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Subject: Not Playing to Win (i.e. too intense) rss

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Michael Gonzalez
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This has probably been discussed before, but it's something I'm really concerned about. I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can. This leads to some AP moments; but, more commonly (and more worryingly), it leads to too much intensity on my part. This can make others uncomfortable and agitated. It sometimes leads to them asking me if I'm even enjoying the game (which sounds absurd to me, since I love the experience of wringing out points and chaining together great moves, etc). I don't want people to feel that way. I want us to have fun together.

One other negative consequence is that any randomness in a game, which puts an end to my hard-fought and deeply thought out plans can make me (no doubt) insufferable (whiny, depressed- or defeated-sounding). I know I should just laugh at it, and move on, but I seem to want to make sure people know I had planned well and would have succeeded, if it hadn't been for that random elemen....

How can I not focus on performing? How does one still try their best, but not grind and grind mentally, and get overly intense, etc? Is it a pride thing? Do I just have to be ok with missing things and underperforming, even if it means someone who doesn't understand the game as well (or, at all, in some cases) trounces me at it?

What do you think?
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Michael Lowrey
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OK, I’ll play along. Is this intensity of yours limited to gaming or does it express itself in other areas of your life?
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Michael Gonzalez
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MLowrey wrote:
OK, I’ll play along. Is this intensity of yours limited to gaming or does it express itself in other areas of your life?


Just games. My wife and friends all say I'm really mellow otherwise.
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Derry Salewski
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Well embrace how randomness works. If you don't already, UNDERSTAND how it works. I don't know how good you are at that. Most people suck at it (though gamers probably rate higher than most groups.)

Don't play games with those elements in them if it really still drives you nuts.

Take care of your mind and body. I can remember instances where I behaved like you are describing. Always at the end of a long tournament, after work, underfed, eating sugar, tired, worn out. Just don't play when you're tired, hungry, stressed, whatever. Or realize it and pick a game you won't have to worry so much about. Like, putting anyone, including yourself, in an environment stacked towards their body shutting down + stress is going to make them be assholes.

Try to develop good communication habits. Take a breath or something, whatever works for you.

Try to be empathetic. I like my friends winning I am happy for them. I like myself winning more . . . but that still makes me sad they lose. I dunno. Remember they're people who might be feeling the same as you. Maybe they just spent a lot of time on their strategy too. Congratulate them on their good moves.

Shrugs. I dunno. I'm a decent loser though I win a lot. I have some opinions and habits that people might dislike but anyone does. I've probably been much more helpful to my fellow gamers over the years than I have been a douchebag.

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Michael Gonzalez
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scifiantihero wrote:
Well embrace how randomness works. If you don't already, UNDERSTAND how it works. I don't know how good you are at that. Most people suck at it (though gamers probably rate higher than most groups.)

Don't play games with those elements in them if it really still drives you nuts.

Take care of your mind and body. I can remember instances where I behaved like you are describing. Always at the end of a long tournament, after work, underfed, eating sugar, tired, worn out. Just don't play when you're tired, hungry, stressed, whatever. Or realize it and pick a game you won't have to worry so much about. Like, putting anyone, including yourself, in an environment stacked towards their body shutting down + stress is going to make them be assholes.

Try to develop good communication habits. Take a breath or something, whatever works for you.

Try to be empathetic. I like my friends winning I am happy for them. I like myself winning more . . . but that still makes me sad they lose. I dunno. Remember they're people who might be feeling the same as you. Maybe they just spent a lot of time on their strategy too. Congratulate them on their good moves.

Shrugs. I dunno. I'm a decent loser though I win a lot. I have some opinions and habits that people might dislike but anyone does. I've probably been much more helpful to my fellow gamers over the years than I have been a douchebag.



Good pointers! I appreciate it. Just enjoy that my friends are doing well, take a breath, and especially avoid playing when I'm already stressed out (probably a big part of the problem).
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J J
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Mentat1231 wrote:
This has probably been discussed before, but it's something I'm really concerned about. I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can. This leads to some AP moments; but, more commonly (and more worryingly), it leads to too much intensity on my part. This can make others uncomfortable and agitated. It sometimes leads to them asking me if I'm even enjoying the game (which sounds absurd to me, since I love the experience of wringing out points and chaining together great moves, etc). I don't want people to feel that way. I want us to have fun together.

One other negative consequence is that any randomness in a game, which puts an end to my hard-fought and deeply thought out plans can make me (no doubt) insufferable (whiny, depressed- or defeated-sounding). I know I should just laugh at it, and move on, but I seem to want to make sure people know I had planned well and would have succeeded, if it hadn't been for that random elemen....

How can I not focus on performing? How does one still try their best, but not grind and grind mentally, and get overly intense, etc? Is it a pride thing? Do I just have to be ok with missing things and underperforming, even if it means someone who doesn't understand the game as well (or, at all, in some cases) trounces me at it?

What do you think?


We have a running joke about exactly that in our group, because we have had a couple of people who got wound up and said it as you do.

One of them is still with us; he learnt from our chiding, and doesn't do it as much any more (and we pull out the jokes as soon as we see it starting). He too takes gaming a little bit too seriously.

The other one isn't still with us; was expelled, never to return, in part because of this behaviour (he was also generally an arsehole in other aspects). He had no self-awareness, no humility, no restraint, and apparently no ability to learn and change. Not missed at all.

Now, I can't really help you with your questions (although I see some good responses already), but I'd like to think that the story above illustrates that your problem can be addressed if you want it to be. Also I hope it helps you avoid the latter player's fate.
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Michael Gonzalez
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JasonJ0 wrote:
Mentat1231 wrote:
This has probably been discussed before, but it's something I'm really concerned about. I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can. This leads to some AP moments; but, more commonly (and more worryingly), it leads to too much intensity on my part. This can make others uncomfortable and agitated. It sometimes leads to them asking me if I'm even enjoying the game (which sounds absurd to me, since I love the experience of wringing out points and chaining together great moves, etc). I don't want people to feel that way. I want us to have fun together.

One other negative consequence is that any randomness in a game, which puts an end to my hard-fought and deeply thought out plans can make me (no doubt) insufferable (whiny, depressed- or defeated-sounding). I know I should just laugh at it, and move on, but I seem to want to make sure people know I had planned well and would have succeeded, if it hadn't been for that random elemen....

How can I not focus on performing? How does one still try their best, but not grind and grind mentally, and get overly intense, etc? Is it a pride thing? Do I just have to be ok with missing things and underperforming, even if it means someone who doesn't understand the game as well (or, at all, in some cases) trounces me at it?

What do you think?


We have a running joke about exactly that in our group, because we have had a couple of people who got wound up and said it as you do.

One of them is still with us; he learnt from our chiding, and doesn't do it as much any more (and we pull out the jokes as soon as we see it starting). He too takes gaming a little bit too seriously.

The other one isn't still with us; was expelled, never to return, in part because of this behaviour (he was also generally an arsehole in other aspects). He had no self-awareness, no humility, no restraint, and apparently no ability to learn and change. Not missed at all.

Now, I can't really help you with your questions (although I see some good responses already), but I'd like to think that the story above illustrates that your problem can be addressed if you want it to be. Also I hope it helps you avoid the latter player's fate.


I totally appreciate it. And I think openly laughing about it would help. It really is silly.

Sometimes, there's that moment that someone gets a lucky roll and acts like they did... anything.... But I need to just laugh it off... and not remove their throat.....
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Tomello Visello
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Mentat1231 wrote:
I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can.

I think you need to get yourself a microbadge

mb

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Michael Gonzalez
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TVis wrote:
Mentat1231 wrote:
I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can.

I think you need to get yourself a microbadge

mb



Honestly, I love that quote. Thanks.
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Michael
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Mentat1231 wrote:
What do you think?


Lots of great advice here.

scifiantihero wrote:
embrace how randomness works. If you don't already, UNDERSTAND how it works.


This.

1. If it's truly random (e.g., dice, roulette), learn to live with it and don't come apart when the numbers come out against you or your "system" doesn't work. If there really were systems that worked regularly against randomness and "the odds," then casinos would not stay in business for long.

2. If it's only semi-random (e.g., poker), study the statistics behind it and learn to use the numbers to your advantage.

3. Either way, don't invest in the game what you can't afford to lose (including your self-control).

Mentat1231 wrote:
How can I not focus on performing? How does one still try their best, but not grind and grind mentally, and get overly intense, etc?


There is nothing wrong with wanting to be better at something. At the same time, we must accept that "perfection" is impossible most of the time, and highly elusive on our best days. Further, we never will improve if we don't take it seriously, study hard, and practice, practice, practice. Realizing this is what eventually led me to stop keeping score when I play golf--it simply was not more important to me than other things in my life, and pretending that it was made me not fun to be around on the links. In the end, it was "just a game," not my one shot at eternal destiny. I decided that I would rather be the best in the world at something else that I enjoyed more--like striving daily to be a better person than I was the day before, learning to forgive myself and others, being more generous with my time, talents, and treasure, learning to listen more and speak less, and so on.

In games, I see the challenges and the relationships--not winning a lot, or getting it completely right all the time--as what make the hobby fun and worthwhile. Focus not on making exactly the right move all the time, but on being a great gamer--the one that everyone else always wants at their table.

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J J
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Mentat1231 wrote:
I totally appreciate it. And I think openly laughing about it would help. It really is silly.

We chose that option, making fun of him, because we like him apart from this one thing. And it worked. But obviously it isn't guaranteed to do so.

Quote:
Sometimes, there's that moment that someone gets a lucky roll and acts like they did... anything.... But I need to just laugh it off... and not remove their throat.....


Well, there's your problem. I understand being irritated by someone wrongfully claiming skill when it was luck that applied, but it's that next step you need to quash.

Also, sometimes it is skill. As an example, last week I won a game of Captains of Industry by successfully playing the odds of when the game would end. The end of the game comes randomly, but making the most of that and setting yourself up to do so (and maximise your options if you are wrong) involves skill.
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Michael
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TVis wrote:
Mentat1231 wrote:
I'm not someone who minds losing. But I do play my hardest, and I try to do the best I possibly can.

I think you need to get yourself a microbadge

mb


Fantastic. I'm going to get this one, too, to remind me to eat my own dog food. Thanks!
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Jonathan Challis
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You sound fine to me - you just need like-minded gamers to play with.
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Michael Gonzalez
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JasonJ0 wrote:
Mentat1231 wrote:
I totally appreciate it. And I think openly laughing about it would help. It really is silly.

We chose that option, making fun of him, because we like him apart from this one thing. And it worked. But obviously it isn't guaranteed to do so.

Quote:
Sometimes, there's that moment that someone gets a lucky roll and acts like they did... anything.... But I need to just laugh it off... and not remove their throat.....


Well, there's your problem. I understand being irritated by someone wrongfully claiming skill when it was luck that applied, but it's that next step you need to quash.

Also, sometimes it is skill. As an example, last week I won a game of Captains of Industry by successfully playing the odds of when the game would end. The end of the game comes randomly, but making the most of that and setting yourself up to do so (and maximise your options if you are wrong) involves skill.


I don't actually rip out any throats, or even say much; but it is rough. Avoiding that situation involves mitigating luck as much as possible... which means working the odds, mental grinding, intensity... basically everything I mentioned originally.
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J J
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Mentat1231 wrote:
I don't actually rip out any throats, or even say much; but it is rough. Avoiding that situation involves mitigating luck as much as possible... which means working the odds, mental grinding, intensity... basically everything I mentioned originally.


I've bolded the part I was referring to. Really the only ways to avoid the problem you identify are to not play games with any form or luck, or to retrain yourself not to be bothered by the inevitable outcome of luck's presence.
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^^^^
What Jason said.

Boils down to acceptance - either that you don't play certain games, or that there are some things that are beyond your control.

Wish I could give you the key - I used to have some issues (not in boardgaming but elsewhere). I think there were a combination of factors but overall it was about focusing on the things I enjoy and accepting the risk involved. And in boardgames, it's not much of a risk really, especially if you can laugh about it (which is essier to do when you are knowingly focusing on what you enjoy).
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Try focusing on the journey, the process, the experience, rather on the ends.
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Go to your room and write 1000 times, "It's only a game.". That should cure you.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
What do you think?


I think you have to ask yourself why you are gaming and what it means to your personally.

I game to escape the "reality" of my obligations. It's like a vacation. I want to do well, but the outcome means absolutely nothing because there is no actual consequence that attaches unless I allow one to.

I was a tournament chess player for about 20 years and lived and died by my results. It turned me into an asshole in many ways, and I want to avoid that at all costs. So, when I game now, even in tournaments, I tell myself this really means nothing. Playing is a choice and I choose to have a blast no matter what the outcome.

As harsh as it sounds, if gaming is more serious to you and you really have a stake in the outcome, get better. I think this is silly for multi-player boardgames as I don't see them as the same type of crucible as 2P games, but if this is what you decide has meaning in your life, then the path is pretty clear.

Again, I advocate seeing boardgames as a trivial lark of good times and good friends, but if winning really matters, then you have to get better. Study your games...maybe treat them as chess and write down your moves or write down your ideas and impressions after your lose to try and get better. Play online alot. I know people that do this for tournaments at the WBC and it can really improve your play.

So, if the results of gaming are important, make time for training and get better.

Or, decide that gaming as no real impact on your life unless you let it and have a good time no matter what the outcome. This is simply a matter of thoughts. To think losing a game to your family really matters is a congnitive distortion...your life will be fine unless you allow your thoughts to tell you otherwise. So, control your thoughts and reframe the loss or experience to, "I had a good time with my family and nothing changed for the worse that actually matters in my life. In fact, this was a positive family experience."

Then, find self-esteem and validation from other endeavors that are more within your control...or only play 2P perfect information games. That's where the real competition is anyway. devil

Kevin
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CARL SKUTSCH
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As an experiment, make a plan before a game session to not care about winning. Each turn, think "I don't care, it's just a game." Maybe mentally cheer for another player. "C'mon Susan, you can do it!" Make not caring about winning your win condition. If you cared, you lose!

I don't suggest you do this forever or for all your gaming. I just wonder if trying to not win for a few games might put winning in perspective. Look at how you feel after trying to not care about winning. Are you ok? Reasonably happy? Stretch those not caring muscles. Like all underexercised muscles, they probably will take a little while to get up to speed.

I used to be care much more about winning than I do now. I've gotten much more mellow. It can be done.

(Btw, I don't think your intensity is the main problem. If I were playing with you, I wouldn't mind the intensity. The whining and the groaning, that I would mind a lot.)

Good luck!
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Brad
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I used to be pretty bad with games, and still have my moments from time to time, but I've gotten a lot better. One time I even started telling people I was better than them at games when a conflict arose. It really was an awkward moment and they were upset. Somehow, they still stuck with me and kept coming to my game nights.

Here I think is something that has helped start to make me much better in this area. I started to see myself more as an ambassador to board gaming. I wanted more and more people to play board games and see how cool this relatively unknown world is. The message and messenger are both important. Part of this involves intentionally not playing 100% full out against new people. I want them to enjoy the game, feel like they are doing well, and then when appropriate (maybe second or third game) I will then go full out on them. Especially if they are not a gamer. someone who is a gamer may not want this and I have to be discerning here.

With someone new to real board games, I get more enjoyment out of them seeing how cool board games are than I would if I won the game. Kinda like how often I get more enjoyment teaching a friend for a day how to snowboard vs. going on the slops on my own and doing blacks and blues all day.

Also, naturally I've been gravitating more towards co-op style games or team games. It's more about a common experience with people instead of winning. Also, games with a lot of theme can make the game more about experiences than winning, if that makes sense.

I think maybe I've just matured in this respect. It takes time and may take a few mistakes to really start to learn your lesson. It sounds like you are on your way. I'd say just continue to reflect, put things you learn into practice and then just keep moving forward. You'll look back in the future and realize how far you've come.
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jos horst
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Good thread.
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I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to win, for me that's the fun part, it's why I love argent, terra mystica, and other "thinky" euros, and typically hate chance in games. You might be playing the wrong type of games.

For instance, I like king of Tokyo and don't get annoyed with it. I like risk but it will drive me nuts at times and seriously piss me off. I like terra mystical and don't get annoyed.

The reason I like king of Tokyo is because there is basically no strategy, I go into the game expecting everything to be chance and that there really isn't much to strategize nd think about, comparatively anyways. I like terra mystical because there is almost zero luck. Risk drives me nuts because the while point of the game is to strategize, but I've had a 40 man army wiped by a 10 man army because I couldn't roll anything but 1s and 2s.

So maybe if you played only games with no luck, and games with almost only luck you'd be upset when losing. That at least works for me, although I still play risk with a certain group.
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skutsch wrote:


(Btw, I don't think your intensity is the main problem. If I were playing with you, I wouldn't mind the intensity. The whining and the groaning, that I would mind a lot.)


^^ this.

Quote:
I seem to want to make sure people know I had planned well and would have succeeded, if it hadn't been for that random elemen....


People know, that you give your best, they can see your moves during the game and they can see, that you don´t play just random or stupid. No need to justify if you din´t win.

By explaining to them that you only lost due to randomness and bad luck means you belittle the others and especially the winner. It implies your fellow gamers didn´t have a plan or at least not a good one, they cannot win on their own, but only if they get lucky with randomness. Is this really what you think about your opponents?

Try to focus more on the clever moves the others are making during the game and congrulate the winner on them instead of self-pitying your bad luck.
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I think I have misunderstood gaming, but I never play to win. Of course, if I win, I get happy, but it happens at like 1% of all my gaming experience. I play to participate, and also to learn games, learn rules and stuff. Yes, I can get a bit agitated if I see other gamers who sabotage me for their goals of winning the game, or making comments that make me want to ruin their chances for certain goals in the game. Yes, if I see I have a chance to win, of course I go for it. It is better for me not to have that pressure of winning, just knowing that I get an experience out of playing new and old games, either teach games I love, or learn some new games, or bring out an olden goldie.

Especially when I play with my cousins and other good friends that I know can be a bit competative, and are more experienced than me with gaming, I let them control the game and focus on the time I spend in game with friends.
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