Variant: Everyone Really Is a Winner | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Variant: Everyone Really Is a Winner

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Every so often, I get the chance to play with someone from outside the hobby. And it’s funny how even people who have played some hobby games (like Ticket to Ride or Dominion), and who are otherwise professional, responsible, well-grounded adults, will revert to childhood sensibilities while gaming.

In a recent play, I had someone who wanted to take back a move. Which is fine. No one else had moved yet and it was a friendly game. But rather than just say, “Thanks” and make the change, that person said something like, “Well, yeah. Since you didn’t tell me, it would kind of be cheating for me not to get to take that back.” First, she was told. And second, it was surprising that she felt she had to justify her takeback in that way.

In the hobby, I play mostly with other gamers. We all enjoy the game itself and, while winning is nice, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the pursuit of victory. None of the childish “you took your hand off the piece!” and “you changed the rules!” sort of nonsense is present. And no one cares about getting the “win” more than enjoying the game.

But I think most people learn their first gaming etiquette playing with siblings where that kind of stuff is rampant. And, when they game as an adult, they can revert back to that. Hobby gamers play enough to outgrow those issues – or they don’t last long in the hobby. After all, winning any particular (non-tournament) game doesn’t make you more attractive, increase your income, or otherwise bring any significant impact to your life. A win, in other words, is essentially meaningless.

Once a player internalizes that, it’s much easier to enjoy the game. And, although it sounds trite, when the game is enjoyed by everyone, then everyone really is a winner. Because it served its purpose in providing a fun and engaging activity for friends. And it’s not like I’m perfect. I had bad habits from childhood, too. But I can honestly say that I very much have fun in the playing of the game, and not necessarily the winning.

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