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Planning & games

Maister

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Based on an earlier thread, I know there are several Sid Meier's 'Civilization' game fans out there in Cyburbia. I'm curious - as planners do you tend to find yourselves more drawn to the building-type games or pursue development strategies sometimes in computer games that aren't even necessarily geared towards that end?
Personally, I am a veteran wargamer, starting out with Avalon Hill board games back in the 70's (Squad Leader, Tactics II, Third Reich, 1776, Diplomacy, etc.) right on through today with computer games. I have noticed a tendency to enjoy the 'building up' aspects of games more than the destructive aspects. For instance - in Civ 2 I can usually conquer the earth by the 1800's on emporer level but prefer instead to conquer 90% leave an enemy city or two and crank up the space colonization score and build universities, colloseums, increase population/happiness, and build Wonders of the World. In just about any wargame I find myself taking more pleasure in building the armies and advancing the technologies mor than using them Does anyone else notice this psychological tendency in themselves?
 

boiker

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Yes!

I havn't played Civ...ever. I don't want to for fear that my family would be highly ignored.

However, I do love the building up aspects of any game. Lets see... the Sim City series, Sim Earth, Sim Farm, and Sim Tower are all favorites.

Currently, RailRoad Tycoon 3 is my game. I accidentally caused Danville, IL to become the Midwest regional metropolis in one of the latest scenerios I played. I had so many interecting routes and rails flow through that point that Danville quickly outgrew Chicago, St. Louis and other towns that had better economic resources. My latest scenerio is a quest to connect Boston to Buffalo in the 1830-1860 era. I've established a regional network from boston to Manchester, Worcester, and Providence to start building funds and then have extended the line to Worcester through the Hudson Valley to Albany. Now I just need to follow the canal all the way to victory.

it always ends up that I want to become a benevolent and generous ruler, god, mayor, or tycoon rather than a malevolent and greedy one.
 

Maister

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boiker said:
Currently, RailRoad Tycoon 3 is my game. I accidentally caused Danville, IL to become the Midwest regional metropolis in one of the latest scenerios I played. I had so many interecting routes and rails flow through that point that Danville quickly outgrew Chicago, St. Louis and other towns that had better economic resources. My latest scenerio is a quest to connect Boston to Buffalo in the 1830-1860 era. I've established a regional network from boston to Manchester, Worcester, and Providence to start building funds and then have extended the line to Worcester through the Hudson Valley to Albany. Now I just need to follow the canal all the way to victory.
I am a Railroad Tycoon fan (I should probably just say I'm a Sid Meier fan) too. I just got RRT3 last week and haven't had much chance to delve into it yet. I particularly enjoy the building/buying up industries aspect of the game. but for some reason have always had far more financial sucess hauling passengers and mail around - go figure. Ditto on the benevolence v malevolence thing. I always play the good guy.
 

Budgie

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Board Games

Not planning related, but are there any Axis and Allies maniacs out there?
 

Chet

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Budgie said:
Not planning related, but are there any Axis and Allies maniacs out there?

A resounding YES. It is one of my favorite board games, right up there with Eurorails, North American Rails, etc. by Mayfair Games.

I am still adicted to Civ Call to Power - and Maister, I do the same thing you do on Emporer level, 8 civs, and gigantic map!
 
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Maister said:
Does anyone else notice this psychological tendency in themselves?
Ditto for me.

As a teenager, my now career-army husband and I played Civilizations (the board game) with a total of 6 or 7 folks (us included) and he and a buddy of ours decided to be Viking Hords or some such. They did not build cities and instead built huge raiding armies. They made no attempt to win by building the biggest best civilization. I was so completely appalled. I just couldn't understand why anyone would do that.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Michele Zone said:
They did not build cities and instead built huge raiding armies. They made no attempt to win by building the biggest best civilization. I was so completely appalled. I just couldn't understand why anyone would do that.
Testosterone rears its ugly head. Hey, no pun intended. ;-)
 

donk

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Budgie said:
Not planning related, but are there any Axis and Allies maniacs out there?
I remember(foggily) that we had a game going for about a month on my floor in university. A group would start the game, then as people had to go to class etc, others would sub in. Depending on who was playing and who they were, strategies would change. This meant that the gamer kind of restarted itself about every 8-10 hours, even though no one ever really won.

I might have to get risk for my nephews as a gift. A&A would be a no go at her house.
 

Chet

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Zoning Goddess said:
Testosterone rears its ugly head. Hey, no pun intended. ;-)
OMG!!!!! Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Evil Mayor

Try this in the original version of Sim City!

Pic a large city to run.

Zero out the budget for all of your catagories!

Max out the taxes for all of your catagories!

Set your cursor tool on BULLDOZER.

Begin to bulldoze everything your can hit with the Bulldozer!

This sets off an interesting set of events! 8-! As your city is burning, your road system is crumbling to the point it prevents your residents from fleeing, There is NO POWER to the electircal grid in major city sections, curiosly, the citizens will demand a STADIUM!

MWU HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

At the end of 2 years, you are driven out of office by a mob, headed by your own MOTHER! :-D

Its GREAT to be the EVIL MAYOR! :-D
 

Maister

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Budgie said:
Not planning related, but are there any Axis and Allies maniacs out there?
I was until I figured out how to win 10 out of 10 times (unless of course you have awful luck). The secret to winning the game if you're playing the Axis is beginning with turn 1 go after Russia with everything you've got - Germany from west and Japan from east. Germany need never buy anything but tanks or infantry until Russia is out of the way (turn 3).Once they're out out the way, it's just a matter of time to build up navy/air power and take the rest of the world.

Where's Dan ? He strikes me as the kind of guy who could quote you rules chapter and verse for 'Air Assault on Crete'... ;-)
 

The One

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What about....

Anyone out there ever play sim city the card game? I purchased a whole box of these (400 cards :-D ) thinking this game would be the next Go Fish game or Bridge in the 50's.......(What a nerd I am to think this :p ....) Anyway, I got stuck with 400 cards immediately before they discontinued the game and I can't find anyone to enjoy a game with....... :-\
 

Repo Man

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When I was in college I had a Macintosh and I played Civilization and Civ II as well as Sim City. However I think it was more because they were the only Mac Games available at that time. When I finally purchased a Windows computer I quit playing those types of games and got more into the 3rd person shooter games like Max Payne, Duke Nukem, Half Life, and No One Lives Forever. I also love any Star Wars games, racing games, and all of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. I did buy Sim City 3000 when it came out but I kind of got bored after a week or so.
 

DecaturHawk

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I grew up on Avalon Hill war games. I was intensely interested in WWII history in high school and loved playing out battle simulations. I had Blitzkrieg, Battle of the Bulge, and others.

BTW, I have Avalon Hill's "D-Day" board game (the instructions have a copyright date of 1975) in very good condition with only one unit piece missing. I'm going to put it up for sale on eBay, but if any Cyburbians are interested, PM me.
 

Maister

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I bought 'Tropico' this weekend and stayed up till 3 a.m. Sat. night playing it. The premise of the game is that you are 'El Presidente' and rule your very own Caribbean island. It is sort of like Simcity in some respects in that you purchase 'improvements' (police stations, banana plantations, casinos, military bases, power plants, etc. ) but with a tongue in cheek banana republic dictator slant to it. Even being the seasoned planner that I am I had trouble creating a truly successful city layout....
 

Maister

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DecaturHawk said:
I grew up on Avalon Hill war games. I was intensely interested in WWII history in high school and loved playing out battle simulations. I had Blitzkrieg, Battle of the Bulge, and others.

BTW, I have Avalon Hill's "D-Day" board game (the instructions have a copyright date of 1975) in very good condition with only one unit piece missing. I'm going to put it up for sale on eBay, but if any Cyburbians are interested, PM me.
Don't sell it DH. Seeing as how you're going to be living within an hour of the Maister, you should challenge me to a D-Day deathmatch featuring prodigious consumption of home brew and pretzels! Bring back the glory days of our youth without the bad complections (although this time around I will not likely be as impressed as I would have been in 1980 being regailed with tales of how you "got to third base" with some cheerleader);-) ....
I still have the following AH games board games (collecting dust):
Afrika Korps
1776
War & Peace
Stalingrad
Tactics II
Battle of the Bulge
Star Fleet Battles
War at Sea
Victory in the Pacific
Third Reich
Diplomacy
Red Storm Rising
Squad Leader
and of course....D&D
 

Dan

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Back in college, my roommate and I were addicted to Stratomatic Baseball, a very elaborate baseball simulation.

I dabbled with Magic a bit several years ago. Since then, though ... nothing, really.
 
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God, the hours I played Railroad Tycoon (the original) on my dad's mac on college break. sigh.

Before Jack, we used to be board gamers, Puerto Rico, Carcasonne, Settlers (even better - Seafarers!) of Catan. Ah - I miss the days......
 

Maister

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Michele Zone said:
Ditto for me.

As a teenager, my now career-army husband and I played Civilizations (the board game) with a total of 6 or 7 folks (us included) and he and a buddy of ours decided to be Viking Hords or some such. They did not build cities and instead built huge raiding armies. They made no attempt to win by building the biggest best civilization. I was so completely appalled. I just couldn't understand why anyone would do that.
This is probably fodder for much psycoanalysis, but I used to belong to a gaming circle where this one guy would do the most detestable thing. If it appeared he was going to lose a multiplayer game he would engage in a suicide campaign to make sure that he would also cause whomever he felt was responsible for his demise to lose as well. His rationale for doing this was to "make sure that in any future games people would think twice about f-ing with him". As it turned out we simply stopped inviting him to our gatherings. I'm not sure what prompts someone to play pathological spoiler.
 

Budgie

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Dan said:
Back in college, my roommate and I were addicted to Stratomatic Baseball, a very elaborate baseball simulation.
Hey, I've got the 1990 cards. Do they make updated cards? We used to have semester long tournaments.

UHHHHH, I just had an epiphany.

We must be geeks.
 

AubieTurtle

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Back in the Windows386 days, I use to play Balance of Power. Sure, I caused thermonuclear war about half the time but those cybercommies had to be dealt with. :)

I use to play both Civ and Sim City but have stayed away from them because they are so addictive. Plus the newer versions require me to upgrade my computer. So I play "Citizen Planner" instead because all those public meetings, letters to the planning office, etc. are nowhere nearly as addictive.
 
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Maister said:
I'm not sure what prompts someone to play pathological spoiler.
I think the answer is: pathology.

Gaming is a fascinating sub-culture with all kinds of ...um... folks who don't fit in elsewhere. We had a regular -- a male in his 30's -- who ALWAYS played female characters. 8-! He did not have a girlfriend or a date for many years. :-D

I have used games to teach important psychological lessons to my kids. I really only play board games these days at the behest of my kids, to spend quality time with them. We have always had a set of rules that apply the principle that "All is fair in love and war....and this is done for love." :) So we have rules like "Youngest goes first." and my kids know I am NOT "playing to win". I am playing because I love my kids. So, in one Civilizations board game, we had a 3 player game (me and both kids) and we allowed in Egypt because my youngest wanted to play Egypt (not one of the choices in a 3 player). I somehow ended up as Africa and my oldest son got some European choice. Well, he decided to nuke all my attempts to take land in Italy, which left me with three choices: kill his brother who had done nothing to me; die of starvation; or declare all out war on the brat who was claiming all of Europe -- which he couldn't even fully populate. Naturally, I decided that said Brat needed a lesson. ;-) After a few vicious rounds, my brainiac child -- who KNOWS I don't care about winning a game against my kids -- asked "why?" (with a very curious expression on his face and no upset, :) ) I explained the nasty position he had put me in, how utterly unnecessary it was, etc. He Got It and we agreed to civilly turn the clock back a few rounds. :-D
 

el Guapo

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Maister said:
This is probably fodder for much psycoanalysis, but I used to belong to a gaming circle where this one guy would do the most detestable thing. If it appeared he was going to lose a multiplayer game he would engage in a suicide campaign to make sure that he would also cause whomever he felt was responsible for his demise to lose as well. His rationale for doing this was to "make sure that in any future games people would think twice about f-ing with him". [France]As it turned out we simply stopped inviting him to our gatherings.[/France] [Michael Moore]I'm not sure what prompts someone to play pathological spoiler.[/Michael Moore]

Did he look like this?
 

Dragon

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I love to play many of the mentioned games above. Has anyone played Risk 2210? It was pretty interesting. You get to nuke invading armies in half and such. It also has moon bases.

Axis and Allies….great game. I can’t find many willing to play it with me. However it does me almost no good to play. I do fairly well in strategy, but my luck lets me down. I could invade a territory with one infantry division, and I have 5 tank divisions, and at the end, IF I got the territory I might have 1 tank left (not really that bad, but gets the point across) :-D . I might have been General Dragon if it weren’t for the luck thing. :p

Call to Power is fun too. I like to better my civilization until some one forces them to unleash my armies upon them.

To answer the question, I do tend to build and develop in strategy games until I have no choice but to fight back.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Michele Zone said:
I think the answer is: pathology.

Gaming is a fascinating sub-culture with all kinds of ...um... folks who don't fit in elsewhere. We had a regular -- a male in his 30's -- who ALWAYS played female characters. 8-! He did not have a girlfriend or a date for many years. :-D

I have used games to teach important psychological lessons to my kids. I really only play board games these days at the behest of my kids, to spend quality time with them. We have always had a set of rules that apply the principle that "All is fair in love and war....and this is done for love." :) So we have rules like "Youngest goes first." and my kids know I am NOT "playing to win". I am playing because I love my kids. So, in one Civilizations board game, we had a 3 player game (me and both kids) and we allowed in Egypt because my youngest wanted to play Egypt (not one of the choices in a 3 player). I somehow ended up as Africa and my oldest son got some European choice. Well, he decided to nuke all my attempts to take land in Italy, which left me with three choices: kill his brother who had done nothing to me; die of starvation; or declare all out war on the brat who was claiming all of Europe -- which he couldn't even fully populate. Naturally, I decided that said Brat needed a lesson. ;-) After a few vicious rounds, my brainiac child -- who KNOWS I don't care about winning a game against my kids -- asked "why?" (with a very curious expression on his face and no upset, :) ) I explained the nasty position he had put me in, how utterly unnecessary it was, etc. He Got It and we agreed to civilly turn the clock back a few rounds. :-D
And I would say that games are there to play to win. They teach command of knowledge needed to interpret and act within a system. Getting a building permit or business license is no different than crushing the axis in Axis & Allies. A blocking manuver to prevent an action or desire happens in the planning process as well as the fantasy games we engage in. What should be taken away is a keen sense of odds learned for succesully achieving an objective and the ability to think around obstacles in your path.

You can crush your enemies in cold calculating fashion and still be a good sport about it! :d:

Whats the point of playing a game against an oponent if you are not going to try to win or teach a teamate how to win.? :-0
 
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Duke Of Dystopia said:
Whats the point of playing a game against an oponent if you are not going to try to win or teach a teamate how to win.? :-0
If you are playing against, say, a 6 year old who has no hope in hell of beating you if you give it your all and you set out to crush your "enemy", you are crushing the spirit of your child -- who looks to you to be his/her protector until they are old enough to cope with the cold, cruel world. Some cultures abhor competitiveness and only play cooperative games. Civilizations and the like lends itself very well to cooperative strategies. Research shows that cooperative paradigms are more profitable in business negotiations -- it helps to expand the pie and it promotes synergisms that cannot be found without a deep sense of TRUST. Your approach is sure to kill all and any trust between people who are playing. I have no desire to treat my own children so cruelly and I, personally, would consider it abusive to be so callous to any child.

When they play ugly, I play ugly. They usually quickly conclude that mom is right: a civilized atmosphere exists only by agreement and cooperation and if they want to live in a civilized atmosphere, they better figure out how to be civilized because their uncivilized behavior is a sure path to a downward spiral in which we will ALL "lose".
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Michele Zone said:
If you are playing against, say, a 6 year old who has no hope in hell of beating you if you give it your all and you set out to crush your "enemy", you are crushing the spirit of your child -- .....


When they play ugly, I play ugly. They usually quickly conclude that mom is right: a civilized atmosphere exists only by agreement and cooperation and if they want to live in a civilized atmosphere, they better figure out how to be civilized because their uncivilized behavior is a sure path to a downward spiral in which we will ALL "lose".
I never said crush a six year old. I said teach them the rules, help them grasp them. There is your cooperation. Then, continually challenge them to force them to play at higher levels in order to further thier mental abilities. I would never crush the will of my kids, but I would continually up the level of play until I saw them crushing the oposition of thier peers in a similar age group.

While you are correct in talking about the benifits of cooperative play, make sure you understand the concept of tit for tat retaliation. The ability to forgive may be a cold calculating device that allowed us to evolve to cooperate through mistakes and mistrust, but it is Tit-for-Tat that keeps your partners honest. As someone above pointed out, to ALWAYS retaliate versus a percieved slight, might not always be wise. It is also safe to say, that trusting your "teamates" and opononents too much is also not wise.

Also remember, I posted the caveat that good sportsmanship is also required.

As for game play in civilization, they have yet to answere why we are not all speaking mandarin Chinese. I have never heard a good explanation yet. They had all the equipment (compas, gunpowder, awesome sailing vessels in seaworthyness and size, large population, acquired book knowledge, a well developed civil service, and a more cooperative form of society), but none of the drive. makes you wonder if cooperative environments have a major limit. I am open to hear good suggestions as to why that occured also.
 
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Duke Of Dystopia said:
As for game play in civilization, they have yet to answere why we are not all speaking mandarin Chinese. I have never heard a good explanation yet. They had all the equipment (compas, gunpowder, awesome sailing vessels in seaworthyness and size, large population, acquired book knowledge, a well developed civil service, and a more cooperative form of society), but none of the drive. makes you wonder if cooperative environments have a major limit. I am open to hear good suggestions as to why that occured also.
I do not agree with an earlier statement of yours that "you can crush your enemy in a cold calculating fashion and still be a good sport about it". And you made that point seemingly in rebuttal to my comments about how I choose to play games with my kids. Once again, you seem to be looking merely to get my goat and I really don't want to go there. No matter what I say, you will rebutt it merely to rebutt it. And I really do not enjoy such conversations. I do not like arguing. I do enjoy an exchange of ideas but I do not like conflict-seeking behaviors.

However, the whole China thing: first, let me point out that roughly one out of every 6 people on the planet is, in fact, Chinese. And, as I understand it, they did absorb a lot of smaller nations around them -- which is how they got to be the physical size they are. But, their language and culture are not very adapatable and they are xenophobic. I am something of an amateur linguist and my career military husband has studied a lot of military history. He is of the opinion that the un-adaptable language of the Chinese holds them back. I think this is a good hypothesis. Language is created by the ideas we have and, to some degree, it determines the ideas we are capable of having. For example, some languages lack a word for "rape" because they have no concept that you can violate a woman sexually by force. She has no real say in the matter: she is either the property of her father (or other male relative) or her husband. If you take her virginity, you have committed a property crime against her relative. The usual remedy for that is to force you to marry her, since she is now "damaged goods" and they want you take such a liability off their hands. :-#

The very complex written language of China inhibits their ability to enter the computer age. As I understand it, the way characters of the language are formed would require a huge keyboard and is impractical to design or use. If they cannot find a way around this issue, they will rapidly be left behind -- or forced to adopt a different written language, which begins to undermine the very culture itself. Culture and language (or speech patterns) are intricately intertwined. To adopt a new language is to adopt new ideas and new attitudes. And the transitional period is one of reduced ...skill. The lack of fluency makes the new language a cruder instrument than one's native tongue. It is a sticy wicket to try to escape.

I am sure that is only part of the answer. But it is my 2 cents worth on that topic.
 

Maister

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el Guapo said:
Did he look like this?
Yes he did. But surely you should have bolded the words he would engage in a suicide campaign instead.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Michele Zone said:
I do not agree with an earlier statement of yours that "you can crush your enemy in a cold calculating fashion and still be a good sport about it". .......
On the contrary, I do it at least a couple of times a week. I play a miniatures game that involves skirmish level meeting engagements of force on force. It involves one "force" trying to destroy the oposing "force". As long as you have fun in the process, you do not become a rules lawyer, and you are not nasty to the other player means you are being a good sport.

I am not being combative, I just see games in a different light. The more detailed the game, the more rules you need to remember and manipulate. Competition is a good thing, and if your going to play, just being there isn't enough.

Weather it is monopoly, risk, or any other game there is a winner and a looser. Team sports teach cooperation and is a necessary learning experience. Your average planning department is a cooperative team effort. It is important to learn this skill. It is also important to learn how to operate without a team and that is your head on head skills.

Games tell us something about how to handle real life They teach rules of probability and cognitive thinking skills in the problem solving arena.

Insightful ideas with the Chinese question. I don't know the answere myself.

Still waiting to hear if other people ran the same evil mayor experiment with Sim City as I did.
 

michaelskis

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I was watching ESPN, and they where talking about how athletes are using video games to better there performance. NASCAR drivers play it in home made simulators. Do you think that by playing Sim City we can become better planners?
 

boiker

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Duke Of Dystopia said:
Still waiting to hear if other people ran the same evil mayor experiment with Sim City as I did.
Of course! I think most gamers have! The other thing I figured out was how to double my density by bulldozing the edges of the 3x3 'I' 'C' "R" zones.

Edit:

Michealskis, It teaches, at most, remedial planning theory. People don't want to live next to heavy manufacturing belching pollution and traffic makes people angry.

I think it's a fun diversion but not a tool or reference for any real-life planning.
 

Maister

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michaelskis said:
I was watching ESPN, and they where talking about how athletes are using video games to better there performance. NASCAR drivers play it in home made simulators. Do you think that by playing Sim City we can become better planners?
I think Sim City represents planning in the broadest strokes possible. That said, I'm waiting for the game "Simplanner" to be released. It will be very realistic and include such joyful recreations as simulated public meetings, complete with fist shaking, outraged citizens opposed to 'Simwalmarts' rezoning requests. Then there's the other upcoming game "Lords of the Zone" which is a role playing game where you can become either a code enforcement official (gain experience points and go up levels every time you get cussed out or bit by dog), or work as a consultant for the Dark Side.....
 

DecaturHawk

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Maister said:
Don't sell it DH. Seeing as how you're going to be living within an hour of the Maister, you should challenge me to a D-Day deathmatch featuring prodigious consumption of home brew and pretzels! Bring back the glory days of our youth without the bad complections (although this time around I will not likely be as impressed as I would have been in 1980 being regailed with tales of how you "got to third base" with some cheerleader);-) ....
I still have the following AH games board games (collecting dust):
Afrika Korps
1776
War & Peace
Stalingrad
Tactics II
Battle of the Bulge
Star Fleet Battles
War at Sea
Victory in the Pacific
Third Reich
Diplomacy
Red Storm Rising
Squad Leader
and of course....D&D
D-Day or no D-Day, homebrew and pretzels sounds good to me. Don't worry about the cheerleader stories, I don't have any to tell.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
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To weigh in on the discussion between Michelle and Duke, I side with Michelle. I too have a small child who I play games with and I always hold back. We either play to a draw or I let him win.

I play games with him because I like playing with him. It is fun. It makes us closer. It builds his confidence. Three reasons why I as a parent let him win or at least tie me. First, I love him and he is really cute. Second, I want him to enjoy playing games with me, so I don't want to discourage him. Third, he exhibits such joy when he succeeds, and that in turn makes me feel good for him. Hearing "I did it!" is worth so much more than me winning a game.

I suppose, as a parent, when your child wins you win too.

The time will come when he can beat the old man. I hope that whne that days comes he will feel sorry for the old goat and maybe dog it a little for me.
 
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Duke, late last week, someone close to me was diagnosed with an agressive form of cancer. So I am really just not up to a verbal wrestling match. I wish I were up to having a long discussion with you about the psychology and human values behind playing games. It is actually a fairly deep topic, starting with the well-established fact that the more intelligent a species is, the more the offspring play games. Games are an important form of mental modeling and they do both reflect and influence the kinds of values and rubrics or paradigms of a culture and of individuals which play specific ones.

I know the value of being able to cope effectively with conflict and I don't think "just being there" (as in a body filling a chair) is "enough". But, it is a fact that quality time arises out of the quantity of time you give your kids. You cannot schedule "quality time". It happens as a surprise and you must simply be willing to spend the time with your kids in order to reap such benefits. And if you are assuming that my kids were raised to be doormats who cannot cope with conflict, you are wrong. But they were taught a different set of paradigms for coping with conflict. My kids deal very well with conflict. But their primary goal is generally to disengage from the conflict itself -- to look beyond the fight and wonder what they really want and focus on that. Conflict is inevitable in life and, therefore, not worth dwelling overly much on. The best means to cope with conflict is to not get "stuck" on the conflict itself. That leads to revenge and grudges and ... then you get stories like "Romeo and Juliet" or "The Hatfields and McCoys".

In short, my kids have been taught to never "win the battle but lose the war".

Anyway, I don't really want to argue. But I didn't want to just "ignore" you either, even though, emotionally, I feel way too "tired" for such a conversation. So, please excuse me while I bow out now.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
DecaturHawk said:
D-Day or no D-Day, homebrew and pretzels sounds good to me. Don't worry about the cheerleader stories, I don't have any to tell.
Homebrew? Pretzels? I will supply the stories about the cheerleaders. (if your over 30 you can reclame your youth by sharing in my adventures)
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
Michele Zone said:
Duke, late last week, someone close to me was diagnosed with an agressive form of cancer. So I am really just not up to a verbal wrestling match. I wish I were up to having a long discussion with you about the psychology and human values behind playing games. It is actually a fairly deep topic, starting with the well-established fact that the more intelligent a species is, the more the offspring play games. Games are an important form of mental modeling and they do both reflect and influence the kinds of values and rubrics or paradigms of a culture and of individuals which play specific ones.

I know the value of being able to cope effectively with conflict and I don't think "just being there" (as in a body filling a chair) is "enough". But, it is a fact that quality time arises out of the quantity of time you give your kids. You cannot schedule "quality time". It happens as a surprise and you must simply be willing to spend the time with your kids in order to reap such benefits. And if you are assuming that my kids were raised to be doormats who cannot cope with conflict, you are wrong. But they were taught a different set of paradigms for coping with conflict. My kids deal very well with conflict. But their primary goal is generally to disengage from the conflict itself -- to look beyond the fight and wonder what they really want and focus on that. Conflict is inevitable in life and, therefore, not worth dwelling overly much on. The best means to cope with conflict is to not get "stuck" on the conflict itself. That leads to revenge and grudges and ... then you get stories like "Romeo and Juliet" or "The Hatfields and McCoys".

In short, my kids have been taught to never "win the battle but lose the war".
....
I don't disagree with a single thing you have said and have read the same findings about intelligence and game playing.

I would only add that I prefer my kids to not just deal with conflict, but to revel in it and enjoy the clarity of mind that comes during conflict. To learn to cope, adjust, and improvise in order to sieze your goal. I come from a very close but very competative family (of German / Norwegian descent).

Nietzsche had this to say, and it fits for people like me who see a way to compete at something through games. The following paragraph whispers secrets to me, and I understand them (its a bit frightening actually :) ):

...The German soul has lanes and connecting paths inside—in it there are high points, hiding places, dungeons. Its lack of order has a great deal of the charm of something full of secrets. On the secret route to chaos, the German knows what he is doing.....

If this thread is occupied by true game players, I am sure I am not the only one here that plays hard. I work hard, and I play just as hard. I was taught to not just reach a goal, but to continue to beat the previous mark ever afterward. Games are mini chaos fields in which to play. Sort of like folocking in a dangerous construction zone rather than a safe park! :-D

In a sense, winning the battle or the war is irrelevent, it is having faught a good fight that counts most! :d:
 
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Messages
7,649
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29
Maister said:
I think Sim City represents planning in the broadest strokes possible.
I think that if you play it a looooong time, you can begin to see subtler things going on. I think it is a fairly good simulation and it can allow one to develop a complex mental model that is 4 dimensional -- that more clearly sees the shape of future developments from the 'seeds' being planted in the present because you can 'fast forward' it a hundred years or whatever. I believe someone in Cyburbia said that one city was uploading their actual GIS data into Simcity and running simulations with variations to test out different proposals and the city was getting good results from the decisions that grew out of such hypothesis testing. To me, that suggests that Simcity has more value than most folks credit it with. Of course, I am married to a soldier and the military does computer simulations to teach combat, simulated battles to teach combat, etc. I think virtual reality has enormous untapped potential for real world applications. The military is pretty conservative because lives are on the line. Their rubrics for how to get things done right are usually pretty solid.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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28,693
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71
Michele Zone said:
I think that if you play it a looooong time, you can begin to see subtler things going on.
I may have noticed this, but was reluctant to ascribe more sophistication to the program than I thought due. I've often wondered if there was some sort of 'aging housing stock' algorhythm, but I was never sure that was intentional or not...without further tipping my hand or prompting any particular response from you - what are some of the 'subtle' things you've noted?
 
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7,649
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29
Maister said:
without further tipping my hand or prompting any particular response from you - what are some of the 'subtle' things you've noted?
Well, I was going to list a few things but removed my list because a) maybe I am an idiot and these are all things that all professional planners know and I would just be revealing what a Rube I am :-c b) It was some time ago and I was sick and heavily medicated, so my memory for the details is not The Best it could be. 8-! But, an attempt to answer your question anyway and perhaps merely entertain everyone by making a Fool of myself :-D :

When I played Simcity 3000, I developed a lot of strategies for keeping farms alive. Good, healthy farms that were not being converted to industry too rapidly to stop the process is like a "leading indicator" for certain things. For one thing, farms do not thrive if there is too much pollution. Pollution causes them to convert to industry. So, if you have healthy farms, you have a clean environment. If you can figure out how to keep the environment clean, you have more success with farms. For another, in a small town with a large farming area, your farms are major employers BUT if you have much residential near them, your farms are more likely to begin converting to industry. However, if you don't put any residential near them, you will end up with long commutes to the jobs on the farms. Long commutes creates traffic. Traffic causes pollution on the roads. Too much traffic and too much pollution on the roads...begins to convert your farms to industry. So, if you are not constantly battling conversion of your farms, you must have traffic doing fairly well, you must have affordable housing that is not too close but not too far, you must have a port or some other means to get the goods to market, etc. And it is a delicate balance that falls apart pretty rapidly, so you have to stay on top of things all the time.

In Simcity 3000, I could save cities at different points, rename them and make multiple copies that way. That allowed me to save the game at a critical point and try alternate solutions. One thanksgiving, when I was awake for 24 hours or so due to drug withdrawal and decided to play Simcity rather than cause trouble in some online forum :) , I played to a point where my city was kind of "Hitting a wall" in development. I began going through ALL the stats and trying to figure out what I could do to get unstuck. What I noted was that commercial and and industrial development are grown based primarily on access to resources. I had been trying to "pump up" commercial and industrial development when it began to flag and it wasn't doing much. Cutting taxes, passing or unpassing ordinances to make it a more business-friendly environment, etc -- all of that failed to make any substantial difference. Those were just tweaks, with minor impact, and it wasn't fixing how badly my city had stalled. After going through all the stats, I found that access to water and power is crucial to growth of business and industry. If I had about twice as much power and water as I needed, and didn't have any significant bottle-necks in other areas (such as an inadequate port), commercial and industry grew like wildfire. It grew about as fast as I could layout new zones. But if I only had a little "extra" capacity in those areas, growth was anemic or nonexistent.

I also found that land use planning was a more effective deterrant to crime than extra police stations (which only cause cries of "oppression" anyway). If I make sure my military base, university, amusement park, and other high crime items are sufficiently spaced and have appropriate land-uses around them, crime will be low. Low density commercial belongs around things like the amusement park. Residential does not.

I have also found that small changes to downtown business districts can make a huge difference in the success of the area. And that it is generally better, after you have sufficient size in a city, to have a downtown that is higher density but a smaller footprint in order to make space for large park areas and other perks like that. The mix of stuff is really critical to how well the downtown area succeeds in being high value, etc.

I think if you play a long time and get stuck and try different solutions, you begin to learn subtler things than just "don't stick your power plant in the middle of town -- no one wants to live near such pollution". lol. At least, I think I did. But, what do I know? I am just a college student. :-}
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
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26
Another one joining the Sim City bandwagon :p
I've always like the game, since it's first version, but I must say that the last version is probably the most complete, and more complex that the rest besides the evident better graphics.. One of the most hardest things for me is to remain cheat free, specially in this last version, where achieving a balanced budget is quite a hassle, though I'm dominating it.. One of the major highlights is the possibility to add sims in and the closest zoom gives you lots of eye candy details :)
 

monkeyflower

Cyburbian
Messages
58
Points
4
Maister said:
Based on an earlier thread, I know there are several Sid Meier's 'Civilization' game fans out there in Cyburbia. I'm curious - as planners do you tend to find yourselves more drawn to the building-type games or pursue development strategies sometimes in computer games that aren't even necessarily geared towards that end?
I've been playing Sid Meier's Civ, Civ II, Alpha Centauri, and Civ III zealously, each from the time it came out until the time the next came out. Civ II and SMAC I was eventually able to consistantly win on the hardest level with exactly your strategy--dominate just enough to not win (in Civ II, surround your last enemy's last city with Mech. Inf. and then pump all your cities to maximum final score generation). And my strategy has always put military might low on the priority scale; war tactics were always the same--lose the border cities immediately, because I always have the weakest military on the map, but use my vastly superior technology and economic development to churn out superior units in the core cities, take back my cities, and control the aggressor's entire civilization within a decade. Civ III has eaten literally weeks of my life, and I own two copies--I bought the PC version when it came out, then the Mac version a year later, because I "switched" and needed to keep playing. I have passing fancies with other games (Diablo II lasted an entire 6 weeks, and then I never touched it again), but the Civs are the best. I fear Railroad Tycoon; I expect I would never emerge from its talons. Before Civ came out, I mostly played "A-Train".

I've pretty much kicked the Civ III habit these days, mostly thanks to having real live housemates to play games with. My favorites are the AH Diplomacy and Civilization (utterly no relation to the computer game, for those who aren't familiar), when I can get people to play them with me, but mostly we play the shorter german games, like Puerto Rico, Tigris & Euphrates, Carcassone, etc. We've also got a D&D game going, first-edition AD&D rules, which was started as "a nostalgic dungeon crawl". That was done so that no temptation for world-building would occur, because at least three of us have a history of getting too involved in world-building to ever run a game. My most recent few unplayed worlds have been entirely urban campaigns, strangely enough...
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
31
I have been regularly playing Civ II for the last five (5) years, usually during the "inside" months of northern USA winters. Civ II is very addictive.

I play it to think about things other than the things in my life, such as work, relationships, beer (??), whatever, etc. It relaxes me.

When I'm done wiping out some country that was probably filled with decent and good people I revert back to mild-mannered Bear and drink a beer.

Civ II does not make me fire a gun. I have never fired a gun.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......

Genghis Bear
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
Civ Iii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOOOOO!!! Stupid Civ III game kept me up until 5 AM! I felt like I had only played for 1 hr!

I guess I'll live and learn.

I tried to remain a friend to all, but in my first two adventures got my but plundered by adjacent stronger civilizations. I'm just learning about happiness, taxes, and other tweaks.
 

Maister

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boiker said:
NOOOOO!!! Stupid Civ III game kept me up until 5 AM! I felt like I had only played for 1 hr!

I guess I'll live and learn.

I tried to remain a friend to all, but in my first two adventures got my but plundered by adjacent stronger civilizations. I'm just learning about happiness, taxes, and other tweaks.
I think I actually like Civ 2 better than 3. It seems you can't effectively administer a large empire. Once you establish about 20 cities it seems like corruption is so bad that additional cities are worthless
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
Maister said:
I think I actually like Civ 2 better than 3. It seems you can't effectively administer a large empire. Once you establish about 20 cities it seems like corruption is so bad that additional cities are worthless
Yeah, i had a relatively large empire but I still only had about 15 cities that were worth anything.
 
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