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Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What Would You Do?? >> Hypothetical Gaming Situations

Puerto Rico: You've invited a relatively new gamers to join your group. After playing a few lighter games to get into the mood, you pull out Puerto Rico. The new gamer has never played Puerto Rico before, but is eager to give it a shot. The first time player sits to the right of an experienced player (by default, since the rest of you are familiar with the game).

Several turns into the game, you find yourself in this situation. Two ships are nearly full of sugar and corn, the last one empty. The inexperienced player goes first for the turn, and is about to select the Craftsman to produce a bunch of corn and indigo, but has no warehouse. You're to the right of the first time player, and cringe as you envision the seasoned pro picking the Captain to ship all the indigo he's about to produce and force the newbie to lose everything he just produced.

What do you do?
A) Say nothing. The newbies got to learn the ropes at some time.
B) Ask why the Craftsman appeals to him - perhaps he doesn't realize the impact of his decision
C) Point out the problem - tell him how the move benefits the next player
D) Offer a suggestion on how another role might be in his best interest right now
E) ___________ (fill in your own response)


  • Easy answer.

    C -- point out how the move benefits the next player.

    Let the seasoned shark argue his way out of that one. If he's smart, he'll agree with the comment and point out the self-interest of the newbie and of you. Any other move by the shark seals his fate.

    By Blogger Jim, at 10:07 AM  

  • I learn more by making my mistakes. Although I appreciate someone pointing out my errors when I am learning a game and allowing me to retract the move, I will likely make the same mistake again.

    After I got the basics down, let me make my mistakes.

    By Blogger Coldfoot, at 11:40 AM  

  • The problem here is that you're in the middle of the game. To answer this, I would have to know what kind of table talk has been allowed in the game up until now.

    If basically none, then without even cringing, I wouldn't say anything. So you lose a game; big deal. Then feel out the player for post-game analysis. If he or she is amenible, point out the dangers of Craftsman and help him or her see how the Craftsman choice led to his loss, a common newbie mistake.

    The correct answer is to point out BEFORE the game starts that the "first game is a learning experience", and that PR being the game that it is, you will be pointing out some egregious errors before he or she makes them during his or her first game. If this was a game where it simply hurt his or her own chances, he or she may decide that he or she would rather figure it out on his or her own. PR, however, is a game where everyone is happier if everyone understands at least the basic concepts of strategy. Modern Art is another example, I hear.


    By Blogger Yehuda, at 12:28 PM  

  • C

    In our group, the practice (sometimes stated, sometimes implied) is that the newbie gets free, unbiased advice for the entirety of the first game. Therefore, the n00b should be informed why his move is poor.

    If this is the second game that he has played, though, he's fair game.

    Again, though, this is a practice that is understood in our group

    By Blogger Seth Ben-Ezra, at 3:49 PM  

  • E) Say nothing until the move is over.

    I love giving advice. I can't help myself. But it annoys some people...

    So, I TRY to keep with the following guidelines:

    a) Always ask the person whether I can make a comment before making it.
    b) Always make the comment after the move, not before or during.

    In the situation you mention, the move is going to advantage someone else. By me 'correcting' them, I am essentially shifting the balance in my favour - its not exactly a 'chivalrous' act. But if I tell them AFTER they made the move, they can start to learn the way of thinking required for the game, without worrying that I am trying to manipulate them to do the move I want them to do. Also, other parties are able to voice their opinion objectively (ie. they too aren't trying to manipulate the new player to do the move they want).

    By Blogger Matthew Wills, at 4:07 PM  

  • In my group, most of the players want a good idea of the strategy as well as the mechanics of the game. That said, we generally don't offer up advice unless the player is hesitating on their turn, or asks for advice. Should they ask for advice, we wouldn't suggest any particular move, just point out in general terms what effects and possible counter-moves would likely result from each role, then let the player make their own choice. We mainly believe that it helps to learn from your own mistakes, but we also don't want someone to have a bad experience their first time out by stomping them badly.

    After the game is when we would go over strategy in more detail and how a move might have been done a different way and improved the endgame results for that player.

    By Blogger Jacob, at 11:43 AM  

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