Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DM Advice / Player Advice - Play to Win?

Today Porky's blogpost over at The Expanse hit a nerve but in a good way. For me the game is about playing and not so much about winning though it is wonderful fun to win it is also equally as important to be a fair and challenging opponent and to play with good sportsmanship. Back to Porky's post then.

Porky (after recent discussions with Porky I will no longer use the qualifier 'he' or 'she' when referring to the Porky) brought to my attention a book called First and Last Men  which as Porky Puts it is "It's a stunning piece of science fiction setting out a future history at massively varied scales." While I have not yet read the book having just learned about it this morning I can say that I was taken aback by the blurb from the book which Porky so kindly posted.

Bringing to mind this quote from the book which was what hit a nerve and in so doing resulted in my posting this morning. "When we play a game, as it should be played, we strain every muscle to win; but all the while we care less for winning than for the game. And we play the better for it. ..."

Over the years I've gamed with many people. Sometimes winning is all they care about even at the expense of other people. Sometimes people even try this with RPGs but it is more common in wargame settings. After all, a DM/GM can always put a kibosh on someone playing 'against the system'.

Everyone plays games for different reasons. Some play for escape. Some play for the challenge. Some play to learn and others play to win. Some care about winning more than others. In sports we are taught to shake the losing players had with grace and if we are the losing team to accept the handshake with dignity.

Sadly, some wargamers and RPG players lose this somewhat between the critical hits and rules discussions.

What do we lose by being kind and taking defeat and winning with grace? What do we lose by playing the game instead of the person? What do we lose by being fair? What do we gain? Perhaps then it is more important in the long run to foster good camaraderie and friendships through losing AND winning with grace and caring more about the game than winning - but with an eye towards the win and we will be all the better for it.

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