Errata: Dealing with Captain Takeback
Long ago, in the before time, I posted about several different gamer personalities that can sometimes be irksome. The analysis paralysis player is a big topic about which I receive e-mails from time to time. But he’s not the only annoying player. This week I have a question about Captain Takeback, the guy who undoes and redoes all of his moves.
Advice Seeker asked, “One guy in our gaming group always takes back his moves. He’ll do his turn over several times. He even does it during the next player’s turn. It has gotten to the point where we need to enforce a rule that once he takes his hand off the piece, it is officially played. How do you deal with this?”
Different players have different peeves, but for whatever reason I’m fine with Captain Takeback. I don’t mind if he redoes his turn (as long as it doesn’t make the game too long). When I play a game, I want to play against the best opponents, and I don’t want to win because they made an avoidable mistake when they knew better and can catch themselves. I like to out-strategize, not hope my opponent makes a mistake.
That said, I can see how it would be annoying. And I think in a tournament setting you would need a “no-taksies-backsies” rule. That keeps everyone honest and avoids the chance that a player could do a “take back” after getting more information than he should have on his turn.
In my groups, though, gaming is much more casual. The rule we’ve come up with is that you can undo a move as long as: (1) the next player hasn’t gone; and (2) no random information was revealed (like a die roll or card draw). Once you see how a die roll plays out, you can’t be allowed to do a take back. That would defeat the purpose of the chance element. And, if the next player hasn’t gone, then you really aren’t messing them up too much. I even look at it as a punishment for AP. If the AP player takes a while and the person before him changes something up, I tell the AP player: “You took too long. You let him take back his turn. Hurry up.”
In the end, though, I consider Captain Takeback a minor gaming sin, and one that I’m generally OK to play with. I feel like, the vast majority of the time, it makes my opponents better and that makes the game more fun.
Got questions about strategy, specific games, or the hobby in general? Post them in the comments here, email me at geekinsight at gfbrobot dot com, or send them to @GeekInsight on Twitter and check back next week for answers!