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Subject: Competition, Fun and Winning Ugly rss

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bangor m
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So, a few disclaimers: I don't think fun and competitive play are mutually exclusive. I think people may differ as to how much of the latter makes for the former, but it's a compatibility thing rather than a one side being right thing.

So, I game with pretty diverse set of five or six rotating gamers from 25-50 who are all bright and good gamers.

I had a guy in the group, we'll call him gamer guy, who is a really really good at board games and wins more often than he loses, even in games he has played for the first time.

Most games his play style and winning doesn't matter, but in zero-sum games with take-that or some zero-sum aspects, he has made the other members of the group irritated because of the way he often plays (and wins).

In a 4x or other type of game where there's take-that and zero-sum, he will build an engine. Once he's allowed to get his engine running, he will spend the last third of the game going for soft targets, which usually are owned by the player at or near last place because they haven't got enough of an engine to make their target hard.

He says often he plays the table, not the players, and I think it's right. He doesn't mean it personally, but in effect his pattern is to get into the lead by riding a well-designed and run engine and then spend the last third kicking the sh*t out of the guy who is in last place to eke out a few more points.

He does it every game, particularly longer ones (Eclipse, New Dawn, etc.) The result is the person in last has a pretty awful experience.

So, lately, in games where I play him, I've been pre-emptively trying to derail his engine before it starts in an effort to make the games a little more fun for everyone, and to focus his efforts on me, because everyone has been kind of upset about things.

There are two people who've never come back after two crushing defeats where while he was far in the lead and kicked them off the end of the ladder to eke out a few points; to avoid it, I've been trying to preempt him by attacking him before he's ready and keep him off his pins so he can't get his usual engine going. I never do this with anyone else.

He began to complain bitterly, saying "I'm not attacking you," to which I've been responding, "no, but you're going to." It's been annoying him.

And then the rest of the group started doing it. Everyone began taking turns kicking him off his bike before he can get going, and he's been getting more and more pissed, claiming (rightfully, I think) that games aren't any fun for him anymore, and that (and this is right, too) everyone is attacking him without real provocation on his part (although everyone has now begun to respond by saying, "no, but you're going to," and laughing while he turns red with anger.)

So we were in a long game last week and he started bitching, and I kind of laid into him, telling him the reason we are all doing it are because of the annoying way he plays, beating up on whoever is in last place to eke out points and ruining the game experience for them. I was not as polite as I should have been.

So this past week he sent an email saying he was taking his ball and going home and didn't want to play with the group anymore. I felt (and still feel) bad about things, but the group seems universally to be glad gamer guy is gone.

What do you guys think? I feel bad but I seem to be the only guy who wants gamer guy back in the group. I wouldn't mind playing 2p games with him, but I'm the guy he's most pissed at because he thinks (with some justice) that I started the whole trend of attacking him in games before he's ready.

Sorry for the long and boring story; I just wanted to get your collective take.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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I think I would've first tried to make sure that when he was there the group didn't play those style of games where he could do it.

If that wasn't feasible, a private chat to discuss it might've helped instead of calling him out in front of everyone.

If he wouldn't change because he's that competitive, then maybe it was for the best that he doesn't play anymore, as it doesn't seem to mesh with your overall group dynamic (from the sound of it anyways).

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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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There is a game that has a specific rule for that kind of play (beat up on last place): Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
In the rules, it says that a player can "honorably withdraw" from the game, even after a war has been declared. Which kind of screws over the aggressor, but I think that's the point, it's so people don't milk the last-place folks for points.

Maybe you should play Through The Ages with him

Personally my style of play, if I was winning a game, would be to focus on my closest competitors, 2nd and 3rd place. I would feel bad kicking the crap out of whoever's in last place b/c they're already having a hard time, everyone should be having a good time after all, these aren't world championships. I could see playing with someone who consistently wins and consistently beats up on last placers getting annoying. Maybe it just wasn't a good fit for the group, maybe he'd have more fun playing with some gamers that are more ultra-competitive?
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Leo Zappa
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Unfortunately the parting is probably the best for all parties involved. Frankly I think everyone comes in for some blame, and maybe the one least at fault was gamer guy. The guy can't help he's good at games, and in my mind, the onus was on the other players to up their games in order to be more competitive with gamer guy. However, if they weren't interested in going that route and he couldn't force himself to play sub-optimally (which is never fun for anyone), then like I say, it's probably best that he left the group. Maybe he can find a group that will give him more competition and your group can now get back to having fun at the level with which they are comfortable.
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Pete
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bangor wrote:
So, a few disclaimers: I don't think fun and competitive play are mutually exclusive. I think people may differ as to how much of the latter makes for the former, but it's a compatibility thing rather than a one side being right thing.

So, I game with pretty diverse set of five or six rotating gamers from 25-50 who are all bright and good gamers.

I had a guy in the group, we'll call him gamer guy, who is a really really good at board games and wins more often than he loses, even in games he has played for the first time.

Most games his play style and winning doesn't matter, but in zero-sum games with take-that or some zero-sum aspects, he has made the other members of the group irritated because of the way he often plays (and wins).

In a 4x or other type of game where there's take-that and zero-sum, he will build an engine. Once he's allowed to get his engine running, he will spend the last third of the game going for soft targets, which usually are owned by the player at or near last place because they haven't got enough of an engine to make their target hard.

He says often he plays the table, not the players, and I think it's right. He doesn't mean it personally, but in effect his pattern is to get into the lead by riding a well-designed and run engine and then spend the last third kicking the sh*t out of the guy who is in last place to eke out a few more points.

He does it every game, particularly longer ones (Eclipse, New Dawn, etc.) The result is the person in last has a pretty awful experience.

So, lately, in games where I play him, I've been pre-emptively trying to derail his engine before it starts in an effort to make the games a little more fun for everyone, and to focus his efforts on me, because everyone has been kind of upset about things.

There are two people who've never come back after two crushing defeats where while he was far in the lead and kicked them off the end of the ladder to eke out a few points; to avoid it, I've been trying to preempt him by attacking him before he's ready and keep him off his pins so he can't get his usual engine going. I never do this with anyone else.

He began to complain bitterly, saying "I'm not attacking you," to which I've been responding, "no, but you're going to." It's been annoying him.

And then the rest of the group started doing it. Everyone began taking turns kicking him off his bike before he can get going, and he's been getting more and more pissed, claiming (rightfully, I think) that games aren't any fun for him anymore, and that (and this is right, too) everyone is attacking him without real provocation on his part (although everyone has now begun to respond by saying, "no, but you're going to," and laughing while he turns red with anger.)

So we were in a long game last week and he started bitching, and I kind of laid into him, telling him the reason we are all doing it are because of the annoying way he plays, beating up on whoever is in last place to eke out points and ruining the game experience for them. I was not as polite as I should have been.

So this past week he sent an email saying he was taking his ball and going home and didn't want to play with the group anymore. I felt (and still feel) bad about things, but the group seems universally to be glad gamer guy is gone.

What do you guys think? I feel bad but I seem to be the only guy who wants gamer guy back in the group. I wouldn't mind playing 2p games with him, but I'm the guy he's most pissed at because he thinks (with some justice) that I started the whole trend of attacking him in games before he's ready.

Sorry for the long and boring story; I just wanted to get your collective take.
I had a 15-year feud with my game group largely along these lines (I was your friend). Even to this day they attack me first and often, but I have managed to train them not to do it with zero provocation employing the doctrine of mutually assured destruction.

Pete (never "took his ball and went home" though)
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Yao-ban Chan
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It's kind of a hard one to judge without knowing specifics. For example how much of a threat was he when you all started attacking him? If he was on track to become the biggest threat, then you were justified. If he was just at the same level as the rest, then maybe not so much.

It just seems to me that there should be some sort of middle ground; he doesn't go from start to all-powerful in an instant. At some stage, he should be showing signs of becoming powerful without actually being dominant. Then you could attack him with good reason.

I do get his point of view; it's a bit of a downer to be attacked repeatedly for no reason other than who you are (once or twice, I can stand, but after that it gets a bit old). And it does seem like the rest of the group has taken it a bit far.

Ultimately, it seems like the situation has degenerated beyond repair, and you'll all have to live with it. Before the group retaliation, I would have suggested:
- playing games with indirect take-that mechanisms;
- pointing out that he should maximise his winning margin by attacking second place (demonstrating by having second place attack him, perhaps snatching a win or two).
But it seems a bit too late for all of this now.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Part of being in a gaming group is balancing the various personalities, including within the game. I've sometimes had the reputation for being "that guy" but I played it low key, was fine to take my losses when they came, and never inspired that level of animosity.

I'd say it was mostly the dude's fault. If he couldn't manage the social as well as the gaming aspect it was probably best that he parted ways. (Obviously, this much removed judgement is based on my very limited knowledge of your gaming group and its dynamics.)
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T. Dauphin
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It does sound like things might have been handled a little more delicately. I agree that a conversation about how his style was not making it fun for others might have been more palatable and maybe guided him to try something different.
But in the long run, a good player has to expect to become a target, and a good sport will find a way to live with it. In some circles I am often the target, and occasionally games long past are brought up as justification (there's one that involves diplomatic negotiations whistle). Finding strategies to deal with this can be an interesting challenge.


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Jason
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An alternative method to handle this is to simply introduce a different set of games. Co-op, co-op with a traitor, team-based (hidden roles or not), or something like Cosmic Encounters where a strong player picking on the weakest can be more difficult to accomplish with allies.

As far as the situation, well, he wasn't playing the meta very well. If you're making a reputation as the player who picks on the weakest players for wins, then the meta is going to shift against you. Even if it's the best tactic for points, you need to be with a like-minded group for it to be an accepted tactic.

If you wanted to keep him in the group, then it could've been handled a little better. But, it sounds like while you may have liked the guy, your group appreciates him being gone.
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Chris Barnes
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I'm definitely in "gamer guy's" shoes, although it doesn't upset me. Every move I make is met with sideways glances and assumptions that I have some master plan to win everything soon. It makes things tough a lot of the time, but I have a good time as long as everyone else is having a good time.

I definitely never lay into last place just to get some extra points though. If it was a neck-and-neck match where those points were the difference, sure. Otherwise, let em be.
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Russ Williams
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I have found that interactive multiplayer games with diplomacy/negotiation are less stressful and more enjoyable if people don't take in-game-actions personally, and instead take it as given that everyone is simply playing moves which they sincerely think are best for them in that game, and that nobody is simply trying to be an evil rude jerk.

I.e. instead of getting angry/offended, assume good motives. (And in the context of playing a competitive game, trying to win is a good motive.)

Of course if your group is not really playing with the goal of trying to win, but for some other motive (role-playing, watching the story unfold, socializing and passing the time, move miniature figures around on the table together, whatever) then that argument won't apply... but if people don't care about winning, then why do they care if their position gets hurt in the game? Just because of applying real-life ethical principles ("be nice and non-aggressive to people in real life" I certainly agree with) incongruously into the artificial fictional world of a game? People are funny...

I believe the Knizia quote: "When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning." If I lose because someone else hurt my position to secure their win, that's just part of the game, not some personal attack or immoral action, and it need not ruin my day.

("How dare you knock me from last place to, um, well, to last place!")

I typically don't view it as some inherently unfair or rude thing to do something which hurts another player (regardless of their rank or likelihood of winning or losing), but evidently your group did, so yeah, it sounds like ultimately a case of incompatible personalities.

---

E.g. even in a simple family game like Carcassonne, some people get very angry if someone steals control of their city. Or if the leader steals control of the city from a player in last place - even if it's clearly the leader's best move. For other people & groups, it's completely normal to steal control of someone else's city if you can and that's your best move, regardless of whether the "victim" is in last place or your closest competitor or the leader or whatever.

The OP story sounds like a more elaborate case of the same Carcassone-city-stealing phenomenon which divides people...
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Maarten D. de Jong
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There is no zero-sum in multiplayer games, but this is a detail which does not harm the story itself. The gamer guy just uses his clout to cement his lead, and does so by going after the easiest targets: that suffices.

Personally I think you let things go on for too long; and handled opposing gamer guy in a bad way. Just as him hitting on the weakest player is really not that necessary, is it also not that necessary that everyone else jumps on him just because he's gamer guy. You could have spoken to him earlier on about his need to crush in essence defenceless opponents even if it was just about playing the table (which I believe to be the case), and suggested the use of handicaps to level the playing field. He was simply too skilled a player compared to the others in your group, and it doesn't appear to be the case that your group would put in the effort to try and improve the playing skill to the point where opposition would be effective as well as subtle so that overt hitting on gamer guy could be avoided.

For what it's worth, I do think an apology on your part would certainly help matters. At the very least it will help clear the air between you two... but that doesn't mean gamer guy gets a free pass. He should've realised he was an above averagely skilled player, and that thus his fun at winning should not come at the expense of ruining the fun of others, and for that he owes people an apology. Even if it was a matter of playing to win vs. playing some other motive as Russ above alluded to: he ought to have noted this. After that, if there is still willingness on both sides, perhaps you can get together a small team of players who will actively try to out-game and out-skill gamer guy in a limited number of titles. It will give gamer guy a run for his money, and perhaps free him a little from the need to dominate the boards elsewhere.
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Gianluca Casu
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I have different opinions on the many aspects from thi issue.

First thing first, Guy is a dick and you are better without him. Flipping the table is not putting you in any position to discuss in my book.

What I would have done if I was Guy is fume ( lots) then ask myself what happened then sent a mail to everyone asking what happenend and then see what comes.

Enjoy your ball Guy.

Now you lads handed this terribly. I'm assuming that you never tried to mention this to him ( you never mentioned it at least) so you just ambushed the lad during a game.

Worst, after you explained why you did this you should have paused the game, explained your point and engaged in the discussion, but no, just drop the one liner and gon on.

Then your mates decided to pile up on the guy and this escalated. this is bullying lads, not a game night between friends.

I'm simplyfing even too much, but the point I'm trying to make here is that this is basic human mechanics which accidentally involved a boardgame.

Having someone acting as a dick is no ground for ambushing him and then piling on him. This is vendetta, not a civil way to solve issues.
I prefer the feeling I have done all I could do before letting the idiot walk away. I hope next time you will at least give it a try.
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Chris in Kansai
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capricorn_tm wrote:


Having someone acting as a dick is no ground for ambushing him and then piling on him. This is vendetta, not a civil way to solve issues.




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Shirley Sheak
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I'm not sure why people don't understand the idea of "what goes around, comes around". Although as much as the game rules allowed, he's not at fault (nor other player's) to play in such way, but if he can't take what people will do to him from the result of what he did similarly to other people, then either don't do it or don't complain. I agree with Maarten that "that guy" should be talked to earlier before things gotten far. Anyway I think his playstyle do not suit the group unless he's willing to adjust his behaviour or the same drama could happen again if he comes back.
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Richard Dickson
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If the guy always wins because no one stops him from building his engine, I don't see how it's unfair to stop him from building his engine. Nobody says it's unfair to double-team a basketball team's best shooter or a football team's best receiver. And instead of getting upset about losing his go-to way of winning, he could have used it as a chance to try a different strategy.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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DailyRich wrote:
If the guy always wins because no one stops him from building his engine, I don't see how it's unfair to stop him from building his engine.

From what I gather is that it was his reputation as a more or less ruthless player which caused him to be pre-emptively blocked from all sides. That is not the way to stop someone from building an engine... at least, if you want to remain on civil terms. It is also not possible to defend against this sort of play using 'a different strategy'.
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cymric wrote:
DailyRich wrote:
If the guy always wins because no one stops him from building his engine, I don't see how it's unfair to stop him from building his engine.

From what I gather is that it was his reputation as a more or less ruthless player which caused him to be pre-emptively blocked from all sides.


To use the sports analogy - this player was knee capped in the change rooms before the match
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Cardboard Hustle
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As others have mentioned, this could have been handled better.

Should this situation ever rise again I would give the next "Guy" a heads up before game time. Something like: "Just and FYI, since you've been kicking the crap out of any player in last place, some retribution is coming your way. I'm not saying its coming from me, or any specific person, but I've been reading the table. You better buckle up, they're coming for you."

Now some people will decry this tactic, but I've used it in my group before with some particularly good players, and it has worked. The players change their tactics, sometimes they lose, sometimes they keep winning. The difference is, they feel like they are being challenged, not conspired against.
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Kirk Thomas
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It's impossible to give all the context of a situation like this to really form an opinion. My first reaction to the situation is that there should have been a middle ground between not being able to do anything about Gamer being a powerhouse, and everyone ganging up on him immediately and not even letting the game develop. Is everyone else at the table really that poor at playing the game? If so, I'd play something else.

With a slightly different reading of the situation, I'd say you potentially handled the situation really well. If Gamer is preying on the weak just to run up his score, I think an escalation of take-that early in the game against him, with some back-and-forth about why, is a good choice for trying to correct the situation. This assumes everyone likes each other, likes the game, and has some level of "if you can't take it, don't dish it". If that isn't the case, and everyone is just there to play, then I think it best to agree that it's not a good match, and part ways. But it sounds like this group is relatively well established.
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bort
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takoyakioc wrote:
I'm not sure why people don't understand the idea of "what goes around, comes around". Although as much as the game rules allowed, he's not at fault (nor other player's) to play in such way, but if he can't take what people will do to him from the result of what he did similarly to other people, then either don't do it or don't complain.


But all he has done is efficiently crush his opponents, and in return the entire table has turned against him before he's made any move towards them.

Its an unfortunate situation. The guy has really done nothing wrong apart from play very very well, and been a bit ruthless. I guess he's a bit clueless if he didnt realise how this was making the rest of the table feel. But I can understand him getting pretty upset when all the other players seem to be colluding against him.

But it does seem that he would probably enjoy a more competitive group more.

I'm seeing the other players as more of the bad guys here. Laughing at him while he turns red with anger - thats just pushing him to the edge and making him quit, which doesnt seem like a very nice way to handle this.

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Leo Zappa
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I will add that while I've participated in it in the past myself (but no more), I tend to really dislike the meta aspect of any gaming group. I guess I've come around to the idea that each play of a game should stand on its own, and in that vein, ganging up preemptively to knock a player out of a game before it really even starts is just very distasteful to me. Years ago in one of my game groups, one of our players was "gamer guy", and yes, we started targeting him from the start because of his reputation. It was not fun for him, but it wasn't fun for us either. So, at least for my part, I resolved to just try to get better at playing the game at hand, instead of launching preemptive strikes to eliminate the perceived best player at the table. I just find it much more satisfying to playing the game in front of me, and cast the meta approach aside.
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Do you play nothing but take-that and 4x games? There are so many games out there were this isn't even an option
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bangor m
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Thanks very much for all your responses, they've been very helpful.

I agree that a private chat, and particularly as a sort of "hey, a storm is coming for you, just an fyi" rather than a "you're playing wrong" thing. I wish I'd done it, because I think gamer guy is a little dense in reading the table. One quick example.

Sorry to use Eclipse so much, but it's a good example. So, late in the game, gg seems to be way ahead; he's the science race and he's almost maxed out all three tracks of science, and he has more systems than anyone else, and he's got max battle tokens, which are hidden, but still (assuming average value) he's way ahead by most measures. Last turn of the game, he crosses the galactic center and attacks the guy who is probably at that point in last place. The guy has 2 systems that are both crap, and a fleet on the hex that pretty much is unmodified by any techs. gg's fleet is teched out big time.

So last place stares at gg unbelievably when he announces he's attacking. gg starts looking at the player boards and saying, "okay, you have only base cannons, so you roll 2 yellow...my ships have plasma cannons and more initiative, so I roll 6 orange...at +2 for my computer-" lp interrupts gg and says, without picking up any dice, "you can have the system." gg says, okay, and begins removing lp's ships (only 2 I think, a cruiser and an intercepter) and puts putting his cubes on the hex, taking off lp's cubes and putting them on lp's player mat. lp is staring at gg the whole time.

Very awkward silence. I hesistantly wonder aloud what the point of that was, and gg responds it was a 1vp hex.

Final score (6p game, I don't remember everyone's): gg has 41 points. I'm 2nd with 27. Players 3-5 are all in the low 20's. Lp has 15 points. So the final 1p hex made no difference whatsoever, except it made lp irritated and led to lp never playing either the game or with gg again.

(I'm going to check out Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, JD)

As for how much of a threat gg was when I began attacking him in games? It was usually at the point where he made some pivot in his engine that I recognized, but before he'd really gotten it off the ground.

Another Eclipse game, sorry, as example. Another 6p game. gg researches plasma missiles. As soon as he does that, I explain to a neighbor I'm attacking gg. gg's empire doesn't touch mine, and I didn't have the galactic center, so I had to cross someone else's unoccupied hex to get to gg. gg has a few ships that are lightly plasma-armed, probably enough to get the job done, but if not he announces he'll just retreat after one salvo. So I convince the neighbor whose hex I crossed to put a ship in gg's hex that was just vacated to cut off gg's retreat so he has to win or die. I convince the neighbor it's in his interest b/c gg and he are neighbors so as soon as he gets a plasma missile strategy going he's going to carve up neighbor. Neighbor agrees, blocks gg's retreat hex, gg loses battle by not quite killing all my ships with one salvo, gg gets pissed. I don't even remember who won that one, but it wasn't me, gg or neighbor.

We have tried Cosmic Encounter, and gg didn't like it because he thought it was too group-thinky.

I think the carcassone-stealing analogy is a good one, and generally I only do it if I think it's not going to piss anyone off. With family or non-gamer friends, I don't do it. With the gamer group friends (including gg), I totally do it, and it's almost expected.

Oh, as soon as everyone else started to knock down his half-build sand castles in games, I stopped doing it. I even began turning down opportunities to do so because I could see he was getting upset about the whole thing. I don't really think it was like kneecapping him in the locker room, it was more like double-teaming him in a man-to-man in basketball.

Yeah, in retrospect it was uncool to laugh when someone gets upset.

Our group does play a lot of other games, and in those games, including euros that have some take-that and interaction, gg and the group are fine. We have a good time. It's just certain games that there's a problem.

I can see I handled it badly, and I intend to apologize to him when things have cooled off a little, and next time I'll definitely try to head things off before they get this bad.
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bangor wrote:
So, a few disclaimers: I don't think fun and competitive play are mutually exclusive. I think people may differ as to how much of the latter makes for the former, but it's a compatibility thing rather than a one side being right thing.

So, I game with pretty diverse set of five or six rotating gamers from 25-50 who are all bright and good gamers.

I had a guy in the group, we'll call him gamer guy, who is a really really good at board games and wins more often than he loses, even in games he has played for the first time.

Most games his play style and winning doesn't matter, but in zero-sum games with take-that or some zero-sum aspects, he has made the other members of the group irritated because of the way he often plays (and wins).

In a 4x or other type of game where there's take-that and zero-sum, he will build an engine. Once he's allowed to get his engine running, he will spend the last third of the game going for soft targets, which usually are owned by the player at or near last place because they haven't got enough of an engine to make their target hard.

He says often he plays the table, not the players, and I think it's right. He doesn't mean it personally, but in effect his pattern is to get into the lead by riding a well-designed and run engine and then spend the last third kicking the sh*t out of the guy who is in last place to eke out a few more points.

He does it every game, particularly longer ones (Eclipse, New Dawn, etc.) The result is the person in last has a pretty awful experience.

So, lately, in games where I play him, I've been pre-emptively trying to derail his engine before it starts in an effort to make the games a little more fun for everyone, and to focus his efforts on me, because everyone has been kind of upset about things.

There are two people who've never come back after two crushing defeats where while he was far in the lead and kicked them off the end of the ladder to eke out a few points; to avoid it, I've been trying to preempt him by attacking him before he's ready and keep him off his pins so he can't get his usual engine going. I never do this with anyone else.

He began to complain bitterly, saying "I'm not attacking you," to which I've been responding, "no, but you're going to." It's been annoying him.

And then the rest of the group started doing it. Everyone began taking turns kicking him off his bike before he can get going, and he's been getting more and more pissed, claiming (rightfully, I think) that games aren't any fun for him anymore, and that (and this is right, too) everyone is attacking him without real provocation on his part (although everyone has now begun to respond by saying, "no, but you're going to," and laughing while he turns red with anger.)

So we were in a long game last week and he started bitching, and I kind of laid into him, telling him the reason we are all doing it are because of the annoying way he plays, beating up on whoever is in last place to eke out points and ruining the game experience for them. I was not as polite as I should have been.

So this past week he sent an email saying he was taking his ball and going home and didn't want to play with the group anymore. I felt (and still feel) bad about things, but the group seems universally to be glad gamer guy is gone.

What do you guys think? I feel bad but I seem to be the only guy who wants gamer guy back in the group. I wouldn't mind playing 2p games with him, but I'm the guy he's most pissed at because he thinks (with some justice) that I started the whole trend of attacking him in games before he's ready.

Sorry for the long and boring story; I just wanted to get your collective take.


Strategically: if you could prevent him from winning from the get-go by tackling him before he builds his engine, why didn't you do it earlier? He's not a good player if he wins while people don't try to hold him back.
I'm an M:tG player and I've learned pretty early that if you don't control the opponent, you're going to lose, pretty badly. If he wants to become a good player, he will have to learn to build an engine while still being under attack.
He's also (strategically) right attacking people who can earn him more points. Playing to the best of your abilities is a mark of respect for the other player, and I believe everyone should always play to their best to make the game interesting and engaging.

Socially: Did you try discussing the matter before attacking him through the game? By telling him that his strategy was hurting the feelings of other gamers?
It sounds like you wanted to teach him a lesson the hard way through the game - which I think is a fine way to do it - and that everyone started to copy you and to ridicule him in the process.
I don't know if the gamer guy is upset because he loses now that he's playing an interactive game - and he should then work on himself - or because he's being bullied by your gaming group.

In all cases, talk. When something is wrong with a player, talk to him, explain things, try sorting things with them, do a debriefing of the game. If you can't settle things afterwards, then part ways.

I love Seasons. Something I do a lot in this game, is play the Holy Chalice, which lets you get cards for free, and abuse it. I also control other players a lot by destroying their cards, taxing their actions, or denying them resources.
For me, like for your gamer guy, this isn't against the other player. It's because I'm playing the game the way it can be played, and to the most of my capabilities. Some players think I'm mean but have not yet taken it badly.
Instead, they have learned to not let me have these cards, by counterdrafting. Forcing me to adapt. I still win, but with different strategies, and keep on learning that way.

My group has a smart way of dealing with problems I make them face (and I'm very proud of them for that), and have fun doing so, trying to stop me, and learning new strategies.
I'm getting better, they're getting better, and no-one has hard feelings.

From what you're saying, this gamer guy needs to work on his pride, but your group needs to work on communication too. If you're not playing at the same level as him (being more casual and not aiming for the win), then he should find another group. But you need to make it clear that you don't want to play with competitive players as well if you don't intend to get better and do not accept that a player will make the right moves, strategically speaking.

My .45 cents
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