In theory people play a specific game because they like the intended game experience or want to explore the way that game plays. Sure it's also fun to try unexplored strategies, but if you are playing with your regular game group it may not be a bad idea to let the other players know you are taking the train to weirdsville.
Another thought is: much like Scott says you have to pick your games based on the players, you have to pick your game strategy based on other players as well. Some of that is how do you engage the game and with other players, in other words do you cooperate or spend resources attacking and interfering with other players? or do you go for a trading victory in a political game?
Let me rephrase - engaging in game playing behavior that causes other people to hate the time they are playing is just as bad as picking a game that might might not enjoy. I don't mean you should throw games or fail to try, it's not an issue of winning or losing, but if the way you engage the game incorrectly it can spoil the whole game experience for one or more of the other players.
Lords of Vegas Oh, and I've talked over Lords of Vegas in a thread here on the Geek. And while I still think the first player has a small advantage because they have three more scoring and payout opportunities than the fourth player all of the players http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/608463/first-player-adva...
Also, I have seen some behavior now in some of the Catan campaign scenarios that borders on stupid. One of the scenarios has all players starting on a long, thin island with only a few good resources. Several islands are in the mist off of one of the long sides, giving lots of jumping off points. All of the AI players started in good spots, but worked toward the side of the main island away from the mist. This is where the ports are, so it's not all bad, but with all the AI going there they quickly stifled each other. In the end, I actually lost the first game to an AI that collected lots of victory point cards, but was handily in charge of the second one. Although the port strategy would have been valid, some of the AIs would have been much better off diving into the mist with me earlier than they did.
As one of the primary game owner/teachers, I’m also often the target of the other players as they assume I know something they don’t. Sometimes it’s annoying and sometimes it isn’t. For example, I think I’ve only won Mall of Horrors once as everyone tosses me to the zombies first. That’s a game I don’t especially care about losing anyway.
I’d have to agree on the 7 Wonders tiebreaker. I think it’d make more sense to consider only SURPLUS money beyond what was scored. Even better, maybe the tiebreaker should be who won the most scoring categories.
It’s too bad that Don got smacked down so much in Innovation. I really like that game, but it’s hard to get new players to understand that it can sometimes be like a fighter video game where one guy just combos all over you while the game ignores your button mashing until you’re finally let up to start fighting again.
Ascension is just random dullness. My first game, I was playing along and clearly falling behind everyone else. Then I draw my hand for next turn and it’s pure combat cards. Then the other players take their turns, essentially clearing out and replacing all of the center cards until it’s my turn... and they’re all monsters. I made a zillion points and won the game handily because of that lucky break. Blah. I also don’t like that the game implies you might want to focus on combos (stick to Mechana heroes & constructs), but in actual play those combos are just happy coincidences and not actually a valid strategy.
When I'm playing games, I think I have the right to expect that my opponents are sincerely trying to win the game. However, there's a flip side to that: if my opponents ARE sincerely trying to win the game (or at least, I have no reason to believe that they're not), then I have no right to complain when those players (in my perception) make a sub-optimal move or a move that preferences one player over another (ie, Kingmaking).
So basically, if they're making an effort, I'm happy. What I really can't stand is when people give up or disengage with the game.
An update is out that fixes a crash I ran into persistently after the review. AI trading offers are also changed. They now aren't as annoying with offering so many trade combinations.
Also, right after the episode posted, a new version of Ra came out that uses OpenFeint, a multi-player platform. I haven't tried multi-player yet, but that may tip it back to Ra over Medici for some, even given the screen limitations of the iPhone. But Medici is still a green light.
And going back to a previous review, Tichu has an update and now uses Game Center, which allows inviting online friends to play. I haven't tried it yet either, as I have no Game Center friends. (That is a passive invitation.)