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[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

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Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Matthew - Boy do I ever agree with the "life is subjective" comment! :)

And based on your last comment, if the game is only an *actual* problem in ~10% of the games that you play, then would you not agree that looking at games as a whole, it may not be that huge of an issue?

Zaiga - I was waiting for someone to bring that up, and with regards to Axis and Allies, I guess it all depends on the group you play with. While it's true that there are two "basic sides" in the game (the Axis and the Allies) there's a tremendous amount of latitude in-game to allow for what amounts to leader bashing, *even among team members on the same side!*

This most often finds itself expressed in terms of a shift in strategy that places more emphasis and pressure of the "guy who's ahead" (the specific country that's doing the best)....his team mates will invariably--again, depending on the group you're playing with-- concoct new strategies that specifically place the big dog in harm's way. This could be written off as simply stating that the most powerful player has the most resources, and if he's doing his job, he'll put himself in harm's way, but in practice, that's not always the case (and several of the folks I play with have as much as admitted that if I'm doing especially well, they'll goad me into making an attack that will help THEIR position, while not really advancing our overall position in-game.

Thus, my comments.

But there are TONS of combat heavy strat games (war games being a convenient subset of these, but by no means the only subset) out there thare are, or can easily be played as multiplayer. Shogun (both the original and the MB remake), Fortress America (to stick with the MB theme), KingMaker, StarFleet Battles, MtG, etc, and they all have a built in element of exactly the mechanism I describe, not by virtue of faulty game design, but simply due to the environment created in-game, and in all of the examples mentioned above, the mechanism is certainly a healthy one (weakening my opponent invariably winds up strengthening my own position...as opposed to other examples that have been given).

In listening to the excellent points raised here, I've revised my position somewhat. Initially, I didn't see it as a problem at all. Now, I see it as a problem for a specific subset of games, although what, precisely defines that subset, I'm not quite able to put my finger on yet....

-=Vel=-

Shellhead
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

The only time that I see leader bashing as a problem is in a multi-player game with the unrestricted ability to attack other players every turn.

For example, in the pre-ccg version of Illuminati, there was a terrible leader-bashing problem, because as one player got close to winning, there was nothing to prevent every single other player in the game from attacking that leader in one turn, potentially tearing him down to last place in very short order. We joked that it took the first half of an Illuminati game for everybody to get close to winning, and the second half of the game for someone to finally win.

By contrast, leader-bashing was less of a problem in Divine Right, as some players lacked geographic proximity to launch an attack on a perceived leader without at least spending several turns (of a 20-turn game) travelling to reach the leader's homeland or troops.

One of my favorite multi-player CCGs both had a great way to prevent leader-bashing. In Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, you can usually only directly attack the player seated on your left, and defend yourself against the player on your right.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Velociryx wrote:
And based on your last comment, if the game is only an *actual* problem in ~10% of the games that you play, then would you not agree that looking at games as a whole, it may not be that huge of an issue?

No, I'd consider it quite high, as the majority of games that I play don't have any problem at all. I would say that about 25% of the games I play (mostly Euro-style games) have a discernable design problem that I don't feel was properly addressed in the design or development. That means that about 40% of the games with problems have a leader-bashing problem, making it a big problem (I may be high, it may be more like 6%/25% of games with problems, but it's in there somewhere and still way too common).

-- Matthew

Velociryx
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[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Hmmm...Okay, I admit it...I'm not following your math.

Earlier, you said that of the games you played, ~10% of them have a big time leader-bashing problemo (and a higher % could possibly have it, but avoid it due to superior design...thus, we can discount those, as they don't have the problem, yes?).

So...of the games you play, 10% have a leader bash issue that really gets in the way of game play, and 25% have major design flaws in general (some of these may be leader bash, and some may be other stuff).

First, let me ask if the above synopsis is an accurate one.

If it is....then I'm not gettin' where the 40% figure creeps in.

I don't guess it matters a bunch at the end of the day...I mean, countries will not fall cos we disagree on the point, I was just trying to slip into your shoes and see where you were comin' from...:)

-=Vel=-

Epigone
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Velociryx wrote:
So...of the games you play, 10% have a leader bash issue that really gets in the way of game play, and 25% have major design flaws in general (some of these may be leader bash, and some may be other stuff).

First, let me ask if the above synopsis is an accurate one.

If it is....then I'm not gettin' where the 40% figure creeps in.
If there are 100 games, 10 have leader bashing issues and 25 have flaws. So 10/25 = 0.4 = 40% of games with flaws have leader bashing issues.

clearclaw
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[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

zaiga wrote:
So, I don't perceive leader bashing as a design flaw per say, but rather as a feature which, as a player, you may or may not like.

Yep.

Leader bashing is often though to equate to both king making and players winning through no skill of their own (eg happened to be in the right place when everyone else ran out of bash cards). I can't argue with the equation. How much this is a problem depends on your players. For some it is just fine or even expected and welcomed, but others will be entirely put off by it.

Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

re: Epigone and Fastlearner...ahh, I get you...not sure why I didn't see it before...eyes too tired I guess. 40% of the 25% of the games with problems have problems in the leadership bashing arena.

IMO, that figure is prolly on the high side, but I DO see where you're coming from now. :)

-=Vel=-

EDIT: In any case, this still only amounts to (approximately, of course) 1 game in 10 that has a problem in this area, and while that is and can be vexing, it's still just 1/10th of the total "population" of games out there. Rather than call it a major problem, I'd be more inclined to class it as a minor nuisance, but that's just me.

MattMiller
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[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Quote:
EDIT: In any case, this still only amounts to (approximately, of course) 1 game in 10 that has a problem in this area, and while that is and can be vexing, it's still just 1/10th of the total "population" of games out there. Rather than call it a major problem, I'd be more inclined to class it as a minor nuisance, but that's just me.

As I understand it, you're saying that it's a problem in just 1/10th of the published games. But the main focus of this website is games that have yet to be designed. I expect that leader bashing may turn up as a problem much more frequently in prototype games. It's certainly worth discussing ways of fixing the problem when it arises.

By the way, I agree that it isn't necessarily a problem if games tend to involve players ganging up on the leader. It's just a problem if (as others have pointed out) either a) players are too often forced to make a frustrating choice between a move that advances their position and a move that prevents another player from winning, or b) the game degenerates into a tedious cycle of somebody gaining the lead, then getting bashed back down to size, then somebody else gaining the lead, etc.

In other words: leader bashing, like any emergent property of a game, is only a problem if it makes the game unfun.

-- Matt

Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Hmmm...yes and no. The initial comment was that it was a major problem in some 10% of games played (at least...this was the way I understood it). As most of us are designers at one level or another, I'd class prototypes and games in process as "games played," right along with professionally published titles, although admittedly, others may make more distinctions than this.

In my own *personal* experience (counting all games played, whether professionally published or no), I've probably only run across 1 game in 20 where leader bashing was a genuine, significant problem, and even then, it's a question of severity.

In any case, you're quite right...I got no problems whatsoever with participating in discussions of how to fix it when it arises...I only question the validity of the assumption that it is, in fact, a major, pervasive issue in some vast percentage of games.

Where that is concerned, I contend that it is not, and would class it as an annoyance (in terms of its actual % appearance in the total population of games), rather than an epidemic.

-=Vel=-

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

My intent was to say that I see some kind of nameable problem in about 25% of the published games I play, and that some 25-40% of those have a leader-bashing problem.

Certainly the point here on the site is to be able to identify these types of problems along with possible solutions. Nameable problems appear in a whole lot more than 25% of plays of unpublished prototypes, more like 50-75%.

This includes my own protos, at least early on -- it's later when I've cleaned up the nameable problems that the painful work begins. And it's that very reason that finding names and descriptions for various problems is so helpful, to make them easy to later identify and potentially to resolve. Even if a problem only occurs in 5% of unpublished game protos, the ability to name it and review associated potential solutions is really quite valuable.

-- Matthew

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Velociryx wrote:
In any case, you're quite right...I got no problems whatsoever with participating in discussions of how to fix it when it arises...I only question the validity of the assumption that it is, in fact, a major, pervasive issue in some vast percentage of games.

Well, it doesn't really matter how often it arises in games you play does it? What matters is that it is a feature/problem in some games, and that it might a problem in one of the designs some of us design. It's important to recognize a "bash the leader" problem when it occurs, why it occurs, when it is not a good feature of the game, and how you might be able to fix it, or even better, prevent it.

So, let's discuss that instead of arguing in how many % of games exactly it occurs.

Velociryx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
[TiGD] Runaway leader/leader bashing!

Zaiga - We have been doing that very thing. I was not the one who brought up percentages, and while I apologize for the (relatively short) tangent, it WAS brought up as a portion of the discussion, and thus, fair game for comment, yes?

And, if you'll note the three pages of discussion so far, there have been no less than a full score of methodologies mentioned to combat it when it does occur. ;)

-=Vel=-

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