Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The long game

A little while ago I learned the game Six from Val.  It is a game where both players play six sided pieces on a table and try to form specific shapes to win while blocking their opponents shapes.  The closest game I can think of to it is Pente, though I am sure there are others.  Ahead of time they told me that they really wanted a challenge because most people just weren't able to play it very well.  We played through the first game and when we got to the endgame where I announced I had won.  Not that winning would be quick, mind you, but I had a hard lock that would certainly mean Val would lose in the long run.  I had planned ahead quite some time to figure out an endgame position that would leave me certain to win.

Val, true to form, got their competitive spirit in action and proceeded to take me down 6 games to 4 over the next little while.  I just wasn't very good at figuring out how to build and avoid the proper shapes in the early game and kept losing because I was setting up an endgame position instead.  Practice at the game is huge and Val is better than me at setting up winning shapes throughout most of the game but I am better at seeing where the endgame will be.

It is kind of funny because this illustrates my approach to games in nearly all ways.  Wait, prepare, and set up to be invincible eventually.  I consistently end RPGs with my bags full of potions and more materials than I could ever use because I never want to spend them when I could just level up and save them for later.  Of course later never comes and they rot, unused.  In RPGs that is actually a fine strategy because levelling up more means I get better, which is the point, but in games like Magic or Six refusing to be the beatdown is just not sensible.

My first love in Magic was always permission decks.  I always would search a new set for ways to prevent, stall, delay, gain advantage, and eventually crush my opponent when all hope of their victory was lost.  There were times when I went for the throat (Red/Green fattyburn is pretty good against pure burn decks and Necro I hear) but it was never my first instinct.  I am sure there are people out there that always attack, always try to win right now, always put the opponent on the back foot, but I am not those people.

Defend, counter, don't lose.  Eventually winning takes care of itself.  This is my way.


  1. Six is one of the games they have on the yucata.de asynch board game site. It's been a while since I played, but I used to be really good. I found it mostly just came down to pattern recognition. There are positions that allow someone to brute force a win; don't let those come up. Simple?

  2. Is this why Heroes By Trade doesn't have potions?

  3. No, it is mostly because the lore doesn't particularly suggest they should exist and I don't think they are compelling. They are fairly common in some fantasy settings but I don't think that I should include everything DnD did just because, it should be something that people really enjoy and which will improve the experience. I never found potions did either.

  4. The appeal of potions, I believe, is that they're useful for anyone, can supplement things that are sometimes restricted such as healing, but by being one-shot, don't risk over-balancing the game. I'm not sure they are "fun", they feel like reasonable game balance, which is something that often appeals to you.