I’ve notice many times that players never even look at the Victory Conditions for a game. Do Victory Conditions in the rules even matter? What would you think of a game with No victory conditions? Is that completely crazy? Is it even possible? Here is my case:
Often times, players don’t even bother to lookup the rules for Victory. I’ve seen this in many games. They just setup and start playing. Most games never even go to the end. About half way through, one player usually gives up and concedes. Game over. They lost.
Players seem to have an intuitive sense for Victory. They can tell. They know when the lose. They know when they win. Both players usually see this at the same time and they are usually in agreement. I don’t remember ever seeing players argue over this, where both players believe they have won at the same time. I do see them argue over the meaning of rules.
We usually love to discuss the outcome of the game afterwards. This is often our favorite part. It usually goes something like this: “Well, looks like you won. You really surprised me with this move. I didn’t see that coming and then I got bad luck over here. I did pretty well containing you here under the circumstances but in the end it wasn’t enough. Good game!”
We like to talk about our brilliant moves and colossal failures. Where did the game change? What was the most important event or decision? What were you thinking when you did this?
I don’t see players argue with each other but I do see them argue with the Victory Conditions in the game. Often times they are at odds with the game rules. How many times have you heard: “Well, technically you won according to the rules but in the real war, I would have won!” OR “You are winning now but IF we play 1 more turn, you are going to get stomped!”
This kicks off a very interesting debate on what happened in the real campaign / war and how the game events differed. How would these differences would have altered historical events afterwards?
I’ve noticed that players consider many subtle factors and variations in these discussions. They take into account far more information than any game rules on Victory Conditions could. Could you imagine a separate 100 page, fine print rule book on how to determine Victory after the game? How would the game results have impacted army morale later? Public opinion on both sides? The political impact on parties, elections and legislation? Economic performance and production?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, or you could just look at the board and say: “I think you won.” For me, this is often the best part of the game: Discussing and debating the outcome of the game. Who won? Imagine how history would have been different with this result. Preferably over some cold beers.
Could you have a game like this? Are there other views? How important are Victory Conditions to you and your friends? Would you play a game that had No victory conditions?