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What Games make a Good Player

Sometime back I talked about how good players make good games and good games make good players.  I figured I’d talk this week about a few concrete examples of what a good game is and what I’ve learned from it.

Go: One of the oldest games in human history. I’m not very good at it or play very much, but at least the way I was taught it was fairly invaluable. It taught me about having the initiative and resource management in a way that no other game really has. Although you could make a good case for Carcassone.

Dominion: Dominion is a rather self contained game but taught me a lot of different things. It’s ABC turn structure as well as the interplay between Actions taught me the proper way of thinking in games and how mechanical it often is, in a flow chart sort of way. Fairly useful in processing how other games and rules work. It also has some advantages in card games such as proper sequencing, and probability vis a vis your deck.

BSG: This game taught me so much. It’s honestly not a perfect teaching tool or anything like that but it had a lot of things that had a lot of value to me at the time I started playing it. The thing to understand about BSG is that’s it’s a lot of rather obvious subsystems working together to create a larger, cohesive game. You have the hidden identity part, which branches off to different systems. The table interaction part, wherein you learn just general social skills and the like. Then you go back to the actual game and have the primary means of interaction: Crisis cards. This mean knowing probability, how likely is a certain color to come up and the composition of hands+Destiny. Of course you then have to do the Skill Check and process the results. Nor can you do this at your own luxury, you have to be relatively quick about it.  You get practice at it, your mind becomes sharper and card counting becomes easier. Nor are Skill Checks the only meaningful interaction, you also have the Action economy.  Nothing is exactly novel here, but that’s arguably the point of this post anyway.

Magic the Gathering: An assortment of card game related things from playing the game; a fact compounded by all the content around Magic that one can consume to learn stuff.

Naturally I can make an argument for just about every game I like and some I don’t like all that much* . Instead this was meant to was give some insight for what exactly I mean by good games make good players.  If anyone is interested in me looking at more games in this context than leave a comment. Otherwise, until next time.

*Ticket to Ride has lowered in opinion for me but it still is a good into game and can teach some good general concepts.


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