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Subject: Attacking the Player rss

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Bill Wood
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"All's fair in love and war." it has been said.

Watched a game of two guys fighting over Iran one day in Ignorant Armies: Iran-Iraq War. A skillful player toyed with his opponent by talking about the things that got his blood up - mostly conspiracy stuff - distracting him from paying attention to the game.

The result was a win for him as he took the objective with what amounted to an unnoticed maneuver, obfuscated by the discussion.

-------------------

Another time, have been in a situation where a guy was so irrational in his play (to me) and so badgering with rules lawyering, I just gave up. He claimed victory because he figures that winning by default is as good as it gets.

-------------------

So, is it ethical or friendly to do this?

Is it fair to cause despair, and thus score a win for essentially intimidating the person instead of really playing a competitive game?
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Will Green
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This is a great question. There are at least two sides to this story. One, the ethical/purist viewpoint that it is a game, and that is where the focus should be.

The other side takes an approach that works to one player's advantage while serving as a distraction for the other. Then you need to take into account, are you friends, razzing each other, or is it competitive, at a convention with a tournament on the line?

There are subtle ways to do this, such as slowing the pace down, when the other player likes to play more quickly. This can lead the quicker player into rash decisions because he wants to "get the game going..."

Another ploy is to start talking about news of the day, or posing a series of friendly questions, when you see something on the board that ~ if not addressed by your opponent ~ will have him suffering when it comes back to your turn.

If you, however, are being belligerent, and provoking your opponent that really has no place in the game, and, depending on the circumstance, could effectively blackball the player from further games with you, with the group, in the tournament or even at you LFGS.

PS the guy you played has issues...
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Wendell
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Hmm. It definitely ain't FRIENDLY to intentionally distract somebody by discussing things that rile your opponent. Unethical? Dunno.

The second example, well it's one thing to play irrationally. That might be an 'eye of the beholder' situation. But taking rules lawyering to a badgering level is definitely again not FRIENDLY. I'd never play with somebody like that again.

It's okay to 'cause despair' if you have done so thru brilliant on-map play! But not by intimidation or annoyance.
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Michael Novak
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I kind of view the event as a holistic thing. If the opponent is not enjoyable to game with, the game is not worth playing no matter how much I like/want to play it.
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RJD
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Wilhammer wrote:
"All's fair in love and war." it has been said.

Watched a game of two guys fighting over Iran one day in Ignorant Armies: Iran-Iraq War. A skillful player toyed with his opponent by talking about the things that got his blood up - mostly conspiracy stuff - distracting him from paying attention to the game.

The result was a win for him as he took the objective with what amounted to an unnoticed maneuver, obfuscated by the discussion.

-------------------

Another time, have been in a situation where a guy was so irrational in his play (to me) and so badgering with rules lawyering, I just gave up. He claimed victory because he figures that winning by default is as good as it gets.

-------------------

So, is it ethical or friendly to do this?

Is it fair to cause despair, and thus score a win for essentially intimidating the person instead of really playing a competitive game?


It sounds like a matter of manners (or lack thereof) to me. It's never okay to be rude to the people you're playing with - unless of course they started it first... Is it unethical? Well, no one is going to disbar you from the legal profession for being a bit of a jerk while playing a boardgame or take away your medical license, but you might find yourself unwelcome in future games with that person. Is it friendly? laugh Is that a trick question?

The first incident you describe sounds fine to me, as long as he wasn't rude about it. If he was just making conversation during the game with an ulterior motive, well, that's just a part of the game. There's nothing wrong with a little distraction. It's how he went about it that would matter. Was he just making distracting small talk on subjects that he knows really interest the other player or was he deliberately bringing up from out of the blue troubling subjects or memories to upset the other player? There's a difference.

The second incident sounds much more clear cut. The guy was being a jerk and then taking your unwillingness to play with him any longer as a reason to pat himself on the back for such loser behavior. Was it unethical? Nah, he was just being an anti-social jerk. I would assume that, if you ever run into him again, he's now "disbarred" from playing games with you in the future?
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Jon
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This reminds me of an awful habit I have when playing FtF. I enjoy the social aspect of gaming so much that if I do not take care I can get rather yappy during my opponent's turn. You know, historical anecdotes, interesting things I have read, shiny things that distracted me when I was coming over to play, etc.. If anything, it is an indicator that I am relaxed and enjoying myself, but once I realize I am doing it I tend to recoil in horror. Luckily my friends know me and tend to join in the discussion, but still...

The last thing I want to do it gain an advantage from something like that. Bad manners too! So, I really have to watch myself to just STFU. I try to restrict the jabbering to when it is my turn.

EDIT: I forgot to add something. This subject touches on an issue that I think is interesting and that is how things outside of the game itself can cause one to play poorly. Specifically, can a game "catastrophe" like a bad die roll for an important battle impact the morale of the player to the point that he/she begins to lose hope? With the result that their play deteriorates? I think it can. As such, it interests me that setback in the game could affect the "faux reality" of unit morale and the "actual reality" of the player's mind. In essence, both the unreal units and very real player have been impacted. Just something that amuses me...
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Carl Marl
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Case 1 is certainly unethical and not fair. Case 2 is less certain. What you say is irrational may be his playing style and he certainly has the right to bring up rules questions.If he's bringing up rules just to annoy you, it's not ethical, but only he knows what his reasons for doing so are.
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Dan Cunningham
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Different people enjoy different aspects of gaming. The important thing to do is to find opponents whose areas of enjoyment mate with yours. Or at least they respect your areas enough that they don't tread all over them!

Some prefer to be more social, or enjoy historical discussions. Some enjoy rules lawyering or intense cutthroat competition. While others enjoy a more casual or friendly gaming.

or like me, I kind of enjoy pieces of all those aspects, depending on my mood. :)

it is important to keep an open mind when playing a new opponent. It helps if you talk with them a little about their gaming preferences so you can have some idea what to expect.

The best opponents will help tailor the gaming experience into one you both can enjoy!

My thoughts anyhow.

Dan
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Leo Zappa
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I would find playing against such a player tedious and decidedly not fun. I would not play with such a player again (and I have had that experience once or twice in my life). People like that just don't get it - it's NOT about the winning, it's about enjoying the shared social experience of playing the game. Winning's nice, sure, but that's not the point. If an opponent would go to the lengths of attempting to distract or annoy me in order to gain some kind of a psychlogocial edge in an effort to win the game, I'd consider that individual to be a small, pathetic loser.

Life's too short to waste it playing wargames with overly competitive assholes who would stoop to such acts just to win the game. I want to play to win, and I want my opponent to play to win, but I want those efforts focused solely on making the best moves on the board each turn. No 'extracurricular' activities involved for me, thank you very much!
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Wendell
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Capt_S wrote:
This reminds me of an awful habit I have when playing FtF. I enjoy the social aspect of gaming so much that if I do not take care I can get rather yappy during my opponent's turn. You know, historical anecdotes, interesting things I have read, shiny things that distracted me when I was coming over to play, etc..


Most game groups I've been in do this sort of chatting. It's good fun, I don't find it an "awful habit"!
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Jon
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wifwendell wrote:
Capt_S wrote:
This reminds me of an awful habit I have when playing FtF. I enjoy the social aspect of gaming so much that if I do not take care I can get rather yappy during my opponent's turn. You know, historical anecdotes, interesting things I have read, shiny things that distracted me when I was coming over to play, etc..


Most game groups I've been in do this sort of chatting. It's good fun, I don't find it an "awful habit"!


The "awful" aspect is due to my horror when I realize I am doing it in a one-sided manner. My problem is that the mouth faucet opens up when my opponent is trying to think. Yet I clam up when it is my turn. I try to reverse that pattern just in case I am bugging him. You're right though .... it depends on who I am playing with. My brother and I actually TRY to distract one another (in jest).

Back in my pool playing days (a.k.a. University), I found I would subconsciously walk over to the pocket that my opponent was aiming at. It was odd and became a running joke with my friends.

I suspect I am a closet asshole. ninja
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Michael Heagerty
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I don't know much about ethics, but I know an asshole when I see one.
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June Hwang Wah
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Attacking the Player
I play to have fun. Both for myself and my opponent. Sometimes, we play competitively, and other times, we walk through the rules to learn the system. Many times, we talk about a range of topics during the games, "did you know how prostitutes got to be known as hookers?"

Distracting or discomfiting the opponent for a win defeats the purpose. Why not simply beat him over the head with a bat and force him to concede the game? yuk
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Paul Brillantes
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I will assume that the two examples are also two separate individuals. If my assumption is wrong, my reaction would be to drop this guy like a bad habit.

In the first case, I would not assume malice afore-game. My gamer friends and I tend to lose focus occasionally and talk about a topic until someone nudges us back on track with the standard, "Who's turn is it?" If it was someone's premeditated strategy for victory, it might elicit some 'raspberries' among friends, but in a competitive situation with some random opponent, I would simply ignore their blathering. I would only call this unfriendly if it were a random opponent and I would not call this unethical in any case.

In the second situation, I would not play that game with that person again. If they were a friend, I would let them know why I don't want to play that game again with them, and depending on their reaction may allow probation, but would play other games unless the pattern became commonplace. If it was some random opponent, I would never play that game with them, and most likely avoid other games with them as well. I would call this unfriendly in most cases. I don't think I could go all the way to unethical unless it was a competitive tournament type of situtation, but if it was that sort of situation, I would have just ignored the dickhead during play.
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Paul Brillantes
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Capt_S wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
Capt_S wrote:
This reminds me of an awful habit I have when playing FtF. I enjoy the social aspect of gaming so much that if I do not take care I can get rather yappy during my opponent's turn. You know, historical anecdotes, interesting things I have read, shiny things that distracted me when I was coming over to play, etc..
Most game groups I've been in do this sort of chatting. It's good fun, I don't find it an "awful habit"!
The "awful" aspect is due to my horror when I realize I am doing it in a one-sided manner. My problem is that the mouth faucet opens up when my opponent is trying to think. Yet I clam up when it is my turn. I try to reverse that pattern just in case I am bugging him. You're right though .... it depends on who I am playing with. My brother and I actually TRY to distract one another (in jest).

Back in my pool playing days (a.k.a. University), I found I would subconsciously walk over to the pocket that my opponent was aiming at. It was odd and became a running joke with my friends.

I suspect I am a closet asshole. ninja


I think it is the 'in jest' part that makes all the difference here!

This is why it makes a difference to me whether or not this is a gamer bud or a first-time-opponent.

Example: I was playing a game with some guys that I had not played with in years but we had gamed a lot before I enlisted in the Army and took off for distant lands. I am one of those 'organizes-his-bits-in-nice-straight-rows' and at one point one guys distracts me momentarily while another discombobulates my orderly ranks and files. It had become my turn as they were screwing with me, so I took my own sweet time reorganizing them and even threatened to take a bathroom break on them. We were all just doing it in jest and had a laugh and moved on. Had some guy I was playing for the first time reached over and knocked my pieces all about I would likely not play him ever again.

On the pool thing, that was specifically a no-no for the guys I played with so I grew into the habit of staying away from the called pocket. We played most often on the huge snooker tables so there was a lot more real estate to stand in that was not on the shooter's LOS.
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Jon
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Yeah, that pool thing was a weird one. I think I must have been looking to see the angle when contact is made. Else I like being near the "kerplunk" sound. Who knows? The lessons from that experience were a) only play pool with friends and b) never ever play for money.

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wifwendell wrote:
Hmm. It definitely ain't FRIENDLY to intentionally distract somebody by discussing things that rile your opponent. Unethical? Dunno.

But taking rules lawyering to a badgering level is definitely again not FRIENDLY. I'd never play with somebody like that again.

It's okay to 'cause despair' if you have done so thru brilliant on-map play! But not by intimidation or annoyance.


Yeah, there's a substantial difference between distraction/badgering/rules-lawyering to the point of over-the-top hostility and "you realize I just death marched all those prisoners taken from your out-of-supply regiment, right? Right? And I'm putting all the officers on trial for war crimes. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk."

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Jon
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kiraly wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
Most game groups I've been in do this sort of chatting. It's good fun, I don't find it an "awful habit"!

Jon appears to present his "habit" as innocent, harmless chatter. Until you've experienced it, however, you can't even begin to perceive the psychological effect it has on his opponents. Left me in a fetal position for days after our last game. Pure distilled evil!!! He also likes to yell out random numbers while his opponent is carefully counting MPs during their turn, his madness knows no bounds...


And that was without the visuals. During a particularly tense PoG session I resorted to singing the "Milkshake" song. Complete with accompanying dance of course.
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Bill Wood
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Unusual for us, we do have a pool right now for a game - Battlestar Galactica with the Pegasus Expansion.

It is to go to the first person to be airlocked.

After 4 games, no one has been airlocked!

-------------------

The persons I described are two different people over many years, and no current players I a game with.

--------------------

As reflected in my posting binges, I am a very talkative guy...anything can and does get said depending on a situation.

All of it is fun, not to manipulate a result.

For some of my gaming, especially Monster gaming, it is not unusual for me to walk out of the room while my opponent moves - so I can give them contemplative time.

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Bill Wood
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Quote:
One way of winning a competition or game is destroying the will of your opponent)s' to fight, which is a very valid and preferable way in a real war to win. So why not in a less lethal competition? I use it whenever I can.



That right there will pretty much put one in the EWR "Boot Camp" as in booted and not welcome.

Harassing people is always bad form in all contexts.

It is disrespectful, rude, and unpleasant.

Your mileage may vary; at the EWR we will put Sugar in your tank.
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jeff miller
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The easy answer to this is not to play with assholes.
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Andrew C
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Generally I'm not very competitive playing wargames. I like to win, but its the experience and the comraderie that I really enjoy. Almost like a shared story-telling experience.

As such, we'll often let each other "take backs" on stupid moves (assuming it can be undone without further repercussions to the game).
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FreeHansje wrote:
What many ppl forget or even don´t realise± you are competing one or more persons. The competing is done through a game which creates a highly formalized arena. One way of winning a competition or game is destroying the will of your opponent)s' to fight, which is a very valid and preferable way in a real war to win. So why not in a less lethal competition? I use it whenever I can. It does not always work out, because not everybody is susceptible to psychological pressure.


Because games and your opponents, whether it's on a table or on the playing field, deserve a certain level of courtesy and good sportsmanship.

Quote:
I am not in the habit to go out of my way NOT to offend some1.


I appreciate good trash-talking and I like to talk smack as much as the next guy, but hey, you want to cross the line between good sportsmanship, basic courtesy and a sense of nominal civility, I'm not in the habit of going out of my way NOT to beat you with a trash can lid in the parking lot.

After all, real wars and all that, you know.
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I do not see anything wrong with relevant chat unless the intention is to waste time in a timed turn game. Being an asshole is not anyone's idea of fun and fun is the ultimate aim of most hobbies including wargaming.

I remember many years ago in a figure gaming magazine an article on unethical victories. The one that remains in my head was the player who on his opponents turn would read some magazine which was totally nothing to do with gaming or history. He would not glance at the board and on his turn would look over the top of his magazine and nonchalantly move some pieces before returning to his magazine. This would make the opponent feel like any victory would be hollow. This would not be possible in today's wargames where chit pull and interactive turns eliminate IGO/UGO turn sequences.
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Bill Lawson
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Capt_S wrote:
This reminds me of an awful habit I have when playing FtF. I enjoy the social aspect of gaming so much that if I do not take care I can get rather yappy during my opponent's turn. You know, historical anecdotes, interesting things I have read, shiny things that distracted me when I was coming over to play, etc.. If anything, it is an indicator that I am relaxed and enjoying myself, but once I realize I am doing it I tend to recoil in horror. Luckily my friends know me and tend to join in the discussion, but still...


Ditto thumbsup

Also humming the Star Trek "Kirks" in a fight battle music while rolling the dice!

Drives my buddy Bob crazy
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