Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shinobi Sunday vs. Pirates

The pirates are beating out the ninja this weekend, for me at least.

Last night, we (being the Board Game Group core of myself, Alex, Josh, Steve, and Pat) got together to try out one of Steve's new games, Lords of the Spanish Main.

It was an interesting game, but the night was a bit of a bust.  One player couldn't keep his personal baggage from affecting his emotions so took too many things in game personally.  One player was insisting that we stick to the rules (especially regarding turn order) at all times while a few others were treating this as a learning experience and willing to allow mulligans.  One was really upset that the heavy negotiation the game requires was devolving into petty bickering at several points.  One was unhappy that two players were basically playing along with the Spanish "controller" player, giving advantages to that player in return for keeping near him in points, while the other two felt they needed to disrupt the "controller" to keep the game from being a runaway.

Not naming any names this time, as I usually do, because this game rubbed some of us the wrong way and I know at least one of the guys reads the blog regularly and I've sent the link to all of them to read.  (Josh, if you want to chime in, I'd appreciate if you also try to keep it impersonal).  I'm no saint.  I was one of the support the Spanish Controller until I felt I could take over (and if we hadn't stopped the game when we did, I had a good chance to take the lead for doing that--no guarantee I'd have made it or not, I may have acted prematurely there).  I also fall on the side of using the game as a learning exercise.  We played two games that we cut off quickly, but the long game still felt like getting to know the game to me, especially as for some reason I wasn't able to get the rules online.  I kept getting an error page trying to visit the game maker's homepage.

Anyway, I don't hold anything personal against the guys, but while I would like to play that game again, Steve did make a valid point that he doesn't want to play this game again with this group

In other pirates vs. ninja news, our plan is to go see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie this afternoon or evening.  So it's a very pirate weekend.


  1. Yeah, it was a cluster fuck. I actually just finished buying the game. I really liked it.

    In regards to meta-gaming, there are fundamental issues with the amount and quality that must occur. The game actively supports and encourages deals and double dealing. That being the case, a certain amount of how a person sees where the game is going should and will be used to support negotiations. It can deteriorate.

    In regards to the double dealing, this is a game where you need to step back. It is a game of screwing over everyone in the end to win by one or two points. If you are the type of person who will take this personally, you probably should never play this game.

    There is a steep learning curve to the game that I personally underestimated and was only aware of once the game was finished. However, once that curve is passed, I stand by what I said about the moving between game sequences as potentially effecting both strategy and the core rules themselves. However, as I said, I was the only one I think who was playing the game as the game and not as a practice run and learning game. My bad. I misunderstood what we were doing.

    In regards to what you and Pat were doing, it was a valid strategy that almost won you the game. I think what Steve forgot is that just because you try to talk someone into something, doesn't mean they will do what you want. Other people have their own valid ideas on the actions they think will win them the game. I quit because there was too much tension and I was tired by the end.

    That play run aside, I think that the pirate mechanism was interesting and should have been or could have been better explored. I liked the game enough to pay international shipping cost to South Korea for my own copy. ^^

    Either way, GG, your strategy could have won you the game.

  2. It sounds very similar to the game Junta in terms of it's negotiation and double-dealings. That's another game I wouldn't recomend playing unless you have the right sort of group.
    I would suggest that it's usually a good idea to treat such a game as a "beer and pretzels' game where it's about having a good laugh rather than winning.
    if you have even one uber-competitive or highly-strung player at the table, it becomes something of an ordeal.

  3. Yeah, I rethought my stance on the metagaming issue. I still think that there was too much unproductive talk at times, but there does NEED to be a lot of that sort of talk for that kind of game to work.

    And for everyone to be able to play without taking it too personally.

    I actually almost walked when the first big blow-up happened. If the food hadn't just arrived, I was ready to grab my stuff and just head out. I really hope more of the same doesn't happen when we get Gamma World going.

  4. you and me both.