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Subject: Losing at board games rss

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Marco Auer
Germany
Bavaria
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Hi all,

Yesterday we had another game night, just like the weekend before. It was a really nice evening and we had a lot of fun. However, something really bothered me for the very first time.

Let me explain to you, what happened:

Last weekend I played the new game Terraforming Mars with the husband of my wife's best friend. Playing the game was a real blast! I didn't play very aggressive, unlike my opponent, and lost the game by around 8 points or so. I could have damaged his production earlier on, by playing a specific card, but decided against it. I just tried to be nice and it was a mistake. I get that, but was okay with it.

Yesterday, we (the guy from last week and my best friend and main gaming partner) played a three player game of Eclipse. Things started quite well for me, as I used Planta's special ability to explore the space. Unfortunately, I was surounded by Ancients quite soon and had some bad dice rolls during fights. At the end of the game, I lost with a bad score of 24, while my mates had 35 and 36 points. Honestly, I'm not too bothered about losing, because I really enjoy just playing a game and it was actually a really good session.

Afterwards we decided to play Survive: Escape from Atlantis! and I lost again with a score of 15. The other two had both a score of 17. Still, no problem for me, especially since Survive involves quite a lot of luck.

Then it happened! The husband from my wife's best friend said: "Marco own's all the games, but cannot play them really well". When both left to go home, I was actually really hurt. I love playing games and I'm proud of my gaming room and my nice little collection. Nobody ever that something similar to me.

How would you feel about something like that? It was such a nice evening, but this sentence at the end, really destroyed it all for me :-(
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Doug Poskitt
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Frankly, I would ignore such a thoughtless and graceless comment. This guy, at best, suffered a careless moment and may not have meant it in a hurtful manner designed to upset you. At worst, he revealed a level of ignorance on his part.

In any form of competitive game, there can (usually) be only one winner; they may have won through luck, skill or a combination of both. The rest will (usually) be the losers and they too may have lost through poor play or bad luck or a combination of both or the fact that there could only be one winner, even if they played as decent game.

I have seen countless skilfull games played by an opponent(s) even though they have lost in terms of the game's victory conditions.

Reading your text, I see in it a recognition by yourself of something that the majority of us know as well. When you play a game, you get enjoyment on so many levels.

* The social interaction and bonhomie between the players
* The "ooh's" and "aah's" of events that are generated in the game
* The appreciation of a game's mechanics and gameplay flow
* The appreciation of seeing skillful play (be it yours or an opponent's)
* The fact that all of the above = FUN FUN FUN!

So, take such comments with a shrug of the shoulders and put them where they belong ... in the discard pile in your mind.
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Paul Dale
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You win some games, you lose others. The important part is did you have fun playing? That is far more important than winning or losing in my opinion.


Two very marked contrasts in my direct experience: I've never won any game of Ticket to Ride in any form that I've ever played. Contrarily, I've only not won one game of any variation of Carcassonne. I enjoy Ticket to Ride more because it is more of a challenge with the people I game with. Winning simply isn't everything.

I'm not an expert at either game and would be happy to win or lose at either so long as I enjoy the time spent.

I'd ignore the comments from your wife's best friend's husband. Everything comes around in due course.


Pauli

Leonie, Gabby is much better at TtR than I am and she's got a surprise in store for you
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Jessica Gustafsson
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That was a mean thing to say but I think it all boils down to the fact that some people are poor loosers and some are poor winners. At the end of the day its his loss since you are less likely to play him again if he puts you down like that. He probably meant it as a joke, but its not a very funny one if it hurt your feelings.
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Gianluca Casu
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I have the same issue with a colleague at work whom I introduced to Boardgames..

So I organize the night, I bring the game, I teach him, I show him what he could do better, He wins.

And then he's the best and it is enough to play one game to beat me.yadah yadah yadah. You get the point.

Some people are like thta, I really do not mind, he's a good lad that will, eventually, grow out of puberty. Meanwhile I get to play.
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Drew
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Maybe he was trying to make a joke and it just came off bad? Enjoy the fact that you have people to game with and next time crush his production.
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Xander Michael
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I've had a similar experience that seems to be on repeat for me. In my gaming group I'm the one that owns all the games. Apparently, because I own them, that should also make me the master of them all as well, as though by sleeping with them around me I absorb all the possible ways to win the game.

One of the guys in my group has repeatedly said either that he's shocked I keep losing since I own the games or that he purposely plays against me in multiplayer games because I'm the one to defeat.

I used to explain that just by owning the games doesn't mean that I know how to win them, but now I just ignore it or fight him specifically. He's a very aggressive player that finds joy in hurting others (in games only-thankfully), so generally the other players team up against him with me, so that helps soften his blows.

Something that I found really strange about losing recently was after a game of Isle of Skye. We'd played it about 4 times already and I still hadn't won any of them. I'm a good loser, it doesn't bother me, I just love the playing of the game. But this time I was definitely winning and by a lot. It was going to be a score at least 20 points higher than any of the other victories and in the end, the above mentioned friend came to beat me by two points. This was the first time in ages that the loss stung. I had a really hard time shaking it off. Maybe if it had been someone else who beat me it wouldn't have bothered me so much or the fact that the one who won most of the previous games was the same guy. Either way it was a very strange feeling.

There are nights where I've won every game that we've played, but I don't want to linger on it, I just want to move on to the next game. Maybe when I get home there's a little bragging to my husband about having won EVERYTHING, but I would never rub it in anyone's face. That said I don't think that either of our experiences were intentionally hurtful. They just think that because we're addicts we know all the ins and outs of every game. Little do they know how difficult that would be. This is a hobby after all, not a full time profession. If only...

I think that in the end we should be thankful that we rarely feel hurt like this and that 99% of the time we just have fun. I can't imagine if I was a poor loser/winner all the time. That would make me never want to play.
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Moose Detective
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If all the games were close thats not even true. Which makes it even more likely that it was meant as a joke/good-natured ribbing. Thats how a lot of guys are? Trash talk is fun for a lot of people.

The more worrying thing to me is that you had a potentially good play that would have taken points from someone and you didnt do it "to be nice." DON'T DO THAT.

Play to win. Most competitive games are designed in a way that if the players are not all playing to win, the game breaks. For example, in Catan, not placing the robber on the hex of the person with the best chance to win could ruin the game for other players if you ruin their chance to catch up.

Games that have attacking or blocking as a feature often require their use to keep the game balanced. If you want to play "nice", play a co-op.
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Reed Dawley
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I always go easy on people when they are learning. The second someone makes a comment like that then the kid gloves come off. They have painted a target on their chest and I aim to wipe the smile off their face. Not being cruel or a bad winner or gloating, I just don't hold back any more and go for the throat. You know, cordially so.
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Russ Williams
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SoundCity wrote:
Maybe he was trying to make a joke and it just came off bad? Enjoy the fact that you have people to game with and next time crush his production.

This was my assumption based on reading the story - it was probably meant as a friendly joke, not as a serious insult.

Unless it was really clearly intended as an insult, it seems better to suppose that it was a joke (even if awkwardly incompetently done), and not worry about it.
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Davey Boy
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Anyone who cares all that much about winning or losing is a weirdo.
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Ray
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I totally can understand your feelings. I agree with above comments that it was a probably a joke gone bad. As someone who has SAID many of these without ever wanting to hurt anyone's feelings , I can tell you that is a distinct possibility.

I go through winning streaks and losing streaks. I lose more almost on purpose because if I'm playing with a new player that is playing a game I love, I try to show them the way the game is played and let them explore the space. I don't give them the game, but I definitely don't try to crush them on their first play.

I played Mystic Vale yesterday for the first time with a really great guy, but who confessed that he doesn't pull any punches for newbies and even as it was beyond debate that he had crushed me, he still completely finished his last turn.

It killed any desire for me to ever play that game again.

I mention this because there is a trade off to playing nicely and playing aggressively. It sounds like you prefer to play nice like I do. That playing style is going to result in more losses. And that's fine! It sounds like winning isn't the ultimate goal "at any cost!!!"

Even playing the way you did, you still ran with the pack. That is my goal...to be competitive. And if everyone at the table has played the game twice? Time to be crush them!

Personalities are the hidden game dynamic that make tabletop gaming unique to many other forms of entertainment and more fun too!
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Jan Probst
Germany
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He's just jealous of your superior game collection.
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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I can see how this comment can potentially hurt someone. In a way, this could be interpreted as an insult questioning your intelligence: "[...] but cannot play them really well" -- he didn't say "[...] but he does not win very often.", which would leave room for blaming bad luck, but he said you "cannot", meaning that you are incapable.

He probably didn't mean it this harsh, I don't know, but yeah, that's still a bad winner's comment. I'm pretty sure he mentioned you as the owner of all these games to boost his bragging, implying that you should be the expert.

Overly competitive players are to me just as bad as players who don't care at all about the game when playing.

Then again, some players are just very competitive and get a real thrill out of it (many tournament players obviously fall into this category) and I would lie if I wouldn't say that the best games are to me those which end with very close scores, because it means that everyone was playing with concentration and gave their best.
If the game ends with a score of 100:99 points, I actually don't care who won, since it often means that both players gave their best, that the game state was interesting the whole time both players are playing on the same skill level.

PS: I generally favour cooperative games. There's nothing like genuine group cheering and giving each other high fives when the group is overcoming big challenges as a team.
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Chris Robbins
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Not a board game, but I once played a video golf round with my son-in-law. When he won (I hadn't played much myself) I got, "Hah! Beat you at your own game!"

Happily, my stepdaughter long ago made him an ex-son-in-law.
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15 Keys
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What if he is right? What if you can't play them well? I mean you did lose all the games.

If that is the case, it doesn't matter because you even said you enjoyed playing them. And if that is the case, it doesn't matter because while you may be hurt by what he said, he wasn't actually wrong or mean, because being the best at the games isn't really important to you.

Honestly, like others have said, he was probably just joking around, which isn't a big deal. But he might have been serious, which also isn't a big deal.
 
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G Rowls
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do like my Muay Thia coach used to do when I did something exceptional well on him during sparring.

Give a big smile of appreciation and then nod your head to say 'ok , so you think your up to moving up a level!'. He would then proceed to promptly dismantle me at the next level.
 
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Marco Auer
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dougposkitt wrote:
Frankly, I would ignore such a thoughtless and graceless comment. This guy, at best, suffered a careless moment and may not have meant it in a hurtful manner designed to upset you. At worst, he revealed a level of ignorance on his part.

In any form of competitive game, there can (usually) be only one winner; they may have won through luck, skill or a combination of both. The rest will (usually) be the losers and they too may have lost through poor play or bad luck or a combination of both or the fact that there could only be one winner, even if they played as decent game.

I have seen countless skilfull games played by an opponent(s) even though they have lost in terms of the game's victory conditions.

Reading your text, I see in it a recognition by yourself of something that the majority of us know as well. When you play a game, you get enjoyment on so many levels.

* The social interaction and bonhomie between the players
* The "ooh's" and "aah's" of events that are generated in the game
* The appreciation of a game's mechanics and gameplay flow
* The appreciation of seeing skillful play (be it yours or an opponent's)
* The fact that all of the above = FUN FUN FUN!

So, take such comments with a shrug of the shoulders and put them where they belong ... in the discard pile in your mind.


Dear Doug,

Many thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

I just saw that you are from West Glamorgan, which is really funny, because my wife is from Swansea :-)

I used to work in London for four years and fell in love with your country. Unfortunately, there are not many IT jobs in Wales (at least for me).

Thanks again,
Marco
 
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Marco Auer
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stevelabny wrote:
Play to win. Most competitive games are designed in a way that if the players are not all playing to win, the game breaks. For example, in Catan, not placing the robber on the hex of the person with the best chance to win could ruin the game for other players if you ruin their chance to catch up.


Normally, I play to win. I just wanted to be nice because the game for new to him and it was also the first time that we played a board game together. I certainly learned a lesson from it.
 
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Marco Auer
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Weltenreiter wrote:
He's just jealous of your superior game collection.


I actually think he is. As for as I know, he only own three games: Star Trek: Catan, The Witcher Adventure Game and Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game.
 
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Doug Poskitt
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Marco

Swansea is a short hop away from me by car.

Wherever you are in Germany, it is a sure bet that it doesn't rain as much as it does here!

 
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Alexander Ord
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Honestly I love it when I teach a game to somebody and they beat me. I find that they end up far more likely to ask to play again or even ask about even more games. All I really want is more people to share my hobbies with. If losing the first game helps with that I'm absolutely fine with that.

(Note: I still play to win. I'm just bad.)

I'm positive your friend didn't mean to offend. Sounds like a bit of harmless "lads banter" that went wrong to me.
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Marco Auer
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fifteenkeys wrote:
What if he is right? What if you can't play them well? I mean you did lose all the games.

If that is the case, it doesn't matter because you even said you enjoyed playing them. And if that is the case, it doesn't matter because while you may be hurt by what he said, he wasn't actually wrong or mean, because being the best at the games isn't really important to you.

Honestly, like others have said, he was probably just joking around, which isn't a big deal. But he might have been serious, which also isn't a big deal.


No, he is not right. I win quite often at Fields of Arle, Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar and many other games. Just recently, I was rather unlucky in terms of winning. But as I said before, I did not care. This is a really new feeling for me.

I mean, come on, I'm 37 years old, work as principal software architect at one of the biggest hospitals in Europe, have two great kids, a wonderful wife and even built a house with a gaming room. What the hell is suddently wrong with me? Why I'm feeling sad or even depressed for losing a game. It's a weird day today...
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Kevin C.
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I get this a lot. I have 500+ games and it is usually my games that get played at groups and such. I suck at most games.

I was a tournament chess player for 20 years and I came back to boardgames because I got tired of wringing myself out in study and the constant pursuit of winning.

So, I try my "best" in boardgames, but my best is a shell of what it once was. I don't study these games or do serious post mortems on my play. I used to run three or four practice boards with the latest theory and such in chess. Now I take everything in stride and whatever happens over-the-board happens.

I rarely play the same game enough to get really good at them like some others do. I like playing in tournaments at the WBC, but it is really scheduled open gaming for me. I get shellacked, unless it is like RA dice or something, in which case the randomness can help. I also don't schedule for wood, but for just enjoyment.

So, the above poster might be right. How much do you really care about winning and do you put time in to get better at those games? Would it matter to you if you weren't very good?

It doesn't matter to me, so I don't do anything about it. If it did, I would pick a few games and study them to get good at them or concentrate on a family of games that allowed you to have success with basic principles.

There is no correlation, though, between having a bunch of games and actually being good at them, I don't think.

EDIT:

Quote:
No, he is not right.


Well, then, let it go. Guy was just trying to bust your chops and he succeeded.

Kevin




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Marco Auer
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dougposkitt wrote:
Marco

Swansea is a short hop away from me by car.

Wherever you are in Germany, it is a sure bet that it doesn't rain as much as it does here!



Well, it's raining here non-stop for the last two days. Horrible weather...
 
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