Podcast Episode 20: How To Make Enemies And Manipulate People

posted in: Podcast | 2

Marc quizzes his wife Amber on her theory of “social manipulation” in board games, which desperately needs a new name because that sounds really evil. It’s not evil. It’s how Amber uses psychology to give her a leg up in games. Marc doesn’t get it. Amber doesn’t get Marc’s puns. It’s a good time.

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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2 Responses

  1. Steph S.

    Amber! We approach games very similarly… and it’s encouraging to me to find someone else that does the same thing, because I too fall into situations where I’m criticized for not thinking or playing like everyone else. The first 5-10 minutes of this when you were talking about your fellow gamers trying to get you to “buy in” to a group cause, your thought processes when that happens, and why you respond the way you do… it spoke to me on a deep spiritual level.
    Hyperbole aside: I play a, as you guys described it, “multiplayer attack/defense-oriented game” many times per week–Magic the Gathering, EDH (or “Commander”) format. It’s usually a game of 4-5 players, all competing against each other, with one eventual winner. I can’t tell you how often people try to get me on board with group causes.

    “Oh! He’s got a HUGE board state. You have to help us attack him or else he’s going to win!” There are times when I do see and acknowledge that a win will undoubtedly happen and “jump on board”… but not because people told me to, because I decided that it was the most beneficial effort I could employ to work toward a victory. But, there are other times when I look at the board, discern that, “Hm… if I don’t attack this person… that means they have a TON of damage they can deal… but I’m currently what looks to be the least threatening player… so said threatening player will likely use his existing resources for the next few turns to obliterate the other players.” And then I leave him to do just that. It INFURIATES people I play with because I’m the only one that “plays the game,” as you said, and I might even add “plays the people” too.

    Still listening to the rest of it, but I just had to share my OMG ME TOO moment. 🙂

  2. Jeff Van Ness

    This was a great discussion. Amber, my brother and I call your style of play “using the force”. Rather than calculating all the possible odds of a move and spend an inordinate amount of time deciding, players that “use the force” assess the circumstances and make the best choice that seems to lead in the right direction.

    As to social manipulation, I think this is a natural part of mutii-player games. Knowing the other players is key. I think you used the word dynamics in your discussion. It is not so much manipulation, but more an awareness of the social dynamics going on during the game. I think most players use this tool some are just more cognizant of it.

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