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Winning at all Cost

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14 Nov 2022 00:00 #336794 by oliverkinne
Let me start by saying that I usually don't win...

I think a lot of people in the board game hobby play together for fun and for the social aspect. Sure, many of us want to win the game. We don't play to lose. However, I think only very few people are hugely competitive. Playing board games is more of a hobby. In this article, I look at different ways of improving your game and what it might take to become better at winning.

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14 Nov 2022 14:27 #336795 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Winning at all Cost
I try to play as well as I possibly can, but I don't get all, 'a card laid is a card played' on takebacks, etc. I figure you owe your opponent your best game.

I also try (and think I'm successful) to not give advice at the table. It annoys the shit out of me when people do it to me; let me screw up the game on my own, kthx.

I haven't been involved in a lot of after-game debriefings. Usually the way the game was played out was obvious after it happened.

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14 Nov 2022 17:03 - 14 Nov 2022 17:05 #336799 by southernman
Replied by southernman on topic Winning at all Cost
I also play for the shared fun social time and the experience the game provides (the latter probably why I shy away from most euros as they don't provide me with an experience ... well not one I usually want to remember) and do try and win but, honestly, most of the time don't give a shit if I don't.
I own many games and usually host so I always feel obliged to ensure everyone knows the game well enough since I've probably read the rules at least twice and read a lot of comments on it so in cases when a game is new to everyone I will drop advice in - not play their turns for them but give general hints of gameplay tactics/strategy that I say 'I have read'. Some people don't like it so I'm carefully who I do it with, interestingly the few people like that seem to be the most competitive (and hate co-ops :lol: ).
Also enjoy a post-mortem or 'after match' discussion afterwards, unless it's been a bore of a game that I have no interest in knowing who did what for why.
Last edit: 14 Nov 2022 17:05 by southernman.

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14 Nov 2022 18:02 - 14 Nov 2022 22:12 #336803 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Winning at all Cost
I’ve kinda done a 180 on this in recent years. I wrote dozens of articles around 2010 on tournament Heroscape of all things, becoming the best known theorist in the community. But I still wasn’t the best player… maybe top 25-50 in the country at my peak. I still wanted to be well liked, so I’d be as gracious and sportsmanlike as I could, and never resorted to cheating or anything like that to truly win at all costs.

I’ve kind of let go of this desire to win, especially if others value winning more or if I win in away that isn’t fun. This topic of letting go of the desire to win is something I’ve been thinking about writing an entire article about for awhile.

EDIT: Cooked this up tonight. therewillbe.games/blogs-by-members/9164-lose-and-learn

It's somehow more personal and missing some of the key points I wanted to make, but I have a bad cold and maybe I'll expound in the comments if it also gets a discussion going.

Basically as I've aged or matured or whatever I've become less concerned with winning and therefore maybe a less fierce competitor but also hopefully more enjoyable to be around? It's also coincided with some real-life L's. I feel pretty beaten down, and assigning my self worth to performance in games doesn't seem like it would help, so I try to just have fun with the systems in games and screw around a bit more.
Last edit: 14 Nov 2022 22:12 by Jexik.
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14 Nov 2022 22:39 #336810 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Winning at all Cost
I'm always the teacher and I've won every game I own at least once, so I don't really give a shit about winning anymore. I still try my best but often fumble the ball because I'm trying to ensure that everyone is playing correctly and is having a good time; both of which are far more important than whether I win. For me it's more about the experience of playing the game with people I enjoy being around.
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14 Nov 2022 22:47 #336812 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Winning at all Cost
Yeah. I was so excited when I taught two new people how to play Race for the Galaxy pretty quickly, and one of them won! And then we played a second game.
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15 Nov 2022 17:49 #336824 by Erik Twice
Replied by Erik Twice on topic Winning at all Cost
I try to win because it's how games work and become interesting. I don't care much about winning, it's just that trying to win is how the game happens, like reading the words in a book or figuring out the symbolism of a movie.
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16 Nov 2022 01:41 #336830 by Nodens
Replied by Nodens on topic Winning at all Cost

Erik Twice wrote: I try to win because it's how games work and become interesting. I don't care much about winning, it's just that trying to win is how the game happens, like reading the words in a book or figuring out the symbolism of a movie.


We are nearing that Knizia quote. :)
While I aspire to this mindset, if I win a fair game against strong opposition, I find I do like winning a lot.
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16 Nov 2022 06:12 #336834 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Winning at all Cost
I play the best game that I can, but I know going in that that's only going to be so good. I'm not a winner. I'm not motivated by winning. Even a game I love I'll never feel a desire to get good and will only do so through repeated plays. I just don't care enough to really concentrate on learning how to win consistently.
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16 Nov 2022 07:05 - 16 Nov 2022 07:06 #336839 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Winning at all Cost

Legomancer wrote: I just don't care enough to really concentrate on learning how to win consistently.


As much as I like Summoner Wars 2e, there’s one faction where people report spending 10-20 minutes (async) puzzling out the best set of moves for their turn.That’s not me, so I avoid playing that faction now.
Last edit: 16 Nov 2022 07:06 by Jexik.

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16 Nov 2022 09:29 #336842 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Winning at all Cost
I like playing four player games and a variety of games. If someone is winning 50% of the time at four+ player games something funky is going on. I'm better at some types of games, others are better than me at other types of games.

You want to win a lot, play a co-op game on easy difficulty.

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16 Nov 2022 12:25 #336856 by jason10mm
Replied by jason10mm on topic Winning at all Cost
I do sometimes read guides on how to optimize a game,especially ones that have a lot of choice for exploiting factions or assembled capabilities that aren't necessarily spelled out in the rule book. But ain't no one got time for that for all their games.

I tend to play to win unless I'm playing with absolute noovs. But a certain amount of gentleman's agreement for taking back a particularly bone headed move that leaves you open to a crushing defeat or something allows the game to be more fun so long as it isn't abused or used to make up for just not paying attention to the game.

I find the analysis paralysis players least tolerable when it's paired with a "win at all cost" player that is playing out 100 strategies for every move and just CAN NOT start their thinking until everyone else has finished. If you can't accept some risk taking off the cuff play to keep the game moving, even in a math heavy game like Power Grid, then at least make your turn as fast as possible and pre strategize your 12 options before your turn instead of playing with your phone.

And of course the gloating winner is as bad as the sore loser, so for friendly play both are best left out of stressful games.

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20 Nov 2022 06:16 #336910 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Winning at all Cost
I am motivated by having a good time with the people I am playing with and that's it. For probably the majority of games, that involves rolling with whatever goal the game throws at you, and that's what I'm generally trying to do, but, I could not care less about whether that means I win or not, and table dependent, I'll just relax and try and few things, and, say, if there's an opportunity to go for shooting the moon, then I'll take it.

Of course if the table is all serious and someone's going to get offended unless i've tried my hardest to give them good competition by making the correct moves because it will sour their win otherwise, or some such nonsense, I will play to suit, and then ideally not play with that person again and wonder how it is that people put such stock in things that really don't matter.

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20 Nov 2022 10:15 #336911 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Winning at all Cost
Like Erik, I play to win because that's how games are supposed to work. But I would rather play a great game and lose than play a boring game and win. Jyhad is one of my all-time favorite multi-player games, and I played on a weekly basis for a year before I won my first game. I often enjoy playing co-op games with friends, so we can all enjoy playing together without worrying about a winner. I've got a few friends who are extremely smart and win a disproportionate number of games, and I even enjoy playing with them because their style of play can often yield insights about a game. However, I don't like playing a game with anybody who is so concerned with winning that they will cheat, trash friendships, whine, or play extremely slowly, because they are basically putting their desire to win ahead of the entertainment value for everybody at the table. If I see that, I am done playing games with that person.
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