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Dingan

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Competitiveness
« on: April 07, 2019, 12:48:53 pm »
+4

Just kind of an open discussion here, curious what yall's thoughts are ...

What does it mean to be competitive? Are you competitive, i.e. does winning (or your ranking) in Dominion matter to you? Why or why not? Are you as competitive in other areas in your life as you are in Dominion?

I'm not curious so much how you get better -- we all have our methods, and there are a million forum posts on that front. I'm more curious on how much you want to get better, and why. Do you feel that drive?

I get that in the grand scheme of things, winning in Dominion really doesn't matter. First and foremost, I want to have fun, which Dominion certainly is to me. But I am a competitive being; all else being equal, I prefer to win. I like the feeling of being good at a skill, even if that skill isn't directly useful towards any other aspects of life. I have never known why I feel that way, but I do. I would say it's because it's hardwired into all of us, since we come from billions of years of ancestors that competed to the death over food/resources/mates. Except I have noticed that not everyone has this drive. Or maybe everyone has it, and it's just that only certain people are able to make it come to fruition?

To me, being competitive in Dominion means critically, unbiased-ly analyzing a kingdom and your decisions and their consequences, and applying those observations/lessons going forward. The opposite of being competitive is blaming all your losses on luck, or making decisions based solely (or largely) on emotion.

Competitiveness can certainly have drawbacks in life. Sometimes I'll join a casual Dominion playgroup, and Ambassador someone 10 Curses, then all the Potions, and then (shocker) they don't invite me back to their playgroup again. This stinks. But I don't feel I should (or can?) "turn it off". I feel like the dad that doesn't let their son win a game of 1-on-1 basketball; I'd rather they legitimately beat me when the time comes. It's more meaningful that way. Plus, I have fond memories when learning to play Dominion of getting Torturer-spammed. This did not turn me off to the game; it was the opposite. I was fascinated with how someone could link together that many terminals, and all I wanted was to learn how to do it myself. That's the competitive being in me -- I don't get mad/emotional/whatever when I lose .. I get even (and learn, and get better).

Thanks for listening to my rambling. It's a very interesting topic to me. Why do we strive to get good at this obscure, useless skill? What does it teach us about ourselves, and how does it translate to real life?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 12:52:35 pm by Dingan »
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Titandrake

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Re: Competitiveness
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 10:24:29 pm »
+2

For me, Dominion hits that sweet spot where I find it fun to play, and find it even more fun to play when I'm winning. So that's why I care about getting better.

Not all games are like this. I actually sorta like the beginning of Monopoly, especially when I play with a group that doesn't use free parking house rules and correctly puts things up for auction. We play with trading rules which makes the game a lot more Catan-like in figuring out who it would be good or bad to trade with. But when the game devolves into who lands on a monopoly first, it becomes sad if you have bad properties and boring if you do. Similarly I don't like Catan that much anymore because it feels like the endgame of Catan just drags on and on when you have no chance of winning.

I wouldn't say I'm competitive in all things, but I'm certainly competitive when it comes to board games. I would say the distinction is that some people like trying to win within a single game, but aren't looking to go to the point of mastery. This is stuff like the "play 3 games of Dominion ever" crowd. They're trying to win, but aren't going to play a kingdom over and over until they figure out why they're losing.

In casual Dominion playgroups, I'll go all out, but if it's clear that I'm the best one there, I'll start seeing if I can win with weirder conditions, or I'll try to avoid playing attacks too often. My IRL Dominion tends to be 3 player or 4 player, so if I'm the only one getting mass Torturer to work, then it's making 2 or 3 other players really sad. I mean, if I can win without it, why bother adding it?

The last time I played IRL Dominion with new players, I played the 1st game engine, minus Militia, and still blew all their minds.
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Awaclus

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Re: Competitiveness
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2019, 01:12:39 am »
+1

Are you competitive, i.e. does winning (or your ranking) in Dominion matter to you? Why or why not? Are you as competitive in other areas in your life as you are in Dominion?

To whatever extent Dominion matters to me, winning matters to me. Specifically, I want to lose rather than win, because that usually means improving faster, whereas you can't always learn anything from a victory.
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DG

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Re: Competitiveness
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 10:06:28 am »
+1

Quote
t's a very interesting topic to me. Why do we strive to get good at this obscure, useless skill? What does it teach us about ourselves, and how does it translate to real life?
If you invest time into anything it becomes important to you. If you spend 4 hours baking a fancy cake it becomes more important that people enjoy that cake. Also, if you see yourself as a dancer, say, you'd rather see yourself as a good dancer than a bad dancer and the same goes for Dominion or anything else.

I have to admit that results in these dominion matches really do swing my mood for the next day. I know it's a bad sign but I don't seem able to do much about it. On the other hand, I generally don't mind losing in face to face games as long as I've played well. Coming joint first is the best result as I'm happy and so is someone else.
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ElisabetK

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Re: Competitiveness
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 02:58:54 pm »
+2

General points here, not just about Dominion.

Yeah, I think the desire to compete is hardwired into our brains. So is the appreciation of watching other people play well.

The issue with being "competitive" is not so much with being over-matched with opponents as it is with it getting to the point that it's not fun for them. That goes for any game. If you spend ages maximizing strategy while they are still learning the mechanics, it's boring for them. If you are either over-explaining (playing their hand for them) or letting them hang by keeping all the strategy options to yourself, it's not fun for them.

Ideally you'll get to play games with people who are roughly at your skill level and roughly playing for the same reasons. But that doesn't happen that much of the time. In real life most people will naturally adjust to play games with people much better or worse than themselves. Simple example: our kid used to occasionally play Scrabble with adults, and he was a terrible speller even for his age. But he loved games. So we just didn't ever deduct points for challenging his words, and occasionally everyone would be jumping in looking for a way to play his letters. It's not the same as a tournament game but everyone still had fun. Parents naturally do that when playing sports with children - it's not so much holding back as it is handicapping yourself. The key thing is NOT to be condescending when you are the better player.

The basic test is this: if you are genuinely excited by the other player making a great play, and are okay expressing that to them, it's probably a fun game for both of you, even if there's a big disparity in skill levels. To be fair this is much, much easier to do in real life.

Playing with an asshole is rarely fun even if you're well matched.
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popsofctown

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Re: Competitiveness
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2019, 01:36:21 am »
+7

Suppose you are agnostic.  Then, suppose further, past agnosticism to the validity of higher powers or not, you're agnostic towards all religions equally.

All creative configurations of a possible religion are then equally valid.  You give equal weight to each of them, you are so agnostic.  The ones that grant eternal life or eternal punishment are weighted infinitely, so when you take a weighted average, only those ones matter.

In at least some of those, a game of skill is used as a test to determine whether you get eternal reward or punishment.  The ones without such test do not matter, no edge to be gained.  So assume there is a game of skill.  There is no way to know how well it is necessary to perform in the game of skill, it might be a very easy game of monopoly against bots where even occasionally buying property is a winning strategy, or you might have to outswim Michael Phelps.  Any odds we assign to each possibility is arbitrary.  But then in some of them we play Dominion to avoid eternal punishment, at various difficulties of opponents.  Therefore it is infinitely important to get good at Dominion.

I can now rationalize even my most vicious disagreements about bad openings and whether you should buy a second Magpie on a certain board.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 02:17:39 am by popsofctown »
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