Friday, January 7, 2011

In League with ... who, exactly?

I got myself caught up in an argument about something I don't know much about, so I'm gonna dump my thoughts into a slightly-more-coherent form here. Especially since it's game-related.

So, the game in question is "Chaos in the Old World".
All that I really know about the game is:
* It plays with exactly 4 players, no more, no less.
* Each player plays a character (a Warhammer Universe god) with distinct mechanics and win conditions.
* There is one winner to the game.
* You don't get through much of the "event deck" (whatever that is) during each play, so there's high variability to each game.

I've been wanting to try the game out for awhile, and will get my chance soon.
But the discussion amongst the group led to the idea of a "league".
And discussions therein about how to keep people ranked in that league in a most balanced way, break ties, etc.

So, sure, great, it sounds like a game that you can get together once a week to play. Maybe even more interesting than VTES or Galactica, or at least "different enough".

The conceptual problem I have is calling it a "league" and tracking progress over the extended period of time.
If, for example, the loser of each game has to buy the beer, that's great.

But if we start a game well-aware that "John" is a certain number of points ahead, and it (for example) benefits me more in the long run to "make John lose" than "make me win", that seems to take away from the casual enjoyment of playing a game. To me.

On the other hand, maybe there isn't a way to do that in the game, or maybe the group is relying on the "Don't Be A Dick" rule to avoid it. (The group itself is very capable of nondickitude). And maybe they just enjoy collecting statistics.

I dunno, that's about it. Just realizing that I should stop arguing on the email list for 2 main reasons:

1) I know not of what I speak; have only seen people play the game from a distance, don't know anything about how it works. I'll get in at least one game of it at TempleCon, so I can pass judgement on how addictive it is, and how much of my speculation is unfounded.

2) I wouldn't have time to participate in a regular "league" even if it sounded like the Best Idea Ever to me.

Before I start hypocritically taking a tangent into "how would a BSG league work?" I'm just gonna stop.


  1. I'd advocate just having it as a "Champions League" where the prize is "Bragging rights until the end of the next league"...
    When you start making it for more than Bragging Rights you either need to chip in cash up front or be willing to have the "Don't be a Tool" rule clear or frequently trampled.

  2. I'll post a full reply on my blog. Blog Warz!

    The short version is that the gods can't really hurt another player's position and at the same time build their own, and the league is rated by Game Wins rather than any other kind of points, I can't think of situation in which it'd make sense for Player A to screw over Player B at the cost of their own game.