Posts tagged with "competition" - Faerye Net 2003-09-29T11:24:52+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Squabbly games 2003-09-29T11:24:52+00:00 2010-02-07T22:17:23+00:00 <p>So last night we bought the game <br /> <a href="" target="links">Munchkin</a>, and took it over to the abode of some friends. Munchkin is a rather simple game with a lot of rules (no, really) which pokes fun at the stereotypical D&amp;D dungeon crawl &#8212; each player controls a &#8220;character&#8221; who is really no more than the sum of their magic items, and you all kill monsters and take their stuff while lying, bribing, and cheating your way to the top of the pack. Towards the end of the evening, when sleep was seeming appealing and victory was lurking around, waiting to pounce, a little bit of grumpiness entered the atmosphere. Not big grumpiness, not shouting or tooth-gnashing or anything, but I guess I am a big <a href="" target="links">cholerophobe</a>, because when we left, my stomach was clenched like a child&#8217;s fist around an enemy&#8217;s ponytail.</p> <p>So today I will be musing on competitiveness in games &#8212; not the characteristics in a person which make them prone to it, but the characteristics in a <span class="caps">GAME</span> which encourage it.</p><p>I mentioned to Matt in the car that he had in the past put his dislike of my beloved <br /> <a href="" target="links">Lunch Money</a> down to its over-competitive nastiness, while he is a big fan of <em>Munchkin</em>. He responded that <em>Munchkin</em> does not <em>force</em> you to attack other players, whereas in <em>Lunch Money</em>, that&#8217;s the entire action of the game.</p> <p>Upon further rumination, I think that may be part of the problem! At first, in <em>Munchkin</em>, you have to be nice to people so they&#8217;ll help you. But as the game progresses, attacks start to be advantageous or necessary. In one case, some people are ahead and no one will help them anyway, so they are free to alienate the others. In another, someone will win if you don&#8217;t attack them, so you jolly well attack them! Let&#8217;s face it, the game has, &#8220;Stab your buddy&#8221; as part of the tagline. By the end, you&#8217;re doing all sorts of nasty things in-game when everyone is <em>used</em> to the more cooperative feel of the beginning of the game. Whereas in <em>Lunch Money</em>, you have to hurt people from the beginning &#8212; it&#8217;s not a shock, it&#8217;s not a betrayal, it&#8217;s the way the game is played. You are emotionally detached from the &#8220;nastiness&#8221;.</p> <p>Also, <em>Lunch Money</em> is a short game. You die? You get dealt back in in 10 minutes. I think our game of <em>Munchkin</em> yesterday took more than two hours.</p> <p>Furthermore, I think people get grouchy when they have <b>built</b> something and it is taken away from them or ruined. <em>Magic: the Gathering</em> is prone to this. <em>Settlers of Catan</em>, much less &#8212; and you&#8217;ll note that almost nothing you have <b>built</b> or acquired in Catan (roads, settlements) can be taken from you. In <em>Magic</em>, every freaking thing can. In <em>Lunch Money</em> or <em>Brawl</em>, you don&#8217;t build anything. In <em>Munchkin</em>, you do. I think we get angry when people knock down our blocks. Or our house of cards.</p>