The growth of other strategy games

A section to discuss matters not related to Chess in particular.
Alex Holowczak
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:40 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: I guess players can't really complain about the pairings.
That would never happen with chess :roll:
Well, in chess, we have inconsistency with pairings because we have:
(1) Arbiters who pair manually
(2) Arbiters who pair manually according to different rules from those in (1)
(3) Arbiters who pair using computer software
(4) Arbiters who pair using computer software different to that in (3)

Magic seems to have this all sorted by saying you have to use a specific piece of software for all official tournaments, no questions asked. The pairings may be right or wrong, but they are at least consistent!

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Adam Raoof
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Adam Raoof » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:03 pm

What are you doing next weekend? If you are free on 29 or 30 March, and within commuting distance of Birmingham, then you are in for a treat if you are a fan of chess, Scrabble or Magic!

Mind Sports International give you the opportunity for you to play Chess, Scrabble and Magic all week-end long! The prizes are great! NO LATE FEES - JUST REGISTER ONLINE. Details of the tournaments can be found below. The Sunday Rapidplay is a qualifier for the £10,000 grand final in London, to be held on 19-23 November 2014. See the entry form at the bottom of the page or click here https://adamraoof.wufoo.com/forms/r1tkc19314xyn7m/ to register.

Venue Address: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Central Square, Birmingham, B1 1HH
Just posted in the Congress Diary! Not 100% sure how Magic, Scrabble and Chess will work together, but looking forward to giving it a try...

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:15 am

Many years ago, a friend at work told me about Magic and we started playing at lunchtimes and it did get quite addictive. Sadly, you did have to buy new decks and booster packs, (to create what you hoped would be a winning deck) and the manufacturers had the bright idea of retiring cards that were not good enough or too good, and tweaking the rules once people had found loopholes. Also they introduced new types of cards, so you always had something new to learn.

There is a fairly big tournament circuit in USA and elsewhere and the world championship first prize was up to $45000. The manufacturers had the other bright idea of selling copies of the decks used by the semi-finalists in the world championships.

Apart from the tactics of big creatures, there was strategy. You might try to cast a dangerous creature, your opponent plays "counterspell" to stop you doing that, but you then "counterspell" his "counterspell", to save your creature... But you can only do that if you have enough "mana" (resources) to play your spell, if you have used them all up to do something last turn, you won't be able to stop the opponent doing what (s)he wants.

My usual opponent emigrated so I haven't played for years, but the game does suit chess players.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:40 am

You could argue that magic hasn't survived even 1 year in the sense that Chess/Go/Bridge etc have. Its driven by money so purposeful, frequently changing, imbalances to drive more card purchases etc. Very like Game Workshop's stuff - they purposefully (and comically at times) break how their rule sets/armies work on a regular basis to drive minature sales. Doesn't seem to affect their popularity overall.

The idea of collectable card games probably will survive medium/long term though. Especially online, because people there have got used to the idea of games which are subject to continual dynamic rebalancing. If you do that well then you can still keep a big element of skill involved.

The German board games from Jack's club are quite different again - they're basically abstract games at heart but typically 3/4 player, a bit more complicated in terms of the ruleset to get some 'theme' in and fairly often explicitly balanced so that its very hard to do genuinely badly. (family games!) A huge improvement on most traditional UK board games. Consequently a club based on playing them is likely to be a much better social experience than something like chess.

The best of those might be worthy of study for a bit, although the randomness introduced that comes from having lots of players genuinely involved probably makes that very hard to do well. Often a bit too complex to really stand it too.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:13 pm

Me playing Dominion!

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Me playing Agricola!

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A board game convention!

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MartinCarpenter
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:51 pm

Dominion is one of those games which is nearly worthy of semi serious study but probably just too random for it in the end :) A lot of fun of course. Agricola I've never played. Some of the earlyish Knzia games might stand up fairly well to proper study.

York chess actually originally got thrown out of our long term venue by a board game group - https://bmyork.wordpress.com/. Friendly people, they just generated more money/evening. Then we both got moved out for a pilates studio....

I doubt if many of the people in these clubs are lost chess players. A fairly different sort of mentality. They might I suppose make useful allies in the eternal quest for reasonable venues!

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:06 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:Dominion is one of those games which is nearly worthy of semi serious study but probably just too random for it in the end :)
You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

(Randomness is not, in and of itself, a bar to serious study of a game. There has been a lot of in-depth study of bridge, for starters.)

MartinCarpenter
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:40 pm

Different sort of randomness to some degree. Managing probabilities/unknown information can definitely be analysed (monte carlo's and stuff if you need them) and studied in great depth. Thus Bridge, Poker etc.

Randomness arising from the sorts of hugely rich, complex interactions you can get in Dominion? Harder I think. To get a really long term, well studied, game you'd probably want to strip the card choice right back. That'd probably make it rather less fun mind :)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:25 am

"My local board game club, where I was playing Pandemic, Battlestar Galactica and Tokkaido yesterday, probably has a weekly attendance of around 15-20 or so. No expenditure necessary if all you want to do is turn up to the club and play games once a week; there's a cupboard full of games there that are there for people to come along and play.

(This is, you understand, in the context of the club's being in a board games shop: the manager is effectively putting his games in the shop window by having those games playable for free.)"

My local board game shop does this, not that I have attended the club. Pandemic is good (I don't know the others), and has the advantage that the players try to work together to beat the outbreak, so any new players can join in and will soon get advice on how to play.

I like Settlers of Catan. I nearly played a Scrabble tournament and a regular attender eagerly told me they used two clocks linked together, and that they used a Swiss system for pairings. Luckily I managed to stop him before he explained Swiss pairings to me. There's not much strategy (maybe obscure letter/number selections?), but there are Countdown tournaments scattered round the country.

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Rob Thompson
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Rob Thompson » Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:53 pm

I regularly play Android: Netrunner tournaments, which is probably the closest to MTG of the games that have been mentioned here. However, it's new enough that it's still a lot smaller - tournaments are usually happy to get 20+ entries.
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David Robertson
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by David Robertson » Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:39 pm

Whatever happened to Diplomacy?

I've never been defeated in this game, winning from every position except Turkey (and losing several friends in the process :P ). Not played it in decades though

Paul Sanders
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by Paul Sanders » Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:47 pm

The strong and very pleasant Cannes Open in February is part of an amazing festival of games:

http://www.festivaldesjeux-cannes.com/3.aspx

John McKenna
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by John McKenna » Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:12 pm

David Robertson wrote:Whatever happened to Diplomacy?

I've never been defeated in this game, winning from every position except Turkey (and losing several friends in the process :P ). Not played it in decades though
David, you might well ask, "whatever happened to Diplomacy?"
With your undoubted ability to talk soft while carrying a big stick I am not surprised that you carried all before you.
That Turkish failing is just the exception that proves the rule.

I remember a game called Risk - was it the ancestor of Diplomacy, I wonder?
Last edited by John McKenna on Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

MartinCarpenter
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:48 pm

No. Diplomacy is off in its own unique branch of the evolutionary tree :) Simulataneous written movement, no dice etc. Only way to progress is through mutual agreement/support and yes back stabbing..... Actually a wonderfully pure expression of its basic design idea concept. Very like many of the better European games in that sense.

Seemingly a 50th anniversary edition of Dip in 2008 so it isn't doing so badly! Quite a decent review score on boardgamegeek. Not obvious online, which strikes me as very strange really.

I suspect that its worst problems are practical - you really do need 7 players and quite a lot of time to play it properly. The Euro games are normally very careful to last ~2 hours/require 4 players at most.

The other wonder about the Euro games is the quality of the components. They originally started out in Germany you see. So when you have carboard counters they're nice, thick, colourful and cleanly come out from their sheets when you tap them :) Wonders. Pieces are mostly made in nice wood. Really very worthwhile investigating them.

John McKenna
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Re: The growth of other strategy games

Post by John McKenna » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Thanks, Martin, but what of Risk?
Never mind, later I'll look it up for myself...

http://boardgames.wikia.com/wiki/Risk
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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