Librarium Online Forums banner
1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I derailed a thread with this topic so I have started a new thread specifically for it.

Do people play to win? Or play for fun? Or both?

I contend that people always try to win when they play, even if they say they play for fun. And it is possible that playing for fun can mean trying to win even though you know from the outset you are probably going to lose. It can be fun winning and fun losing but the aim is always winning (unless you are trying to cheer someone up and let them win, in which case your not actually even playing the same game, and you are actually trying to win another game)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,800 Posts
Honestly, I play to show off my army and hang out with the guys, no chicks allowed, pushing little chits around the game table, talking BS about nothing and guzzling energy drinks because beer isn't allowed in the store. I've played 40k for long enough that I don't feel a need to prove myself with a winning streak. Well... maybe sometimes.

I'm reminded of a scene from early Star Trek TNG, where the bridge crew is trying to teach Worf how to relax. As I recall:

Riker: "How'd the game go?"

Worf: "We destroyed the enemy!"

Riker: "That's great but remember it's more important to have fun."

Worf: "If winning is not important then why keep score?"

Troi (aside to Riker): "We're still working on him."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
928 Posts
I feel that the two philosophies aren't really at odds with one another. I honestly feel that some game companies use these concepts to justify poor game design and balance by fostering a community that is against 'trying to win too much.'

What were we supposed to do, exactly?

I found the Warmachine Mark I Philosophy very refreshing. Basically, they said "Game balance is our job- so go ahead and try to win in the best way you can." They then made a pretty well balanced game where choosing your faction isn't a tactical decision (ok, it took quite a bit of errata, but they got there).

I prefer this to games where my opponent looks over my force list and claims that certain elements of my army should be banned. I mean, really, why are they in the codex to begin with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
One can play for fun and still aim to win; its all about whether you care more for the journey (having a fun time playing) or the destination (defeating your opponent).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,252 Posts
My signature line says it all.....

Not that I am trying to be an incompetent and unworthy adversary, my playing opportunities and companions are limited, so I just don't push every little rule and such to my advantage and sometimes will forget to roll that extra save or what not - just to keep their enthusiasm up. Who wants to play when you lose every time? That is not to say I lose every game, no sir!! To my boys, seeing the look on their face when they do beat me gives me much more satisfaction than if I had won the game.

In fact, last night, was a 4-player game with two of my sons against me and my wife (she broke out her Fairy Wood Elf Army) and we had a blast. My wife and I got beat in the very last turn.

Of course, this is not the same philosophy for the lout at the FLGS that squeals with delight at every point he scores - death to him and his army!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I play a proper game I always try to win, but my lists are not made to win, they are made to have what I like. So I most often lose. But I still try to win and I feel like I have succeeded to some extent when I kill a general in a challenge or a big monster or whatever. I enjoy the game as long as I kill something and I only feel disappointed if I kill nothing or my opponent kills nothing.

There really is not point playing if your not trying to win. People say they don't try to but I think what they really mean is they don't care if they win, and a good game is a game where you have some measure of success i.e. you put up a valiant defense despite being crushed, or you perform some incredible feat.

I don't play to win against my son, I try to lose, because I just enjoy seeing my boy happy. He's 4 and has always been fascinated with it, so we play a version with just a few small units of 9, or 3 monstrous inf, and we all move 6" and when we fight we roll dice and the dice roll is how many are hit, and then for every hit he rolls 2+ to kill, and when it's my turn I roll 1 to kill. Monstrous infantry roll two dice to hit, monsters roll 3. We don't play with human teams because my wife thinks it's too violent, so we play with orcs, lizard men, beastmen. His favourite is lizardmen.

But that's the exception. and even so, if your playing to let someone win your not really playing the game, your playing at something else i.e. Being a good parent, or trying to get your girlfriend interested in the hobby etc.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've also noticed a trend where the more you care about winning, the more satisfaction you get from winning. And conversely the less you care, the less satisfaction you get (not to the point of dissatisfaction, just less).

But the con is that those people who get more satisfaction out of winning, also take there loses harder.
Has anyone else seen evidence of this spectrum?
 

·
Double Clutching Weasel
Joined
·
3,279 Posts
I'll apologize ahead for the multi-post. Just a lot coming along here, so it'd be tough to put it all together in a single reply.

I derailed a thread with this topic so I have started a new thread specifically for it.

Do people play to win? Or play for fun? Or both?

I contend that people always try to win when they play, even if they say they play for fun. And it is possible that playing for fun can mean trying to win even though you know from the outset you are probably going to lose. It can be fun winning and fun losing but the aim is always winning (unless you are trying to cheer someone up and let them win, in which case your not actually even playing the same game, and you are actually trying to win another game)
That's completely different, parents let their kids win to boost their kids' self esteem. They do it to make their children happy ( I know I have two boys). Playing hacky and not competing is fun but it's not a game, it's only a game when you score. The comparison would be mucking round with a group of chaos warriors fighting staged fights against random stuff just to stuff around and practice seeing how they go against different things.
Winning and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive. Some people find enjoyment in winning, and in competition. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all prioritize our gameplay wants differently. That is often why I bring up the "playing games with our children" example. In that example, we are still trying to win, at least on some small part, because we want teach our children the sense of accomplishment that comes with "earning" their wins. And for that to happen, we have to make a reasonable attempt to win ourselves. But, our (as parents in this example) desire to win, is such a lower priority than the desire to foster our children's enjoyment, that the "win desire" becomes negligible.

Let me make a semantic clarification, because while I think it is nit-picky, I also think it is important. The purpose of a competition, is to win. The purpose of a game, is to play (ie: have fun). A game can be played competitively. There is definitely room for overlap. But overlap is not required, even if the players of the game can be considered "adversarial". Beyond just our parent example (where we are playing the game, but we are not playing competitively), let me provide another comparison: Pen & Paper RPGs, ie: Dungeons and Dragons.

In P&P RPGs, you inherently have conflict (often combats) set up between two parties: the GM and the Players. Inherently, this is an adversarial relationship. The GM wants his scenario (monsters, typically) to kill the Players' Characters. The Players, in contrast, want to kill the monsters. As per most adversarial conflicts, there can generally only be one "winner"; either the PCs or the monsters have to die. The problem is: you have a huge power disparity because one of the parties has all the power and is making all the rules. He can "win" simply by stating so. So how do we solve this problem of competition between adversaries between two parties that have asymmetrical power?

Well, we simply change the "wants" of the parties so that "winning" isn't the end goal. In part, it takes a change in mindset, and using such words as "collaborative story telling", and all the other feel-good verbiage that came about in the late-90's and early noughts. Even though the conflict my be seemingly adversarial by nature, you redefine the purpose of the game in a manner where "the enjoyment of the parties involved matters more than winning". Yes, a GM can simply "win" the conflict by dropping an Elder Dragon on a party of 1st level characters, but he doesn't because he doesn't care about winning so much as he cares about his players having a good time. In the same vein, a Tau player can simply "win" the conflict by dropping 6 Riptides against his opponent, but if he cares about his opponent having a good time more than winning, it isn't in his best interest to do so.

Which is all a long winded way of saying: there is more than one way to play a game. I feel comfortable saying that games, and the playing thereof, are good things. How we play those games (competitively, for each other's enjoyment, as a learning experience, etc) is what becomes a subjective value.

I feel where these situations diverge, is in how we value "winning" vs "our opponent's enjoyment" in a "normal gameplay" environment. Generalizing, it seems that PUG'ers tend to value the former more, whereas people that play among friends place more value in the latter. In that sense, and by their own admission, GW games are more designed and balanced with the the latter value in mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
And remember that sometimes winning can be no fun. If it's by such a huge margin that you barely even had to try, what fun is that? It's not a win you're going to remember because it was basically a foregone conclusion.

To use a real-world example, imagine the last Super Bowl. Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos, huge build up to the championship game because both teams dominated their respective divisions, so everyone expected an amazing clash. And we got a 43-8 win, with the Seahawks up by more than 20 after 15 minutes. Yes, my team won, and I was happy, but in an incredibly anticlimactic fashion. What should have been a game to remember for years instead was a boring-ass blowout that was akin to seeing professional league players beat on high school kids.
 

·
Double Clutching Weasel
Joined
·
3,279 Posts
I feel that the two philosophies aren't really at odds with one another. I honestly feel that some game companies use these concepts to justify poor game design and balance by fostering a community that is against 'trying to win too much.'

What were we supposed to do, exactly?

I found the Warmachine Mark I Philosophy very refreshing. Basically, they said "Game balance is our job- so go ahead and try to win in the best way you can." They then made a pretty well balanced game where choosing your faction isn't a tactical decision (ok, it took quite a bit of errata, but they got there).

I prefer this to games where my opponent looks over my force list and claims that certain elements of my army should be banned. I mean, really, why are they in the codex to begin with?
I'm not going to dip into the balance discussion too deep, because I feel it carries so much baggage that it requires, nay DEMANDS!, its own thread.

Let me throw out the old caveat that no game is balanced. I love me some X-Wing, I consider it to be a "Great Game TM", yet Fantasy Flight Games has been trying and failing to unseat the Tie Swarm power build for two, soon to be three, releases. Plus, you have other Over-Powered builds like "Han Shoots First", if not a couple others. I mean, this is a company that has TWO factions and 12 models total, everything shares the same movement functionality and upgrades and they can't even balance their game. If a company cannot balance a game with relatively few variables, how can we expect balance from a company with 14 factions and WAAAAAYYY more unit types?

Of course, this all goes back to the premise: is balancing the game a desirable goal?

Now, balance is a "Nice Thing". I was more balance for all my games, in the same way I want everybody to have a roof over their head and to never go hungry. Sure, these are noble goals, but where we run into issues is when we see the ramifications in the Real World TM. What would it require to actually have 40k be a balanced game? What would the game become if it were extremely balanced? And mostly, why do we need balance?

To answer that last question: the main reason we want balance is to make competitive play more fair. That requires that your main desire (and that of your opponent) is to win, and so "balance" becomes crucial because you want "player choice" to be the deciding factor. But, if the function of the game changes, if the highest purpose is not "to win", then "balance" becomes less important. For example: if my highest goal is to "tell a good story", then I may or may not be concerned by "balance". In fact, "imbalance" might be a crucial part of my "tell a good story" goal. Afterall, "last stand" missions and "beating the odds" are, in part, what makes heroic stories so Heroic (with a capital Hero).

Or, to bring it back to my post above: GW might not provide the best toolset for a game where the highest goal is "to win" because the lack of balance is a detriment to competitive play. On the other hand, they do provide a spectacular toolset to provide a variety of play experiences (narrative stories) where sometimes the odds are even, and sometimes you have to fight to overcome the odds.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Winning and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I agree, but my point is about actual 'winning' its about the pursuit of winning

Some people find enjoyment in winning, and in competition. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all prioritize our gameplay wants differently.

I disagree with this to an extent. I think there is an underlying common factor which is trying to win. Some people value actual winning more, some people value the journey more.

That is often why I bring up the "playing games with our children" example. In that example, we are still trying to win, at least on some small part, because we want teach our children the sense of accomplishment that comes with "earning" their wins. And for that to happen, we have to make a reasonable attempt to win ourselves. But, our (as parents in this example) desire to win, is such a lower priority than the desire to foster our children's enjoyment, that the "win desire" becomes negligible.

This is all true but it isn't really 'playing the game'

Let me make a semantic clarification, because while I think it is nit-picky, I also think it is important. The purpose of a competition, is to win. The purpose of a game, is to play (ie: have fun). A game can be played competitively. There is definitely room for overlap. But overlap is not required, even if the players of the game can be considered "adversarial". Beyond just our parent example (where we are playing the game, but we are not playing competitively), let me provide another comparison: Pen & Paper RPGs, ie: Dungeons and Dragons.

It is always competitive, its just competitive to different degrees. A game is structured and these particular games are structured to have winners and losers, and if your not trying to compete to win, your not actually playing the game, you are just playing.

In P&P RPGs, you inherently have conflict (often combats) set up between two parties: the GM and the Players. Inherently, this is an adversarial relationship. The GM wants his scenario (monsters, typically) to kill the Players' Characters. The Players, in contrast, want to kill the monsters. As per most adversarial conflicts, there can generally only be one "winner"; either the PCs or the monsters have to die. The problem is: you have a huge power disparity because one of the parties has all the power and is making all the rules. He can "win" simply by stating so. So how do we solve this problem of competition between adversaries between two parties that have asymmetrical power?

Well, we simply change the "wants" of the parties so that "winning" isn't the end goal. In part, it takes a change in mindset, and using such words as "collaborative story telling", and all the other feel-good verbiage that came about in the late-90's and early noughts. Even though the conflict my be seemingly adversarial by nature, you redefine the purpose of the game in a manner where "the enjoyment of the parties involved matters more than winning". Yes, a GM can simply "win" the conflict by dropping an Elder Dragon on a party of 1st level characters, but he doesn't because he doesn't care about winning so much as he cares about his players having a good time. In the same vein, a Tau player can simply "win" the conflict by dropping 6 Riptides against his opponent, but if he cares about his opponent having a good time more than winning, it isn't in his best interest to do so.

Which is all a long winded way of saying: there is more than one way to play a game. I feel comfortable saying that games, and the playing thereof, are good things. How we play those games (competitively, for each other's enjoyment, as a learning experience, etc) is what becomes a subjective value.

Again, there is still the fundamental pursuit of the win which is a common factor in all games where winning is an option

I feel where these situations diverge, is in how we value "winning" vs "our opponent's enjoyment" in a "normal gameplay" environment. Generalizing, it seems that PUG'ers tend to value the former more, whereas people that play among friends place more value in the latter. In that sense, and by their own admission, GW games are more designed and balanced with the the latter value in mind.

There is an obvious answer here, handicaps. When there is a huge disparity between the skills of two players in a friendly game, you just give the lesser an increase in point limit, alternately you could offer strategic advice to them vice versa. The people who don't do this in friendly games wont have friends to game with.
This discussion came up in light of the ongoing developments in Warhammer 40k, and how its becoming more convoluted and unbalanced. I don't think that it is as much of an issue for friendly games because people use handicaps and house rules anyway to balance it (which makes it more fun because the odds of winning are better), but formal games suffer badly from following the rules and force people into playing it in a way that is less fun. I think that GW does not appreciate the fundamental reasons behind why people play, and the direction they are taking the game will see more people playing among friends and less people attending tournaments. Which really is a shame for the hobby. I think the only reason 7th is coming out so soon is because they realised this and are trying to fix it asap.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Of course, this all goes back to the premise: is balancing the game a desirable goal?
There is no goal more desirable in terms of game structure. And enjoyment is the most desirable in terms of game experience

and is randomly generating a narrative for enjoyment a game? or is it just playing around? you can't have a tourny where the winner is the one who had the most interesting events transpire in their "game" and this goes back to what i said at the end of my last post. It may be fine for casual games but formal games.....
 

·
Double Clutching Weasel
Joined
·
3,279 Posts
I play to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.
Oh Conan, thou art the guiding light to us all.


There really is not point playing if your not trying to win. People say they don't try to but I think what they really mean is they don't care if they win, and a good game is a game where you have some measure of success i.e. you put up a valiant defense despite being crushed, or you perform some incredible feat.
I feel like you're rather muddling your usage of "trying to win". Or rather, I'm not following you. At what point in goofing off is a player no longer "trying to win". If they take sub-par choices in the list building phase, are they no longer "trying to win"? If they take one sub-par choice, is that fine? What about two? What if they take an all-Grot army?

In the latter, nobody seriously thinks they will win with an all-Grot army. It's a fairly certain defeat prior to starting. Does that mean there's "no point in playing"?

Along the same lines, at how many "intentional poor tactical choices" is someone no longer "trying to win"? At the first? One every turn? Or do we have to go to some extreme like "all moves determined by the scatter dice"?

I just feel as though you're being rather nebulous in your criteria, but a large part of that is just because I don't quite understand where you're coming from. I need clarification.


I've also noticed a trend where the more you care about winning, the more satisfaction you get from winning. And conversely the less you care, the less satisfaction you get (not to the point of dissatisfaction, just less).

But the con is that those people who get more satisfaction out of winning, also take there loses harder.
Has anyone else seen evidence of this spectrum?
Oh, I definitely agree with what you're saying. In fact, I'd say that the reason that winning is so important to a player, is because they get such a high from winning, or such a crash from losing. For whatever reason, there is a thrill that comes with the win, and so it's only reasonable for a player to always be chasing that next thrill. On the flip side, missing out on that bump, would definitely cause a person to "crash", and be down on the loss. If there is an actual reward (ie: you feel good when winning), it's just going to reinforce the behavior all the more.

Basic human psychology, and all that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I feel like you're rather muddling your usage of "trying to win". Or rather, I'm not following you. At what point in goofing off is a player no longer "trying to win". If they take sub-par choices in the list building phase, are they no longer "trying to win"? If they take one sub-par choice, is that fine? What about two? What if they take an all-Grot army?

In the latter, nobody seriously thinks they will win with an all-Grot army. It's a fairly certain defeat prior to starting. Does that mean there's "no point in playing"?

Along the same lines, at how many "intentional poor tactical choices" is someone no longer "trying to win"? At the first? One every turn? Or do we have to go to some extreme like "all moves determined by the scatter dice"?

I just feel as though you're being rather nebulous in your criteria, but a large part of that is just because I don't quite understand where you're coming from. I need clarification.

lol, I'm not always that great at explaining things. I think the only time a player is not trying to win is when they don't want to enjoy the game, but instead they want to achieve something else i.e. letting someone win. when they do that they are no longer enjoying the game, but they are enjoying the fact that they are making someone feel good. Also, if someone is mucking around and trying to lose to see what happens, they still have set themself a goal and thus losing in a sense becomes winning.

as for your grot example, you could say that someone wanted to:
- handicap themselves
- they just like grots
- or they don't know better

but in any of those instances, they will not try to lose by deciding not to move into the open, deciding not to shoot, electing to flee every assault etc. They will try to win, they play to win. they may not have any hope, and they may not try very hard, but the whole purpose of playing is trying to win. regardless of whether you do or dont, or try hard or try little. That is my belief on the fundamental basis of these games.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Let me start by saying I am a very competitive person, just ask my students or athletes. I play to win every game I start. The win however is not always the 5-4 in victory points, but can be the perfect narrative game, killing a Space Marine with a grot, or surviving as many rounds as possible. The only time I'm really playing for the game ending win is if I'm in a tournament. Then I've paid money and I'm trying to win prizes.

The other times I play more to have fun, with winning in the back of my mind. I don't take tourney lists out for casual games, and I like to use units that have been deemed unfit by the Internet. Some of the most fun games I've had were ones that I lost. One of my nobs got his name, Big Big Bug Dodga or B3D for short, from I game I lost horribly. My friend was using the hierophant with the old 3++ save to test it out. Needless to say I charged my Orks right at it and surrounded it with trukk and stormboys. They all died except the one nob and I lost. I could've won the game if I ignored it and killed the rest of his army while my boys sat on the objectives, but that wouldn't have been fun and the win would've been meaningless. A lot of times I play like the fluff dictates my army would play too, so I do crazy stuff with my Orks while I'm more tactical with my Tau.

I do enjoy winning but only if the game is fun. I've steamrolled people before and the wins always felt dirty. One of my friends quit 40k because he lost every time. I tried to teach him, tell him what I was planning to do, and took very soft lists, but he just was a horrible general. That is really bad when I know he was a sore loser, and couldn't enjoy the game if he lost.

I think winning is everything but everyone has a different definition of winning. To one person it just means they had fun with their buds regardless of the outcome of the game, and to others they must be Conan.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Yeah but when your orcs attacked that hierophant you were hopeful that they would kill it, you didn't attack it because you wanted to die, although you knew you probably would.

Ps. no one (especially not me) is saying that having fun losing, is not winning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,252 Posts
...In P&P RPGs, you inherently have conflict (often combats) set up between two parties: the GM and the Players. Inherently, this is an adversarial relationship. The GM wants his scenario (monsters, typically) to kill the Players' Characters. ...
OMG - my old D&D group made the mistake of letting a new DM with this philosophy run a campaign. He definitely had the mentality, "I win if I kill them all!" - He was quite the turd and obviously never invited back into our group!!

Klajorne - I do understand what you are saying and agree, but that comment just brought back quite a fond old memory - actually, of how we got rid of the fellow, but that is best shared over a pint...

The whole point of most of the games I play with my family is to share time and have fun. Winning is certainly on my mind, because that is human nature, but just not at the top of the list. Totally different attitude when playing my forementioned lout at the FLGS... He needs to be crushed into unrecognizable paste!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
I used to be a hyper-competitive person when playing any game. Prone to getting pissed when not going first out when losing. Not minding shoving it in my opponents' faces when winning. Yeah I used to be "that guy" we all love to hate. Here's the problem with that mindset. There's a point, after all your wins, that another win is just that, a win. How many tournaments do you have to win, how many prizes must you attain before it all becomes "been there, done that."? On top of that, if you are truly that good, how long can you win before people stop playing against you? Especially if you act like an @$$ on top of it? It may take some, even at your FLGS, but eventually people would rather not play than play against you. If that starts happening, it doesn't how awesome you are at list building or playing the game. This game requires two people to play and both must get done enjoyment out of the game otherwise one of those people playing will stop playing.

So my point here is that I no longer care about winning. It's not that I don't try, I most certainly do. I go into every game with the intent to win. I also go into every game with concern for my opponent. I don't just want to be good at the game but I also want to be liked by the people I play against. That way when I ask fir a game, I get a "Sure!". Not a "I'd rather take this fork and jam it into a light socket."
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top