If it’s constantly late then it’s really on time, isn’t it?
I recently read a thread on BGG where a player described his
experience trying to get negotiations of any sort going on the BSW
Eurogames engine (w/Wallenstein) and being rebuffed by silent players
telling him to not take the game so "seriously." While the player may
have been a tad overzealous in contacting them (tracking them down and
doing it on BGG), the responses from a number of people in the
community were quite puzzling, accepting and even supporting this type
of gameplay for these games. Statements like "well, it's up to the
players and that there are two types of way to play these games."
Additionally, there were some interesting suggestions that in fact the
status quo for these games online at least *should* be no
communication between players.
They seemed to suggest that at least a decent portion of the community
does not like to play even negotiation type games with negotiation!
Even the thought of trying to play Game of Thrones without any
negotiation completely baffles me. I've played gunboat Diplomacy, of
course, and found it ok but nothing special. But my question is
this--why would players even bother to play negotiation/conflict games
if they don't want to do any negotiation or have any player
interaction? Has the Euro community fallen so far that it is even now
seeks to play more free form open negotiation games without
interaction? Why do you think that would be? What would motivate
players to get online or ftf and play GoT or to a lesser extent
Wallenstein without player interaction? Why wouldn't they just play
another game of whatever multiplayer solo play game they are
interested in? Any thoughts on what could be motivating this? Has
anyone seen this happen?
Who know the inner workings of the Eurosnoot mind,
Forgetting the cube nancy boys for a second, it has always struck me as strange that some games feel like they are meant to be played loud and boisterous, while others feel like they should be played in silence. It would certainly not feel ‘right’ to be negotiating and pointing out moves to other players in a game of Samurai, but that feels like the norm in a game of Twilight Imperium.
I think this has to do with where the origins of the game lies. Forget Euros for a moment, those things are simply the current flash in the pan pop music of the boardgame world, and lets look at the classics. I think you can broadly group old games into two categories – old school AT (such as risk and monopoly) and old school abstracts (such as chess and checkers.)
Old school AT were lighthearted affairs that involved playing with many people, socializing, and begging, threatening or crying your way to victory. Risk was just as much about talking the other players out of attacking you as it was taking
These game types are the ones that resonate the most with the wider community, and are our first exposure to gaming in general. Therefore when we play modern games we bring these old experiences and feelings to the table, which in turn dictates out behavior. In other words, Samurai feels like it fits the chess mould more, so I play it like I was playing chess, in silence. On the other hand Twilight feels more like risk, so I play it with full negotiation.
Now assuming that what I wrote above makes sense and isn’t a bunch of It’s-Midnight-and-I-need sleep bollocks, the answer to your question is simple. These people who want to play interactive games minus the interaction grew up with too much chess and not enough hungry hungry hippos.
Well that’s my theory, I open the floor to the rest of the AT crackpots to come up with their own. If you have any mail for this segment write to firstname.lastname@example.org with “[mailbag]” in the header.