Lecture #20: Life Online: Your Next Game 4 of 4


Looking to join another game? Consider checking the game status box: “Active” and taking over for a surrendered power. This is a nice thing to do for your fellow gamers. If just a third of our players picked up 1 surrendered position for every game they started, surrenders wouldn’t be an issue. We all just need to do our part for the community.

Most players will agree that the best games are those where all of the players are engaged, and there are no surrenders and few (or no) NMRs. How do you find such a game?

The best path is to play reliably and qualify for Ambassador Class. Ambassador-only games average less than 1 surrender and 2 NMRs per game. That is far higher reliability than a typical, open pick-up game that average about 3 surrenders and 7 NMRs per game.

In the meantime, there are other ways to find better games. After you finish this mentor game or one rank or norank game (game-start or replacement position) you can apply as aspiring member of the Classicists. The Classicists is a club of players at PlayDip dedicated to reliable, respectful play. In addition, look for games advertised on the forum. These tend to have more serious, reliable players.

If you are creating or joining a new game, use the “NMR Protect” feature. With this option, if a player does not turn in moves for the first turn, the game stops, the offending player is removed, and a new player can be sought. Players that can’t get through the first turn without an NMR aren’t likely to be reliable. By removing them and restarting the game, you avoid unbalanced games.

Think about your deadline options. 12 & 24hr deadlines are the most popular. These fast-paced games attract both casual gamers as well serious players with near-constant access to the web. They provide “instant gratification” though they can be grueling and make communicating across distant time-zones tricky.

2-3 day games provide adequate time for negotiating in a competitive game. Most “serious” players around PlayDip will agree that these tend to be the minimum deadlines for a high quality game. 5-7 day games are my favorite. You don’t usually end up playing these games every day, instead you find a few days to play over the course of the turn. This makes for a nice balance of allowing for intense participation in the hobby with breaks to accommodate the demands of real life.

New players are often interested in playing with other beginners. A few players have chosen to play in another mentor game, though to be honest, I suspect most didn’t need more than one. (If you do, I’d suggest you join a game with a different mentor and get their perspective.) I would encourage any of you to put your name down on the Veteran Standby list and pick up surrendered positions in mentor games. You would be playing with beginners and doing a service at the same time. Finally, you could create your own game, password protect it, and advertise it on the Games forum as just for beginners. An explicit game name and description also help get the game noticed by new players.

Still I would encourage everyone to jump into games with more experienced players after not too long. You may take some lumps, but there is really no substitute for playing against a better players to see how they operate, what works and what doesn’t. That experience is going to be your best teacher.


Poke around the Classicist forum if you are at all interested in joining the group. I would highly recommend it after you finished your first game (and finishing this mentor game counts for admission).


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