On the way back from the conference, I caught the opening of The Price is Right on TV. If you have not seen the game show, the first game is “Guess how much this item is. Whoever is closest without going over advances. If everyone goes over, we do another round of guesses.” They showed a fancy table then asked the four contestants to guess. $2400, $2195, $1200… You, as a gamer, know that the proper answer for #4 is $1201 (or possibly $1). You know this without even knowing the item in question, because unless it is some fantastical table worth more than $2400, the largest ranges available are $1-$1199 and $1201-$2194, and you can get a do-over on $1-$1199. But no, he went with $1900, and the item was $1400.

If you ever wonder about the failure of strategic thinking in your pickup group, remember this man who chose a $295 range over a $994 range that included the $295 range. He had 699 options that were strictly better than the one he chose, in a competition for real money and items, and he went with $1900.

On an unrelated note, I also caught the tail-end of Rachel Ray’s program, which was right before. I never knew that there were commercials for K-Y jelly and cottage cheese. Not together.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “Non-Gamers”

  1. As much as I value efficiency and reason, I still kinda want to smack the people on The Price is Right who bid a dollar over somebody else’s bid.

    If you really wanted to believe the best about people, you could argue that the loose social convention that says not to do that is something the players have collectively agreed on in an effort to make up for the inherent brokenness of the game — the huge advantages to going last.

    Maybe most of the players don’t want that part of the game to be truly competitive?

  2. It depends on the stakes.

    If I’m playing for actual money/prizes, I’m extremely cutthroat. I’d be the asshole that bids $1201.

    If I’m playing for fun, I loosen considerably. When I’m playing Monopoly for example, if I played as cutthroat as I would for The Price Is Right, the opponents soon throw in the towel and stop playing with me. Therefore, I play very loosely.

    I think Zubon’s problem is that most pickup groups tend towards the casual, emphasizing having a good time and making friends over tactically correct gameplay. The more serious players tend to gravitate towards each other, forming guilds and other structured groups. The rest of the idiots stay in “PUG Hell”, much like the $1900 bidder still stuck on Contestant’s Row, watching someone else win the “Brand New Car”

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