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The Concept of Downtime
My absolute one-two punch of "I never want to play with you again" is someone who complains about downtime but has agonizing analysis paralysis on their turn, basically Wade's person above. Spend some of that fucking time analyzing your situation---that's partly what it's for!
Part of it is dependent on the players. I once saw an 8-player game of Cards Against Humanity crash and burn because 4 of the 8 players kept doing stuff on their phones instead of paying attention, so the natural rapid pace of the game slowed to a crawl and then just stopped. I often like playing a long game as long as it is at least somewhat engaging. When it isn't my turn and I'm not directly involved in the proceedings, I can casually talk a bit with another player, maybe get up and stretch, or pay more attention to the background music. But there is a certain kind of player who is just frantic to cram in as many games as possible into the day, and they want to rush through everything and ultimately enjoy nothing. That's exhausting. But I'm not the AP guy, either. There is nothing more maddening than having every ounce of fun drained from a game because one selfish player is playing really slowly.
WadeMonnig wrote: I've found the "waiting to talk" people you mention are the exact same people who will pick up the phone during the two minutes of "downtime" then spent 5 minutes playing catch up when it is thier turn. (Spend 30 seconds not knowing it's thier turn, then two minutes catching up and a few thinking about what to do).
Right. So, don't pay attention to the game, don't interact with anyone else, but make everyone else wait because whatever was on Twitter simply had to be responded to. Save me, jeebus.
@Gary: "Downtime" in Twilight Struggle is even worse than my example of "downtime" during Pax Pamir. Everything your opponent does will directly affect your position in the game! Everything! I don't care if they're just reinforcing their position in Berlin. That's important. It also means you're paying attention to a) the game and b) your opponent.
@Shellhead: Absolutely fair point about people wanting to rush through as many games as possible. I'm annoyed by that, too. Again, games should be a social activity. You're there to enjoy the game AND enjoy the people you're playing with. If you only play two games as opposed to four but have a great time doing it, what's wrong with that?. I have a ton of stuff on my shelf that needs more daylight, too, but I'd rather enjoy my plays, rather than try to work against a clock.
That said, some games do feature mechanisms that invite poor use of players time. For instance, games that allow players do rummage thru the discard pile is a pet peeve of mine as it usually brings play to a grinding halt . Or games that feature intricate combat systems between two players. Sure in the case of the latter the other players usually have a vested interest in the outcome. But it can still bring the game to a halt.
Many games have informal ways of getting around this - for instance in HERE I STAND, we usually get to the Pope and if he and the Prot are doing religious stuff only ( common pre Schmaldic League ) we just let them do their thing and go back to the top of the turn order.
But most down time issues are player issues, not design issues. If someone repeatedly has to ask "who's turn is it" they are the fucking problem , not the game.
Inattentive players REALLY get me in a game like Power grid, because the math itself can be laborious in the late game so to wait for someone to get their turn and JUST THEN look at their cash and start plotting is AAAAAAHHHHHH!
I don't mind some downtime because it at the very least gives me time to plan my own moves. Though if it is really significant DT i'd rather it not involve me so i can leave and get a beer while the active player is pulling a Dr. Strange and trying out EVERY DAMNED POSSIBLE COMBINATION of moves before settling on one.
I most like the games where everyone takes an action (usually quick to resolve) and it goes round and round till everyone is out. Makes it easy to stay engaged and usually most folks have relative action point parity so no one is sitting it out for long.
I think each group has its own pacing. If you have seven new Kickstarter games waiting in a pile next to you on the table there's an urgency to get through things. But if the only game that shows up is Maria and there's exactly three of you attending, you want that game to fill the evening and for everyone to have a chance to bring their best play to the session.
Heck even each evening has its own pacing. Find it, enjoy it. Quit whining.
I think it would still sort of drive me crazy but I'm not sure.
I never did the PBM thing because cats (e.g. there was never a place that they couldn't get to and disrupt weeks of play.) But when I was in high school, one of the history teachers was a big gamer and let us use part of his office to play longer games. We had a session of Third Reich running in there for a few months. We set up a schedule so that there'd always be at least one other person there (doing study hall or whatever, if not the professor himself) and people would just come in make their moves and leave a note for the next person: "It's your turn."
Sagrilarus wrote: You kids with your electric gadgets and your . . . electric gadgets. In MY day we played wargames BY MAIL and we were thankful for it! I had to wait seven weeks for David Merwine to send his letter back when he had his groin surgery and all he did was move one headquarters two hexes forward! We STILL haven't finished that game!
Twilight Imperium is a similar kind of situation, but the combat kinda drags comparatively. I'm not a big fan of "roll lots of dice with low odds of success." The last time I played, this was the time to ask the host for another drink or talk to him about his house or work or whatnot.
I really think it depends on the level of familiarity you have with the people you're playing games with. If I'd be comfortable inviting the same people to my house to do something other than game (non COVID times obviously), then I definitely don't care about the downtime. If I'm playing with relative strangers at a game club or I strictly interact with them through games, I'll be more cognizant of the time passing by.
This could be why some 2 player tournament games (X-wing, MTG, etc) have so much in-game interaction.