Let’s see if some theme can come out of noting some miscellaneous events.
A week ago, we played some five player V:TES. Nice to have that. In the first game, I was playing a new Hermana Mayor deck and my predator borrowed my Gangrel bruise bleed deck that put Bernard, the Scourge in play on turn two …
Fidus, across table was a target for being bloodhunted. Predator’s Lectora, and every one of my crypt members. My third turn consisted of Perfectionist, bleed, get bounced, Impundulu blocks, Weighted Walking Stick, long. That Hermana got bloodhunted. My fourth turn consisted of Perfectionist, bleed, get bounced, Impundulu blocks, Weighted Walking Stick, long. No more Hermanas got bloodhunted, even though I rushed backwards to try to take out Bernard, Killer of Decks … and failed. My predator got ousted with me doing pretty much nothing of consequence forward and only torping one Gangrel with WWS Brute Force.
I won the second game with !Nos with Dominate where I could have called Ancilla Empowerment to oust both my predator and prey but just tapped out bled my prey and ousted my predator the next turn. I figured Delaying Tactics, which got played but got DIed since I was giving my new predator a VP, 4 pool, and costing myself 4 pool.
The third game we were supposed to play fast, so lots of fast decks saw Dementation bleed win.
Yesterday, we played BattleTech for the first time in a month. The scenario I came up with was for light mechs and I had six points on the edge of the maps as victory point spots to hold for a turn to encourage spreading out. Worked well. I played pretty badly, which is funny because I’m the one coming up with the scenarios and I often make terrible decisions in my own scenarios.
That is, why do I make terrible decisions in BattleTech?
Because I like playing recklessly.
I was telling someone about how I played in the BT scenario and the response was “you must not like chess”, which is absolutely true. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m warming up on my theme. I want to play chess recklessly. I’m a romantic player (as opposed to technical player). I want the sudden victory, the massive sacrifice(s) to get some mating combination through. While some players can do that, they probably also do something I don’t have much interest in doing when I play chess – think.
It’s funny. There are some games that I think a lot when I play. V:TES is one of those games. I weigh the probability of what’s in people’s hands, the probability of my drawing particular cards, run all sorts of potential play scenarios. Then, there are games I’m not interested in thinking at all. BattleTech, for me, is more about “close and fire”.
Play. Think, when I play. I think about games all of the time when I’m not playing them. Though, I noticed that I do analyze games in ways that don’t have to do with actually playing those games.
There may be some correlation to how invested I am in the game, but I can think of an example of a game I think a lot about when I play but have minimal investment – Kill Doctor Lucky. I’m trying to think of an example of a game I’m more invested in but don’t think much about. BT is something I’m somewhat or middling invested in, and RPGs are a different animal. HeroQuest was something I could be highly invested in, but I was usually the villain, so I didn’t need to make good decisions. I’ll play mahjong recklessly, but I know when I’m playing it recklessly.
Magic was something I was partially invested in that I would play recklessly. Same with Dragon Dice. What about before I started playtesting the Babylon 5 CCG? No, it wasn’t really suited to reckless play. Well, there were hyperspeed openings that I latched on to, but I didn’t find those all that reckless. Hardly anyone would play the counter to them. It’s kind of hard to play Ultimate Combat! recklessly since it’s largely a game of massive offense, though I suppose it’s possible – not holding a Speed 1 or Strength 1 and a foundation open to play the advantage on defense.
Suicide Dragon, the only particularly memorable Wheel of Time CCG deck name I came up with (Forsaken.dec was too obvious), was not reckless at all, strategically. It was the last, best hope for not getting smashed by the vastly superior Shadow side prior to the Light side getting broken to fight broken in Dark Prophecies. Since you were going to lose, anyway, you might as well throw your characters into challenges and hope Thom takes out key cards through random discard.
Getting back to Magic and Dragon Dice, though, for a moment. I think I see the pattern. While both games have a creation element where one’s worth as a human being is judged by how well one can construct a deck/army, I didn’t feel like decks/armies for those games were all that important. Now, one could say I did just as goofy things with B5 and V:TES as I did with Magic (Essence Vortex creatureless for the win!), so maybe focusing on deck construction is the wrong point. The right point might be that there are many games where I not only don’t care much about winning but also, importantly, don’t care about not winning.
One thing B5 and V:TES have in common is the multiplayer aspect and the potential for making games suck for other people when you don’t pull your weight. If I got trounced in Magic, it was 10 minutes or whatever of a game I don’t even enjoy playing that much when I win. Dragon Dice always had the problem to me that I cared so much less about playing it than about thinking about it.
I have felt a responsibility with B5 and V:TES to try to make the game worthwhile for others. After all, victories are of the hollowish sort if your opponents are goofing around. I probably do feel some responsibility to play well in two-player play since the argument is the same. I just don’t focus as much on it because it’s so much easier to goof off in a multiplayer game to where it’s more of a potential concern.
Consider, for a tangent, how not focusing on results might also impact play style. I certainly approach the importance of doing stuff versus the importance of results very differently for some games.
WoT was a CCG I didn’t start playing until after I was hardcore playtesting, as evidenced by being one of the few people in the world to playtest the original set (beyond the precons). I was always in playtest mode, aka results matter mode, where there was a responsibility to show what’s what. Ultimate Combat! was my favorite CCG. I really just enjoyed not only building decks but playing the game. I might have made some goofy decks, like the white belt, techniqueless deck, but, more than possibly any game I’ve ever played, I was probably more into every game I played of it. I also was outclassed during much of my career, so I probably felt like I had to prove myself as a player. Yes, I actually was competitive when it came to UC! because, you know, I wanted to gain points [results matter!] to move up in the ranks. I might qualify as an honorary black belt or something by this point, but I never progressed past brown belt in terms of what plastic ranking card I received.
I know why I like to play games recklessly. And, I suppose I’m seeing why I don’t with some games. The other problem with playing V:TES recklessly is that you might spend 30 minutes playing and 90 minutes waiting for everyone else to finish, something that doesn’t happen with two-player games.