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Subject: What made me fume at CanCon rss

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Eric Williams
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Sheb has had her rant, now its my turn.

I have only very recently been able to convince my family to embrace board games. So CanCon was their first "Game Convention" experience and all in all it was a success. I recently posted that my wife bought a game. She bought 3 at the convention!!!

However, my 9 year old son was a different story. He so wanted to play a game "at the convention". Mind Games had tables setup for just this purpose, and so that buyers could see, try and feel games before purchasing. So I suggested Patrick (my boy) join in with a game of Carcassonne.

Now I am a proud Dad but feel I have every reason to be. Patrick is already a sound strategy gamer. He is the undisputed family Carc champ and teases me about that relentlessly! He is also very sharp falling in the top 1% in the state in mathematics - at the year 6 level - at age 9!!! You want a game of Carc? My son has earned the right not to be underestimated.

So, being excited and trusting his Dad he politely introduced himself to a few people playing Carcassonne and sat down. They sneered at him, laughed at him and told him to "piss off kid" and walked away. What I saw was a look of genuine happiness and excitement change to confusion and hurt. 3 tables full of games for sale, one line of tables being played and about 30 people prevented me from getting to his side before these #$%^'s escaped.

To see him sitting there looking like that made my heart bleed.

I played Carc with him, and we learnt and played Thurn and Taxi's. I bought him the new Carc expansion - and an ice cream - and then convinced some guys to let him sit in and watch a figure war game. The damage was undone but F#$%% I was seething and I am still am.

Rant over.
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Giles Pritchard
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That's sad to hear Eric, no-one should talk like to children, especially those genuinely interested in gaming

I know Phil (the owner of the Mind Games at Cancon) would have been very angry had he heard that, and disappointed that your son was turned away so harshly. Phil works hard to evangelise games, and to bring families esepcially into gaming, as can be seen in his effort to organise the Aussie Games Expo.

If you and your family are up for it in June the Expo is a great event and much more family orientated than Cancon (also much more Board game orientated if that's your thing). Last year there were a large volume of people through the expo, and the great thing was that most of them were families. It was great to see fathers and mothers playing games with their parents and their children. If you do come to the Expo this year, make sure you drop by the Rio Grande Games booth and say hi! I'd be more than happy to teach you, your son, and your family a game or two.

Cheers,

Sorry to hear you had such a negative experience,

Giles.
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Alexander B.
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I can see both sides of this. I was first pretty open to letting the kids that wander into the back of our club play. A few of the experiences were just fine actually (even with a kid around 9 years old when we were playing Hacienda once).

On the other hand, I'd say that about 80% of the time, it ruins the game. This is for various reasons that I've witnessed. I'll give a few examples:

1) I broke out my copy of Age of Mythology and was all ready to go, and a kid around 12 came back with his dad. His dad asks if the kid can play. We tell him the game is complicated and can take a few hours. The dad says fine, he can do it. I let him in the game.

The kid proceeds to play with the figures more than focus on the game, doesn't listen to the rules, and then actually tried to steal a few of the plastic figures, which I fortunately caught him at both times. His dad then came back about 45 minutes into the game and said it was time to go... just great!

2) A guy brought in a kid about 8 and saw us setting up Arkham Horror. He says he and his kid want to play characters. I'm basically against it since we had some serious players lined up. The guy argues with us and tries to guilt us into letting him play. I say no, but the owner of the game caves in after, again, telling the guy he'll have to commit to a 2 hour + game if he wants to play.

We start and the kid is cranky and not into the game at all, but the father ignores the kid and tries to get into the game. This ticked the kid off and he starts throwing a fit. Then, about 30 minutes into the game, the guy gets a call from his wife and says he has to go.... which we didn't particularly mind, but again, had a situation where we specifically stated what the time commitment was, got an agreement, and it was violated.

****

These were some of the worse cases, but there have been many more that didn't turn out well. At a convention, I'd think that there would be more leeway (especially with lighter games like Carc), but I also understand that if there are folks wanting a serious game, it can be pretty risky to let a kid play...

...as for being assholes about it... obviously, that is uncalled for. A polite "no" should suffice.
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Tony Chen
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Did they actually say "piss off kid?"

Yes they were less than polite but it is not their fault that you are such a proud dad.
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Tom H
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Sorry to hear about what happened. Sounds like some losers who have no manners and don't know how people get on.

Keep Patrick in there - we need more gamers! Maybe teach him to use his angry face?! angry

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Giles Pritchard
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I wouldn't disagree with what you've written Alexander either, and had the games in the OPs comment been games like AH or AoM I would be able to see both sides easily as well.

For a game as short and relatively light as Carcassonne however, I think it is a little much, it would have been as easy to say 'Well, you can watch kid, but we have already agreed on who's playing, if you watch this one, then maybe you can play next game'. or similar.

As for your experiences,I know exacty what you mean, I would be a little concerned if the game was of that size or weight, and would be more frustrated and angry still if the child had tried to steal game pieces!

***
As I said above, I think Cancon has more of a gamers feel to it, if you want to take your family to a good convention, I think the Expo would suit perfectly for that.

Cheers and good luck in the future!

Giles.
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Tommy Dean
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Odd and unfortunate. There is a specific junior version of Warhammer run at CanCon I believe. We had a 10 year old IN the Blood Bowl comp and he was delightful.

But the story suggests the jerks didn't even play the game if they walked off. But CanCon is indeed a "tournament" world. Open board games is a very small area that has only just started in the last couple of years...mostly as a spin off of the dealers there. So it isn't really the place to try and get a game with others so much as borrow a game amongst you and your own friends. From what I saw though Neil was ALWAYS playing there Should have had a word with him

Sorry to hear it though...mostly I find CanCon to be quite friendly...shame your boy had to see the down side. But...as a learning lesson for life...those guys exist and have to be dealt with.

Hope to see you there next year! (Get him into Blood Bowl...we are getting bigger every year!)

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AxonDomini
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Whether or not you want to play with a kid, which is a personal decision, there's no excuse for this kind of behavior. I doubt the guy who said "piss off, kid," would have spoken that way to an adult, even if he didn't want to play the game with him. I'm sorry your son had to go through that. It's a hard lesson for a 9 year old, but sadly an inevitable one. Hopefully it hasn't turned him off of the convention scene.
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Eric Williams
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jeffk wrote:
I doubt the guy who said "piss off, kid," would have spoken that way to an adult, even if he didn't want to play the game with him. I'm sorry your son had to go through that. It's a hard lesson for a 9 year old, but sadly an inevitable one. Hopefully it hasn't turned him off of the convention scene.


If he had've said it to THIS adult he'd have only said it once. It wasn't their table or their copy of the game.

No, it hasn't soured him. A couple of games, the expansion and an ice cream and it was all soon forgotten - by him. He begged me to take him back next day! We took home Cleopatra and the society of the architects and he loves that game. He's making it into an artform how he manages to judge his corruption to perfection. He's doing pretty well with Thurn & Taxi's as well. But he luuuurv's Carc.

As for Blood Bowl, I took my human team along as collateral and borrowed one of the BB players (Big A) copy of Indonesia. I must admit, seeing all of those fields and teams I was a bit dissappointed I couldn't play all weekend with 'em.

We are seriously considering making the trip to the Expo. Phil (from Mind Games) invited us personally making the wife and kids feel very special. (Which reminds me, I owe him a case of Crownie's for that)
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Giles Pritchard
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It's a great event Eric! As I said - if you do make it - drop by the Rio Grande booths to say G'Day!!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Curt Collins
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I usually try my best to avoid kids, and especially try to avoid the father son tag team.

Still, I find myself giving people a chance. Especially with a short game like Carc. At WBC this past year, I played a few games of Liars dice with 2 very capable and intelligent young ladies. They were both 10-12-ish.

I've found that there are plenty of capable young players but the problem is you know you are taking a risk anytime you play with one. I think this has more to do with parents thinking their kid is ready to take the step of playing with strangers before they really are. It's a shame that it hurts those kids that really are ready the most.
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Tony Allen
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I've had just as many problems with adults as with kids.
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Troy Adlington
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Eric mate,



I have a feeling........

Were these the offenders? http://www.genconoz.com/?m=175


They are evil BURN THEM.



As a Dad of three boys, I sympathise wholeheartedly. Next time just remember...you can smack the rude buggers and then escape across the border, it's only 5 minutes away!
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Eric Jome
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ecka wrote:
They sneered at him, laughed at him and told him to "piss off kid" and walked away.


One of the hardest lessons we learn in life is how to navigate through a world full of bastards and losers without descending to their level. As the saying goes, when you fall off the horse, the best thing to do is get up, dust yourself off, and get right back on.

Encourage your boy to ask into more games and remind him that not everyone is rude and ignorant. This is an important life skill that I am sure he will do well to have... I hope to teach it to my own son someday.
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Dave Dubin
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cosine wrote:
One of the hardest lessons we learn in life is how to navigate through a world full of bastards and losers without descending to their level. As the saying goes, when you fall off the horse, the best thing to do is get up, dust yourself off, and get right back on.


I agree. And Eric, from your description, it sounds like you set a good example for the boy. Well done.

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Stephen Waits
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I'd never be so impolite to any individual, no matter their age.

That said, I don't care how brilliant your kid is at math, or Carcassonne, I don't want to play games with him.

It may be hard for parents to understand this, because they are rightfully proud and enamored of their own children; but, please, as you demand respect for yourself and your children, can you also understand and respect the wishes of others?
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Mike zebrowski
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ecka wrote:
Sheb has had her rant, now its my turn.


I wish that I could have some sympathy, but I don't.

It is an extremely common occurance at game conventions for parents to use other people's games as a cheap babysitting service. Of couse, the unwitting sitters can't do anything to discipline the child if he doesn't pay attention or acts unruely when he starts to lose. All they can do is kick the kid out of the game if he misbehaves. This usually pisses of the parent since the kid usually wanders away, thus defeating the purpose of a sitter.

Even if the kid behaves and plays well, it is also common for the parent to come back and remove the kid from the game as the parent is leaving or going to a different part of the convention. Obviously, this usually ruins the game for everyone else.

Years ago, I used to work for ICE at Gencon as a demo monkey. However, after several years of being used as a sitter, I gave up and start running events on my own. As an Indepentdent Judge, I didn't have to allow kids in my games. I'd rather pay my own way to Gencon than have to put up with young children.

In your situation, you let your son try and get into a game by himself. Look at it from the other side. All they know is some unaccompanied young kid is trying to get in on a game. They don't know anything about him. They don't know that he is good at Carc, who his parents are, that one of his parents is nearby, that he is allowed to play the game, that he has time to play the game, or that he is well behaved.

I basically see it as your fault for not accompaning your child so that you could vouch for his character and skill. It would have let the others known that your son knew the game, was allowed to play, and who to find if your son turned out to be a problem.

I am also confused. If they were playing Carc, how did they walk away?

Mike Z
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Eric Jome
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
I basically see it as your fault for not accompaning your child so that you could vouch for his character and skill.


At some point, we transition from "annoying kid" to "possible fellow gamer"... when is that? I've met people over 50 who in retrospect I would be hard pressed to say fill the latter shoes, so age alone is not the best indicator.

The way I see it, you've got to give someone a chance and use your intuition.

Make no mistake. I totally understand your point. I've been used as a sitter as well and hated it. I've had many games ruined by brats or non-gamer parents inserting or pulling their children. So, I too am reluctant to sit at a table with kids or let unknown children play... but at some point, they are gamers. When?
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Mike zebrowski
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cosine wrote:
At some point, we transition from "annoying kid" to "possible fellow gamer"... when is that? I've met people over 50 who in retrospect I would be hard pressed to say fill the latter shoes, so age alone is not the best indicator.


I disagree. Age is the best indicator. It isn't the sole indicator, but it is the best.

Here is a litmus test: How much trouble would you get in if you make your canidate for "fellow gamer" cry?

If you make a kid cry, you'll get into all sorts of trouble, some of it possible legal. Make an adult or teenager cry and people will wonder about him.

Mike Z
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AxonDomini
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
I basically see it as your fault for not accompaning your child so that you could vouch for his character and skill. It would have let the others known that your son knew the game, was allowed to play, and who to find if your son turned out to be a problem.


And what part of all this makes it OK to tell a 9 year old to "piss off?" They could have declined without acting like dicks, in which case I doubt his father would be complaining.
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Mike zebrowski
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
This usually pisses of the parent since the kid usually wanders away, thus defeating the purpose of a sitter.


I forgot to mention. In some places in the US (and I'm aware that the OP is not in the US), it is illegal for you to abandon a minor that was left in your care. So if a kid gets kicked out of a game and wanders off, the remaining adults can be held legally responsable if anything happens to the kid.

Mike Z
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Mike zebrowski
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jeffk wrote:
And what part of all this makes it OK to tell a 9 year old to "piss off?" They could have declined without acting like dicks, in which case I doubt his father would be complaining.


I wasn't there. Neither you nor I know exactly what was said nor how it was said. Given the father was some distance away, I highly doubt that he heard what was said as well given that cons are noisy places.

Don't you find it strange that right after telling the kid off that the three guys left? I thought that they were playing Carc.

Mike Z
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Craig Brooks
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“When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day..."
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I'm of two minds with kids and gaming. On one hand, I think games teach some wonderful skills and concepts such as teamwork, critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, and social behavior. On the other, I can understand some people's reluctance towards playing games with kids because, while there are some good parents and kids who do things right, there seem to be just as many who seem to let their little monster loose and let other gamers babysit them while they go play other games or do other things. I used to Demo for Cheapass Games and worked a few big conventions and easily 3-4 times a con, parents would drop their kid off at the table to learn a game and tell them to meet them at some booth or another when done. The funny thing is it was always THOSE kids who'd lose interest, fiddle with things, etc. The kids who came up with parents were well-behaved, played well, and were less prone to be a general annoyance. My guess it there's an interesting child-raising correlation there, but I digress.

If the guys did say what they did, they were indeed rude bastards and should be ashamed. It's not hard to simply say "Sorry, we're full up" or "We're just about to start, do you mind waiting till next game" or somesuch. It's simple tact and politeness.
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Michael W.
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There is no excuse for being rude.

As adults we have to be better examples for kids.

OK. In an ideal world this should be the case.

I would have played as one of the group with my kid.

Then if the group played again and saw that the kid was alright then I may have let him play and checked on him once in a while...

You may be proud of your kid but others may not want to deal with a young un ...

ArrOOoo!
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Lance McMillan
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I'm not a fan of conventions, in part for just this reason: too many rude and obnoxious people. That said, I have attended several conventions and hosted events. My experiences with younger players have typically been that they're fine when accompanied by a parent; without a parent, there's about a 50% - 65% "problem" rate. Unless I actually know the child involved personally, I won't allow a kid to play without a parent present (the parent doesn't have to be a participant themselves, but they must remain present for the duration of the game).

When my own son, who's now 13 but was 8 when he first started playing games, participates in any gaming event with people we don't know, I always make sure I'm present. Even when he's playing with people we're well acquainted with, I make a point of remaining nearby should an issue arise. As far as I'm concerned, it would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

All that said, I fully agree that the trio in question were rude and their comment to the child (if accurately related here) was unconscionable. Perhaps, in the future, it would be advisable for you to go with your son when trying to get him into a game. That way there won't be any issues with people saying inappropriate things to your child without your being present to deal with them personally.
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