Boardgaming in Glasgow

Hands up if you are a grumpy baws - or how to hand Smith his ass on a plate

Ok so nobody likes to lose but we play so many games its bound to happen occasionally right. Even disregarding skilful play -something I have very little of- the law somebody wrote to take account of luck will come into play occasionally. Even discounting this some poor hallion will get stepped on - not because their opponent doesn't like them but because the game requires it. How one handles this ass-reddening paddle spanking determines to a large extent the size and character of their sexy-bits. One of life's great lessons ... or something.

Ok so the fact that Brass shares many letters with a slang term for Mary-Joanna shouldn't mean you have to smoke the weed -no not a euphemism- to do well at it.

I've played this once before and been less than impressed. However Ian tentatively suggested it earlier in the week and I felt it was only fair to try again. While the outcome was pretty similar again I enjoyed it a lot more. However Brass seems to benefit from knowing pretty well how things flow and how the different elements of the game score. So basically I was sharked by players because they were more familiar with the game rather than because they were more skilful.

I tried to develop my harbours early in the game with the intention of laying them quickly and kind of cornering the market. I only played one level 1 building trying to invest in pieces that would stay on the board after canal scoring and earn me points twice. I realised this was a problematic strategy as other players stopped building cotton mills and exporting as soon as they spotted my plan. I then had to concentrate on building mills myself to flip my harbours and the whole thing got pretty messy. I couldn't invest too heavily in tracks and canals and I got royally humped in the final scoring. However just for the record :) I did not view this as either directly or indirectly Ian's fault. In fact I felt fairly positive about Ian at this point -though in a purely heterosexual fashion - just so we're clear-

It was about 10:10 pm and I was looking for something falling in the 45mins-ish category and was very happy when Smith whipped out Manhattan. Its a game I love and I play regularly with non-gaming family members. I have to explain that my family do enjoy games but only in a ruthless, chop your knob off type of way. Its fairly well accepted that in a 4-player game one person is bashed early on and then a three way race ensues where each player tries to lie JUST in third position until the final round when they streak out to claim a bloody but well deserved victory.

All of the above was unbeknownst to Ian as he splurted out a couple of buildings in the first round. I gently tapped him one in the eye building over one of his towers. When I did it again he raised an eyebrow. I think David may have joined in at this point. Robert bashed me a couple of times. We scored; Ian was last, I was third and everything was going according to plan.

I think it was after another few bashes that Ian began to question my strategy. This is nothing new as often I play in a seemingly random fashion just to lull other players into a false sense of security. However undeterred I pressed on with my game plan. I thought Ian looked a little grumpy and he did say something about getting the -clear leader- which was Robert at the time. I pushed on bashing subtly at David and then at Robert whilst at the same time knocking Ian so he'd retaliate and keep me slightly behind David and Robert. I think this was the point at which Ian's guilt-trip tactic caused David to lose control. I pointed out to Ian that his grumpiness had caused me to beat down on David rather than to play -where I wanted to go-. This was of course nonsense and a distraction tactic so that David would not retaliate and beat me to a small an squashy pulp. David however glazed over and explained in a fairly polite though angry way that he was also not beating down on Ian because he felt uncomfortable and I guess slightly guilty. He did not feel nearly as guilty as me though for causing this.

Anyway to cut this long story short so that I can slope off to bed, I managed to ekk out the win by a point, much to my relief. It was a tense yet still enjoyable game.

I think that fundamentally Ian and I have different ideas about how players should behave in games. I very much like to experiment and sometimes I do unusual things, I think he likes to reason what people should do to maximise their play in particular situations so that he has a better understanding of what they are likely to do. I'm not criticising this but I think it limits your options based upon where you can see the game going. Sometimes a play that seems less than optimal can lead to an advantage later in the game. That's my feeling anyway.

Comments (6) -

  • Ian

    6/5/2015 3:17:24 PM |

    Now you have essentially argued against your own case here, if you had a strategic plan from round 1 and that plan was to target a player (me) and hope to end the early rounds in a close third, then we as opponents should have had a clear response and that response should have been to make sure you didnt succeed in that plan.

    It's not a case that players should behave in a specific way but more of a case that when each strategy has an equal and opposite anti-strategy.

    It was obvious to me that in response to you bashing me, someone should have bashed you, noone did thus you were allowed to proceed with your plan.

    I reiterate my point that every game calls for a specific strategy depending upon whom you are playing and how they are playing but each situation will have an obvious response and your Manhattan strategy required one that wasnt forthcoming.

    If you look back on the game of Brass, it became obvious to David what my strategy was, he adapted and tried to usurp me, I noticed his move and adapted myself. Noone adapted to your play in Manhattan and had another player adopted a similar strategy, ie them bashing you whilst you bashed me, you would have been forced to adapt and we would both have had to hit the clear leaders David and Robert.

    Thats my logic anyway - feel free to debate.

  • Ivan

    6/5/2015 3:18:24 PM |

    I think you're still arguing that somehow player options should be programmed and that there is a clear single response to a player doing X by the others doing Y. However I can't see why David or Robert should have ganged up on me. They should certainly have kept and eye out. Plus given your logic, once I was beaten down into last then the two players in second and third should have ganged up on the new player in first and so on. I feel its better for them not to get involved other than to keep a check on my score. Anyway I just don't think you can say option X is required given play Y. It may be clear to you but that is because of your view of the game and other strategies my seem less optimal but to me are just as valid.

  • Ian

    6/5/2015 3:20:42 PM |

    It is not about Optimal or Sub Optimal play it is about response to action, If you adopt a sub optimal strategy and are successful with it, clearly part of that success is down to other players inability to respond to that sub optimal play. For a player to win a game, others have to lose and in not responding to a certain strategy you allow a player to dictate the pace and style.

    I could understand you disagreeing with my point, if you hadnt won the game but as you did it suggests that the correct response was not adopted.

    I am not as linear as you suggest, I am however very clear on what I think is happening, I may play games generally by instinct but I am able to assess a situation very quickly and see the danger in a situation. My gut instinct at the time was that Robert should have smacked you each turn that you smacked me, the end result would have been a two horse race unless of course you and I managed to fight back. For someone who adores misdirection and speech play, it surprises me that you are so opposed to having your speech play questioned whilst it is happening.

    You claim your play was random and unplanned, then go onto explain what a perfectly planned strategy it was, at the point that I was stating that your strategy needed to be challenged, you were denying having one.

    We should play a game sometime, where in addition to making our moves, we secretly record the moves we would make if we were able to make our opponents decisions, it would interesting to see where we differed, I am sure that had you started the game of manhattan being smacked down by me each turn, you would have responded in an identical manner - much as you have been in the various kreta games on line ... "Quick Get Andy", "Someone Needs to Kill Ian He's Going To Murder Us", "I Am Not The Clear Leader" etc etc.

    It is perfectly reasonable after a game to question how/why it ended as it did, it is also understandable to debate how it could have been avoided. I am arguing that a certain strategy would have defeated you, not that it would have helped me win. As you were the player "with the plan" it is reasonable to assume that players will try and disrupt that strategy?

  • Ivan

    6/5/2015 3:21:36 PM |

    LOL yes I agree with a lot of this. However my nonsense in the original article about not having a strategy was just me poking fun at myself. I always have a general strategy in mind, or if the game is new, quickly form one. It's perfectly reasonable to question my strategy and yes I do this to other people in attempts to misdirect them (but of course I will deny everything in-game). I am also perfectly happy to have speech play directed at me however the big difference between us is that your speech-play seems more about how people should play or the weaknesses in their play while mine focuses upon misdirection and discussion of scores. Again there is nothing to say that your discussion is less valid however it tends to be less effective from what I can see as it tends to rub other players up the wrong way (at least some of the time) Smile.

    Like you I tend to play by feel rather than by exactly calculating position each turn. I just disagree that Robert should have got involved. He'd necessarily have gained a bigger lead by attacking me and this would have forced David to beat down on him - possibly this would have let you back into the race leading to me out of contention and another 3-horse race. Then the cycle would have started all over again Smile.

    My 50p for now. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong again Tong

  • Ian

    6/5/2015 3:23:20 PM |

    I would argue that we adopt exactly the same approach, you will point out whom should be targeted and why, if I am on the receiving end of such targeting I shall point out why I disagree with the reasoning. I have no doubt that your strategy on Manhattan worked, I would question its likelihood to work in future. Similarly, I would suggest that players are unlikely to listen to my Shogun based - "don't look at me, look at him" pleas. I believe your Manhattan strategy whilst successful at the time, should have failed as you were counting on me not retaliating to every hit, had I done so, we would both have lost. In future you can be sure that such happen and thus the strategy will undoubtedly fail.

    As an aside I would suggest that if anyone is rubbed up the wrong way by our in-game chat, then perhaps they are a little too sensitive for such manly pursuits.

    I still think Robert (or "Gimp" to you*) should have spanked you and you know I'm right!

    *Clearly a classic example of concentrating on misdirection and scores. Tong

  • Ivan

    6/5/2015 3:23:58 PM |

    OK I agree that with you playing sub-optimally in future and spanking me into the ground in retaliation ;) will cost us both the game so I'll have to come up with a different strategy.

    on the sensitivity issue you do make a very persuasive argument and while I have cemented my resolve to ignore it even I find this difficult at times. I suppose that shows how talented you are at it! Next games night I'm coming in a pair of iron pants armed with a teflon shield. Please tell me we aren't playing Manhattan Smile.

    Peace out.

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