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Subject: Picking on the host rss

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tommy wortley jr.
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yeah i get this especially from my sister in law and sometimes my brother. i think part of it is because they think i know more about the game and well i am not well liked.

it is the reason my friend and i have started to get co-op games like pandemic to avoid a lot of this. i do not mind it so much but if it gets out of hand my friend will back me up and attack with me when feasible.

if it is getting to the point you are not enjoying playing, say something to them. why hide that it bothers you? i did and told them that the more it happens the more i give it back. i have done it to the point where i knocked my sister in law out of games within a turn or two. it has slowly come to me not being picked on in game.
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Mike Collins
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H4msterbacke wrote:
Deltas wrote:

I may be able to talk to some of them individually and ask themwhy they seem to be doing this and mention how it is not fun for me.

Again: I wouldnt do that!
Why not? The problem is with the way people are behaving. Discussing it openly and honestly like grown-up is by far the best way to deal with the situation, rather than passive-agressively trying to manipulate people's behaviour by trying to control the game.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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blaecblaed wrote:
North_Wolf wrote:
I think the best recommendation is actually to try co-op games. With stuff like Arkham Horror then everyone is on the same side

Remembering of course that AH is not an everyone wins game, the person with the most points/monster trophies wins.

Actually this is an optional rule designed for competitive players, very few people use it.


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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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On the issue of being picked on and discussing it, then that really is based on the people and the general mood.

If the group think is that you have an advantage from owning the game, they might feel defensive about it (no matter how unjust to an outsider). In their mind you would have won all those games if they had not teamed up to stop you.

If the mood is right and these are mature enough people then you can remind them that everyone is supposed to be playing to have fun and it really is not fun to have to play handicapped in every session. If people think you are a threat they need to get better at the game and not try to resolve it by eliminating you as a participant.

If you dont think they can handle a direct approach, I would start concentrating on co-op and team based games. You can even be honest about doing it because you want to have fun too.

 
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Cheryll
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I think our friends and I have done that to my boyfriend a couple of times. That's because he likes to be a backstabbing Meany-pants whenever any game allows it. (I'm looking at you, Munchkin!)
So when any game looks like it may screw with us, we usually try to go in preemptive strike mode and get him first.
There's no malice behind it though, we just know he's just as bad if we give him any chance. Show no weakness and all that.

Another factor may be that I always consider him to be tactically superior. Even if I know I'm good at a game I'm always surprised I won against him

So, perhaps it's a good idea, when you teach a new game, to point out that while you red the rules and can explain them, you didn't really play it (much) yet, so you can all figure out the game together.
 
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CJ
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North_Wolf wrote:
If you dont think they can handle a direct approach, I would start concentrating on co-op and team based games. You can even be honest about doing it because you want to have fun too.

If they can't handle the direct approach then I'd advocate finding some new opponents that can offer you an enjoyable experience.
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David
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That sucks. I get shades of that sometimes but it's largely justified since I do win most times so I deserve it.

Anyway. I would suggest asking them what their favorite game was and play that the next 10 times or so. (You should probably play other games as well). Keep statistics about Victory points or at least who came in which place. Then if they still pick only on you after ten games ask them why they do it when you came last (or whatever) in x of the last ten games.

Maybe they genuinely believe that you, as the more experienced gamer, are the biggest threat. I know that I think I'm going to loose in pretty much ALL the games I play. Yet I generally end up winning. That often leads to unnecessary complaining on my part. Maybe their behavior simply stems from a similar miss-evaluation of the game state.

Also perhaps their confidence in being able to win without ganging up on you will improve if you play a game many times without large gaps in between.

I don't think multiplayer solitaire games will solve the issue. In most of these games there's still the possibility to block a player. It might be less extreme but still there.
 
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nyn -
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Been there. Same game too. Settlers is terrible for this situation. My wife loves to set me up as a target in hopes that she can sneak in with a victory. I actually let it get to me a couple times, then decided it was the game that I needed to change and not my friends. My friends respect me. This is why they were so ready to gang up and attempt to pin me in a game.

I played Fury of Dracula (Second Edition) with them and got retribution. This is a game designed to be everyone against a single player. After eating them alive a few times I felt better. Now I try to mix up the games more so that there's not a sense of dominance in any one game. I still get targeted a lot, but it doesn't get to me anymore. If it feels like too much then I know it's time to try another game.
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Des Lee
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I'm usually the host, and I sometimes get picked on. I own most of the games, and I'm usually the one teaching it. I kind of encourage the ganging up, I actually find it a bit more fun to get competitive (but obviously not in a nasty way). I lose more than I win, but winning isn't the main reason I play - I like to learn new games and discover new rules and mechanics, and I love the social aspect of it. So if I can get people more involved in it, it's really win/win for me
 
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Greg
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I have sort of had this problem, one year I went to my uni gaming society and all of the new students who'd joined that year had conversations with me like "Hi there, haven't seen you around before, I'm Greg, pleased to meet you.""Greg? The tricksy one?""Wha?" ... it transpired that one of the other players had gathered all of the new people together and told them not to trust anything I said before we even met :O I did have a ~90% win rate in four player games at the time though so maybe I had it coming.

Anyway, here's one solution to your problem: Pick a player and for the next few games everytime he does anything half decent compliment it, point out that you didn't see that move or what a shrewd choice it was. Then deliberately lose in such a way to pass your resources to that player, attributing it to his skill all the time. After a while of this the group has a new victim and if you did it right the new victim thinks you're great and the only one on their side.

The only downside to that solution is that implementing it makes you a genuinely bad person. Talking to them about it like adults is a much better plan
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Derry Salewski
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I agree you should just bring it up. But honestly if you're reading bgg and rulebooks and they aren't, you are the biggest threat! (Until you stop being it . . . but again, to know those sorts of things you'd have to know you probablya rent a big threat in the first place . . . )

But middle earth quest or super dungeon explore are two games I have which are designed for one player to fight many at once. So maybe try a game like that!
 
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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paladinelliott wrote:
This has happened to me a lot! I finally reached the point in telling people that the first one to go after me or screw me for no good reason, well I have said in exact words" I am dedicating the rest of the night to making sure you don't win whatever we play".

It seemed to level out a lot after that. I can say it worked for the most part, because there were many nights I enjoyed carrying out that threat to the full measure.
Great!
I love this way of solving it - because that shows the person exactly how you feel, when someone picks on you for no good reason!

Fortunately we don't have this kind of gaming in our group. Because I would hate it: I'm not one for emotionally gaming - revenge and so on. I like it when the players choose rational. Yes, that means going after the potential winner, even if it's not crystal clear. The very, very few games, where a player made totally bad actions (for himself) to block or stop another player out of sheer revenge where not good experiences for me. Well, I was neither of those two - but I had the feeling, that both of them now where not enjoying the game anymore - and not because of the game, but because of the situation between them.

Hey, it's just a game. Everybody should have fun!

Oh, and I think it especially mean, that they punish you, because you know the rules - in fact they should be thankful, that you have studied the rules beforehand to teach the rules to them!

You could offer them, that one of them should learn the rules and teach them!
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David Jensen
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Almecho wrote:
This has happened to me a lot! I finally reached the point in telling people that the first one to go after me or screw me for no good reason, well I have said in exact words" I am dedicating the rest of the night to making sure you don't win whatever we play".

It seemed to level out a lot after that. I can say it worked for the most part, because there were many nights I enjoyed carrying out that threat to the full measure.

There are some people out there that require this type of 'counter' play mentality - to set them straight. Often targeting the leader of the consipiracy against the host will diffuse the rest of the group.

I am responding to agree with the counter; but then I realized how nasty a response this is - and finally came to the conclusion that if this were my game group; I'd find another. If these were my friends; I'd find another activity. Nobody likes to be picked on - but when you do win, it makes victory all the greater.

Finally, I will say that certain games have a quicker learning curve. Those may be the games that this type of group may prefer. ... Unfortunately some of the most popular games (TTA, Le Havre etc) definitively can favor the more experienced player.
 
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George Falconer
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Sounds familiar. Although, my friends and I play mostly euro type stuff nowadays and the competition is not as direct. They watch me closely, and don't let me get away with any tricks that they see coming. I appreciate the handicapping. I get my wins anyways, and its more fun. I am doomed if there is any type of negotiation or diplomacy. I have to be twice as honest and honorable, and will be the first one back-stabbed anyways. It has only ever bothered me when it seems spiteful, and even then, well, it's just a game, right.
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Agustin Kapuno
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Try coop games. That way everybody (including you) works together instead of against each other.
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Michelle
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Deltas wrote:
According to my wife, she does this because she doesn't feel comfortable declining trades with other people or attacking other players, and there is misconception that since I am the only one that read the rules then I have an unfair advantage.
I would be really upset at my partner if they were joining in on this. Is your wife uncomfortable declining trades with others/attacking others because it might seem like she's favoring you? Or is it that she feels less confrontational targeting you because she knows you can take it? Whatever the case, it would probably help (or at least feel better) if you had her support in changing the attitude of your group. Of course, then the group might just gang up on you and your wife, but perhaps they're not worth playing with anyway.

I would definitely never play trading games with them again, and tell them why. Your group is making you play a much different and poorer game than they are, and that's not right.

I totally disagree with the person saying you shouldn't talk to them about it. This issue can either be changed, or they'll refuse to change, but at least then you'll know where you stand and can make choices based on that, rather than just avoiding the problem and potentially having it come up in other types of games.
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Toxica
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Never had this issue in my gaming group, but as others mentioned. I would recommend you start with some other euro and co-op games.

Arkham Horror
Defenders of the Realm
Dungeon Lords
Archipelago
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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To all those who mention "using coop games" - what reason is there in doing so?

You just avoid the general problem - namely a habit of making "fun" about picking on the host. You don't address the real problem with this solution - you are only avoiding it.
Basically, you will never again play any competitive game any more. Because, you know, as soon as you do, the picking will be there again.

I would either talk to the group (because, you know - we are friends and so on...?) or institute a rule of bitter and harsh revenge on the first person picking on me. Without any word. Just a really, really harsh reaction in the gameplay. Sooner or later he or she would ask me: Why do you do this to me? And you can answer: Because you started picking on me without ANY reason and this is how it feels for me!
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D S
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Most of the responses have focused on the 'they see you as the biggest threat' issue. But given that you're losing the clear majority of games and that you brought the social group together, I do think it sounds like this isn't to do with boardgames: it's just the habit of people bonding with friends-of-friends by slight bullying of the friend who brought them together.

'Slight bullying' sounds harsh: it's more that you've got a relationship of light-hearted rivalry with everyone, whereas they're more cautious with each other. What your wife said seems to fall into this camp too.

If that's the problem, the solution is probably just them getting to know each other better: which is a matter of time, although possibly more co-ops (or more time spent hanging out without the boardgames) might be better than sticking with the sort of games that offer bash-the-host potential.
 
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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Hm, how about Hansa Teutonica?
Picking on a player is very difficut there, because simply blocking a player means to know, what he or she is planning to do - simply because you move your cubes to do something. If then a player replaces one of your cubes to bully you, he in fact helps you, because you may add another cube to the board - basically a bonus action for you!

That said, I really love this game! One of my favorites!!
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S. R.
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I will be generalizing here, so please keep in mind that, while statements I make are meant to include the "average" person specified, it might not include you or other people of your group.

Okay, to get to the beef...

I experience this sometimes, when explaining a game I know (and most often own).
And I can divide these experiences into two distinct groups:

1) If I play with mostly non-gamers, I experience this quite a lot. They assume that, because it is my game, or because I know the rules, I must have an advantage. So they are playing against me more than against each other. Granted, it usually is not as harsh as the situation the OP finds himself in, but still - it is disproportionate.

Unfortunately, they are right - I have an advantage. So have all of us gamers. Because we spend quite some time playing games, reading rules, and analysing and thinking about games and game mechanics, and statistics and strategies and whatnot. Even if it is the first time we play a game, we are (most often, not always) able to grasp the mechanics of a new game a lot quicker than most other people in such a group. Therefore, we can work out strategies or ways to success easier.
So ganging up is just a preemptive attempt to prevent said advantage from taking hold. Because other players new to the game would not know at which time the winner cannot be caught up to anymore, or the one winning thing is achieved (best combo, best action, best whatnot).

So non-gamers are most likely to gang up on you, if they are the majority.

2. If I play with mostly gamers, I don't experience this at all.
This is probably due to the facts that
a) they themselves have a similarly clear and quick grasp of a game
b) they have no reason to suspect that you, as an owner of a game, have a lot of advantage, mainly because of a), and because they know from experience
What ganging-up here usually means (if it happens) is targetting the one player perceived to be closest to victory.

So gamers are most likely to not gang up on you, if they are the majority.


If you play mostly (or a lot) with a #1 group, then this can be very frustrating, as you (the OP) experiences. Especially if it is as overtly and acute as they are seemingly applying this approach.

Unfortunately, as has been stated by a minority here, talking this through can have a completely averse reaction to what you are aiming at. This is a very delicate matter.

You have already talked to your wife. What she said leads me to believe that she should not be playing highly competitive games with interaction, anyways. I am guessing that she plays games just for the fun of it, and is not in it for the win, because this (your) statement of hers would secure me in the presumption that she will never win a game, except by chance.
This situation could be talked through with her, if you want. If she understands that not competing with and not being able to say "no" to others she knows less and only picking on the ones she knows best (i.e. you) will prevent her from ever winning interactive games, then she probably will change her approach (if she is not in a majority of non-gamers, that is). If she, however, cannot change her reaction to people here (not judging), then it is probably best to abstain from playing such games with her altogether. Not only for your benefit, but also for her's - she would probably have a lot more fun with games where she is not "compelled" to act a certain way.

Your friends are another matter entirely.
If talked through, this could swing the wrong way - to overtly trying to a) include you everywhere and b) trying to spare you. Which would probably lead to you winning more often, and then proofing their point in the first place. In any case, gaming fun of your buddies will most likely decrease, due to perceived "special treatment" of you.
It could also get them to understand you, and to not do this again.
What is more likely depends entirely on your friends. You know them better than us, so we cannot really suggest the best approach, here.

Other approaches are, however, possible. But this involves your friends making an effort.
1. Send your friends pdfs of the rules prior to the gaming night. Everyone should have read (and understood) them in advance. This could lead to perceiving the person who gives the most explanations or makes the best move as threat (you should hold back a bit).
However, this only works if your friends do understand rules from scratch (i.e. without playing the game, and without the pieces in front of them), and are willing to go the extra mile. I'd term these "casual gamers" - people who are in between gamer and non-gamer. On the other hand, these would probably not have ganged up on you this hard in the first place.
2. Buy a new game or two (admit it, you probably will in the future). Leave it in shrink. Then, at the game night, give it to one of your buddies (or female friends - no bias intended) to open, set up and read the rules (this is time-consuming, but could be rewarding).
What can happen, here, is that they will gang up on your buddy (you don't have to join in), and he will experience how this situation feels. Hopefully, he will learn his part.

If, however, there is no chance of that being accepted as course of action by your friends, or if it does not trigger learning experience, then I am at an absolute loss.
And I would recommend not playing interactive games with this group any more. Just don't do it. If asked, you can explain why (with all the problems), but still DO NOT play them again. It's just not worth anyone having a not-so-great time. Including yourself.
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Neil Brooks
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Throw your drink against the wall and flip the table. Maybe even swing a punch at the nearest player.

Seriously, though. Tell them to sling their hooks and find a new group.
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Christian K
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I recommend selecting games where this should not be an issue. Dominion and 7 Wonders come to mind.
 
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CD Harris
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Deltas wrote:
Thanks everyone for the advice! I really appreciate it.

I may be able to talk to some of them individually and ask themwhy they seem to be doing this and mention how it is not fun for me.

I will organize the next game night for next month and will pick a few "multi player solitaire" games to play so everyone can read the rules before hand.

Hopefully this will lead to conversation on this particular issue with the other players. Depending on how it plays out from there I will decide on whether to continue hosting this event or not.
That's a good idea. But I'd also suggest, at least with this group, that you pick two or three games (as fits the amount of time you have to play each month) and just play those for a while. If you're always bringing something new to the table, this dynamic will never change. But if everyone in the group gets to a place where they know the games, the whole "Deltas has an advantage" thing will just go away.

Save your shiny new games for the meetup and/or other groups.
 
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M. S.
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And? What did you do?
 
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