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Subject: Gaming with Difficult People (A Continuation) rss

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Brian Schwartz
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Hello all,

I've written about a particular friend before, and I was pleased with the responses. My friend, who I shall call "Greg" in the past (And still presently) sometimes gets very angry during games when people are attacking him. I've also noticed he can get a bit nasty if I tell him he is doing an illegal move or if he doesn't understand a rule.

I've tried talking to him about this, and he says "Yeah, I know I need to learn to stop taking these games so seriously" but I'm at the point where i don't really think he's going to change.

Last weekend, we were playing Terra Mystica and on the last round during another player's turn who was next to my friend on the game board, they inquired if they could use my friend's space that he terraformed without building anything on it. I told them, yes they could. Greg had terraformed several pieces of land, and had not used quite a few. My friend was able to terraform the land and build one of her settlements. Greg at this point got very angry. I felt this was silly because A) it was a game and B) he had other spaces that were also empty that he could have used to settle on had he chosen to that were already terraformed.

At this point, he started cleaning up his player board and removing the pieces from the main board. I said "Don't be a sore loser!" and he stopped what he was doing and then just sat there. I was proud of myself for finally standing up to him.

This past Saturday, we played Guildhall which Greg won. He won because no one bothered to do any "attacks" on him (swap his cards, or use the assassin). He also came in second in Clash of Cultures, again, because we left his cities alone in fear of getting him angry.

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I'm not playing a game the way it's meant to be played in fear of upsetting him. At this point, I'm considering just not inviting him anymore.

He's a good friend of mine and doesn't have a lot of other friends. I don't have a ton of friends who are into gaming and who are available every Saturday which is why I invite him.

Thoughts?
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Drew Hicks
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WittyreaderLI wrote:

He's a good friend of mine and doesn't have a lot of other friends. I don't have a ton of friends who are into gaming and who are available every Saturday which is why I invite him.

Thoughts?


If he doesn't play well with others, then he doesn't play well with others. You don't have to swear off your relationship with him but wouldn't you rather just manage your time differently (do stuff with him at other times than the friends he doesn't play nice with) than deal with a potentially explosive (and embarrassing to everyone involved) break-up?
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Jordan Devero

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If he is a good friend, he should be able to take your honest criticism. Give him several examples of what he did wrong, and how it is affecting the game group as a whole. If that doesn't work or that is too head strong of an approach for you, maybe just play two player games with him.
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Mario Lanza
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Here's how I might handle it. I'm not involved so it's easy to offer outsider guidance, but here goes. Talk to the others and have them play games normally, attacking Greg when it makes good sense to do so. Tell them his behavior can't be a factor for playing abnormally when he's involved. Don't make a big thing of it, just tell them that you're planning on addressing the issue if it becomes an issue again. You don't want to label him without giving him a chance to work out the issue, now that you're planning on actually addressing it (instead of just ignoring it).

Go ahead and play your games. If Greg acts up again, take him aside (afterwards) and explain the situation again. He's got to get his emotions in check and respect everyone else's desire to have fun. Explain that games are games and, well, sometimes there's conflict, but that he's got to manage his temper so that everyone can have fun. Tell him people are actually not playing right because of him (e.g. not attacking him when it makes sense to do so) and that's not fair for everyone else. Tell him you don't want to exclude him from games but its not fair for everyone to have to keep dealing with him when he gets incited. Don't spell it out as an ultimatum, but just help him to realize you want him and everyone to have fun. He should definitely catch the drift of what this means if he can't get his act together.

I know this sounds like a lot of effort for dealing with someone like him, but part of being fair (to him as well) is being honest about everything. People hate to confront others about stuff like this. I know because I used to be the guy who just ignored this kind of stuff, but I learned from watching a friend who doesn't just swallow bad behavior that the right thing to do is to address it. Address the guy with decency and gentleness so as to avoid making him feel the part of the villain. If the confrontation isn't gentle it's not likely to amount to anything of worth.

At this point, you'll have done your best to attempt to include him. If he at least shows an effort, I would cut him some slack. It's hard for people to change. And I know this sounds like a lot of work for guy that many won't feel deserves it, but I think handling it well will leave everyone feeling all right about making an effort vs. just booting him now.
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Brian Schwartz
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This has been basically a forum for me to vent. I don't think he's capable of changing because he also gets mad if he gets a rule wrong and i correct him on it.

Example: We played Puerto Rico and someone picked Captain. He didn't want to have to load all of his goods onto a ship and he seemed angry at me that I told him that he had to.

How am I supposed to deal with a situation like that?
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Josh
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He must have some actual social issues. I'm talking the kinds of things that require professional assessment, in order to get worked up in the ways you mention. You can't do anything for it, except possibly suggest he seek help if you feel comfortable doing so. This is n't 'bad gaming etiquette' it sounds like there is something legitimately off-kilter about your friend.
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Chad Steward
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I have a relative who is a bit like this. Once I decided to copy his personality and start "freaking out" when things weren't going right. He actually pulled back and became the rationale and cool one. I thought it was quite funny.

I just kind of accepted that I can't get him to change, but can change when, what, and where we play. With a group, do a co-op, by ourselves, do a competitive game, etc.
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Kevin
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how about playing some co-op games with him. Letters from Whitechapel, LOTR LCG, Arkham or Eldritch Horror,Betrayal at House on the Hill or Pathfinder (although a little repetitive and a shallower game compared to some)

These are all good games, that rely on people working together, apart from the the traitor aspect in Betrayal.

Beware though LOTR LCG like all the LCG is a money pit.
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Bryan Thunkd
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WittyreaderLI wrote:
This past Saturday, we played Guildhall which Greg won. He won because no one bothered to do any "attacks" on him (swap his cards, or use the assassin). He also came in second in Clash of Cultures, again, because we left his cities alone in fear of getting him angry.

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I'm not playing a game the way it's meant to be played in fear of upsetting him. At this point, I'm considering just not inviting him anymore.
Make an announcement... It's officially "Attack Greg" time. Until he learns to deal with it gracefully, everyone is forced to continue attacking him as harshly as they can. Either he'll adapt or stop coming. And if he ever starts slipping back into it again just say "Uh-oh, it's almost attack Greg time..."
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WittyreaderLI wrote:
Hello all,

I've written about a particular friend before, and I was pleased with the responses. My friend, who I shall call "Greg" in the past (And still presently) sometimes gets very angry during games when people are attacking him. I've also noticed he can get a bit nasty if I tell him he is doing an illegal move or if he doesn't understand a rule.

I've tried talking to him about this, and he says "Yeah, I know I need to learn to stop taking these games so seriously" but I'm at the point where i don't really think he's going to change.

Last weekend, we were playing Terra Mystica and on the last round during another player's turn who was next to my friend on the game board, they inquired if they could use my friend's space that he terraformed without building anything on it. I told them, yes they could. Greg had terraformed several pieces of land, and had not used quite a few. My friend was able to terraform the land and build one of her settlements. Greg at this point got very angry. I felt this was silly because A) it was a game and B) he had other spaces that were also empty that he could have used to settle on had he chosen to that were already terraformed.

At this point, he started cleaning up his player board and removing the pieces from the main board. I said "Don't be a sore loser!" and he stopped what he was doing and then just sat there. I was proud of myself for finally standing up to him.

This past Saturday, we played Guildhall which Greg won. He won because no one bothered to do any "attacks" on him (swap his cards, or use the assassin). He also came in second in Clash of Cultures, again, because we left his cities alone in fear of getting him angry.

It's gotten to the point that I feel like I'm not playing a game the way it's meant to be played in fear of upsetting him. At this point, I'm considering just not inviting him anymore.

He's a good friend of mine and doesn't have a lot of other friends. I don't have a ton of friends who are into gaming and who are available every Saturday which is why I invite him.

Thoughts?


Dump him for gaming. Just hang out with him for other stuff. He sounds like an utter nightmare to game with - I'm sorry for you having to deal with this.

I'm not sure what it says about our awesome, beloved hobby but there are just far too many gamers like this out there. I've had a few close friends who were similar (but less angry publicly about it) in the sense of being poor sports and it got to the point where I just didn't want to game with them anymore. Then I've been stuck with the stinky, lying, one-upper type of gamer "friend" (I'll use the term loosely, I guess) but I thankfully moved on from him despite trying to fix the issues via communication (no luck - what a surprise!). I currently have a gamer friend who's a bit Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, due to a life full of heavy mind-altering substance abuse, he can be at times incredibly, annoyingly impatient or friendly and reasonable. He's not a bad sport though, so that's a pleasant improvement from past friends who were bad sports, at least.

The closest I've had to a normal gamer to play with had a pretty darn annoying case of Analysis Paralysis, so I've not had the best luck, gaming-wise.
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WittyreaderLI wrote:
This has been basically a forum for me to vent. I don't think he's capable of changing because he also gets mad if he gets a rule wrong and i correct him on it.

Example: We played Puerto Rico and someone picked Captain. He didn't want to have to load all of his goods onto a ship and he seemed angry at me that I told him that he had to.

How am I supposed to deal with a situation like that?


I find a swift cuff to the back of his head to be both therapeutic (for you) and educational (for him).

DISCLAIMER: No gamers were harmed in the forming of this post.
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Austin Andersen
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If you choose to play with him, you should do your best to beat him. You might want to play some co-ops if you want to avoid the situation all together.
 
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No No No Sheep
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i think because he is your only friend , you shouldnt antagonize him over trivial matter like gaming.. after all which is more important ? your friendship or your games...
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Walt
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How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? None, the bulb will change itself when it is ready.

Looking at the other threads, you've been working this problem for fourteen months. He's using his anger as a metagaming weapon. My guess is that he does this in other situations as well: that it's ingrained behavior, not just about gaming; it's his way of handling life, by manipulating the people around him, so they tippy-toe around him. You can't change that behavior, only he can. So:

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it. --W. C. Fields
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Heath Bauer
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Hello. I have been in this same boat before. You must ask yourself the question as to why you play games. For most of us, it is to have fun and grow in your relationships with others. With "Greg", these goals are not happening. With my friend who always got angry with games, we discovered that they actually hurt our relationship. Being that this is not an isolated experience (we've all had bad days), I would simply look for other activities to do with Greg, and game with friends whose emotions can handle games.

If this is not possible to avoid games with Greg without harming the relationship, try to find games that avoid direct conflict. For me, 7 Wonders did the trick. Those who normally gang up on people or get angry with targeted attacks, have much less to be angry about with this style of play.
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Brian Schwartz
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Thanks guys. Sometimes i do wonder if he really likes gaming. He's definitely not a gamer, he has no games or no desire to play games except when I'm around. I think he truly has nothing better to do. My other friends who come can't afford a gaming collection at the moment, but I know they love games because they go to other game nights when I'm not hosting one.
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D M
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Re: Gaming with Difficult People (A Continuation)--from someone who used to always fail maturity rolls
He says he needs to stop taking such things so seriously, but does he mean it? Does he actually enjoy the games--i.e., the themes and mechanics?

I find I enjoy competition the best when it's clear I stand a minimal chance of winning and then with several players (1 vs. 1 is rarely worth it under any circumstances)--the freedom is more entertaining (and no, while I do admit to experimenting a bit more, I don't enjoy using said freedom to mess up other people's play.)

No doubt that's why I got into RPG's, preferably as GM.


Back to my initial paragraph, if he doesn't do well with co-ops, it's more than just an issue with competition--he may only be gaming to fill some other social need you alluded to.
 
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Bauerheath wrote:
try to find games that avoid direct conflict. For me, 7 Wonders did the trick.


While there isn't as much direct conflict as some games, in 7 Wonders "Greg" is probably going to go off his trolley when someone beats him in military, or he finds himself without a resource he desperately needs.
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Enrico Viglino
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WittyreaderLI wrote:


At this point, he started cleaning up his player board and removing the pieces from the main board. I said "Don't be a sore loser!" and he stopped what he was doing and then just sat there. I was proud of myself for finally standing up to him.
...
He's a good friend of mine and doesn't have a lot of other friends. I don't have a ton of friends who are into gaming and who are available every Saturday which is why I invite him.

Thoughts?


Sounds like you've actually found the solution.

Later games where people 'left him alone' are not his fault. I think a
discussion with those people, making it clear that you all will indeed
call him on bad sportsmanship will fix that. You probably want to tell
him in advance that this is the general group consensus too - that
that behavior will get brought up publicly, indeed that he might feel
picked upon by it, but that things reached a breaking point.
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Brian Schwartz
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[/q]
Back to my initial paragraph, if he doesn't do well with co-ops, it's more than just an issue with competition--he may only be gaming to fill some other social need you alluded to. [/q]

I think you hit it on the head. He has one other friend besides me. The people in my gaming group are not his friends. I work with one of them, the other is her partner. I suspect a deep rooted childhood issue is at hand here.
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Sandy Petersen
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In my years of gaming, I have occasionally encountered the type of player who informs me at some point that if I attack him, he will "only attack Sandy till the end of the game, ensuring that Sandy loses regardless of what else happens". We've all met a guy like this - he is a common problem, and is not even necessarily socially maladjusted - maybe he has simply learned that if he says this, people won't attack him.

My standard response now is always the same. First, I inform him that he is playing a unpleasant meta-game beyond the actual rules. Second, if I think attacking him is the best strategy, I do it regardless. Then at the moment it is clear that he is following through on his threat, I pack it in and state that I am no longer going to play the game. Typically I get a pained, "but why?" so I must explain that if I am absolutely certain to lose, because of his "system", then why play? The game won't be fun for him or me. May as let the other player continue without my presence.

I have done this on several occasions. A few times, the player realizes the unfairness of his tactic, and repents. A player who pulls this ploy on me again is no longer gamed with - at least not with games in which it is applicable.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Sandy Petersen wrote:
In my years of gaming, I have occasionally encountered the type of player who informs me at some point that if I attack him, he will "only attack Sandy till the end of the game, ensuring that Sandy loses regardless of what else happens". We've all met a guy like this -


Ugh, those guys are the worst, but I keep attacking them anyway. My friend Sandy hates it.
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AnEvenWeirderMove wrote:
WittyreaderLI wrote:

He's a good friend of mine and doesn't have a lot of other friends. I don't have a ton of friends who are into gaming and who are available every Saturday which is why I invite him.

Thoughts?


If he doesn't play well with others, then he doesn't play well with others. You don't have to swear off your relationship with him but wouldn't you rather just manage your time differently (do stuff with him at other times than the friends he doesn't play nice with) than deal with a potentially explosive (and embarrassing to everyone involved) break-up?


Exactly

I've been in a VERY similar situation with a friendship that goes back almost 20 years now. The kind of friend that will not only help you move but help you moves the bodies. ninja
Unfortunately after his poor sportsmanship (and sometimes caustic personality) drove most of my other friends away from game night, myself and another friend decided enough was enough. We told him we would not play games with him again. We still go out and do things but just not games. Roughly even weeks I do something with him and odd weeks I visit my FLGS. I've started taking some of the old game buddies to the FLGS and it all seems to have worked itself out for the most part.
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Enrico Viglino
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Sandy Petersen wrote:


My standard response now is always the same. First, I inform him that he is playing a unpleasant meta-game beyond the actual rules.


I'm not sure that it IS a metagame. It strikes me that such threats
formulated within a game are a part of it. The response I'd use comes
from the same philosophy - to point out that the player is trying to
bully everyone into leaving them alone, and that we should all gang up
on them to prevent his threat from having any value.


Quote:
Then at the moment it is clear that he is following through on his threat, I pack it in and state that I am no longer going to play the game.


This, on the other hand, strikes me the behavior of a poor loser.
You didn't manage the diplomatic element well, and then just quit.
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I mean no offense to Sandy but I find myself more in agreement with Enrico on this one.

I think anytime you have to pack up and quit a game, it's a sad thing and reflects that something, perhaps several things, has gone wrong with the social experience.
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