Main Metagame Discussion

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03:28:43 AM Jan 15th 2014
edited by
Half the page seems to use metagame as some strange sort of synonym for strategy. It seems very misguided to me. Metagaming specifically refers to taking factors external to the game state itself into consideration.

In the context of chess:
- playing X because it's a good move, is playing the game chess, not playing the metagame
- playing X explicitly because it is an unusual opening you think you are more familiar with than your opponent could be considered metagaming
- playing Y against X because you know good responses to most variations in this line is using a well known strategy (for instance the Sicilian defense), not metagaming
- playing Z as a response to X, not particularly because it is a good move, but because you have analysed your opponent's habits and found that he tends to get tired and blunder in long games, is considered metagaming
- trading your bishop for a rook because you consider a rook to be a more valuable piece is basic strategy, not metagaming
- sacrificing your queen to force a mate is a tactical combination, not metagaming
- trading queens off the board because it increases the chance of a draw is a strategy known as simplification, not metagaming
- trading queens off, explicitly because you consider yourself a stronger in the endgame than in the midgame, is playing to your own strengths, at best borderline metagaming
- trading queens off, because you know your opponent is desperate for a win and might make dubious moves to avoid a draw would be metagaming
- preparing disproportionately to play against a specific opening, because you think many people might be playing it after famous_player_A beat famous_player_B with it in a very spectacular game, would be metagaming

A few of the lines on the page I would have preferred to change are:
- Chess has a metagame, evolved over eons of play. One might say that the metagame is the game. —- Knowing lines well are important in chess, but this is to know the game itself, not the metagame.
- Go, having existed for thousands of years with one of the simplest rulesets in the board-game world, is even more purely metagame. —- This doesn't even make sense. Emergent complexity has very little to do with metagame.
- Anyone who's played Ticket To Ride knows how important the little two-train and three-train routes into Las Vegas can become, and experienced players will often fight over who nabs those routes on turns two and three. —- A particular route being particularly valuable or scarce is not metagame, unless the reasons it was popular were something external to the game itself.
- Counting cards at blackjack that is, counting cards without getting caught is two levels of metagame for the price of one. —- Counting cards, illegal or not, has nothing to do with metagaming, it's just higher-level strategy.

So; yay or nay to trying to distinguish between strategy and metagaming?
09:45:19 AM Jun 20th 2012
Should spychecking in TF 2 really be in the article? I'm hestitant to delete it entirely just on my own say-so, but it's a core game mechanic, not something that arose in the metagame. It took a while for the name "spycheck" to become universal, but "use the flamethrower to check for spies" is one of the core mechanics of the pyro's intended design, and people were doing in beta. They even had to buff pyros after the community got good enough at identifying spies, so that pyros could still be useful when their spychecking skill stopping being quite as vital as before.
09:03:17 PM Jun 20th 2012
edited by Octagon8
Isn't it just an example for how player strategies tend to evolve, and a game can rebalance itself? In that case, I'd say it belongs here.
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