Sunday, December 30 2007

The Cardinal Rule of Gaming

As far as I'm concerned, every game has an unstated rule:
If everyone isn't having fun, you're doing it wrong.

There are three general types that people fall into when playing games:

Type one are those who follow the rule.  I try as much as possible to stay clearly in this way of thinking when playing a game.  This sort of player tends to be sportsmanlike if not chivalrous, and they find that losing a fair and closely fought game is better than winning in a blowout or due to some obscure rule quirk.

Type two are those that need to win to have fun.  This sort of player will use any twist or loophole in the rules to his advantage, and tend to be completely ruthless in crushing their opponent.  Mercy is not a word in their vocabulary.

Type two behavior is not always wrong;  thinking like a type two player while the game is in session is a necessity for tournament play in one on one games, but people who are type two when a game is over or especially on a consistent basis are real pains in any group.  Further, type two players tend to cause opponents to think the same way, in that defeating the guy that is pissing you off and knocking him down a peg tends to take over as the reason for playing.  With the inability to communicate directly with your opponent, type two behavior prevails on online gaming.

Type three behavior is more interesting, and only really shows up in games with more than two players.  These are the players that don't care about winning, only having fun, but only care about their fun.  These are the players that exist to play strategies that have no chance of winning but only serve to piss of one or more of their opponents.  I've seen it happen in strategic games when it becomes obvious that one player has no shot at winning due to the actions of another player.  The offended player will then devote his time and attention to attacking the player believed responsible for being out of contention.  This sort of player makes any sort of strategic planning next to useless because you can't assume they will make rational decisions, and may deliberately throw the game to another player.

What's odd is that a similar sort of thinking can be attributed to poitical campaigns.  Type one campaigns are those that think that the system is more important than the election outcome;  type two are those that view the results as more important than the system.  Type three are those that don't care about winning, only making a statement regardless of the effect on the system itself.

Posted by: Civilis at 10: 19 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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