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Author Topic: The Dangers of Groupthink  (Read 2622 times)

DeckBuilder

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The Dangers of Groupthink
« on: January 14, 2014, 10:32:23 AM »
First they came for the Spawnpoints and I did not speak out, because I do not play Spawnpoints.
Then they came for the Warlord and I did not speak out, because I do not play the Warlord.
Then they came for the Wands and I did not speak out, because I do not play with Wands.
And then they came for my favourite card - and there was no one left to speak for it.


I confess that my Mage Wars development is in a rut.
I play the same local players who have settled into the same local meta.
I know there are other innovative strategies out there.
But because of my environment, only certain strategies remain optimal.
If we all promised to build an experimental book totally unlike a prior book, maybe this staus quo would change.
But old habits die hard and everybody's books will be influenced by what worked and what didn't in prior games.

So this is a just a short note to say: we should be more receptive to ideas that break with accepted convention.
We should encourage experimental books that open new avenues in this game, that brealk with the orthodoxy.
We should be more receptive to "mad but might work" ideas that challenge preconceptions of good game play.
We should applaud heretical assertions when it's intelligently supported for evolution is but aberrant mutation.
Because even if that insight does not transfer into your local meta, there could be something valuable to learn.

I have often used the phrase: "The Wisdom of the Forum".
But sometimes, I think it can be more like a straightjacket.

So break free! Try the unusual! Fail spectacularly - but at least you tried.
Because you'll learn something about the game you didn't know before.
And you will be a better player for the experience.
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

sIKE

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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 10:49:24 AM »
One of the main reasons I really like OCTGN is that I can play against others, this gets me outside of my comfort zone. Honestly, I haven't got a lot of playing in as of late, life and OCTGN have transpired against me.

My install of OCTGN is always out of step with the release as I am pushing forward with lettucemode to get a new release out. Maybe I will get some play time in after this next release on OCTGN.
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Laddinfance

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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 10:52:03 AM »
In addition to Mage Wars I love miniatures games. And in my long history of playing those games, one of my favorite things I ever participated in was "No-Crutch November". This amounted to each of us saying what our biggest crutch piece was, and then purposfully trying to think outside the box so that we could try other pieces.

Now, this being a brand new year and all, I think it's a good time to look at all our games like that, including Mage Wars. What's something fresh and different to try? I played many playtest games on Sunday and my opponent was from a very different meta then mine and so I got clobbered a bunch. But the best thing that came out of that was that I saw new playstyles that I hadn't much worked with before.

So I guess that's the challenge, find your crutch, and work without it. In the end you'll be a much better player for it.

webcatcher

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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2014, 04:07:19 PM »
I completely agree and I'll even start working on an outside-the-box-and-probably-won't-work build just to show my support. That being said, the wisdom of the forums is probably right more often than it's wrong.  If you think you've come up with something new and it's working in your meta, the best thing to do is get on octgn and try it out. I realize octgn has already been mentioned, I'm adding that last part for those who don't want to read through seven back pages of a previous topic which obviously partially inspired this one.

Sailor Vulcan

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The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2014, 09:50:19 PM »
I think the strategic quality of any spellbook is entirely relative to the meta. The strategies you're playing against is what decides how good your own strategies are. Those strategies exist purely in context. I think people might be making a mistake when they automatically use the organized play or OCTGN metas as a baseline for evaluating strategies used in smaller local metas. If in a small playgroup your opponents use a spellbook designed for a small playgroup and not for a tournament game, then there are many more strategies you can get away with in your own spellbook that would be just as effective as a tournament spellbook in that particular meta. Even though their effectiveness would not be equal in organized play.

And occasionally a good spellbook designed for organized play could be at a disadvantage against one that isn't as fit for organized play because the one that isn't fit for that could focus their book design more on  the kinds of strategies that they are up against, and leave out counters to things people can't or most probably won't play.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 09:56:05 PM by Imaginator »
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sIKE

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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2014, 10:16:03 PM »
I think the strategic quality of any spellbook is entirely relative to the meta. The strategies you're playing against is what decides how good your own strategies are. Those strategies exist purely in context. I think people might be making a mistake when they automatically use the organized play or OCTGN metas as a baseline for evaluating strategies used in smaller local metas. If in a small playgroup your opponents use a spellbook designed for a small playgroup and not for a tournament game, then there are many more strategies you can get away with in your own spellbook that would be just as effective as a tournament spellbook in that particular meta. Even though their effectiveness would not be equal in organized play.

And occasionally a good spellbook designed for organized play could be at a disadvantage against one that isn't as fit for organized play because the one that isn't fit for that could focus their book design more on  the kinds of strategies that they are up against, and leave out counters to things people can't or most probably won't play.

Imaginator,

You just descried a local meta, which is the topic of the thread which it is trying to avoid. I have a Priestess build, even posted it here. It is very effective against a Warlock  w/Lash + Lord of Fire  + Idol of Pestilence but nothing else, even the pre-built spell books. It is so my meta that it isn't even funny. But my first 20 games were Warlock v. Priestess. Yes it is very easy to build a book to play against locally and it can be quite dominating. However put it out against other players outside of your local play group and get exposed to other players and you learn quickly that though you might rule your local group (Golem Pit etc), when played outside it is not as great of a build as you so proudly thought that it was.

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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2014, 12:00:42 AM »
Playing against the same folks can be a double edged sword. If you get a large local community it's awesome cause hey plenty of folks to play with. The more people you can play with then the better you can get to a point. However if it's just the same ole gang every week you can start to get in routines, and routines are a bad idea in competitive games. Other than Mage Wars I've been playing Hero Clix for eleven years now. I have found it's vital to keep trying to bring in new blood to that scene just to keep my edge and keep me on my toes.

My advice for breaking out of the walls of group mind is to find a local gaming store if you got one and start teaching random people who come in Mage Wars(it helps if the store has copies in stock they can buy if they like it.) Get some easier to learn mages (Priestess and Beast Master I'm looking at you), and walk folks through some quick games(use the beginner mage rules.) You get more players who will in turn have new ideas for breaking your local crowd out of their comfort zones.
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Re: The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2014, 07:00:10 AM »
I actually like it when a metagame is more or less solid, because then you can build around that. There is plenty of cards that yoink the carpet for specific tactics.

I am a big fan of playing strong books, not just a book that hates out the perceived strongest build. In the priestess example given above it is sure sweet when you play against 3 warlocks in a row, but then in the finals when you meet anything else you will lose. I'd rather play something thas has a good game against many kinds of books.

My meta isnt rock solid enough yet and we are only a circle of guys and gals playing, but I cant see that there is an "ultimate win-button" book that you need to play the polar opposite of to have a good game against.

Sailor Vulcan

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The Dangers of Groupthink
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 09:22:19 PM »
Your playgroup needs to be more creative, and for that you're going to need some inspiration. Has your playgroup tried swapping spellbooks with each other for a few games? What about alternate formats?

Part of the issue here is that when you're beta-testing a new spellbook that spellbook won't be as good and will likely lose more. Creativity hurts your competitiveness in the short term but boosts it in the long run. If you want to shake up your metagame with new ideas, don't be afraid to start a minor losing streak in order to build your spellbook.

Once your spellbook is good enough to outperform your opponents, they will be have to change their spellbooks or make new ones to stand a better chance against you. If your metagame gets stuck again, repeat the process.

Eventually if you keep making and testing new spellbooks, I suspect you'll have a predictable pattern of losing more when testing and winning more when you have a finished build, and your opponents will notice. I suspect this is the point where your opponents will really start innovating if they want to. Otherwise, it will be purely on your shoulders to change your meta.

Focus on strategies that you don't know whether they'll work or not. Regardless of what has or hasn't worked before, Mage Wars is so complex that I think I can safely guarantee that you can find something competitive if you think outside the box. But you need to test your ideas to know for sure whether they're worth trying from a competitive standpoint. Don't be too quick to abandon bad ideas. You might be able to figure out something to make them work and become good ideas. And if you really think your playgroup has exhausted all avenues of innovation, perhaps it's time for you guys to invest in another expansion. If they don't want to buy it themselves, maybe you could save up money for some holiday presents...

However, don't forget that if all else fails, new spellbooks aren't the only way to make your games more diverse.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 10:15:10 PM by Imaginator »
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I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.