Saturday, 31 May 2014

New Gamers

Thanks to some very strange manipulation of time, space and fate, I've ended up playing table-top games regularly again.

I didn't realise how much I missed playing these games. Since I've stopped going to gaming meetings, I only ever played on various consoles and now that I'm playing again I can't help but look back at the time when most of my gaming was either a board-game or a card-game.

I used to play often and a lot but during the games there was a type of attitude that slowly eroded my enthusiasm for playing games. When there was this big shop in Brighton called Wargames Heaven, we used to play Game of Thrones a lot. (Yes, we played it before it was cool!) While I have decks for each of the major houses, I mostly played Stark and certain people began to be irritated with me.

I like playing games. For some that's apparently a problem because games aren't for playing, they're for winning. It is simply impossible to enjoy a game without winning it. I never minded losing. I enjoyed playing the game, I talked about what cool plays took place and how nice it was to see everyone. In return I was told off for not winning and told what cards to take out of my deck so I could win. That's how my enthusiasm slowly eroded into nothingness...

Going to Magic The Gathering events discouraged me too. I remember being new, wanting to play and meet new people. Upon hearing I was still learning how to play and only had two decks with me, someone offered to play a game with me. He opened up a box with about a dozen decks, asked me to pick one and then he took out another deck from his backpack. Suffice to say, he kept winning after every few turns.

That sort of attitude where you're deliberately setting a newbie up for failure is very bad. When playing with a newbie, it's a given they will make mistakes. Whenever someone I'm playing with plays a card that they either can't or shouldn't play, I am given an immediate advantage in knowing what they'll play. If next turn I want to play a powerful card and I know my opponent can easily destroy it, I can play a card I don't mind losing and keep the better one for a latter opening... but that's not what I do. I keep my strategy assuming that the mistake didn't happen. I don't want to win, I want to play. I can't play with someone who will get discouraged over me taking advantage of them being a beginner.

When you play against a newbie, it's easy to win. Anyone can do it.
The real challenge is teaching someone to play well enough that they'll beat you on your best day.
That's the sort of games worth playing...