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Solitary Happiness - Multiplayer Solitaire Games' Popularity

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10 Oct 2023 00:00 #340727 by oliverkinne
Personally, I love games that have a good amount of...

An interesting question Phil Gross recently asked is why low-interaction games are so popular these days. Even though I'm not really sure whether these types of games are actually popular nowadays, I do wonder why people like games with very little player interaction. So in this article, I want to look at the attraction of games that are either completely multiplayer solitaire or provide very little opportunity for players to interfere with each other's game.

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10 Oct 2023 02:26 #340728 by qwertymartin
In a two-player competitive game, any action that is 'negative' for the other player is by definition positive for you. One of you is going to win the game and any reduction in the probability of the other player winning must result in an equal increase of your own.

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10 Oct 2023 10:24 #340729 by Shellhead

qwertymartin wrote: In a two-player competitive game, any action that is 'negative' for the other player is by definition positive for you. One of you is going to win the game and any reduction in the probability of the other player winning must result in an equal increase of your own.


Accurate, but this article is about multiplayer games. I personally tend to avoid multiplayer solitaire games because of the lack of social interaction during the game, and often in between games as well. I also tend to avoid two-player competitive games because they tend to attract overly competitive players and all the interaction is negative. I play games to win, but I really play games to have fun and socialize with people. So I prefer multi-player games with a lot of interaction, whether competitive or cooperative. Some of my favorite games are semi-cooperative, where players can cooperate, but there is also the potential for shifting alliances and even betrayal.
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11 Oct 2023 18:31 #340740 by cdennett

Shellhead wrote: Some of my favorite games are semi-cooperative, where players can cooperate, but there is also the potential for shifting alliances and even betrayal.

Likely derailing this discussion, I gotta ask if anyone in your group has the opinion that everyone losing is better than somebody else winning the game? Because that is pretty much everyone I game with, myself included. This makes semi-coops, at a minimum, rather difficult, and usually not much fun. So, I pretty much have shed any and all semi-coop games from my collection and avoid them. (I mean, technically games like Cthulhu Wars or Chaos in the Old World are semi-coop as they have an all-lose scenario, but it rarely happens.) But I would be fascinated if a group held that same belief and actually enjoyed the challenge of making sure everyone felt like they weren't losing to prevent one or more folks throwing the game. If so, what games are your favorites?

Though I am wondering based upon your description of "shifting loyalties" if you're not talking about coops with traitors, which are really team games...

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11 Oct 2023 22:28 #340744 by Shellhead

cdennett wrote:

Shellhead wrote: Some of my favorite games are semi-cooperative, where players can cooperate, but there is also the potential for shifting alliances and even betrayal.

Likely derailing this discussion, I gotta ask if anyone in your group has the opinion that everyone losing is better than somebody else winning the game? Because that is pretty much everyone I game with, myself included. This makes semi-coops, at a minimum, rather difficult, and usually not much fun. So, I pretty much have shed any and all semi-coop games from my collection and avoid them. (I mean, technically games like Cthulhu Wars or Chaos in the Old World are semi-coop as they have an all-lose scenario, but it rarely happens.) But I would be fascinated if a group held that same belief and actually enjoyed the challenge of making sure everyone felt like they weren't losing to prevent one or more folks throwing the game. If so, what games are your favorites?


My favorite is Camp Grizzly. There are two typical situations where the cooperation turns into semi-cooperation. Sometimes the players collect a set of items for an exit, but at least one player is too far from the exit point and/or too slow due to injuries. In that case, it is not unusual for that distant/slow person to bravely tell them to not wait in hopes that at least some of the counselors will survive. The less common situation is that one lucky player will collect a set of items for exit, and ditch everybody else. Not surprisingly, my libertarian friend was the first player to do this. The other players tend to dislike this, but they can't do anything about it except hope that the escaping player fails his finale, allowing normal play to resume. This happened to the libertarian, who gleefully abandoned the rest of the players only to encounter a vicious gang that he was unable to defeat in combat by himself.

Saltlands offers mulitple modes of play, including a semi-cooperative mode. It is functionally similar to Camp Grizzly. Players need to collect a set of cards to safely leave the map and win, and they need more cards if more than one player is making the escape. In semi-cooperative mode, they can leave behind other players if the escaping players have sufficient cards and are at the exit point. Other players do have a bit of leeway to mess with that exit strategy by directing enemy raiders towards the exit point map section.

I can see where semi-cooperative where players have easy access to direct interaction would be problematic, as it would just take one ornery player to potentially tank the game for everyone. I think it works better where there is a geographic aspect to the game such that a player would need to get move into position in order to do things to tank the game. It's also possible that certain players are so obsessed with competitive play that they would oppose any attempt to win that doesn't include them. I tend to avoid playing games with any super-competitive players, as I find them to sore losers, gloating winners, and unworthy company in between games.
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