Playing for 2nd
Why do so few players who seem otherwise very good at Catan continue to battle it out to the bitter end with the obvious winner and risk taking 3rd place in the process? Lol, I even get accused of "teaming up" in an unsportsmanlike, or flat-out being in cahoots with the winner because I shoot for second place all the time. I'll even feed the winner to clinch 2nd if it looks like 3rd is catching up to me and I stand little chance against the leader. The last thing especially drives my competition crazy, but it seems 100% legit to me, and if someone was doing it to me and I knew I couldn't actually compete for 2nd while being focused, I'd concede the game and take the hit -- let the AI take over --- the player who forced me out would have my respect. But I seem to be practically the only player who does this at my level of play, it seems like.
Of course, none of that really matters that much so long as the ELO system can be cheated so easily. What a shame.
@Crymoricus Well, I am one of the players who really loathe this new fashion of playing for second rank.
(Note: I hate the playing style, not you! It is, of course, completely your choice to play any way the rules permit!)
But playing for second results in totally boring games both for the looser, who can´t really participate anymore, and the champion, who is no longer challenged.
The only player who might enjoy a game like that is the one playing for second rank.
I also don´t like playing with quitters, because the AI s...s.
To conclude, if it´s no fun, why should I play with you
It´s not like I´m getting paid for this. And really, I´d never consider Elo as a kind of payment, even if it were much more accurate. So I will put 2nd rank players like you on my ignore list.
Not as a punishment - you are not an evil person and totally within your rights - but to avoid being bored to tears.
Girls just wanna have fun ....
Why can't the "loser" participate? When the "loser" fights for 2nd right back, it's actually pretty darn fun. It's like a whole other dimension to the game when you fight for best position. Maybe the reason you don't like it is because you don't do it? Maybe if you started playing for best position, you'd find games where you know your going to "lose" (i.e. not come in first) more exciting. I mean, if you're not doing that much, and just giving up on the whole ball of wax, you may as well just let the AI take over for you.
Playing for 2nd place is completely stupid. If you play enough and actually try to block the 1st place you will see how effective it can be. Yes, you might not always win... BUT WHAT DOES THE 2ND PLACE GIVE YOU? Elo is completely useless metric. If you play for that, you take all the fun away from playing that one game of Catan. You ruin the game for the meta game of elo for everyone but you. AND you coyuld have actually maybe won the game if you blocked the leader. Very often in Catan, if people bash the leader, the 2nd place actually wins. If you give the win away, you give away the 1st place for yourself. This is just unbelievably stupid on all accounts..
Honestly, playing for best position often puts hope and excitement back into a game that would otherwise be a giant borefest. It's never boring the way I play it. When you have a clear ladder of 1 2 3, and the order seems competitive for 1 and 2, 2 will always go after 1, and you, in a natural 3rd place, get this fantastic opportunity to put that 2nd placer into 3rd. It's fun!
But what if the 4th player just knows that the game is lost and he makes the 1st player win so he could start the next game faster? This is what you do from the perspective of the other players.
Oh, I only play 3-player Catan. LOL, I didn't think about 4-player even existing I haven't played it for so long. 3-player is way, way better for the regular game, at least.
@Crymoricus What I mean when I say participate, is actually to have the chance to do something. Usually, when I ´m 3rd, only few resources come in. And if another player targets me constantly, (for example by robbing and blocking) I ´m not able to build or buy anything anymore. I don´t mind loosing, but I do mind being reduced to rolling and passing on the dice each turn. A competition only works if both players hold a position strong enough to fight.
@Crymoricus I had generally played Catan for fun with the idea it was everyone against the de facto leader going with ideals like trade down/rob up, or even helping other players build road/settlements if it slowed down the leader/closed the gap [leaving me the chance to make my move and steal the win]. It keeps everyone in the game and makes it fun engaging for all, and often means the supposed "guaranteed winner" often doesn't win or has to fight hard to get it (it's not just handed to them by some person giving up early and going for 2nd). But I get there are other playing styles.
The problem with playing for 2nd, and/or many other effective but aggressive playing styles, is that it changes the focus from going after the leader together to going after the weakest players and ignoring the leader (and ignoring the AI). The weakest player is left defending themselves against the two strongest players in the game and having any potential positions taken first by the other ignored players. It's simply not fun. [and since it's online, it doesn't carry any social repercussions like it would if you were playing with friends. You can be a bully in Catan and it doesn't matter, in fact if you complain about bullies you are usually looked down upon - it's just like highschool]
Honestly, maybe it is legitimate playing style that reflects the real world of getting ahead at any cost. It often seems like the ELO system does encourage sociopathic play. I mean, if your ELO doesn't go down (because you just went for 2nd), who cares that you are kicking down the weakest players. Seems to be the worst of society today.
As far as quitting and letting the AI take over, this is the worst possible outcome, which I sometimes wonder if the bullies of the game hope for, because then you can game the AI to an unfair advantage by getting it to make unreasonable trades to ridiculous advantage. And it was so boring playing a game where people would only consider trading with the AI, and one would have to endure 20 x 1 second trade requests (I just turned trading off so I wouldn't get exhausted by it). Or where the AI gives one player the advantage with trades and ignores other players (a feature of the more recent versions - being flat out ignored by the AI) [@administrators, I really hope you start imposing some artificial trading barriers with AI, either having AI respond at random human speeds, and increasingly slower the more requests get made, to prevent abuse. And while I'm glad it's ignoring trading with someone about to win, the feature seems mis-tuned as sometimes it seems like it's focused on trading with only one other player]
In my worst games, I used to actually let the AI go for the win, because my 2nd place gave me 1st place ELO, and the AI chewed up the board that the other players needed to challenge me. I'm not proud of it, but it's not against the rules. I know it wasn't fun for the other players.
I sadly remember the old catanonline was much more fun to play. People talked more and it was much more fun, but also had an option (if I'm remembering correctly) to indicate it was a fun game by starting with friendly-robber.
@Stroom I agree with this. I've played games where the leader had a crazy lead and everyone focusing on them (as they should) gave everyone a chance, and even brought the other 3 players all to 9 points. It became everyone's game because some unimaginative or selfish person didn't give up early and start bullying the weakest players (giving the leader free reign).
[tbh, the one time I have targeted a player with less points (other than fighting for a single key position like a port) are the "development card" collectors, because their whole strategy is around robbing everyone else so you have to get ahead of them before they start hitting hard]
Oh, I only play 3-player Catan. LOL, I didn't think about 4-player even existing I haven't played it for so long. 3-player is way, way better for the regular game, at least.
I'd argue 4-player harbour master is the better game. So much less space, more competition (and people who might trade. although there seems to be anti-trading online at times), more tactics/strategies to win... you really have to pay attention, think hard, and trade carefully.
if you r not first you are last - ricki bobby
Yeah, this is about the response I expected. Well, enjoy me grinding you into last place! I know I will.
@Crymoricus I'm not sure what you were expecting!? You essentially said - hey guys, if I can't obviously win without effort, I (and the 1st place player) will rob the 3rd place person so they can't do anything in the game and they quit. Soooo much fun /s [Of course, you likely could win if 2nd and 3rd worked together to take down 1st, but your are too focused on protecting your ELO. TBH, it makes you seem more like a low skilled player.]
@MonkeyZ lmfao, that's not what I said at all. Not even "essentially." hahaha, fail.
I actually fully agree with everything you've said here so I can assure you that you're not the only player who holds these opinions about playing for 2nd spot. And I'm sure there are many other players out there who feel the same way.
I honestly think that there is nothing wrong with playing for 2nd spot, A.I. playing for the best position , when there's a situation when it's clear to ALL players that it's statistically impossible to catch up with the leading player and to beat him and finish 1st yourself.
First of all, people who might play this way will most likely always play for 1st spot until they recognize that winning is a lost cause. No one would play for 2nd spot from the very beginning (that is maybe, unless they would be doomed from the beginning because of their horrible starting positions).
And secondly, it only makes sense to go for the 2nd spot when it’s clear that the leader will win, because who can seriously claim that they don't ever care about finishing dead last!?. Even if you don’t care about ELO score it just doesn’t make sense to accept unnecessary defeat like that, unless you’re a beta pussy or something…
Of course there is always a grey zone in determining when it would be reasonable to assume that the leader is truly unstoppable, and player's would have to determine that for themselves individually (and they have every right to do so BTW). And because Catan is a game of about 85% luck based gameplay it will always be hard to know for absolute certain if some player cannot be stopped anymore. But people who would deny that there definitely are moments when the leader will win without a doubt because he statistically (numbers and income wise) absolutely has the upper hand and is impossible to catch up with, and that the only logical course of action (and most productive one) then would be to start playing for 2nd spot, I think those people are either dishonest a$holes or complete idiots! Because why the hell would you willingly choose to finish dead last instead of at least getting 2nd spot!? It just doesn’t make sense.
I do get the point that some people made here, that it sucks when you get robbed and hindered by the 2nd player in a game when you’re already last in line and you can’t do shit the whole game. But guess what people… that’s f#cking life! Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. And sometimes when you lose, you get stomped on even more by the people who are in front of you because they simply want to stay ahead of you in the game (be it in Catan, or in Life). And you can’t do anything about that because that’s the way nature and life works. It simply comes down to the survival of the fittest. And this you also see reflected in games like Catan. Because in the end Catan is a WAR GAME. And everything is fair in WAR. Players may do anything they want, as they see fit, as long as they follow the official written rules of the game. There is no rule that you may only rob or hinder the player who has the most VP’s. Players may rob or hinder whoever they want, for whatever reason they want, and as many times as they want!
You will not hear me cry and complain about being robbed as the weakest player because I’ve accepted that a long time ago that those moments are inevitable. Catan is a game of chance and some games you get dealt a shitty hand and might start with the absolute worst beginning settlement spots so you won’t have any choice of advancing in the game (let alone finishing 2nd). You sit there, skipping your turns the entire game without being able to do jack sh#t, and on top of that you get robbed by the 2nd player because the leader has already clearly won and he doesn’t want to finish dead last either so he keeps harassing you. It happens. You just deal with it and move on to the next game when your “luck” might be better.
All of this doesn’t mean I never play to win and rob the leader, because I always play to win. But if at some point in the game I recognize, from experience, that the leader will undeniably win, then I will absolutely do everything in my power to at least finish 2nd or play for the next best position. If this will make the game somewhat boring for the leader because the competition is gone (from my side), then so be it. But in my view the competition isn’t gone from the game because the battle between the other two players has then just begun. And from experience I know this can be just as fun as when all three players are battling for 1st spot.
I would also like to respond to some specific things said here …
First of all, WHY are you (ab)using every single emoticon in the book here... That is just really obnoxious! You’re making it tiresome to read your messages because there’s a picture after every freakin word, and you’re coming across as unnecessarily needy tbh.
Putting player’s on your ignore list because they don’t want to finish dead last I find really dumb. Because you’re removing players from your possibilities to play with (and vice versa) which will ultimately make you wait for games longer. And you’re missing out on playing some potentially fun games with those people and (possibly) learning from their gameplay. And all of this solely on the assumption that they will always only play for 2nd spot just because they did so in this one game with you???
“What I mean when I say participate, is actually to have the chance to do something.”
“I don´t mind loosing, but I do mind being reduced to rolling and passing on the dice each turn.”
“A competition only works if both players hold a position strong enough to fight.”
So you don’t mind losing, but you do care about becoming 2nd because you’re clearly saying here that you care about being strong enough to fight, but you also judge and blame others for wanting to do the same and secure their 2nd spot. You seem to have somewhat conflicting opinions there…
“Playing for 2nd place is completely stupid.”
“If you give the win away, you give away the 1st place for yourself.”
So in a game where the leader has won the game already, and he is unstoppable beyond the shadow of a doubt, you would rather finish dead last instead of taking at least 2nd spot for yourself? You don’t find that dumb? I think you missed the context of what Crymoricus said at the start of this thread if you think that we’re talking about only playing for 2nd spot every game… Ever heard of nuance bro? (Lol, and I’m not talking about the YouTuber)
Crymoricus formulated it quite nicely I think:
“Maybe if you started playing for best position, you'd find games where you know you’re going to "lose" (i.e. not come in first) more exciting.”
“The problem with playing for 2nd, and/or many other effective but aggressive playing styles, is that it changes the focus from going after the leader together to going after the weakest players and ignoring the leader…”
I think you’re missing the context that this will only happen (in most cases I guess) when the leader is pretty much unstoppable already so it’s senseless to try to stop him. I think I can talk for Crymoricus and other players who will logically go for 2nd place when it’s more logical to do so, that we’re not talking about situations when it’s still very possible to slow down or catch up with the leader. But it’s about those situations when it’s pretty much guaranteed that the leader is unstoppable due to statistical factors (numbers which he owns on the board, income of resources, position of settlements etc.).
“The weakest player is left defending themselves against the two strongest players in the game”
This doesn’t make any sense. The weakest player would at most be left defending themselves against the 2nd player. The leader will most commonly only seek to slow down the strongest follower up so he most likely wouldn’t rob the weakest but only the 2nd spot player.
“You essentially said - hey guys, if I can't obviously win without effort, I (and the 1st place player) will rob the 3rd place person so they can't do anything in the game and they quit”
Well that is an obvious straw man if I ever saw one.
The only rational argument against playing for 2nd spot I see that could actually have some meaning, is that you value “never giving up” more than: giving up, taking your losses, but ensure you’re getting the best outcome for the situation. Never giving up can be seen as a virtuous quality but it can also cause unnecessary harm. And I think that’s just a matter of making choices in life and we should all just let each other make those choices for ourselves.
Lastly, here’s a situation to paint why I think it’s dumb to not play for 2nd spot sometimes….
Just the other day I played a game where the leader in a C&K game was only 2 points removed from victory (he had 14). He only needed to build 1 settlement on an island. I was in 2nd spot with only 6 VP’s and the 3rd player had only 4 VP’s. So I recognized that I had no chance in hell to win from the leader and when I rolled a seven I logically robbed the 3rd player to slow him down so I could at least maintain the 2nd spot. And he starts complaining and bitching about me robbing him… I was like, are you seriously so dumb? So next turn HE rolled a 7. And what do you know, he robbed the leader and not me! I was baffled. I mean, what’s the point in that!? If you know for 100% certainty that you’re going to lose… then whyyyy would you not at least try to limit your loss??? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
So my message to people crying and whining about being robbed when they’re already losing and being disadvantaged is…
Just play the way YOU want to play and let other’s do the same! Always play to the best of your own ability. Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop playing the victim card.
And most of all: STOP blaming and shaming other’s for not wanting to finish dead last, whether they or you care about ELO or not.
Good gaming everyone!