Lots of thoughts and reflections on the weekend marathon of multiplayer games. Would rather post it than have it sit in my mind haha. Curious if you have any thoughts, or opinions based on your own experiences. None of it is a condemnation of any of the people I played with; I definitely consider all of them my friends. I think bringing up these topics could further some interesting discussions about the game. 😀
Are ban lists and house rules just a knee-jerk reaction to something that players see as unfair, OP, broken, or “unfun”? Have adequate counters been considered, and if so, are they too much of a chore to include to justify not banning/house ruling things?
In a game called “Pirates”, how justified is it to bring external morality into the game? Should players get upset when they lose by legal combos? In a brutal game like this (crew killed, ships captured/stolen, plans ruined in round 1, etc), should players be annoyed with each other, or at the game itself? (or their own gameplay/fleet choices?)
Is the pursuit of winning honorable regardless of the means used to obtain it? I think for players that can separate the game from real life, I would say yes. Of course, if the objective is simply fun and to keep your game group happy, you could argue that the pursuit of winning takes a backseat and the competitive nature of the game (that some players find more fun than others) gets watered down in the pursuit of a (likely subjective) ethical standard.
Should implied moral judgment be applied more to specific aspects of the game than others? For example, being “ethical” (again, at least partially subjective in this case) in fleet building but then “evil” during gameplay? (or vice versa/etc. Ex: bribing a player before the game with a game piece they don’t have, or making pre-game alliances/etc.)
Is it wrong to use game pieces that are not on a ban list if players deem them “bad”? (especially during/after their usage in the game vs. before starting play)
If one player wants to continue playing but another doesn’t, should the person who leaves the game be considered a forfeit regardless of their actual gold score at the end of the game?
Is it wrong to bring grievances from outside the game into the game?
What is the best way to establish “last round”? (ex: game with a time limit) Ex: someone has to leave by 7pm. All players need an equal number of turns, AND all players need advance notice of when the last round starts so they know if they need to take their ships out of fog banks/etc to have the gold count. Solution? 20 minutes (?) before the time deadline, regardless of which player is the current player, all players understand that when the next round begins, it will be the last round of the game.
Lessons I Learned:
-I hate “asterisks” (game not finished properly/etc) to the point where I need to stop playing games where they might happen. However, I realize this is a symptom of me sometimes caring too much about winning and not just enjoying the game for what it is. I suppose that this year especially, my enjoyment of the game is tied to the game being played properly by the rules. I think this is driven by my agony over the “what ifs” that simply don’t matter as much (if even applicable) if the game is played to true completion.
-Big multiplayer games are a bit overrated. Lots of time in between player turns. More players means more risk that someone will have some emergency or time constraint where they suddenly have to leave. Often not enough time to play the game out before a meal interruption occurs (playing at someone’s house can alleviate this). Games with 6+ players at 60 or more points should generally be the only game scheduled for that day.
-I personally find the game less enjoyable and less rewarding when players don’t want to play things out per the normal endgame rules. (ex: “calling” it) I recognize that real life factors sometimes have to play a role, but I think my love for the game overrides most of those. (whereas it doesn’t for many other players, which is fine and more normal than me haha)
-So much luck involved that I can’t wrap my ego/energy up in winning. (ex: one treasure coin being on a different island during the coin distribution to islands could change the winner, let alone dozens of other luck-based things that happen during the game)
-I think it would be useful to establish different “game modes” of Pirates for the community, such as Unlimited (100% normal rules), “Fair Seas” (ban list to eliminate “fun killers”/unfair game pieces, and house rules to enhance fairness, address rule annoyances, and possibly shore up underpowered game pieces), and maybe more. This is something I plan to work on.