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Subject: Exclusiveness in gaming rss

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Luiz Cláudio Silveira Duarte
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I have always been shocked to find that many gamers are very exclusive. This seems to be antithetic to the hobby.

What do I mean by exclusive? Let's see some examples.

. A few days ago I read here in BGG the complaint of a user that sure, he could find plenty of opponents for his games, but he didn't want to play with strangers, he'd rather play with his family.

. I had the pleasure to bring many people to the hobby through the years. Some of them became my friends. A few years ago, one of these friends flatly stated "I don't play with newbies."

. I know people who play only among themselves, and flatly refuse to play with other people.

. Recently, I asked a local gaming group to play, and one of the members of this group said "I don't want to play with him, I already have friends enough."

. I hosted a website dedicated to gaming groups. When I tried to expand the website to include gamers from other regions, several of the local participants left and created another website --- one of them stated "Now we can have our own website."


I just can't understand it. Is this behavior commonplace elsewhere, or did I have the misfortune of living among a rare breed?
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You have been unlucky. At least in my gaming group we use to play with many different people every week, they are welcome to our group and we like them to feel "at home" since the very first moment. I know a couple of persons that are more exclusive in the meaning you are using though. I respect them completly but I consider that one of the most important things in boardgaming and gaming in general is knowing new people, interact with the others, learn how to win, how to lose, learn how to explain games, and eventually make new friends. I can not consider gaming without this social component. I hope you will have more luck in the upcoming future Luiz.

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Maybe it is Curitiba. Although I have many friends there, people tend to be very sociopathic in this odd town.
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I think it depends on the person or group. Here are some reasons I can see for gamers excluding other people. Just a note, I'm not saying I agree with these or are hold any of the following attitudes, but I can see their point of view nonetheless.

- Shyness. Some people have a hard time making friends and being social so they would rather just stick to their own group than play with new people or let new people into their group.

- Desire to play "gamers games." Some gamers may not be welcoming to new people because they don't know their level of experience with games and would rather exclude them than try to see if someone is down with a big game of Twilight Imperium

- Don't want to teach new people how to play. On a similar note as above some groups might exclude people because for some reason or another just want to play games instead of teaching someone new how to play.

- Just being jerks. Some people are just elitist like that and just don't want to include more people whether it's a small scale "I'll just demolish that noob and I want a real challenge" to thinking "If more people get into the hobby it'll become to commercial and the quality of the games will tank. I'm not going to let that happen on my watch."

I'm sure there are a million other reasons why some gamers will exclude others. Some might seem legitimate and others might just be because a particular individual or group are jerks. I think there's enough nice and welcoming players out there that it won't really hurt the hobby in general are shed too much of a negative light board gamers and board gaming as a hobby.

I will say I'm going to be moving to a new city soon and I will be severly disappointed if I'm unable to find a friendly and welcoming group when I get there. I've always been friendly and welcoming to non-gamers and people new to the hobby and I would like to think I'm the rule and not the exception.
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Derry Salewski
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Maybe highschool is different in Brazil . . . But I'd say this is a pretty common thing to happen with groups of people in any circumstance.

I mean, basically all your examples are about the unknown vs. comfort. I'd bet a lot more people like being comfortable than uncomfortable, and I bet a lot more people are comfortable with known factors in their lives than with potential unknown ones.

I think when you have groups, you need to have 'ambassadors.' That is, someone in the group willing to be socially brave and competant to network with other groups. Someone with a good charisma score to both convince his own group members to do things, and to get along well with the other ambassadors.

If those ambassadors are elitist douches, that's where you run into problems.

But everyone kind of vettes who they let in their life right? Maybe some more extremely than others. Or some with different priorities than others.

It sounds like you value the power of good networks and prioritize and judge accordingly.

Another guy likes his family. Another one values his time. Others value their friends much higher than strangers. Maybe some others a local scene.

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Most people simply prefer to play with friends than to play with strangers. This isn't wrong or particularly "exclusive".
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Uhm, thinking about it twice I must admit that I prefer to play given games only with people I know well. For instance Struggle of Empires or any other game that has backstabbing. Some nasty things arised in the last years playing such games with new people we did not know yet and that were prone to get angry and annoyed during the game. And it is very cosy to play Dominion or Agricola with your family and closest friends, that's for sure. But I will never give up with the social component of this hobby, that is also one of the best ways to know new people.
 
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Luis Dantas
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MLbgg wrote:
Maybe it is Curitiba. Although I have many friends there, people tend to be very sociopathic in this odd town.


Weird. I have much the opposite feeling. Brasilia is way more of a sociopathy breeding grounds than Curitiba can be hypothetically become even in a worst case scenario.

I visited Curitiba in 2006 before moving here and ever since I found the idea of calling Brasilia a "planned city" too surreal to take seriously. These days I don't even call it a city at all anymore; cities are supposed to be places where one can hope to raise families, after all, and Brasilia is purposefully built to avoid that possibility.
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General_Norris wrote:
Most people simply prefer to play with friends than to play with strangers. This isn't wrong or particularly "exclusive".


I agree, it is nothing but a legitimate option and for the record I also feel really confortable playing with my best friends in my living room, with a nice beer or a glass of whisky. But I also like to play with new people, and in fact some of the friends that are now playing in my living room every now and then were "new people" just a few months ago. But once again, it is a personal and legitimate option, nothing wrong or exclusive in it.
 
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Luis Dantas
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As for the OP:

lclaudius wrote:
I have always been shocked to find that many gamers are very exclusive. This seems to be antithetic to the hobby.


To a degree it is. Then again, it is a hobby, meaning that people don't necessarily have a strong commitment to its ethos.

Brazilians have a weird way of living at the very edge of their own sustainability, after all. We keep attempting to have habits that we can't afford. From a purely logistical sense, acquiring a few board games and learning just enough to make use of them on weekends with a small group of friends and family members isn't really all that weird, although it certainly isn't inclusive or particularly altruistic either.

And that, I fear, is a particular trait of Brazilians. We are obsessed with power and resources, and feel understandably very insecure about earning it. We have a very deep predatorial tradition as a culture, to the point of most Brazilians never even wondering if other cultures might be different (they sure seem to be, however).

I have sometimes wondered why boardgames are so strong in Germany, and I have concluded that it probably has to do with the conjunction of a cold climate that encourages indoor activities with a solid cultural tradition that encourages a bit of intelectual exercise.

Brazilians are a very different culture, far more interested with the perception of knowledge and the resulting status than with intelectual activity as such. And we have a far less healthy socio-economical distribution, with the resulting lack of social transit and trust. Very few Brazilians seem to even realize how rare this local obsession with money as a value or even a virtue in and of itself is on a global scale. We are a greedy and proud, yet intelectually and socially mediocre lot.

The way I see it, it is a challenge. A very worthy one, but a challenge nonetheless. Although I must admit I am more than a bit disappointed by the lack of self-awareness among Brazilians. Is there any way to disassociate me from that label?
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Derry Salewski
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Gelete wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
Most people simply prefer to play with friends than to play with strangers. This isn't wrong or particularly "exclusive".


I agree, it is nothing but a legitimate option and for the record I also feel really confortable playing with my best friends in my living room, with a nice beer or a glass of whisky. But I also like to play with new people, and in fact some of the friends that are now playing in my living room every now and then were "new people" just a few months ago. But once again, it is a personal and legitimate option, nothing wrong or exclusive in it.


Well if it was, say, a group of a friends at a public gaming place, and the guy not getting to play was just some stranger looking for a game, it starts looking a lot more exclusive. Which I've seen happen.
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LuisDantas wrote:
MLbgg wrote:
Maybe it is Curitiba. Although I have many friends there, people tend to be very sociopathic in this odd town.


Weird. I have exactly the symetrical feeling. Brasilia is way more of a sociopathy breeding ground than Curitiba can be even in a worst case scenario.


We use to think that people from other places are less open than the ones living in our city. It happens here all the time. I never have been in Brazil, but one of my best friends was a really nice woman from Curitiba, really really nice and cosy person that unfortunately died some years ago way too young.

I used to think that way about people from the north of Europe and when I first went to the Netherlands I was atonished by how open and warm the dutch gamers were with me. I had the chance to play with many people there. Here in Madrid, we have a really open gaming group, so if you ever come to our city please, I beg you to contact with us in order to arrange a nice gaming sessions (and later an after-session with some beers if you want to).
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scifiantihero wrote:
Gelete wrote:
General_Norris wrote:
Most people simply prefer to play with friends than to play with strangers. This isn't wrong or particularly "exclusive".


I agree, it is nothing but a legitimate option and for the record I also feel really confortable playing with my best friends in my living room, with a nice beer or a glass of whisky. But I also like to play with new people, and in fact some of the friends that are now playing in my living room every now and then were "new people" just a few months ago. But once again, it is a personal and legitimate option, nothing wrong or exclusive in it.


Well if it was, say, a group of a friends at a public gaming place, and the guy not getting to play was just some stranger looking for a game, it starts looking a lot more exclusive. Which I've seen happen.


Yes, this a very different scenario. It depends on many things. Say that the game is already two hours in play and the players have been setting it for the last week (a long wargame, a difficult euro, reading the rules, checking FAQ's, trying to get some spare time to play it from your wife or whatever)... in such scenario I could understand it, as if I were the stranger I would just call it a day and try in a different moment. But it is really unfriendly and not cool at all to see the same situation when the group is playing a filler or if the game did not start yet and they just keep the stranger out of the party. I don't like this at all.
 
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Luis Dantas
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Part of the trouble, I feel, is that it is just too darned difficult to trust people one does not know when we know for a fact that there are lots of difficult or even dangerous people living just a few squares away from home.

Brazil's level of social differences are not at all helpful in this regard; we are walking fast back towards a "de facto" social caste system, if we ever truly left behind the one inherited from the Portuguese. Back in the 19th century even nobility had some idea of who made their survival and pomp possible and sustainable, but these days far too many people make a point of attempting to ignore it to the utmost. Social classes are losing the capability of even communicating effectively with each other, let alone understanding and respecting them.

And Brazilians are nothing if not aware of their own social status and obsessed with keeping and improving it. Quite often it costs their figurative souls and their actual families.
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I'm not as hardline as some of the examples you give, but I don't exactly go out of my way to find new players either. Because gaming is a social activity for me and I prefer to participate in social activities with people I like. And I already know I like my friends, or they wouldn't be my friends.

This is a weird one for me. I don't see why I'd try and find new players, any more then I drag strangers off the street to go to the pub with.

That isn't to say we never get new players, but they almost certainly already know at least one person in the gaming group.

I don't see myself as having any obligation to the 'hobby'. I'm not an ambassador for boardgaming, just a bloke who likes playing boardgames.
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Luis Dantas
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I don't see why I'd try and find new players, any more then I drag strangers off the street to go to the pub with.[/quote]

And that is certainly a reasonable stance. But for various reasons, among them perhaps chiefly a desire to seed and encourage a bit of intellectual activity, there are those who feel differently.


[quote]That isn't to say we never get new players, but they almost certainly already know at least one person in the gaming group.[/quote]

Certainly a worthy and favored route. But one that seems to exhaust itself fairly quickly, more often than not. As is only natural, come to think of it.


[quote]I don't see myself as having any obligation to the 'hobby'. I'm not an ambassador for boardgaming, just a bloke who likes playing boardgames.


Fair enough.
 
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You are not complaining about the behavior of board gamers.
You are complaining about human behavior and have unnecessarily focused on a subgroup.
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I prefer the experience of playing board games with my wife to the experience of playing them at a game group. I've tried both. Much prefer the variants and the A.I. Don't worry, I get all of the social interaction I can stand, and quite prefer just her to show up for game nights. A few cats would be welcome also.
 
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I generally game with an old group of friends. We've known each other many many years and have played games throughout that time. We do have new people now and again join in but often its just us. However, we all game with other groups as well and there are crossovers between groups.

I've also metup with people locally playing Netrunner who I didn't previously know. Very decent bunch, I'm pretty crap at Netrunner, but I enjoy the game and learning it.

I have 2 kids however and a busy work life so its difficult getting the time, but essentially gaming for me is about people. If I like the people and they seem to like me then we game more often (as time allows), if not then I don't bother. I'm too old for all the clique young person stuff, many of the people I game with are generally 35 year olds plus and are the same. I think it's easier with older people, less hung up and less socially nervous.

 
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I game with a couple of different groups, a few of which are public game events. And generally we are friendly with new players. However, this has bitten me in the butt several times.

It's not fun when I'm in the mood to play heavier Eurogames and a new player shows up, who not only isn't ready to play a heavier game, but has difficulty with the simplest game we break out. Just imagine playing with someone who struggles with something like Ticket to Ride and the game ends up taking twice as long as it should.

And then there's a choice... do you be mean and insist on playing something without them, or do you settle down for another prolonged and painful game of something you'd probably rather not play anyway? One of the gaming stores in my area seems to draw the most new/casual players and that's one of the main reasons I stopped going there.
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I admit, I'd usually rather not play at game "meet-ups", and while I know there are people that I know would make fine gaming partners, there are just so many there that just don't click with my tastes.

There is definitely a certain kind of gamer that I enjoy gaming with. I'll not deny it.
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For some games, teaching the game is itself a whole activity separate from playing. And for some games, teaching it to a new person, or to a *particular* new person, doesn't sound like fun. Sometimes I just want to play with people who already know the rules.

And some people are just no fun for me to play with, period. Or to play NEAR! One local meetup I attended a few times involved a lot of gritting my teeth and trying to ignore the awful stuff some guys at the next table were saying; I've ended up not going back.
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As a newb to a local group, I am sensitive to jumping in on heavier or unfamiliar games without letting people know I'm a newb. People seem to be friendly and receptive. I just tell them I'm available as a seat filler but have no experience or limited exp. w'ever. On one occasion, we had someone sit down to play - but change his mind and go play elsewhere. It didn't upset anyone and it was before play had begun. I suspect it was a combination of learning my and my wife's newbness, and seeing some other acquaintances arrive.

I also am uncomfortable with groups of strangers and it's difficult for me to mix in but, my limited experience so far has not shown much exclusivity. Now, i see no problem with someone planning a specific game event for a specific set of players. I can see where some folks might invite a different 'set' of friends for Chaos in the Old World vs. Telestrations or w'ever.
 
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I know what you mean.

My group tends to be laid-back, non-smoking jokers. There's a lot of banter and a little drinking while play through hard-core wargames like World In Flames or The Gamer's OCS series.

We've had "serious" gamers join us every so often but they didn't last long. The one smoker we invited was a disaster. He was always nipping out for a smoke (no smoking in my house) and we were always waiting on him. It was very annoying and slowed everything waaaaaaaaay down.

That said, I love going to conventions and playing with different people. I've met some great guys, some that I wanted to punch, and some I wanted to buy soap for.
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