Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Mr Skeletor’s Mailbag, 5th June

If it’s constantly late then it’s really on time, isn’t it?

Gary “used car salesman” Sax writes:

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?


-Gary Sax


Who know the inner workings of the Eurosnoot mind, Gary? After all these are a people who would rather be building camel trains through the desert rather than nuking the fucking thing into a sea of glass. Strange people indeed.

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 Australia. On the other hand abstracts were normally two player affairs, and were much more about the matching of wits and the testing of minds. That is why they were played in relative silence, and why pointing out a move for the other players is frowned upon. Thus were born the two different play types, or as the nerdlingers would call them , two different ‘social contracts’.

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 fortressat@gmail.com with “[mailbag]” in the header.

42 comments:

jon said...

I think you're spot on as far as you take it, Frank, but your answer is incomplete. I suspect most "eurosnoots" dislike negotiation because it makes the game fundamentally about the negotiations, and much less about the mechanisms. In some cases (multi-player solitaire sorts of games) that doesn't matter, but in many others, you may as well just hold a popularity contest and call it right there. Why bother playing Game X at all, when it really is about the gullibility of Players A, B, C, and D, and context is close to irrelevant?

Michael Barnes said...

The worst example I can think of pertaining to the phenomenon Gary describes is this game of CA$H & GUNS I played with a group of Eurogamers.

Now, I am a C&G veteran...I've probably played it over 200 times and at my store I think I may have introduced pretty much everyone that walked through the door to the game. Folks that wouldn't take a dump on a board game were lined up to try it. The C&G games I was accustomed to were incredible affairs of torrential profanity with guns cocked gangsta-style in faces, screaming threats and epithets, near-constant berating of the poor schlump who pulls out a low-value haul, and more bad language of every description. Sometimes I thought the table was going to wind up flipped over "Hungry Like the Wolf" style, but we always wound up laughing at the end.

Anyway, these Eurogamers. They hadn't played, so I trained 'em up on the three or so rules and away we went. On the first phase where guns are drawn, these folks kind of half-assedly pointed their guns at other players and giggled, looking around at each other as if they were doing something naughty. Nobody said anything. One player said "OK, what happens now?" I had to tell these fuckers to negotiate, wheedle, threaten, and cajole because they just couldn't grasp that there was a game beyond the rules...and they still wouldn't do it. And of course, I heard a couple of them complaining that it "wasn't really a game".

Which is really the problem. Eurogamers tend to be so heavily dependent on structure and rules that anything freeform that involves actual interaction, psychology, and communication is pretty much lost on them. Diplomacy and dealmaking allows things to happen not dictated by a rulebook, and that scares the Eurogamer.

Shellhead said...

In a recent thread here, a EuroSnoot asserted that we should be playing games that are good for us. In other words, games that emphasize analysis and arithmetic, at the expense of fun. It's the gaming equivalent of being told to eat your brocoli.

Funny thing is, most people in this hobby are already fairly intelligent people. They don't need to do mental exercises to become smart or maintain some sort of mental hygiene. Where they are more likely to come up short is the social skills.

That's right. If board gamers need to play games that are good for them, they should be playing games that emphasize social skills and extroverted behavior. If they want to sit around thinking hard and avoiding conversation, they can work on some crossword puzzles or algebra problems.

RobertB said...

There's a quote out there by Richard Garfield I think, that says if you allow negotiations then the negotiations become the game. Or something like that. This is why I don't play Vinci anymore - Civ Lite my ass, the winner of a Vinci game is usually the guy who whines the loudest when he gets picked on, thus people leave him alone. Puerto Rico's another poster child for 'No tabletalk allowed', where you can get oldtimers screaming bloody murder if the craftsman gets pulled a turn too early.

Some games can stand the negotiation being the game. In _A Game of Thrones_ and _Diplomacy_ you're going nowhere without some help. In _Twilight Imperium_ there's enough moving parts to submerge the effect somewhat. I think those sorts of considerations, more so than abstract/concrete, determine if table talk is appropriate.

RobertB said...

I've been wanting to play Ca$h & Guns, to the point that I sprung for the Tanga 6-pistol airsoft deal so we had some cooler looking guns. But someone's swiped the local game club's copy so I'm gonna have to grit my teeth and, god forbid, buy it.

Michael Barnes said...

Table talk is ALWAYS appropriate.

Gaming is a social hobby that is ironically populated with some of the most socially awkward and inept people I've ever seen in my entire life- I wonder what percentage of gamers are home schooled.

I can't imagine gaming without table talk- whether it's about the game itself or if it's about something completely outside of it. If I want to sit and perform calculations or solve puzzles in my in my head I can get a Sudoku book or do the jumble. If I want to sit quietly and formulate a strategy and then execute it in hopes of winning a game then there are any number of computer games out there that will accomodate me.

This "negotiation becomes the game" argument is ridiculous...so what? Negotiation is fun and interesting!

jon said...

Michael, I haven't played C&G, but it sounds like it's a much more enjoyable game with a lot of raucous blather. There's not a ton of other structure there to create interesting decisions, and I hear you: yelling can be a lot of fun.

But consider Frank's example, Samurai. Would it be a better game, or a worse game, if played with full-throttle negotiations? Would it even be the same game? I agree with Frank that it "feels" chesslike, but I think beyond that, the interesting aspects of the game (assuming you think there are any) would be significantly muddied by a huge negotiation layer thrown over the top. (Yet another consideration is the time/fun ratio; talk can have a big impact on that.)

Pat H said...

The same people you speak of are unable to negotiate which music to put on while playing, or what beer to buy (pop?).

Michael is dead on as most of these chumps are social misfits to begin with - and not the exciting kinds either.

Michael Barnes said...

But consider Frank's example, Samurai.

Whuzzah? Oh, I'm sorry, I was doing the jumble.

The dry, analytical style of play that SAMURAI affords is one of the reasons why I don't play it- it's one of those you can say "Hey, this is a well designed and somewhat interesting game" but because, like you say, it doesn't really engender any kind of interaction or socialization I don't care to play it. I played it last year and thought it was alright for what it was, but toward the end of it I realized that I was pretty bored and just really wanted to get on to a promised game of FAMILY BUSINESS afterward.

It's really hard to say "I'm gonna fuck you up" with a yellow numbered tile that has no empirical meaning.

Malloc said...

This topic always reminds me of why I do not like Age of Steam as much as I should.

I because the guys who play it in my group play the thing in silence, and I am always like.. " If you so much as look at the red cube, I will spend the rest of the game shipping your shit on the guy to your lefts lines!"

Never has a game where there is huge potential for deal making (You can do anything you want) suffered more from the "shut up and make the best move possible for you in a vacuum syndrome."

I don't bother playing any longer.

Eurosnoots certainly hate negotiation in a game, go ahead and let someone know they are making a mistake in PR and man you will not hear the end of it.

Mr. Garfield may have been correct in stating that negotiation become the game. It can certainly determine the winner by forcing mistakes on certain players, but how is this any worse then sitting in silence and letting a player make a mistake on his own? I can hear it now. "I would have won that game of PR if you have let Joe take the craftsman in turn 2." What is that? How is that a good game? If you want Joe to take the Craftsman talk his dumb ass into it!

What most eurosnoots fail to understand is that there is more to being a good gamer than learning how to manipulate game mechanics efficiently.

Anyone up for a game of Lifeboats?

-M

MWChapel said...

I love negotiation games. But they require the right set of people to make them enjoyable. Which is why I wouldn't play them online. I think you are just playing with the wrong type of eurogamer. A game with structure and planning are all well and good, and that is one part of the euro equation. Negotiation games are another. There will be people that are completely analytical in nature and games such as these will just not fit that persona.

I mean if you guys always take your examples from human computers like
David desJardins who breaks down games to it's basic mathematical equations, and can't game at 6:30 PM because wheel of fortune is on. Well then you are always going to think us eurosnobs are of one hivemind.

Sure there are a lot of BGG'ers that seem to have a mild to severe case of asperger syndrome, but some of us are gamers, who like a "good" game with "good" mechanics, but also like to talk smack, and nuke the shit out of ukraine...

Michael Barnes said...

It's not like there hasn't been negotiation and dealmaking in past Euros- look no further than SETTLERS for the best example. BOHNANZA, TRADERS OF GENOA, INTRIGE, MARE NOSTRUM...it seems to me that the popularity of "process" games like PUERTO RICO and POWER GRID have waylaid trading and negotiation and we see a lot less of it in Euro design these days. Exception- the new COLOSSEUM actually has a trading phase, which I thought was pretty odd (particularly for a Kramer game).

Ken B. said...

Well, to smash some more F:AT hivemind accusations...

I like games with negotiation, but not where negotiation is the only or overwhelming factor.

A Game of Thrones is a perfect example. You can and should negotiate, but you've got your own supply of troops and cards, so if you want to make someone pay, you don't need help with that, you just go put them at the edge of a sword.

It's why I liked Al Cabohne but traded Bohnanza.

In Settlers I've been part of games where very little trading took place. The game still functions.


The problem with negotiation is that it can be a popularity contest--and worse, some people latch on to the idea that a game with negotiation should be RAMPED UP NEGOTIATION, ALL THE TIME. "Don't attack me! I'll give you some goods!" (This is turn one, geez, let everyone get their feet wet first).


But good negotiation fitted into a game where players are also perfectly capable agents without need for negotiation...that's my sweet spot. A little wheel-and-deal when borders meet to grease the wheels, so to speak. That's good times.

Michael Barnes said...

Ken, had you selected DUNE that fateful night rather than MISSION RED PLANET you would see how one of the coolest things in it is that players- although capable "technically" of winning by themselves- become stronger when negotiating alliances with other players that have complementary powers.

EON pretty much mastered negotiation as a mechanic in BORDERLANDS, DUNE, and COSMIC ENCOUNTER...they actually designed BORDERLANDS to be a shorter version of DIPLOMACY, DUNE has the aforementioned "synergy" between player powers, and COSMIC provides a simple reward system to encourage players to cooperate.

I really like games that give the negotiating an element of "How much am I willing to give you to get what I want?"

Ken B. said...

I told ya, man...I thought we had all the time in the world. Blame War of the Ring, 'sall I can say.

I would like to try Dune. Sounds like just the perfect mix of what I'm talkin' about...you can and should negotiate, but if you piss me off I can extract revenge all on my lonesome.

Anonymous said...

Table talk is ALWAYS appropriate.

If you have a table full of jaded sharks who's eyes are wide open, sure. But it seems that in my gaming environment I usually get a mix of newbies and veterans at most games. And certain players are full of 'advice' that somehow always seems to work out their way. Sure, I'm free to offer my own 'advice', but if I wanted to play _I'm The Boss_ I'd have played _I'm The Boss_. I like _I'm the Boss_, but sometimes I like something else.

RobertB said...

^^^^ Too Stupid to Work The Interface

chrisnd said...

Michaels Barnes earlier said: "it seems to me that the popularity of "process" games like PUERTO RICO and POWER GRID have waylaid trading and negotiation and we see a lot less of it in Euro design these days."

Sorry, I was trying to figure out exactly where this thread, and these comments were going. Mostly, it was related to how negotiations can either make a game, or break it, and what sort of players like to engage in table talk, and which don't. And, I was trying to figure out which games that I like, that would fit into a particular category with respect to negotiations.

However, it is Michael's comment that truly sums up what appears to be the forward progress of new games these days. The Euro's are becoming distinctly more Euro, as they escew interaction for mechanics. And, the players who play them are becoming more segregated - sort of like American politics.

I am not sure, but I get the general feeling that I am one of the cross-breeds that likes all types of games. Powergrid and Carcassonne are some of my favorite games, but I will play a game of Talisman, Dungeonquest, or Battlelore any time someone asks.

Or maybe I am not a crossbreed, and instead I just don't understand the differences between Euro and AT well enough to have an opinion.

Either way, you will see my go from finishing a game of Powergrid to starting a game of Risk with only a pee break in between.

Apotheos said...

I think the illuminating aspect his is how painfully limited digital games can be. They constantly serve up shallow, painful experiences unless you are playing with a group known people.

Online games can enhance a digital social network. Online games are NOT a social networking tool.

I know many eurogamers that would take to the Cash and Guns example just fine. Don't make needless generalizations just to take a kick at the eurosnoots. :-)


....but, last thing, Puerto Rico as an example, a lot of eurogame "tabletalk" I've seen is people trying to exploit weaker players. A game like Puerto Rico is a poor venue for any negotiation as the game is so nuanced (read: ridiculously complicated) that it is hard for many players to understand the relative value of different actions.

I think games like that play better without tabletalk, observing the interactions of the turns as discrete phenomenon.

Chris said...

"it seems to me that the popularity of "process" games like PUERTO RICO and POWER GRID have waylaid trading and negotiation and we see a lot less of it in Euro design these days."

Oh, I don't know; there's plenty of room for table talk and negotiation in Power Grid, especially in the later parts of the game as people will actively plot to, just for instance, take more coal then they need so to leader can't fire his big plant.

PR less so, but I've found that most Euros I play face-to-face will have a non-trivial amount of table talk. BSW is a bit of a red herring in this instance, because people a) may be playing with strangers, or b) may be doing other things on the side, or c) just type a lot slower than they talk. Of *course* there's going to be a lot less negotiation and communication online.

Also, just as plenty of Euros play up the trading/negotiation/social element, it's not like there aren't Ameeritrash games for which table talk doesn't add anything. I can't really see it being used in Titan, for instance.

Gary Sax said...

I guess my original point wasn't that I'd expect to see negotiation in Puerto Rico or Power Grid and lamenting that fact or anything, but rather people suggesting they would play very obviously negotiation games (Wallenstein strikes me as highly negotiable, for example) without negotiation.

I don't understand that impulse. Just play something else if you think negotiation completely eliminates any game mechanisms (which I don't necessarily agree with)!

Anonymous said...

These must have been Spiel By Web games not Brett Spiel Welt. SBW is turn based. BSW is real time. There would be opportunities to negotiate in SBW games but not BSW games.

I would have a problem with inserting deal making in a Wallenstein game on SBW if that was not posted as a message to everyone before the start of the game. It would be pretty unfair for 2 guys to agree not to attack eachother and tell eachother who they were attacking while the other players were playing blind. Let's all play by the same rules.

There are no rules for negotiating in Wallenstein. By adding a negotiation element you would lose some of the guessing game, and the guessing game is the funnest part of Wallenstein. It's interactive but in a different way. It's like the difference between TI3 and Poker. Winning at Wallenstein involves reading the other players based on the cards they've shown so far. How much money do you have? What territories will you attack from, build in, harvest from? What order will the turn cards come up? Who will attack me?

It's great to figure out what the other guy will do and invade him where he just built a church, giving you the majority and the win. In fact it's more fun than winning by telling him you won't attack and then back-stabbing him. There are already quite a few games like that. Maybe I'm just an old poker player, but not every game needs deal-making to be fun.

Ted T

Pat H said...

I agree that not every game needs deal making. As a wargamer this is not possible most of the time nor desired. Smack talk fits that niche rather well.

I think the point was that if negotiating is part of a game, why is it that some people would try to play said game without negotiating and attempt to derail its purpose as a mechanic.

Once again I think that it boils down to personality types.

Mr Skeletor said...

In some cases (multi-player solitaire sorts of games) that doesn't matter, but in many others, you may as well just hold a popularity contest and call it right there.

There is a fatal flaw in this argument - you are assuming that the players don't have an ego and therefore don't want themselves to win above all others. Maybe Eurogamers might throw a game to let Alan Moon win and show how much they love him, but not me. I don't care if Lisey Lohan offered to snort cocaine of my balls if I just give her a few planets - too bad toots, I'm in it to win it. Therefore the popularity contest argument is bunk, since everyone should be in it for themselves.

The dry, analytical style of play that SAMURAI affords is one of the reasons why I don't play it- it's one of those you can say "Hey, this is a well design...

Nice way to avoid the question. Now answer it - should table talk be allowed in samurai or not?

Anonymous said...


"Michael is dead on as most of these chumps are social misfits to begin with - and not the exciting kinds either."


Look in the mirror, dude.


"I don't care if Lisey Lohan offered to snort cocaine of my balls if I just give her a few planets - too bad toots, I'm in it to win it."


WTF? You should get your hypothetical priorities in order.


Some people like games with negotiation and some don't. I agree they should go play Chess, Go or computer games if they prefer no table talk.

Steel_Wind said...

"Table talk is ALWAYS appropriate."

Preach it brother!

These people furrowing brows over Puerto Rico as they concentrate on picking the optimal move need to lighten the fuck up.

Russ Fade said...

Lighten up?! Dude . . . there's coffee, there's corn, and they have to be SHIPPED by golly! How can you expect me to take this sort of responsibility lightly?

Jambo! said...

Lindsay, if your reading this, I have some balls open for negotiation.

Michael Barnes said...

Nice way to avoid the question. Now answer it - should table talk be allowed in samurai or not?

Absolutely! And I've played games of SAMURAI where it was there "Go take his rice and I'll leave your hat alone", that kind of thing...the difference is that the outcome of SAMURAI isn't as dependent on table talk or negotiation since it's a math game. In this circumstance table talk/trash talk is really just an "added value" thing that makes the game a little more fun.

As far as being "allowed"...if I ever sit down at a table where there's talk of what's "allowed" and what isn't outside of the game rules, then I'm getting the fuck up.

I trash talk in ANY game. Even INGENIOUS or BLOKUS. The best is when Steve Avery is teaching rules and I trash talk through his explanation. He loves that so much it makes him turn bright red.

PatH is right though, not every game warrants negotiation and dealmaking, I agree with that...as far as Gary's original assumption, I actually don't think WALLENSTEIN was designed as a negotiation game at all...in fact, it is very much a "process" game- but a damn good one, likely the best of the sort.

Mr Skeletor said...

Well there is where you and me differ.
I could live with smack talk during samurai, but if some fucker started pointing out moves or forming alliances I would not be a happy chappy!

RobertB said...

I trash talk in ANY game. Even INGENIOUS or BLOKUS.

I wouldn't count trash talk as table talk. I talk trash to people through pretty much every game I play if I have the processing power to spare. Some folks can't handle it, and I try to avoid them if possible.


I could live with smack talk during samurai, but if some fucker started pointing out moves or forming alliances I would not be a happy chappy!

And that hits my particular nail right on the head. Some games I'm wanting to burn my brain on the game strategy as presented by the board. If I wanted to argue with the other players I'd have played _Werewolf_, not _Tikal_.

Michael Barnes said...

Oh yeah, pointing out moves is something that can piss me off...but that's really another issue to me. I don't have a problem with it on one level ("Your best move is to that, but do whatever you want") but on another I fucking hate it. Like there's this guy I know that will basically tell everyone at the table what their move should be...I want to fucking rip his throat out with my bare hands.

I hate it almost as much as "narrators" who insist on providing complete narration of everything they're doing.

jon said...

Frank wrote: Therefore the popularity contest argument is bunk, since everyone should be in it for themselves.

If your argument is correct, then we shouldn't bother negotiating at all. But what actually happens is that some people are better whiners, or more annoying if they're attacked, or aren't blatantly offensive, or whatever, so they get hit less and win more. But it has little to do with "strategy" at that point, it's just about "popularity" (which is a stand-in for a variety of characteristics).

Note that I'm not saying these characteristics aren't useful or important in terms of winning games, or even that this kind of gaming isn't fun. But it has much less to do with the underlying game itself and much more to do with the personalities involved.

Shellhead said...

Jon: If your argument is correct, then we shouldn't bother negotiating at all. But what actually happens is that some people are better whiners, or more annoying if they're attacked, or aren't blatantly offensive, or whatever, so they get hit less and win more. But it has little to do with "strategy" at that point, it's just about "popularity" (which is a stand-in for a variety of characteristics).

Note that I'm not saying these characteristics aren't useful or important in terms of winning games, or even that this kind of gaming isn't fun. But it has much less to do with the underlying game itself and much more to do with the personalities involved.


Whining = popularity? Your oversimplification of various types of manipulation as "popularity" makes me think that you envy these players but are unable to emulate them. You acknowledge their success with these tactics, but are unwilling to accept that as actual strategy. If it isn't strategy, what is it? Random success?

I get your point that manipulative social gambits seem to function independently of the specific game on the table. But that could be said about other choices in playing a game, like always trying to beat a certain player because he wins too often, or getting back at somebody who screwed you over the last time you played this game.

Like it or not, playing a board game is inherently a social activity, and you and your fellow math enthusiasts should seize the opportunity to improve your social skills. Otherwise, you will always operate at a social disadvantage, whether you are playing games or trying to get a promotion at work. Don't handicap yourself with non-existent rules.

jon said...

shellhead: Whining = popularity? Your oversimplification of various types of manipulation as "popularity" makes me think that you envy these players but are unable to emulate them.
No, I'm a first-class whiner, I lie when pointing out "reasonable" moves, I backstab, and I do OK, though of course my reputation precedes (and exceeds) me in my group of friends. (Also, I'm not a "math enthusiast," so I'm not sure why that was directed my way.)

I get your point that manipulative social gambits seem to function independently of the specific game on the table. But that could be said about other choices in playing a game, like always trying to beat a certain player because he wins too often, or getting back at somebody who screwed you over the last time you played this game.
Yes, they could, and I think this gets at the OP's original question (assuming it was serious). If something doesn't directly relate to the underlying game itself, I think it's easy to see why people might not like that.

Ken B. said...

The complaint is, then, that games that do not explicity allow negotiation should have none of it? I can see people looking at that as a valid point.

"Whining" will do you little good around here...in fact, it will probably get you targeted. All the negotiation around here is "quid pro quo", if you want something you'd better have something to offer in return...and no, angry tears is not a valid resource to offer.

Shellhead said...

Anonymouse sure gets pissy in these Mailbag threads.

RobertB said...

Like it or not, playing a board game is inherently a social activity, and you and your fellow math enthusiasts should seize the opportunity to improve your social skills. Otherwise, you will always operate at a social disadvantage, whether you are playing games or trying to get a promotion at work. Don't handicap yourself with non-existent rules.

Back when I played M:tG semiseriously at DCI-Sanctioned events, every once in a while I'd run into some kid whose idea of 'not handicapping yourself with nonexistent rules' included things like asking, "are you done yet," every 10 seconds or so, asking, "Do you have a response," every 10 seconds after any card he'd play, "Do you have any fast effects," every 10 seconds after every card _you'd_ play, and so on. Just win-at-all-costs gamesmanship. I could tune this crap out, or play the same game, but this would pretty much suck what little joy there was to be had completely out of the game.

Believe me, I'm probably just as big a loudmouthed, play-from-the-gut, non-analyzing goofus as anybody out there. But I don't particularly feel that I need to work on my social skills while simultaneously scratching the infrequent itch to play something as dry as _Caylus_.

If we were talking about quid-pro-quo negotiations, that'd be one thing, but in my experience I'm usually biting my tongue to keep from telling people at the table, "You're a weak-minded idiot if you believe that Blahdeblah over there is giving you all this advice out of the goodness of his heart. You don't have any friends in this game, you just have people smiling at you." Now maybe I should just let fly, but if I wanted to do this sort of thing, I wouldn't have sat down to play _Caylus_.

Mr Skeletor said...

Frank wrote: Therefore the popularity contest argument is bunk, since everyone should be in it for themselves.

If your argument is correct, then we shouldn't bother negotiating at all.


Do you live in a communist country or something?
Almost ALL negotiations involve individuals trying to get the best benefit for THEMSELVES. You don't negotiate a house price for the good of the neighborhood, you negotiate the cheapest price you can get when buying, and the highest you can get when selling. Ditto with politics - you think when the US and Australia have open trade laws they do it for the good of the world? Bullshit, they do it because each party thinks they are getting the better deal in the mix, or at least benefiting from it.

If someone is dumb enough to be persuaded through table talk to do something that doesn't benefit them in the long wrong, then they are a tool and deserve to be used.

Pat H said...

Talk is cheap...I've got lots.

Juniper said...

"...it seems to me that the popularity of "process" games like PUERTO RICO and POWER GRID have waylaid trading and negotiation and we see a lot less of it in Euro design these days."

Maybe, but I doubt it. Puerto Rico and Power Grid are of the sort of game that is popular on BGG, but the German game publishers are not specifically targeting BGG users. They want to sell games to (for example) the big German department store chains, where the games that sell in large volumes are the same ones that tend to be nominated for the Spiel des Jahres, not the "gamers' games." Maybe you just picked a couple of poor examples, but the popularity of Power Grid on BGG has no influence on the publishing program of any game company in Germany (except 2F's), I'm sure of it.

Anonymous said...

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