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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Women and Gaming

Subject: My gaming group is...okay. rss

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Natalie Fabian

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I have a gaming group where I live that is composed of myself and 4 or 5 other individuals. We play weekly, and also meet on the occasional weekend. They are all very nice, and we get along great and hang out sometimes doing things not gaming related, like going to see a movie.

My problem is this: Some of the members complain. A lot. About everything. It can be from "You took that thing I needed!" to "You're ganging up on me!" And it happens in almost every game, even if they win.

Now, I know some games can be stressful and there are some games that if you make a mistake you will be living with that mistake for the rest of the game, but constantly complaining about it doesn't make it better. And actually, the complaining makes the game worse for the rest of us. We also only tend to play heavier games that last about 2 hours or longer, so imagine 2 hours of whining. And these are all adults, not a single person is under the age of 30.

So, what do I do? Do I talk to the other members who don't complain and come up with a strategy? Do I say something to them outside of the game night? Do I just learn deep breathing techniques? I'm generally not a person who avoids conflict, so that isn't the issue. I just don't know what to say that isn't "Shut the $$$$ up!"
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PJ Cunningham
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I hear you. It can be depressing / emotionally draining to be around negative people all the time.

You can certainly bring up the subject, even just jokingly at first, to try to bring attention to it.

Unfortunately my experience has been that negative people are rarely able to change their outlook / behavior.

I recommend reducing the time you spend with negative people as much as possible, and maximizing your time with positive people.
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Mark Stadel
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Ahhh ... group dynamics ...

I would probably try to say something since it obviously gone beyond annoying for you. Maybe a light joke - depending on the person - (after rules explanation, you say "and now ____ can start complaining ") or after the game let them pick the next as they didn't seem to enjoy that one and when they ask why you can comment that they seemed to complain a lot about it, etc ...

If you're lucky, drawing a bit of attention to it might help ... but my experience is that whiners are whiners and they'll never really change.

(You could discreetly ask the others in the group if they seem bothered by it but since you all seem to be friends I'm not sure what can happen ... excluding them likely means losing that person. Maybe cultivate a second group and limit your time with the whiners?)
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Pasi Ojala
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Is the complaining happening only during the game (table-talk, banter), or does it continue after the game is finished (bad loser, bad winner)?

If the former, then you have different expectations of the preferred in-game behavior.

You can change your behavior and engage in the banter, or ask the person to dial it down - if it decreases your enjoyment, you need to let them know.

If it continues after the game, then you also need to let them know, or adjust your expectations accordingly.
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Judy Krauss
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Are you certain that they aren't teasing/joking? Are they smiling when they do this "complaining" or do they seem to be upset and/or angry for real? In either case, taking them aside and talking with them about it in private would be my recommendation.
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Lluluien
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Playing devil's advocate here, at least one of those complaint examples you said might be true ("You guys are ganging up on me!") , too. It's my experience this is often caused by the kinds of games being played.

Social deduction games like Coup makes my wife impossible to play with, because she hates them so much she's always sulking or distracted on her phone or both.

Long competitive games don't work with a friend of mine because he gets too invested in the outcome if the game goes 3-4 hours, so Twilight Imperium is out for him.

Any competitive games are out with another friend unless we're both learning them at the same time (i.e., I can't introduce him to one I'm already experienced in) because he tilts very badly from losing multiple times in a row.

Take-that games make me impossible to play with because then I'm the complaining guy. Since it's me, I can even explain why: I don't like playing games where I feel like the guy that played second-best wins, because the guy that played first-best gets hit with all of the "blue shells" (Mario Kart) at the end of the race. I don't play games like Munchkin or Exploding Kittens because of this. I don't like Catan because of this either, because if you develop a lead, then that guarantees you have to play through a trade embargo. These games feel to me like subversion and negotiation are required to win, but I don't feel like they're subversion/negotiation games at their core, so I would rather play another game that DOES have this at its core. Citadels and Coup, for instance, are a couple of my favorite games of all time, and Cosmic Encounter is cool no matter who wins.

The theme here is that most of the time I've seen negative energy like this, it's because the group is playing games that doesn't suit the group. Honestly, my collection would look extremely different if I was only buying games for me, but a lot of what I buy is a concession to the fact that I can play game A that I like 80% as much as game B, but my group will be 200% happier.
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TB
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I've been in that same dynamic recently, too, without the hanging out at the movies part. The problem is a friend wants to invite this person over all the time. And if he isn't whining about losing, he drags on and on about how a move has totally botched his chances, and then references back to that move over and over again. Hey, here's an idea: How's about you adjust??? But he also likes to strategize for everyone at the table, too, so that way, he can take partial credit if you win and he loses. So far I've been biting my tongue, but I am anxious to hear what you ultimately decide and how it works out, because right now I'm about at that "Shut the $$$$ up!" stage myself.
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jay
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Sometimes it is the games being played. My group is very peaceful and friendly. Sometimes we laugh it off when we get screwed up by others. When we played railways of the world however, there was yelling, swearing and name calling that I have never seen before.

A good multi player solitaire game might Just be the answer for you.
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Jamie Specht
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Sometimes pointing out that the negative comments are taking away your enjoyment of the game will help. Some people are just not aware of the frequency and/or the impact it has on Others.
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Angel H.
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I don't know the style of games your group tends to play, but perhaps trying some cooperative games for a few weeks to see if the behaviour changes might be just the ticket?

It would also allow you to make some pointed comments in response to their fun-killing tantrums in the best environment should their bad moods continue. Something like "No need to be upset, we are all trying to win together", or "That's ridiculous, we're all working toward the same goal". It lets you address the behaviour in a slightly different setting, and maybe a more comfortable one.

I wouldn't talk about it with the other players as it may cause more dramatics than its worth. What I would suggest is approaching each of the players individually, outside of the gaming time and days, and ask them about their frustrations. Make it clear that it is very noticeable that they aren't having the same kind of fun you are, and that you want to help them wring every last drop of enjoyment out of your gaming sessions possible. Perhaps there is an undercurrent you aren't aware of that you may help with? Maybe they feel like they are being ganged up on because a group of people are always chatting quietly?

The best people to answer these questions are the ones saying something already, making it known they aren't having the same amount of fun, and the best way to resolve it is directly with them on an individual basis minus any confrontation or spectacle.

I wish you luck! Let us know how it works out for you and your gaming group
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David Jensen
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Over simplified reply; find another group but stay in touch. Absence makes the heart go fonder.

On a fun and smal note but do they read your BGG posts?
 
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Zoe M
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I can't really tell from your post how severe the complaints are. Do they just say "You took that thing I need!" once, or do they keep harping on it? Because I wouldn't even blink at that comment if it just happened in the moment.
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Joanna G
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Maybe the games are too competitive for them and they get frustrated?

I pick different games for the different groups of people I play with based on the interests of the group. So maybe try avoiding the games that cause the most negativity...

Is there less complaining with coops? non-confrontional competitive games? quicker games?

There are some games I love playing with one group, but refuse to play with others, just based on the different dynamics of those groups.

Anyway, so before you fire your current group, maybe try to narrow down if it's the types of games that are causing more negativity. Or if it is in fact the players, maybe just talk to them one and one and see if you can find a solution so gaming is more enjoyable for everyone.
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kalvin connor
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I think complaining is part of the games sometimes
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sircaradoc wrote:
I think complaining is part of the games sometimes


    I'd like to hear your assessment of this question in return -- are they complaining strategically?

    In a lot of games there's an advantage to managing the table's perception with regard to your position in the game, and their complaining may be a way to make themselves a less attractive target.

    Some games lend themselves well to this sort of social intelligence, and your group may prefer those games and prefer those skills to colder, more calculating titles.

             S.

 
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Natalie Fabian

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So we are meeting this weekend, and I'll see if I can figure something out then.

One person only complains if they don't win. They'll say things like "Well, if you hadn't done this or that, I would have won." Yes. That's generally how games work. We do things to help us win.

Another one will complain and has even left the table a few times because they feel like they are losing. The last time that happened, another member had to talk them to coming back and finishing. They finished 2nd, and only a few points behind the winner. But they still complained.

Also, both of these individuals belabor the point. They repeatedly complain and whine about what they perceive as a victory taken from them, or if someone else does a strategy similar to theirs, but better. This is why it's frustrating. Saying it once or whatever, I would ignore. But if I'm listening to this for 2 hours or more while playing, say T'zolkin or Viticulture, then it starts to grate.

I'll keep you updated on what strategy I come up with.
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Meat Popsicle
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Based on what you just said above it seems like that's just the way they are. I try to get myself to congratulate the victor instead of complaining about how I didn't win.

In the quote you used it would be better if the person would say, "Hey, that was a great move, I wish I thought of that.", or something along those lines. Yet, it's hard to change a person, and it's certainly hard to adopt the outlook/behavior that I've mentioned in brief.

I'd certainly say something, but then you might come out looking like the bad person for bringing it up. In short, I don't think you're in a good situation and it might be time to move on.

Good luck!
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Ran Carnelaine
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In my gaming group, I have a buddy that hates a game when he loses miserably (but also tends to not like my games most of the time anyway), and doesn't vocally complain, but you can tell how he feels. I have another that complains when he's losing but wins up winning, and that irks me. But I know for a fact that I complain too (though not about winning), so I guess we all even each other out in our negativity (except the last member of our group who is patient and nice about everything). We've gotten to the point where now we complain about each other complaining, so I think we've spent too much time gaming together and need a break...whistle
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Ess Why
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I'd love to have a group that meets weekly
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Lluluien
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purplesneaks wrote:
So we are meeting this weekend, and I'll see if I can figure something out then.

One person only complains if they don't win. They'll say things like "Well, if you hadn't done this or that, I would have won." Yes. That's generally how games work. We do things to help us win.

Another one will complain and has even left the table a few times because they feel like they are losing. The last time that happened, another member had to talk them to coming back and finishing. They finished 2nd, and only a few points behind the winner. But they still complained.

Also, both of these individuals belabor the point. They repeatedly complain and whine about what they perceive as a victory taken from them, or if someone else does a strategy similar to theirs, but better. This is why it's frustrating. Saying it once or whatever, I would ignore. But if I'm listening to this for 2 hours or more while playing, say T'zolkin or Viticulture, then it starts to grate.

I'll keep you updated on what strategy I come up with.



Try playing shorter games.

This is a video game example and not a board game example, but it still applies. My brother and I play Heroes of the Storm instead of League of Legends now because the games are shorter. I can typically tell you who is going to win either game by watching what happens in the first 4 minutes. It's a lot less painful to finish a game you're going to lose if there's only 15-20 minutes after that instead of 40-45 minutes.

It also hurts less for someone that doesn't like to lose when you can play several times and have several chances to win, especially if those people that are complaining have "studying the game" as a play motivation in addition to or in lieu of "hanging out with friends". If they're losing because they're being outplayed, it's also easier to admit that to themselves if they lose several in a row.

Something else you should consider: if these guys routinely win games, and you all routinely gang up on them to prevent it, you might be tilting them before you ever unpack the box. There was an entire thread on this a few months back. There is more sympathy for the people being ganged up on than you might think (and I'm in that camp too).

You're free to take or leave any of these thoughts, of course; they're just some observations that have helped me and my groups get through similar things in the past.
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Lluluien
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esswhy wrote:
I'd love to have a group that meets weekly


Host the group then! I host almost all the sessions I play w/ my groups, and I would be willing to play more often if someone else hosted sometimes.
 
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Freelance Police
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purplesneaks wrote:
They are all very nice, and we get along great and hang out sometimes doing things not gaming related, like going to see a movie.


Is there a boardgame Meetup nearby? Do the fun parts of your group and drop the rest.
 
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Chris in Kansai
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You need to learn to play air violin.
 
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