning each of them on my last turn.)

Anyways, we sit down tonight, and she is feeling high and mighty. She was busy working on something in the study, so she asked me to set up. While perusing the Geek today, I saw that some of you use markers on the board to denote which buildings have already been built (and thus spare a few moments of analysis paralysis each turn). "Fabulous!", I thought, and I rounded up 60 pennies for the two of us to use, stacking them neatly next to the tiles during setup.

She hated the pennies, and refused to use them. I went along my merry way, using the pennies as intended. In the first game, I got a little lucky with a pair of my tile draws at the same time that she ran out of resource cards, and won on a shrine connection after 13 or 14 buildings. I won the second game 30-25, after some fortuitous early positioning sealed off a good-sized chunk of the board, which I used to place free builds (which I now knew how to do legally).

After the second game, she was peeved with me. I thought it was because I pasted her. But, instead, she said that the use of the pennies was cheating. I kindly explained to her that I had laid out piles for her to use, too. (I even pointed to them, still standing neatly beside her board.)

Her position was as follows:

1) The pennies (or any markers) keep you from forgetting what's on the board, and also help you calculate which tiles you are likely to pull next.
2) Such markers were not included by the designer in the box.
3) Therefore, use of such aides is "cheating", even if both sides use them. They take away one of the elements of the game.

I think this is preposterous. I thought the game flowed quicker with the markers, and had she used them, it would have been more a contest of strategy and tactics, and less of a memory excercise. . . but does she have a valid point?

(Note: obviously, since she is the female, we will be playing sans pennies next time. I just want to know if I can maintain the moral high ground on this one. )
 
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Yes, she does have a valid point.

Having never played Attika my opinion might be completely misinformed, however, it sounds like something analogous to keeping track of hidden VPs in a game like Puerto Rico with pencil and paper (which would seriously piss me off)....

My house rule: no house rules unless everyone agrees to them (with the somewhat ironic exception of the aforementioned house rule)
 
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Travis Bridges
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Justin,

Um, you were right. The stadium should be free as long as it is played adjacent to your gymnasium. Where the city center is isn't important. As long as you build in the direction of the arrow (meaning this building before --> this building) it is free. You only get an amphora if all ten of these buildings in the center group (or any other group) is played adjacent to each other. Not an easy thing to do, and shouldn't be your goal. This is why often, I consider the second tier city center buildings (those which take 2 resources) as blocking builds....they can be played nearly anywhere only taking two resources, and allows you to build the 3 resource third tier buildings for free adjacent to them. Often if I get the second tier in the initial draw, they will played the first turn to get a good start at connecting temples. If you want some pointers from a seasoned Attika vet, pm me. Nobody likes to lose to a chick.

Travis
 
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Donkey Thong wrote:
Having never played Attika my opinion might be completely misinformed, however, it sounds like something analogous to keeping track of hidden VPs in a game like Puerto Rico with pencil and paper (which would seriously piss me off)....

VPs are hidden in PR. In Attika, the buildings are visible to all players. I really don't see a problem with putting counters on your mat. Personally I've never lost track of what I've built, but I'm not such a poor sport that I need to win because someone doesn't have as good a memory or eye for the board as I do.

Nick
 
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Travis Bridges
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Oh, by the way...markers are not cheating and are endorsed especially for those new to the game. I bought glass stones from Walmart for teaching newbies. On BSW, where the computer version of the game was endorsed by the designer, there is a small version of each player's board showing which buildings have been built and which are on the player's board. After a few games, they won't be necessary, as you will know and remember quickly on your own which buildings have been built.
 
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Justin Dion
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OK, so let's sum up what I've learned so far:

1) I am, as it turns out, not a "dirty cheater".
2) I am, however, a drooling retard for using it as a crutch.

I have no doubt that I'll be able to keep more precise track after a couple more plays, though (particularly if we keep playing it at a clip of more than once a day).

Thanks to all for the quick replies. Further commentary is welcome, though the results of this small survey have already been reported to the enemy - at which point there was much rejoicing. Not from me, of course.
 
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JDion20 wrote:
2) I am, however, a drooling retard for using it as a crutch.

haha, funny interpretation, but I wouldn't go that far

Not everyone is good at quick memorization, but that doesn't make you any less a good strategizer(?)/tactician. After a couple games all the tiles start to look the same once they're on the board.

Nick
 
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Bobby Warren
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JDion20 wrote:
1) I am, as it turns out, not a "dirty cheater".
2) I am, however, a drooling retard for using it as a crutch.


I bought colored plastic bingo chips for my copy of Attika and gave the extras to my friends to use in their sets. I have a matching color for each city-state.

If someone were to balk at using the chips, I'd point out it is easier to track when you might be able to get an Amphora and that you would be able to quickly see which tiles were still in the draw. Plus, it will speed up the game since every other player will be able tell at a glance what you have built instead of spending minutes each turn trying to figure out what they have built and what they might do. Really, the threat of delaying the game should be enough to get them to see the light. devil
 
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Robert Rossney
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Quote:
After a couple games all the tiles start to look the same once they're on the board.


I found quite the opposite: After a couple of games it's easy to gauge your opponent's position by looking at the tiles on the board/mat.
 
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Fraser
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Donkey Thong wrote:
My house rule: no house rules unless everyone agrees to them (with the somewhat ironic exception of the aforementioned house rule)


A very good house rule - so long as everyone agrees
 
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Nick Case
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For my 2d worth I don't think you are a dirty cheater but I do detect the whiff of a pouty loser in the text.

The Geek is full of useful player's aids that assist good gaming and make the game flow better; Caylus has a money track to use instead of coins, I have built timber racks for plantation tiles in Puerto Rico and cards in Ticket To Ride. The games don't come with these componants and the rules don't mention their use, but I'd go 5 rounds with anyone who says their use is 'cheating' (especially if they were female).

I introduced the Attika to two friends a few weeks back and one commented that markers would help out. He broke out his lose change and improvised his own. None of us complained.

The use of coins etc is no more than an aid that speeds the game up and guards against player error. But the important factor is that you have to live with your wife and if a continued argument over this means you will end up sleeping on the settee, then give it up my friend.
 
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Justin Dion
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
But the important factor is that you have to live with your wife and if a continued argument over this means you will end up sleeping on the settee, then give it up my friend.
No worries. She was over it about five minutes after the game. (Although she did enjoy reading through the thread an hour afterwards.) No use fighting over trivial things like games. We are both pretty competitive about board games and whatnot, but we leave any hostility at the table. (Probably a skill we both learned from Diplomacy.)

It will, however, be useful fodder for trash talk next time. ("Who's on a two game win streak?" . . . "Oh yeah? Well, it's only because you were using those damn pennies." . . . "Really? You think I can't win without my little pennies? How 'bout I drop this Harbor on your ass? Sha-ZAAM! Sparta rises again!")
 
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UhhhClem wrote:
Quote:
After a couple games all the tiles start to look the same once they're on the board.


I found quite the opposite: After a couple of games it's easy to gauge your opponent's position by looking at the tiles on the board/mat.

I meant in a row. By the third game (usually play the best 2 out of 3 for 2 players), the sameness of all the tiles starts to blend them together. Would have been cool if the tiles in a building tree could have been slightly different shades.

Nick
 
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Eric Lund
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I like to play with markers as well. It just makes the game go faster, and makes it harder to make several playing mistakes. I don't see how it's cheating, since you were up front about using the markers before you started. It's a common playing variant.

In short, she's your wife, you're wrong.
 
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Nomadic Gamer
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You're right.
She's wrong.
I always distribute markers
I refuse to make a game LONGER than it can be.
 
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Alan Kwan
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There is no memory issue involved whatsoever with the pennies, since they're just marking otherwise open information. Rather, it's entirely an AP issue: if someone forgets the information, he'll have to spend time studying the boards to retrieve it.

I myself feel no need to use them, since being the author of the strategy guide, I have a quite good grasp of what buildings are in the set - and this is a starting point for recognizing which buildings are in play. But I would recommend their use for players who are not yet able to dictate the entire player mat.
 
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Geert
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Alan Kwan wrote:
There is no memory issue involved whatsoever with the pennies, since they're just marking otherwise open information. Rather, it's entirely an AP issue: if someone forgets the information, he'll have to spend time studying the boards to retrieve it.

I agree that tracking the tiles will mainly speed up things, because you don't have to study the board each time you forget whether a specific building has been built or not.

The REAL question is whether remembering which tiles are in play, and deduction from that which tiles are likely to show up in the pile, are SKILLS that you want to have an influence on the game.

If you DON'T use something to track the tiles, the player who is better at remembering has an advantage. Because it is open information, the other player can make up for that disadvantage, but it involves regular checking of the board which takes a lot of time.
If you DO use tracking, winning the game will come down more to other skills, like your strategic decision making.
 
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