The conundrum of co-operation

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07 Nov 2018 09:46 #285488 by Matt Thrower

Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage provided one of the most memorable gaming sessions of my life. Since the mid game, my Carthaginian armies had dominated the board thanks to a blend of luck and skill. In the final turn, Rome's only hope was an instant victory by taking Carthage itself. He duly built a big invasion stack and in response, I drew forces back to protect Africa.

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07 Nov 2018 10:08 #285489 by Vysetron
I've been saying similar, albeit less eloquently, for a while now. Player interaction makes games interesting. Coops lose that. Why should I care about how this goes?

I DO like collaboration though. Competitive games that allow for alliances, negotiation, etc. are some of my favorites. It's way more interesting to choose when and how to cooperate than it is to just stare at a randomly generated puzzle with some other people around for an hour.

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07 Nov 2018 10:44 #285492 by Legomancer
I was kind of shut out of co-ops for a while, since my groups have a similar attitude towards them. In the past couple years I've rediscovered the joy and fun of them. I think this article is missing the point that what a lot of people seek in co-ops are exactly what these "flaws" are. They don't want to compete against others. If you think being quarterbacked by an alpha player is annoying, what about being continually hammered by that player in a competitive game?

Co-ops offer a nice alternative. For me, they offer:

1) something other than "I got the most VPs" or whatever for victory. I find they have much more interesting settings and goals.

2) the ability to play games and BE quarterbacked. Our Pandemic Legacy group, also playing Time Stories and Robinson Crusoe, usually meets on Fridays. We're wiped on Friday. We want to drink wine and hang out and play a game and if I'm just not in the zone, I can still participate and I can still contribute and not be frustrated.

3) Welcoming to casual and non gamers. My wife is not a huge gamer, and is hesitant to play games with me because I do it more often and losing over and over just isn't any fun. But she looks forwards to the co-op sessions because that's not an issue, and because the games often stress things that competitive games don't.
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07 Nov 2018 13:18 #285504 by southernman
What Legomancer said, especially point 1.
I grew up playing team sports so perhaps that's why I like playing a game as a team, why I just find them fun. Or perhaps the co-ops I have played happen to be fun because I've chosen them for theme and mechanics I like.

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07 Nov 2018 14:38 #285512 by Sagrilarus
And yet, there are very few Team games, one team vs another.

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07 Nov 2018 14:47 #285515 by hotseatgames

Sagrilarus wrote: And yet, there are very few Team games, one team vs another.


Two great ones from my collection: Guards of Atlantis and Captain Sonar.

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07 Nov 2018 15:53 #285521 by southernman

Sagrilarus wrote: And yet, there are very few Team games, one team vs another.


The team part I enjoy is the working together, doing your bit but then having someone else cover something you caan't. It's usually not about beating another team but winning as a team, so beating the game (well, a good game system) does the job.

Good point about Team games, the few I can think about are usually card or minis games with board game versions usually being 1 vs the rest - BSG being the only one I can think of (while typing) that does a sort of a team game. Perhaps someone can start a thread on it :-)

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07 Nov 2018 18:11 #285533 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic The conundrum of co-operation
I have three main reasons why I play game: challenge, escapism, and social interaction. While there are people who love difficult coop, I'm not one of them. I'm in primarily for the experience. It just have to be interesting.
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07 Nov 2018 19:48 #285546 by WadeMonnig
I said in a similar thread about co-ops, I've tried plenty of them in an effort to reduce butt-hurt with my teenage kids while playing games. With some rare exceptions, they simply haven't gone over like I had hoped. We've played Pandemic a dozen times and we have never lost. Do I think we are some sort of savants when it comes to saving the world? Nope, it just happens that the cards have lined up just spaced out enough that we have managed to secure a win each time. On that same note, I think we have tanked Forbidden Island the last 5 times we have played? Were we somehow not coordinating correctly? Nope, just happened to be the way the cards fell. Moreover, no one has really been like, This experience is amazing, we must do it again! It's been like, okay, those were fun, what else you got?
The co-ops that have worked are things like Seal Team Flix or Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks. We're all working together and, while there are more optimal moves that can be made, it never feels like it comes down to We drew badly or we drew well.
Something like Ghost Stories falls into the middle. It feels like that stacked on insane difficulty and called it a "challenge."

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07 Nov 2018 22:26 #285551 by Msample
ANGOLA, the ultimate team wargame.

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07 Nov 2018 23:55 #285556 by Deleted
The team game genre is hurt by a minimum player count. I’m not sure publishers want to make mid weight co-ops that require 4

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08 Nov 2018 06:31 - 08 Nov 2018 13:22 #285564 by southernman

WadeMonnig wrote: I said in a similar thread about co-ops, I've tried plenty of them in an effort to reduce butt-hurt with my teenage kids while playing games. With some rare exceptions, they simply haven't gone over like I had hoped. We've played Pandemic a dozen times and we have never lost. Do I think we are some sort of savants when it comes to saving the world? Nope, it just happens that the cards have lined up just spaced out enough that we have managed to secure a win each time. On that same note, I think we have tanked Forbidden Island the last 5 times we have played? Were we somehow not coordinating correctly? Nope, just happened to be the way the cards fell. Moreover, no one has really been like, This experience is amazing, we must do it again! It's been like, okay, those were fun, what else you got?
The co-ops that have worked are things like Seal Team Flix or Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks. We're all working together and, while there are more optimal moves that can be made, it never feels like it comes down to We drew badly or we drew well.
Something like Ghost Stories falls into the middle. It feels like that stacked on insane difficulty and called it a "challenge."


Co-ops that I really enjoy and that, mostly, have gone down well with my groups:
Lord of the Rings (I like it more playing Sauron in me vs them but only because theme jumps up another level)
Defenders of the Last Stand
Space Cadets: Away Missions
Eldritch Horror
Elder Sign
Arkahm Horror
Betrayal at House on the Hill
D&D: Castle Ravenloft
and its siblings
Gears of War
Secrets of the Lost Tomb


I do admit that I enjoy the themes that most of these games have so that likely improves my overall opinion and enjoyment of them.
Last edit: 08 Nov 2018 13:22 by southernman.
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08 Nov 2018 09:23 #285589 by Shellhead

Vysetron wrote: I've been saying similar, albeit less eloquently, for a while now. Player interaction makes games interesting. Coops lose that. Why should I care about how this goes?

I DO like collaboration though. Competitive games that allow for alliances, negotiation, etc. are some of my favorites. It's way more interesting to choose when and how to cooperate than it is to just stare at a randomly generated puzzle with some other people around for an hour.


Cooperation is definitely a form of interaction. People who dislike co-ops tend to come across as super-competitive fun murderers who consider entertainment to be a zero-sum proposition.
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08 Nov 2018 09:29 #285594 by Mr. White
Academy Games has a great line of casual playing, team-based wargames with their 'Birth of...' line.

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08 Nov 2018 09:40 #285608 by Vysetron

Shellhead wrote: Cooperation is definitely a form of interaction. People who dislike co-ops tend to come across as super-competitive fun murderers who consider entertainment to be a zero-sum proposition.


Well that's a hell of a characterization. Like I said I like working WITH people (team games, 1 vs alls, etc.), but I'm not as entertained at picking a fight with a deck of cards. Pandemic is boring.

Also there are a few exceptions to the rule. Darkness Comes Rattling, Burgle Bros, Ghost Stories, and Hanabi are all fun.

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