Would you do *this* to win?

December 26, 2009 at 07:40:39
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, 2.596 GHz / 2038 MB
The extended family went over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for the holidays. My brother brought a game called Topple.

The object is to gather points by stacking your pieces on the board without making the tray "topple". Typically each game will consist of multiple rounds of stacking and toppling. While points are written down during each round, they are not tallied until the round is over - usually meaning that the tray has been toppled . (That is significant to this discussion.)

Without going in detail on the rules, I'll list these 2:

1 - The winner is the person with the highest score above 100 points when the current round is over. In other words, since the score is not tallied until the round is over, you don't win just because you were the first to reach 100 points. Someone could pass you during the round.

2 - The person who caused the tray to topple, either by stacking a piece in the wrong place or by any other means - such as bumping the table - loses 10 points.

So here's the question:

If you had enough points to win the game and was 10 points ahead of the 2nd place player, would you topple the board to win the game?

If you let the round continue to its "natural" conclusion, the 2nd place player could catch up and you might lose. If you bump the table or hit the tray to make it topple, you win.

What would you do?


See More: Would you do *this* to win?

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#1
December 26, 2009 at 12:01:11
Change the rules so that the penalty is harsher.

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#2
December 26, 2009 at 22:19:42
The rules are the rules that came with the game.

Why would I want to change them?


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#3
December 27, 2009 at 07:17:19
Because they encourage sabotaging the game as you proposed.

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#4
December 27, 2009 at 08:03:20
That's not the point of my question.

The rules are the rules.

I was asking if you - or any other members of this fine site - would topple the tray in order to win.

In a recent NFL game, Maurice Jones-Drew knelt down on the 1 yard line instead of scoring an easy touchdown. This gave his team a 1st down with 1:43 left and prevented the Jets from getting the ball back - and thereby taking away their only chance to win.

In essence, by using the rules to his advantage, he "sabotaged" the game by not getting more points for his team, but his actions ensured a win.

Would you suggest changing the NFL rules to prevent that from happening?


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#5
December 27, 2009 at 08:14:40
All players of your game could modify the rules of the game they were playing. I gave you an answer based on your question of "What would you do".

In your example all the teams in the NFL have previously agreed to play by the very detailed rule book. If I am not mistaken the NFL occasionally changes the rules when they feel it is appropriate.

Your example is not a fair comparision because no one on that field had the ability to change the rules at that time.

In your topple game the players are not bound by any specific rules other than the ones agreed upon ahead of time.

If I were playing topple and someone used the ploy you set up I would attempt changing the rules in the future. If unsuccessful I would abstain from future play.

If the game was important to me then I would have reviewed the rules ahead of time and attempted the mentioned changes ahead of game play.


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#6
December 27, 2009 at 08:48:35
I'd kick the table & blame the 2nd place player, thus ensuring the win!

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#7
December 27, 2009 at 10:23:01
re: I gave you an answer based on your question of "What would you do".

But you didn't answer the question in the context it was asked. I first asked "...would you topple the board to win the game?" I then explained the difference between finishing the round and toppling the board, concluding with "What would you do?"

In other words...

"Given the choice of finishing the round or toppling the board, what would you do?"

We could stop right here, since that was the question I was curious about, but I'll address your other points just for fun.

re: "If the game was important to me then I would have reviewed the rules ahead of time and attempted the mentioned changes ahead of game play."

You are assuming, of course, that you would have foreseen the situation we're discussing after reviewing the rules.

Here is exactly what happened:

This was the first time any of us had played the game, therefore we reviewed the rules beforehand, played a couple of practice rounds, etc. All the standard things that happen the first time a group plays a new game.

At the initial reading, and even much further into the game, there was essentially no way to foresee the situation where one player would have enough points to win the game and be more than 10 points ahead of the next player, thus presenting the opportunity of a win via an intentional topple.

Here are the complete Topple rules. Can you honestly tell me that if you and your family read these rules for the first time, you would have the foresight to change them to prevent the "intentional topple" situation before even starting the first game? Could you have foreseen that one player would have 112 points and another have 100, thus presenting the opportunity we're discussing?

re: In your example all the teams in the NFL have previously agreed to play by the very detailed rule book.

As did we...

While I won't claim that the rules of this game are anywhere as detailed as the NFL rulebook, the document covers the rules regarding the roll of the dice, the scoring of each round, the placement of the pieces, the toppling penalty, etc. All the players at the table agreed to play by the rules set forth in the instructions. There was no need to discuss "changes".

re: "Your example is not a fair comparision because no one on that field had the ability to change the rules at that time."

So what you are saying is that when the situation presented itself to the player who could ensure a win by toppling the tray, the rest of us could, at that time, have changed the rules we had been following all night long? Remember, IMHO, there was really no way to foresee the situation at the beginning of the game. I'll ask again: Would you have foreseen it?

Sure, I guess that in the midst of any game without officials all players in danger of losing could band together to change rules to prevent one person from winning. "Uh oh...it looks like Bob's going to win. Quick! Let's change the rules!"

re: In your topple game the players are not bound by any specific rules other than the ones agreed upon ahead of time.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. The game came with "specific" rules governing its play. And yes, we "agreed" to be bound by them...isn't that what is normally done when a game comes with written rules?

Just like an NFL game, all parties involved "agreed" to a specific set of rules that don't get changed in the midst of a game.

In any event, the entirety of the text above is superfluous to the original question:

Given the situation where toppling the board would ensure the win - based on the rules supplied and agreed upon - what would you do?



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#8
December 27, 2009 at 10:41:27
OK, I'll play along here. I would finish the game and declare it stupid. If someone intentionally bumped I would call for a foul and try to get a consensus on that ruling. If no consensus was forthcoming then I would not play again.

That game sounds a lot like other oldy games like pickup sticks. In that game, as I recall, you remove sticks from the pile without disturbing the pile.

If another player were to intentionally bump the table and cause the pile to fall I would hope that all players would cry foul/ poor sportsmanship.

So you actually bought and/or played this game?


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#9
December 27, 2009 at 12:28:45
re: So you actually bought and/or played this game?

In my OP I said:

The extended family went over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for the holidays. My brother brought a game called Topple.

I guess I should have added:

...which we played.

BTW...when we encountered the situation we are discussing, 2 of the players on the losing side of the score were the ones who simultaneously realized that my dad, whose was in the lead, could win the game by toppling the board. It also happened to be my dad's turn at the time, so he had the opportunity to make a legal play of placing a piece on the board, trying to score more points.

My brother and I both realized that my dad could be as risky as he wanted to be, because even if his attempt to score more points were to cause the board to topple, he would win.

It was at that point we also realized that an intentional toppling would automatically give him the win, with no chance of anyone catching up.

I'll leave it to you to ponder what my dad did....



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#10
December 27, 2009 at 12:42:14
The rules of the game are faulty, IMO.

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#11
December 27, 2009 at 13:04:05
Any more faulty than rules that allow a team to take a delay of game penalty to make a punt easier to place or to ensure a win by using up clock time?

Any more faulty than rules that allow a player to foul another player in order to stop the clock or prevent an easy lay up? (Yes, there is an "intentional" foul rule, but we all know that hundreds of intentional fouls are committed each season which are not called as such.)

Any more faulty than rules that allow a pitcher to throw over to first multiple times for the sole purpose of allowing the bullpen some more time to warm up?

There are very few competitions where the rules can not be used for purposes other than intended, to the advantage of one team or the other.



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#12
December 27, 2009 at 13:07:55
In response to your #11, the rules are constantly in flux too. Much easier to makeup you own rule changes for topple than to change league rules where there may be conflicting reasons for change or the status quo.

Whenever big money comes into play the rule changes will be more difficult.

BTW, did you take debating in school?


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#13
December 27, 2009 at 14:26:43
re: BTW, did you take debating in school?

Nope..it comes naturally. It's really nothing more than logic.

re: Much easier to makeup you own rule changes for topple

..or to use the existing rules to your advantage.


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#14
December 28, 2009 at 14:49:09
Personally I would have inticed the dog to jump up on the other player during his turn causing him to topple the board. Or gotten one of the kids, that were all hopped up on sugar, to run into him lol.

Likely


I want to go like my grandfather did. Peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming at the top of my lungs like the passengers in his car.

(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")


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#15
December 29, 2009 at 19:26:01
Hopefully your father has managed to maintain his integrity and would not see cheating as winning. I would see no problem if he were to place his game piece in such a way as to set someone else up to cause the board to Topple. But to purposely Topple the Board in any other way , in my opinion, is cheating.

BTW was this game invented by an Investment Banker or a Politician?

So, no, I wouldn't purposely do it just to win the game. Would not be a win for me.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.


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#16
December 29, 2009 at 21:54:57
Dumbob

A man after my own heart. Excuse me if I have the sex wrong.


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#17
January 1, 2010 at 16:52:20
OtheHill

Ain't nothin wrong with Sex. :-)

I quit watching much Professional sports when manipulation of the rules became SOP. Just can''t respect a Coach/Captain/Quarterback who won't PLAY till the game is over. Being allowed doesn't make it right, just allowed.

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.


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#18
January 2, 2010 at 14:13:31
re: Just can''t respect a Coach/Captain/Quarterback who won't PLAY till the game is over.

When the softball teams I coach have put the game out of reach, I tell the girls to stop stealing, they don't sacrifice bunt, our catchers let the other team steal, etc.

That meatball pitch somehow becomes a grounder to short instead of a homerun.

The game isn't over, but we've stop "playing" to the extent that the rules will allow us to.

Can you respect that?


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#19
January 2, 2010 at 15:04:19
There is a difference Derby. I think you just present these scenarios to provoke a response form others. If you can't see the difference between winning at all costs and easing up when winning then there is no sense in debating it further.

I will give you an example. Last week some of us were playing a game of 500 rummy. We play that you can pickup the top discard without melding. Any further requires you to use the bottom card you pick up to be used in a meld immediately.

A player picked up part way down to a playable card. However, there were more playable cards by going down a couple of more cards. The play would have positive effects on that players score. That player did not see the second play and had only lifted cards down to the first playable card.

At that time two other players, which I was one, informed the active player of the option to go further and told them it was OK even though they had in essence already made their pickup.

That is called sportsmanship. The same as the example you cited with the softball team.


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#20
January 2, 2010 at 15:54:18
re: If you can't see the difference between winning at all costs and easing up when winning then there is no sense in debating it further.

Of course I can see the difference, but it's not always that black and white.

re: I think you just present these scenarios to provoke a response form others.

Uh...yeah. Isn't that the point of a discussion?

I'm just curious as to our friend Dumbob's thoughts on "not playing" once you've put the game out of reach.

The reason I brought it up is because of what can be read into Dumbob's post. Consider this scenario, one which we've seen hundreds of times:

There's one minute left in a football game and one team is ahead by X points, where X is small enough that the other team could catch up or win in one possession.

It is perfectly within the rules for the team with the lead to kneel down multiple times to run the clock out. By not running an actual play, they eliminate the risk of a fumble or an interception or something else that might allow the other team to win.

The question to Dumbob is: "Did they "play till the game is over" or did they manipulate the rules to maintain the lead?

Couldn't one argue that it isn't very sportsmanlike to prevent the other team from getting the ball if you're not even trying to advance it or score?

Isn't that within a gray area between "winning at all costs and easing up when winning"?


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#21
January 2, 2010 at 17:11:51
DerbyDad,

Easing up with a substantial lead is not what I was referring to. You nailed my objection with the FB scenario.

"Geeze, we might fumble the ball and give them a chance to win" is no excuse for plays that simply waste time and deny the oponent a chance to do their best to "Whip ur Butt".If you can't win or lose Gracefully, get the He** out of the Game.

Why do you suppose some games have the provision for "Delay of Game" infractions.

I get it, there is too much $$$MONEY$$$, EGO, at stake to consider the Spirit of the Game and Sportsmanship. I think Wall Street, the Banks and Politicians have shown us, quite well, that slippery slope.

The question should not be "Is it within the Rules" The question should be "Is it Moral and ethical", not to mention, fair to all. Including the spectators.

If you think about it, Sports used to be a good teaching ground for our children to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and to some degree morals and ethics. Win at all costs has destroyed most of that for the last couple of generations.

Now we have adults getting in fights over "T" Ball. Coaches and Referees being assaulted, or worse, over game outcomes. Fans who go out and destroy property, assault people, burn Vehicles, break store windows etc..etc.. And those are the "WINNERS" fans.

Grey area? Not in my book. Different as night and day. If you can justify the FB scenario, in your own mind as a WIN, I wouldn't want to be in business with you or invite you to my home.

I suppose you'd defend intentionally injuring another, better, player to get them out of the game just so YOUR Team can win. Yeah, I know, you took the penalty for the foul and that makes it OK. NOT!

There is nothing to learn from someone who already agrees with you.


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#22
January 3, 2010 at 17:37:43
Dumbob,

Thank you for your response. I'm glad I presented the Kneel Down scenario for you to comment on.

I'd like to hear from the other posters that objected to the toppling of the game board. I'd like to know if they equate running the clock out to keep the other team from getting the ball with intentionally toppling the game board as described in my OP.

re: I suppose you'd defend intentionally injuring another, better, player to get them out of the game just so YOUR Team can win.

If you review this entire thread, you will not find one post where I "defended" the toppling of the board or any other practice that might be considered unsportman-like, immoral, or unethical. I merely presented arguments and scenarios for others to comment on.

I started by asking what others would do when presented with the opportunity to win by toppling the board. I never said I thought it was an acceptable tactic. I merely described the game-time situation that brought the "opportunity" to light and asked how others would handle it.

When it was opined that the rules of that particular game were faulty for even allowing such an opportunity, I asked if those rules were any more faulty than the rules that "allow" a football player to kneel down to run the clock out or "allow" a basketball player to foul another to stop the clock.

Other than the situation where I explicitly said what I do when coaching softball, I never defended - or objected to - any of the practices we've been discussing. I merely presented one side of an argument as part of a discussion.

If you choose to not let me into your home based on the fact that I took a certain side of an argument for discussion purposes, that is certainly well within your rights. After all, it's your home.

re: the "Kneel Down" scenario. "The question should be "Is it Moral and ethical", not to mention, fair to all. Including the spectators."

If you want to argue on the side of "fair to all", I can see the other of that also.

Is it fair to the players on the winning team that they should be forced to risk injury by running a play when they have nothing to gain and everything to lose? With 20 seconds on the clock, do you think they would have a reasonable opportunity to score if they fumbled the ball and the other team took the lead? How would it be fair to them to force them to run a play?

I guess you could take this one step farther. Often, once a football team builds up a lead, they will typically begin to run the ball instead of passing because this takes more time off of the clock. They are not running the ball because it's the best possible way for them to score, they are running the ball for the sole purpose of using up the clock. It's known as "clock management" and is used in various fashions in every single sport where time is kept - football, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, etc. Would you consider these tactics to be unsportsman-like, immoral or unethical? If not, then what is the difference between using a play that takes a lot time off of the clock and a play that is not really a play, such as the kneel down?

If you do think that clock management is unsportsman-like, then how would you remedy the situation? I don't think you could have an official say "Sorry, you should have passed the ball and not ran it. I'm going to have to penalize you." Just taking football as an example, how would you prevent a team from using clock management to help them win the game?

As far as the spectators go, let's take the point of view of the fans of the winning team. Do you feel that they think it isn't fair that they get cheated out of a few more plays because their team chose to win the game by running the clock out? My guess would be that very few, if any, fans of the winning team would think it wasn't fair. At least that's been my experience when attending football games at just about every level, from Pop Warner to the NFL. I honestly can't recall a fan - from either team - saying it wasn't "fair" that the winning team knelt down to run the clock out, or the basketball team passed the ball a few extra times before shooting, or the ultimate frisbee player threw a pass away from the goal line.

I sincerely believe that fans on both sides know that clock management is part of the game and that there is nothing "unfair" about it.

As always, your thoughts are welcome.


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#23
January 3, 2010 at 18:12:58
Dumbob,

Your sentiments remind me of Herm Edwards ... lol!

While I would agree with you that sportsmanship is important in just about any game or sporting event. Its sacrosanctity is not usually directly proportional to the entertainment & commercial value of the related sport ... a very good & albeit recent example was the Jet vs. Colts game. If Caldwell hadn't pulled Manning & co when he did, the chances of the Colts being the first to win the Super Bowl with a 19-0 record would not have been disappointingly evaporated. Ironically, while Jets fans might be generous to Caldwell for doing what he did, the fact is: Caldwell did not do so for sportsmanship, but to preserve Manning & co & protect them from injuries.

Any well-paid professional athlete that's not conditioned to be competitive shouldn't be in a starting lineup -- it is a job just like any other lucrative job & whomever is paying you big bucks to deliver, expects you to win games & do so even if you have to strategize your decisions or "engineer" your win & your fans do too.

As to the folks that go overboard at little league games, my guess is, these folks actually are in need of clinical help.

Windows 7 News!


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#24
January 3, 2010 at 19:08:06
It is a mistake to compare apples and oranges. Apples being professional sports. Oranges being friendly games.

Professional sports are a business first and are run as a business. Anyone that thinks differently probably thinks Professional wrestling is on the up and up.

The problem actually is those Grey areas. They shouldn't exist but they do. Little Johnny shows some talent so Dad pushes him. The movement through the ranks starts in little league and doesn't stop until Johnny fizzles or makes the pros. Most times Johnny fizzles, but by that time Johnny may have been conditioned to believe winning is the only goal. If he is lucky he had some positive influences during those formative years.

Derby

to respond to your a point made in your #22 "Is it fair to the players on the winning team that they should be forced to risk injury by running a play when they have nothing to gain and everything to lose?"

My response to that is of course it is fair. They are performing thier jobs. Jobs they willingly signed up for and are handsomely compensated. As I stated above, professional sports are a business and the athletes are employees. Just ask any team owner.


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#25
January 3, 2010 at 19:19:22
Sabertooth,

re: whomever is paying you big bucks to deliver, expects you to win games

Actually, to be more specific, in most cases they are paying you to win the game: e.g. the Super Bowl. Resting starters, even if it costs you a game or two - or allows other teams to win a little more easily - is acceptable to some (even the owners, sponsors and some fans) when the ultimate goal is winning the Championship of whatever sport you play.

As many people have said, no team starts the season saying "Let's win every game."

However, every team does say "Let's get into the playoffs 'cuz that's the only way we have a chance to win the Championship.


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#26
March 18, 2010 at 14:54:23
What if you don't actually knock the device but when you have 100, carefully
place your pieces in the most vulnerable places (presumably near the edges)?
This is presumably within the rules whatever way you look at it.

some other bloke...


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