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Subject: OBG 49: Social Contracts rss

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Donald Dennis
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0:50 Erik Donald and Scott discuss feedback on previous Preferred Target Status and Auction Games segments then a new discussion about the way game groups interact

32:54 Giles previews High Frontier
40:45 Erik reviewsTerra Prime
46:34 Donald reviews Wacky Wacky West
50:17 Giles reviews a bundle of games as they relate to school.



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Magnus Esko
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First (and so far only) time I played Galactic Emperor my arch enemy (in games) used his influence (or whatever it was called) to try to take over the planet next to mine, and he persisted in doing so round after round. He also got like all the technology to sabotage others (the way he likes to play). A few rounds in I was way behind in planets, points and resources and so was he but he didn't care. According to him I had attacked his planet (next to my home base) and so he intended to defend it. Neither of us had any chance of winning at this point and I just had it with the game and gave up. Since we were playing in my flat I just said that I wasn't going to watch them play the rest of the game and so we packed it up. That's so unlike me, I always play a game until the end. But I have never been so frustrated about a game ever in my life.
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Magnus Esko
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One thing (among many) that I like about Go is that resignation is accepted, it's part of the rules. If you lose a few battles you may find yourself in a position where there is no chance of even getting close to winning. Go is also a game where the state of your mind can have a huge impact on the game. If you are tired or impatient you will make mistakes and those may have big consequences. Or maybe you thought your group was safe or your walls where impenetrable but your opponent thinks otherwise or just wants to find out, you may end up loosing a whole lot of points.
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Donald Dennis
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Awakening wrote:
One thing (among many) that I like about Go is that resignation is accepted, it's part of the rules.
I've never really had a problem with one side resigning in a two player game. With two players that seems like a reasonable end point, but with three or more players, surrender usually feels like a spike in the wheel before the game is over.
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Magnus Esko
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Walsfeo wrote:
Awakening wrote:
One thing (among many) that I like about Go is that resignation is accepted, it's part of the rules.
I've never really had a problem with one side resigning in a two player game. With two players that seems like a reasonable end point, but with three or more players, surrender usually feels like a spike in the wheel before the game is over.

Yeah, I get your point. In most games with more then 2 players it will be a problem to continue playing if anyone resigns, or has to leave for any reason. On the other hand, games that has player elimination is annoying for those that gets knocked out of the game, unless the game is really short.

This made me think about games like Agricola and Notre Dame. There should be only minor problems if a player leaves in between rounds in these games.

Another annoying things is when people start messing with the game if they get too far behind. Like in Mow, we have had the problem with some players trying to score as badly as possible when they feel like they are already loosing. That game isn't even that long, I don't see why they can't just play it normally until the end.
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Magnus Nyberg
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This was very interesting to listen to. Magnus send the link to some people that might need to listen to it. devil
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Donald Dennis
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nybba wrote:
This was very interesting to listen to. Magnus send the link to some people that might need to listen to it. devil
I've always said Magnus was a man of taste and style!

Any other social contract thoughts?

What about late arriving players? What about borrowing someone else's game or helping put games away? How about drinks on the table or eating while playing?

What are the quirks that have impacted your game group's social contract?
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Magnus Esko
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People in my gamegroup tend to come around the time they say they will come, not always though. We usually have people dropping in and out during our game days and I always make sure we play games that have a suitable length. If anyone is running a bit late we usually talk about bordgames or some other subject and set up the game etc while waiting.

I do allow drinks on the table but no messy stuff to eat. I have only once seen anyone spill anything, she's not a regular and it wasn't my game. However, if anyone breaks anything of mine they better be prepared to pay for replacement parts.

I generally don't lend out my games, it happens occasionally though. I take good care of my games and I do not think anyone is scared of lending me anything because I treat their stuff as well as or better then my own.
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Magnus Nyberg
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I have had friend with HUGE elbows that tend to tip the glasses over so I'm not that happy with drinks. Chips and other fat snacks geet me a bit unhappy to.

For showin up on time I usualy have no problem unless you start to miss someone or they show up 2 hours late, have happened, or that thay have to eat and the they have to do the dishes and they finaly never show up. So 20-25 minutes is ok if you just give a heads up about it.

I have a lot of rollplaying games that where lend to people I no longer see so I have a bit of a problem with that If the timeframe for the loan will be long or if it something I am still trying to read about or try out.
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Bob Wieman
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This was referred to a bit in the episode, but the trickiest thing about the social contracts of a game group is that they are almost all implicit.

Because of that, your group's social conventions are usually invisible to someone outside the group; I find that most "breaches" of social contract happen when someone new appears. And it doesn't occur to them that the way they shuffle cards may look to me _exactly_ like mutilating my nice expensive cards, or whatever. (Eric and Scott pointed out the interest in going to other gaming groups and discovering their unique social contracts.)

And this is always extremely awkward, because that person is making a first impression on you (possibly that you don't want them in the group, because they "ruin everything"), and you're making a first impression on them (possibly that you're a little tyrant, telling them how they have to be if they want the "honor" of playing with you). The logistic dynamics of the situation (stereotypically, they're a newbie, you're the "guy who explains the games") exacerbate the social strain even further. (To me, this is a good reason for Scott's policy of "playing nicer" when he's playing in a group as a guest.)

Really, it's a small miracle game groups ever form and last.

The other thing to think about is that while everyone asserts that games are supposed to be fun, they're also constructed environments of struggle and competition. The idea is that people can explore (and enjoy) competition without it "mattering", in the way competing for a job or for survival is.

Sometimes this can be very constructive (a younger kid knows they can't outrun or outfight their older sister, but winning a game can make them feel a sense of equality). Sometimes, however, it feels destructive, like when a real-life conflict plays itself out over a gameboard, or people are "working out" their own issues about competition and struggle in a game, and you seem to be bearing the brunt of it.

(In the second case, take consolation that you're providing valuable therapy for them; that might not adequately compensate for the fact that you didn't have any fun, though.)

The social contract, to a large extent, is the (unspoken) agreement about how and where the lines between "in-game" competition and "real life" competition will be drawn. And what your presumptions about the social contract probably depend as much on your 2nd-grade gym teacher as whatever group you're with.
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Bob Wieman
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I forgot to mention: Giles's intro was excellent. I completely imagined him doing a one-man production of some high-energy World War II movie. Possibly in front of a class of kids.

I listened to the podcast a month later, and laughed all over again.
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Donald Dennis
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Yeah! Giles has had great impact on our show, we're glad to have him on board.
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Giles Pritchard
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Scholeologist wrote:
I forgot to mention: Giles's intro was excellent. I completely imagined him doing a one-man production of some high-energy World War II movie. Possibly in front of a class of kids.

I listened to the podcast a month later, and laughed all over again.


[q-"Walsfeo"]Yeah! Giles has had great impact on our show, we're glad to have him on board. [/q]

Ha! Thanks guys! I've been busy with work lately - hence my short leave. Next episode I should be back - then I hope to do a short series on my flavour of the month - Battlelore!

Cheers,

Giles.
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