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Author Topic: Do you have non-competitive friends?  (Read 9349 times)

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SixDaysShort

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Do you have non-competitive friends?
« on: June 18, 2011, 03:53:23 am »
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A little backstory:  I started playing dominion at a friends place about three months ago.  They play it, along with a bunch if other board/social games every other week or so.  It's mainly just an excuse to drink and BS with each other.  They also told me about isotropic.  I started playing there about 5 or 6 weeks ago.

I've gotten better.  I'm still not all that good.  But, compared to them, I am.  Now, when I play with them, I occasionally ruin the mood.  It was fun when we could all complain about the curses together...or snatch up moats and villages like they were the best thing ever.  Tonight, I basically torture-chained them to a skunk game.  It was shit and I felt bad about it.

Do you all still play with any friends who aren't very good and don't really care to be?  How do you (or would you suggest) handle the discrepancy?

By the way...this is my first post.  My names on isotropic are sixdaysshort, freewin, or daddyissues.  I usem interchangeably at times. Come say hi and teach me things!
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theory

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2011, 07:33:01 am »
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If I'm playing with non-competitive people, I'll go for funky decks.  No need to unleash the fury of KC-Goons-Masq; why not take the opportunity to try out Counting House - Golem, or Coppersmith - Counting House, Duchy/Duke, Bureaucrat into Duchy rush, or any of a number of other hardly-feasible but wacky combos.

If anyone challenges your status, sure, by all means, lay down the fist of the heavens, but otherwise you can take the opportunity to learn some new decks while you're goofing around.
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Silverback

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2011, 07:47:18 am »
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If I'm playing with non-competitive people, I'll go for funky decks.  No need to unleash the fury of KC-Goons-Masq; why not take the opportunity to try out Counting House - Golem, or Coppersmith - Counting House, Duchy/Duke, Bureaucrat into Duchy rush, or any of a number of other hardly-feasible but wacky combos.

If anyone challenges your status, sure, by all means, lay down the fist of the heavens, but otherwise you can take the opportunity to learn some new decks while you're goofing around.

That's some good advice. Maybe then my wife will start playing with me again...
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2011, 08:17:12 am »
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Shocker I know but I agree pretty much with what Theory said.  When you are with friends having a good group experience is more important.  Save the cutthroat play for Isotropic.
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SixDaysShort

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2011, 04:32:28 pm »
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Not bad advice at all.  I don't like losing.  But I suppose I could suck it up for the good of the night.
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rrenaud

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2011, 04:33:49 pm »
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I'd rather just have a beer and chat rather than play a game against weak players who aren't really into the game.

And beer kind of sucks ;P.
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SixDaysShort

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2011, 04:39:46 pm »
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And beer kind of sucks ;P.

Capital d, colon
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Arya Stark

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 04:43:46 pm »
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instead of playing all random, let everyone pick 1 or 2 cards. I like to attack more in real life just to see the reactions  ;D
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drg

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 04:38:11 am »
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Non-competitive probably isn't the right word if they're upset they are losing.  My mother I would classify as non-competitive - she plays games to play, doesn't care if she loses every time (she doesn't play dominion specifically, and as a rule, people like her generally don't ever end up getting to a high level at any game, but it's ok to beat them every time).  It's important to understand the capacity for learning the game the people you are trying to play with have.


If you think they can/will pick it up, just go easy on the attacks/power combos when setting the deck up with them, it's much easier than trying to curb your enthusiasm when you're staring at the goons, mountebank or market+pawn+peddler, etc.  Having one attack card is ok - just not something like a torturer with chain options that will ruin their fun.  Once they pick up on how things work, they may be more inclined to see you use some of the stronger strategies and beat them with them, as long as they understand and can then duplicate it next time.  Best is probably just to use the base set until they understand how it works, as it is much simpler and less brutal than the expansions, then introduce things slowly.


If they'll never figure it out (and you will) and they hate losing... be careful how frequently you play something over their heads with them... it just gets frustrating for both sides as the only other option is to underplay and let them win which is kind of silly if they're over 10 in my opinion.  The person I know like this I now tend to avoid playing with directly and just help give her advice while she plays instead.   


It may be hard to figure out their potential if you don't fully understand the game yourself, but you can compare their general learning curves towards other games... people usually either have it or they don't.
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Graystripe77

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 08:17:34 pm »
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I have nothing against people who aren't competitive, I simply dislike to play with them.  I like cut-throat games
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Zaphod

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 12:05:16 am »
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With newer players who don't know the game, it's probably a good idea to avoid the really nasty attacks, and any action that's too complicated.  I'll usually start a new player with the basic set only; after a couple games with the base cards, I might pull out another box.  In these situations, it's more important to me that everyone has fun and less important that I win.  I only really care about winning on isotropic, because of the ranking system.
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Lenoxus

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 11:31:50 pm »
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I'm not sure, but I might be getting better than my relatives who actually own it. That said, all of us are truly non-competitive, in the sense of not caring deeply about winning. (I tend to care more when I'm playing against an AI, oddly enough.) It's all about the experience, and little rituals, like singing each card title in a tune specific to that card. I see games with them more as a chance to experiment.

Our last game had a rather advanced setup but also a relatively new player, one who will likely never really learn the game because she doesn't play board games often. I advised her every turn, took as little time as possible with my own turns, and came in dead last. That's just how things go sometimes. A few months back, we played a game against involving two people who are definitely more advanced, and I won by a large margin with the help of Apprentice, now one of my favorite cards. We'll still be talking about the time I Apprenticed a Colony and got two Colonies out of it.

A thought that just occurred to me: I might care less about my success against human players because when I do care, whether in online or RL play, I tend to take really long turns; since I'd rather not annoy anyone, I simply don't bother with "playing to win" to quite the same degree. And this can have the fun benefit of seeing combinations in my hand that I hadn't even thought of before!
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Axe Knight

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 11:38:51 pm »
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With newer players who don't know the game, it's probably a good idea to avoid the really nasty attacks, and any action that's too complicated.  I'll usually start a new player with the basic set only; after a couple games with the base cards, I might pull out another box.  In these situations, it's more important to me that everyone has fun and less important that I win.  I only really care about winning on isotropic, because of the ranking system.

I'll even take this a step further by playing with less kingdom cards.  I usually leave out the Village the first game too.  Becoming proficient in the mechanics is not difficult, and I find that it helps that they understand at least that before moving onto any kind of intricate strategy.
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guided

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 12:00:13 am »
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Two recent live games I played with people who aren't that into Dominion, I went Witch/Village (nobody else went for Witch) and the other one was a KC-based engine where I passed out all the curses with Ambassador. And uh, none of those people want to play with me anymore  :-X
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SixDaysShort

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 01:17:21 am »
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Two recent live games I played with people who aren't that into Dominion, I went Witch/Village (nobody else went for Witch) and the other one was a KC-based engine where I passed out all the curses with Ambassador. And uh, none of those people want to play with me anymore  :-X

Yeah. They only have base set and intrigue.  The only action cards I had in my deck were 6 villages, 5 torturers, and a chapel.  I felt even worse considering that one of them had only played twice before...and seemed to have liked it, up to that game, lol.

I'll take theory's advice, I think...and treat them as opportunities to try crazy combos and practice counting and construction.  I did make a silly little engine this weekend involving cellars, scouts, a woodcutters, and a boat load of estates.
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Death to Sea Hags

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2011, 12:38:35 pm »
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Go last or 2d-to-last.  Every game.  Find excuses to switch seats, or sit out a game mixing the drinks to give the player to your right a chance to go first.

Handicap yourself just at the beginning - there's been decent suggestions on BGG for that.  It'll give you practice for starting behind the 8-ball on Isotropic:
  • Only play $6.
  • Take the worse start (5-2 / 4-3) depending on the board.
  • Take a curse instead of a copper at the start.
  • Drink heavily.
You could do it iteratively - winner of each game trades an extra curse for copper for the rest of the night; once all players have at least one curse, everybody trades one back in for copper. You won't win more than two in a row - and everybody is gonna win once!

...and NEVER play with Ambassador.  ;D
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Kuildeous

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2011, 02:30:34 pm »
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   Take a curse instead of a copper at the start.

I suspect this is just a light-hearted comment, but I'd advise against this one.

People would want to know why buying a Curse is a good idea. No sense encouraging others to take this route.

And while you could be forthcoming and say that you just didn't want to spank them too badly, that sends a message of arrogance and contempt. The others are easy enough to do. Casual gamers won't notice if you pick a suboptimal card. "Hot damn! I got 5-2. I'm getting me a Pearl Diver and an Outpost so I can use it twice!"

It could turn into a teaching exercise, as well. "Huh, I lost. You know, I read online that Pearl Diver is not that strong of a card. I guess they were right."

Drinking heavily is an option too, but the others would probably follow suit. And, as someone who brought Dominion to a party once but chose not to pull it out because of the drunks, I really advise against that!

Though, going last would work great.
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Personman

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2011, 02:54:47 pm »
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No, he meant begin the game with 6 coppers and 1 curse in you deck.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2011, 03:41:20 pm »
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No, he meant begin the game with 6 coppers and 1 curse in you deck.

Ah, I see. I still think it sends a message that the only way the other players can win is if you gank yourself. Regardless of whether it's true, it just doesn't seem like it sends a message conducive to camaraderie. But, then again, I am competitive and would rather win through my own merit rather than a fake handicap; for the noncompetitive types, maybe this isn't an issue. If that's the case, then swapping out a Copper for a Curse would certainly work (especially if you get a 5/1 split). 
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Death to Sea Hags

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2011, 06:58:07 am »
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Quote
fake handicap

That's the whole point of handicapping games: so players of different abilities can still enjoy a competitive game.  You end up playing against yourself as much as the other players.  It's like a bid system, but you don't need to bid each game, and it works better when the skill difference between players is greater.

If your friends might feel insulted by needing a handicap, the "iterative method" I mentioned would work better.  First game, everyone has normal hands, and the negative feedback for subsequent games is purely driven by the results of the previous games.

I play lots of game with my kids this way, and it works great.  Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Small World... point scoring games are easiest to handicap, but we give bonus cash in Axis & Allies, or reduced hand-size in Keltis, etc. 

I can play my best, which lets me set examples through sound play.  Otherwise, they might start to think Thief is a good opener.   :P
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Raine

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2011, 09:07:34 am »
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handicap makes a lot of sense.  The folks I play dominion with I also play golf with.  If we were playing a match we would give strokes to make it competitive.  No shame in that
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theory

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2011, 09:41:07 am »
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Some of my friends play "Dominion Campaigns" where the winner shuffles a Curse into his initial 10 for the next game, and everyone else gets to keep one <$6 card from their previous deck for the next game.
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Eagle

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2011, 10:43:56 am »
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Handicaps are the reason I don't play golf.  I hate the idea that the person who put tons of time and effort into getting good at something can lose very easily to someone who is relatively new.  You're being punished for being good at something.

If you're playing casual games with friends and just want to make it fun for them, then I get it.  However I know golfers who are very good at the game, and lose in tournaments to much worse players, and accept it because "that's the way the game is"...  that would make me crazy.  That would be like forcing Theory to give up VP's to me and then still losing rank when I "win".
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Raine

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2011, 11:35:29 am »
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Well in a ranked game you would not do that.  To continue the golf aside, your handicap is not based on your won/loss record, it is based on how many strokes you take to get the ball in the hole 18 times.  For ranked games on Isotropic, the rankings do a good job of telling you if it will be an even match and whether it is worth your time.  For a friendly home game, it makes a competitive game and allows everyone to have fun.
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rod-

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Re: Do you have non-competitive friends?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2011, 12:24:00 pm »
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Once you get 'good enough' at golf you're playing at 0 handicap against people with 0 handicap, and don't have to worry about losing to it.  Most tournaments played with handicaps are for fun or charity anyway.

The same could be said of dominion.  You're not going to handicap yourself when you're playing against theory for your always-valuable ratings points, you're going to do it when you're playing around the kitchen table for something to do on an evening, against people who otherwise refuse to play versus you. 

Actually, maybe I can use this as a way to get people to play dominion with me again. 
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