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29

Poker is a game that really isn't very complex. Once you have a basic grasp of some of the probabilities, you can sit down and start winning hands even against good players. There aren't very many ways to improve your odds of winning a given hand, important though it is to know what they are. For boardgaming types like me, who like a complicated tangle of ...


22

When you fall behind in a "for fun" game, the best strategy becomes to make high risk yet high reward choices. Essentially, if you are sitting in last place, you've got nothing to lose so you might as well risk it all for a shot at the top. In real life poker, you are always in a situation where you have something to lose: your money. Every dollar counts, ...


21

In casual play, the main reason to offer a draw is if the game is going on forever and shows no sign of concluding soon. Consider the motivation for the game. Maybe you're playing a game for fun after dinner, but at some point your wife is going to start making loud yawning noises. Maybe you're playing a grudge match with a friend, but both of you are ...


11

I cannot think of a better game to match what you describe than Diplomacy. It requires seven players, and it is lengthy. You can speed it up by having all the negotiation happen at the table in front of everyone, but that changes the nature of the game. However, there are plenty of places on the internet where you can play "by email" for free (for example, ...


11

As a game designer, I know I want the truth from people I show the game to. I also know that most people just don't give critical feedback. By "critical," I mean a skilled judgment or analysis, as in "critical thinking." I've been involved in enough creative endeavors to know that most think only as far as, "I liked that," or, "That sucked." I've shown ...


9

My tips: Understand the expectations. Is your friend asking you to playtest, debug, and improve the game with critical feedback? Or does he think it's great already, and just wants to play it with you? Ask him what he wants from you before playing, even! State your criticisms as opinions where possible. Instead of "this is a bad mechanic" try to go for ...


9

Aside from what others have said, certain variations of poker also take on very different aspects depending on the wagering structure and if there are stakes to back it. A clear example would be Texas Hold 'Em, as played in one of three variations: Limit Ring Games, No-Limit Ring Games, and No-Limit Single Table Tournament. A ring game is a "sit down, buy ...


8

I genuinely can't think of a better answer than "when you consider there is no possibility of either player winning the game". If your opponent doesn't see this, but you can explain to them how a win for anyone has become impossible, so much the better for your ego. Either that or if the last bus leaves in five minutes!


8

A list of categories of board game skills isn't something I've ever seen. To actually come up with one, I think you have to first start by looking at research from the psychology field in relation to the different forms of IQ. The theory of multiple intelligences that was created in 1983 by Howard Gardner breaks out different types of intelligence. ...


7

Reading people like this is something that takes years of practice and experience. there are no easy answers. However, to get you started, here's something: One common personality trait that distinguishes people, fairly 50/50, is risk-aversion. In such a game as you describe, ask yourself which of two strategies is more based on chance. More risk ...


7

Mafia is a party game I've played which I've discovered was actually designed by a Russian psychologist. It's also commonly known as Werewolf, Assassin or Witch Hunt. One person is a moderator. Everyone else is dealt a card that gives them their secret role as a player. Roles: Townspeople (The innocents) Mafia (Who win by killing off the innocents) ...


7

Real money (or a real stake of some kind) makes poker more fun because it adds a basis for you to predict and interpret another player's actions. When no real money is involved, a player's bet will not be based on any real risk and thus will not tend to reflect the strength of their hand. Their bet is correlated to their hand much more loosely, giving you ...


7

The ways of enjoyment: 1. Joy of playing 2. Joy of winning 3. The Social event of gathering to play 4. Joy by Tinkering 5. Joy of collecting 6. Joy of sharing 7. Joy of Learning In detail... Fun of Playing For some people, the play of a game is its own reward. For many people, this is true of some, but not all, games. Fun of Winning For most of us, ...


6

In general whether playing a "serious" (i.e. tournament, rated game) or playing casually a draw should be considered when a game is no longer interesting but isn't a clear victory by one side (which is when in either tournament or casual play the losing side should realize this and probably should resign). What do I mean by "no longer interesting" - this ...


5

Modified Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma I think an ideal co-operative game for your experiment is the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma: There is substantial literature in the field of experimental economics on this game, and ample theoretical and experimental bases for determining optimal play strategies. These experiments can form a baseline control group (as ...


5

There is no poker without gambling I haven't played Uno in ages, but perhaps the most fundamental mechanic in poker is the gambling. There is a modicum of skill in games like 5-card draw, where at least the player has a choice of what cards to discard, but in the most popular poker games, like Texas Hold'em or 5- and 7-card stud, the best hand is ...


4

Poker requires a "wager". –noun 1. something of value risked or staked on an uncertain event; bet: to place a wager on a poker hand. So, for poker to be fun or interesting at all, one must wager something with some sort of value. Usually it's chips or money. Could be anything, but it must be valuable in the context of the game. Here's an example ...


4

I prefer mild humiliation to any actual risk. It tends to keep things good hearted and can easily be altered to suit any requirements. Naturally, everyone should consent to the rules to make sure fun stays the top priority. Here are some examples: doing pushups while singing the national anthem for 30 seconds. wearing something until a different person ...


4

In the same vein as the Mafia and Werewolf suggestions, I'd suggest The Resistance. It doesn't have the player elimination that Werewolf or Mafia has, which means you have more ongoing relationships throughout the game to study. In The Resistance, the players are a resistance cell fighting against the empire. Some number of the players (1-3, depending on ...


4

I haven't played those particular games, nor do I often play games like them, but here's what I say is the crucial temperamental divide I look out for in players even as I'm sitting down at the table with them: competitive versus cooperative players. A competitive player is likely, though not guaranteed, to be loud, brash, and immediately vociferously ...


3

Include a list of things you do and don't like about the design, rather than just the bad. Put it in writing; edit it, and reread it after writing it but before delivering it. Be prepared to explain in more detail, but don't be over-detailed in your initial list. Don't be confrontational; it just makes life harder.


3

Pool the Winnings I just remembered something my parents did with Canasta. Instead of the looser paying the winner the looser paid into a pool. When the pool would grow large enough they'd spend it on holidays or something else they both liked. So if you're playing in fixed group that might be an interesting alternative. If your group consists of different ...


3

You can play poker "without money" if you use chips. In order to give the chips value, you require that for anyone to "re-supply" their chips from the bank (that is, get more chips after losing all of theirs) they must perform some task; this can range from "Buy a round of beer" to "Is tasked with supplying the snacks next week" or whatever your group can ...


3

Poker is a single game played with a cumulative score over a lifetime. It becomes boring without money because the score=money distinction has been seared into a poker player for years. Hustling (losing small to win big later) applies strongly enough to a "play money" game, that it's never possible to determine someone's true skill when money is not ...


3

I would tell people WHY something is bad without telling them that it's bad. E.g.: Mechanic X takes up a lot of time. Mechanic Y causes people to focus on the mechanic, and lose focus on the game. Then let the designers decide for themselves whether "takes up a lot of time" or "causes a loss of focus" is good or bad.


3

Magic The Gathering is an unusual type of "board game" (if at all!) but its creators have spent a lot of time subdividing Magic players into psychographic profiles, and I think a lot of their conclusions are applicable across the board: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr258 To give a brief synopsis: Timmies want to ...


2

One thing to keep in mind is that each "chip" doesn't have to have value, but the overall outcome (winning or losing) must. For a party, or poker night setting where adult beverages are involved, I would suggest keeping track of the bill for everyone's drinks, then splitting the bill at the end of the night between the losers.


2

Cosmic Encounter (BGG link) is a simple game that offers plenty of opportunities for players to ally and attack each other. This BGG review offers a quick description of the game. The relevant mechanic: Encounter cards can either Attack or Negotiate. Attack cards have numeric values that players add up to count their strength. Attack is very simple with ...


2

Shadows Over Camelot or Battlestar Galactica both have interesting player interactions similar to Mafia/Werewolf. The group is working together as a team with a potential for one player to secretly be working against the group. I wouldn't classify either game as simple, however.


1

Games are a microcosm of life, and sometimes "art imitates life." I will use some examples from bridge, one of my "better" games. There is a person at my table who always wants a better result than she "deserves" (based on the cards that she and her partner are holding). Is it any surprise that she overreaches in "real life"? Others will underbid or ...



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