Author Topic: Competitive Friendliness?  (Read 11562 times)

Offline danisthirty

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Competitive Friendliness?
« on: July 16, 2013, 09:36:51 AM »
I wouldn't say I was an overly competitive person but I like to win from time to time and I certainly play to win whenever I play Carcassonne. One thing I struggle with though, is that there's a fine line between playing to win and being unfriendly towards your opposition. In fact I'm not convinced there's even a line at all. Sharing or stealing points with/ from your competition, trapping their Meeples and otherwise ensuring that certain features of theirs will never be completed are all important components of a winning strategy when it comes to Carcassonne. It's never nice to be on the receiving end though, and "friendly" games can be especially challenging when both players are doing all they can to score more points than their opponent.

I recently spent much of an online, three-player game of Carcassonne battling against one of my opponents to win an overall majority in a large city. The city was worth fighting for as it included a cathedral which would have pushed its value up to around 70 points or more if it had been closed. But just as everything appeared to be working in my favour, the player who hadn't been competing for the city deliberately placed a tile that made it impossible to close and therefore completely worthless. The other player immediately left the game and I was tempted to do the same, but didn't want to be rude and so decided to stick around even though I stood no chance of winning as I'd lost too many of my Meeples to the uncloseable city.

I pointed out to my one remaining opponent that I was only there out of politeness and that they'd spoilt the game for me. Thinking about it now I probably sounded very childish but I was furious at the time. We argued for the rest of the game, and about a month later the other person was still complaining about our encounter on the public message board but we've managed to avoid each other so far. I've since apologised indirectly for my behaviour (as it isn't possible for me to apologise directly) but I don't know whether this was ever seen, I'm guessing probably not...

The thing is, if I'd been in my opponent's position at the time I would probably have done exactly the same thing. I know this because I have done on plenty of occasions! I rarely feel guilty about it as it's all part of the game, but some people deal with "competitive unfriendliness" far better than others and cross words aren't uncommon.

So what's the solution? I'm not convinced there is one as there seems little point in playing if you're not playing to win, and if you're playing to win then you do everything you can to ensure that this is the most likely outcome. Otherwise it's like playing Doom with the "nomonsters" switch on in that it's still vaguely enjoyable but there's something missing and the game feels pointless without it. Whilst friendliness and cooperation can be important in games with three or more players, Carcassonne for two is best when it's "no holds barred"

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=313.0

Offline Scott

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 10:19:15 AM »
It's definitely all about attitude. I've been fortunate to play with people who prefer non-aggression, so we tended to do our own thing in our corner of the table, but if somebody starts building a mega city with cathedral, some action should be expected.

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 11:04:32 AM »
This is the reason why we with my wife so seldom play Carcassonne with each other. Something "bad" happens and one of us takes offence. That is why we play either with one our friends, which are VERY friendly and completely harmless (they enjoy the process much more than the result), or with our other friends, where we play in teams, men vs. women. Playing in teams doesn't hurt that much :)
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Offline Bixby

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 11:12:42 AM »
I play games for fun and the social interaction. That said, our group enjoys the element of take that. The games are played to be won and that never compromises our social contract.

When my wife and I play Mega-Carcassonne over an entire evening, there is no limit to the cut-throat nature the game takes. She is a ruthless competitor and I greatly respect that in her. She probably wins about 65%-75% of our Carcassonne games and I could not be happier.

There is inherent conflict in some boardgames. If you make a move to hurt me or better your own position, I will salute you. I will respect that you brought your "A" game and in turn, I will bring mine. It will not anger me as I do not want stress or malice to enter into my hobby pursuits. I play games for fun.

In the above mentioned scenario, I would have placed that tile in a heartbeat. Not only does it lower my opponent's scoring potential, but it traps their followers on the board. Two benefits with one move. That is part of the game in my books. I would expect the same treatment in return.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:15:42 AM by Bixby »
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Offline Tacita

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 01:34:06 PM »
Games do not usually make me angry. Some players can be annoying in that they might not care to win, or be too far behind so they just play to make others lose. That can be irritating, but you have got to cope with it.

Playing Carcassonne without being competitive would be totally pointless for my group. It is already considered to be fairly boring (broken, destroyed, too many expansions etc.) for us to play much anyway. To get pissy when someone else make a winning move is indeed childish. Being annoyed is okay, as long as it stay in the game. Leaving because someone made a smart move is really not acceptable.
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Offline AlbinoAsian

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 10:42:12 AM »
Our gaming group normally diffuses those moments by acknowledging that it was a good move or maybe even stating that we would have made the same move.

 Online it doesn't quite work like that, so its definitely annoying sometimes.

Recently though I played one opponent who played really aggressive blocking shots and somehow I beat him twice with a relatively casual style of gameplay. That made the wins even more enjoyable, knowing that I could play the way I like and still be competitive

Offline Carcking

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 11:25:11 AM »
But just as everything appeared to be working in my favour, the player who hadn't been competing for the city deliberately placed a tile that made it impossible to close and therefore completely worthless.

Thanks for sharing your story danisthirty! And I'm laughing with you, not at you :) That play you describe is brilliant. Who wouldn't make that play? The issue I think is perception - how the move was received - and the perception changes completely when you're playing on line. There is nowhere near the level of commitment or investment in the game for some players playing "annonymously". That move is received entirely differently if the three of you are sitting down at the same table - even if you are strangers.

My wife and I attend GenCon every year (it's coming up soon and I'm very excited). When we're there we get to play a broad range of different games - and they are all with complete strangers. We're both quite competitive - and I think because of that we recognize a good play when we see it. Gameplay like that at GenCon is fairly well received. Face-to-face over the table - it's lauded as great gameplay. "Holy cow I didn't see that coming" - or "oh man I was hoping you wouldn't see that play", etc. I personally don't enjoy playing with strangers online because I don't trust their level of investment - I would rather play against the computer and pass time.  :red-meeple:
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Offline Paul

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 11:59:20 AM »
Some of the replies do hint a point.  O:-)

People are just different and the involute that we are, it's a matter of accepting this. It was never about the game(s).

It's important to remember what you can do, more than what someone else does. Online gaming brings about every aspect of personalities and I've learned to accept them.

As for spewing out arguments during that game, I wouldn't worry too much. In the end it will fade away and I bet you already felt better after posting this topic, because venting is a great healer and many of us (I'm sure, even though I myself am new here) are happy to help!
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Offline harvster

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 08:06:25 AM »
I find I need to assess the type of player I'm up against so I can try to prepare myself for the type of tactics to be used.

When I play with one friend the tactics tend to be individual with the occasional interplay (some expansions are designed that way).  Whenever we try out a new expansion we talk through the potential sort of tactics that could be used as a forewarning of what can be expected during play.

When I play with one of my nephews I've always got to be ready for an aggressive style of play.  In fact he can be quite good at introducing a move that I've never thought of or seen before!  But he doesn't always see everything that can happen and I can hold my own (though sometimes it's a case of being very fortunate with the last tiles to be played).  :-)

I think part of my preparation for this was playing umpteen games of Risk with a good group of friends.  Talk about a game designed to bring out the worst in people!  But we'd all play loads of games in a row so by the end of the night each one of us had generally done to everyone else all the things that had been done to us; it tended to even itself out.  :-)  One friend, when attacked heavily, would ignore trying to win and continually attack that person for the rest of the game.  It actually ended up being quite funny and became a standard joke with our group.

Offline gantry

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 10:26:18 PM »
When I was a child, my sister used to flip the Monopoly board over and walk away when it became clear she was losing. I got used to it, and actually it helped me not care so much anymore if I won or lost, or how my opponents react. It is a social activity, the main purpose being to connect with friends and family; there is no shame in losing nor fame in winning.

Though I love to win!  ;D

Offline AlbinoAsian

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 03:43:48 AM »
When I was a child, my sister used to flip the Monopoly board over and walk away when it became clear she was losing. I got used to it, and actually it helped me not care so much anymore if I won or lost, or how my opponents react. It is a social activity, the main purpose being to connect with friends and family; there is no shame in losing nor fame in winning.

Though I love to win!  ;D

haha wow... my sister had slightly different tactics. After winning a game she wouldn't play for months after that just so she could keep her winning streak!

Offline Carcking

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2013, 09:35:00 AM »
When I was a child, my sister used to flip the Monopoly board over and walk away when it became clear she was losing.

I'm ashamed to say that one of my daughters was like that. She would get all in a huff and go stomping to her room. Now she's a court lawyer and still hates to lose. She's much better at games now though!  :o

Offline Scott

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 12:34:24 PM »
Is she a rules lawyer too? :-P

Offline Carcking

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2013, 01:35:55 PM »
Is she a rules lawyer too? :-P

Haha - actually...

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 05:32:55 AM »
Thanks so much for your views on this. It was interesting to read about how differently people play depending on who they're playing against and I think this may be a lot to do with why my wife won't play with me anymore (she claims that she's too tired because she's pregnant but I don't buy this [the tiredness, not the pregnancy]). This said, we've had a few games of Winter Edition Carcassonne recently and she enjoys that as long as we keep it friendly. I struggle to win without a certain amount of aggression but I enjoy the fact that we're playing more than the winning itself so I won't often try to make life too difficult for her, not unless I can disguise it anyway!


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