While you do raise good points, sparrowhawk, your response still saddened me overall. I've actually been lurking over here for quite some time now, but when you made your initial post I felt the visceral need to reply and state my opinion.
I respect your opinion and I respect that you enjoy aspects of the game that I might not enjoy as much.
However, I do not believe that any form of enjoyment is intrinsically better or worse than another. My original post merely aimed to clear up the terminology used to describe these different types of enjoyment, never did I doubt their validity.
It hurt me that for stating my opinion I got immediately and repeatedly labeled as a troll, and that my way of deriving enjoyment from AGoT was dubbed inferior to your preferred way of enjoying this game.
It felt important to me to share this with you, sparrowhawk. To everyone else, apologies for my sentimental and off-topic rambling.
Sorry for resurrecting the above from ... 6 posts ago, I have been distracted by another forum on this site (sadly parallel processing is not a core competency, hence me flitting in and out of hobbies and discussions).
Firstly, imapro, my apologies. My apologies for actually thinking your post about preferring walkover games due to bad mulligans was a huge tongue-firmly-embedded-in-cheek p1sstake. I actually suspected you were a highly respected player like supercuts, stirring the pot with a pseudonym, expressing a form of extremist Spike-behaviour that makes many people blanch to provoke a reaction. I see I was wrong; you actually do genuinely espouse those views.
You make a valid point that I had no right to judge the way that you have fun ("wallowing in your opponent's discomfort") with the way I have fun in a game. I apologise for attempting to proselytise one way is any better than any other.
Except some ways generate greater Net Happiness than others. Say X is the happiness from a drawn game which both players thoroughly enjoyed and Y is the happiness adjustment based on margin of win or loss. So in any game, one player gains X + Y happiness and the other gains X - Y happiness. But when X - Y becomes a negative number regularly, all you do is provoke that player to quit the game, the hobby reduces in size, is diminished. In isolation, you may say "I would far rather have walkovers due to bad mulligans than any other type of win" but in the next iteration (tournament), you may pay the price of pushing that player out of the hobby in exasperation.
It's like Prisoner's Dilemma: in isolation, to stab generates most payback. But taken in long-term context, it's better to co-operate, to design the game/tourney rules so that it promotes more hard-fought nail-biting matches (or amazing comebacks) and ensure that the hobby does not shrink due to people fed up with those NPE games that you celebrate as the winner. And that isn't just a "close game fetish" (as you denigrated my preference). There would be just more Net Happiness if they did all in their power (like a tourney rule change to mulligans) to remove these horrible one-sided affairs where only the game loses, both in affection and reputation.
If we take your philosophy to its extreme, you would prefer the tourney to be as small as possible, to have the weakest field possible to maximise your chances of winning. But where is the prestige in such a victory? It becomes hollow. One reason that FFG offer National Winners tickets to Worlds is to avoid these accusations, to give Worlds the prestige it deserves.
We travel great distances, sometimes hotel costs, and then to get walkover games (worse, to be walked over due to a bad mulligan) is not fun - it's not worth the effort. You can see this philosophy on the face of that odd number player who has travelled a distance to some GNK only to be given a Bye win - people actually want to play and win and have fun.
John Stuart Mill's Harm Principle supports my view, that some forms of enjoyment are better than others that impose significant negative enjoyment on others for the same result. It is a principle that laws are based on. To rejoice in a game that has imposed severe NPE on your opponent is not cool, dude.
Now I confess I do like "playing with my food" when playing heavy control in card games. But this is a harmless mischief, providing false hope when you are in total control (but the opponent doesn't know it yet). In a way, it is playing with fire, turning what would be a perfunctory victory into something a bit more challenging, where any surprise random discard effect you can't block or counter may destroy your game plan. This often manifests itself in "push my luck", see how far I can take it before pressing the "I take control" button (and sometimes my cockiness backfires). Now that I agree is a "fetish" of mine that I don't defend.
But wanting close games that you enjoyed is surely in everyone's interest? I would far rather take a close game that I played well to win (it's that sense of achievement) to a walkover. My rankings would be:
1. Close enjoyable game where I am proud of my play and won.
2. Close enjoyable game where I am proud of my play and lost.
3. Other wins that were not walkovers
4. Other losses that were not walkovers
5. Walkover wins
6. Walkover losses
Otherwise what is the point in playing? To get some sh1tty tokens, an alt-art card, another mat? Walkover games are the pits.
On the topic of the thread, yes I do agree with JoeFromC that the game is so much better now than it was in the 2nd half of the last cycle. I said so in my prior posts.
But there is still so much randomness in the game - that they are deliberately adding like keeping the mulligan rule unchanged for tourneys (the original Magic mulligan was a tournament FAQ add-on) and casino cards like Gregor, commented above.
This randomness has various effects:
1. It attracts a wider player base because players of all skill levels feel they can win (so it sells product for Asmodee)
2. It detracts from the prestige of a competitive tournament game and can often make that victory feel hollow
3. It reduces the interest of skilled card gamers, thereby creating a hobby that is a small pond (as Pete Wilson put it)
Now I believe some level of variance is good. All I am suggesting is that a simple change like a Tournament Mulligan can remove a huge source of NPE that occurs quite often in games. With new Tywin, I can forgive Gregor and The Tickler (and we always had We Do Not Sow for Euron). Now we have a wider pool with Close Call, I can forgive Heads on Spikes, especially after bounce. But why oh why have this ridiculously poor mulligan rule in a game that has a snowball problem, that can be known to be won or lost at the end of turn 1 marshal? It makes no sense unless it is purely a cynical marketing skill equaliser. But this then detracts from the prestige of the game.
So yes, as I have said before, the game is in a much better place than it was between No Middle Ground and the last pack. The 2 new agendas have helped a lot here (who would have guessed) but also this transparent re-balancing of weaker factions based on the feedback from Core. These are all good things.
But that does not invalidate the argument that the game is still too out-of-the-blue random compared to other card games.