Problem Players

I often hear people complain about ‘problem players’ and usually it either means people who take the games too seriously, or not seriously enough.

In 1950s teen movies, guys who ‘don’t play by the rules’ are cool, but at a game evening they are a pain in the nether regions.

But hold on a moment. Perhaps you should try to take a step back, and ask yourself if it really is a problem. The most important thing is that everyone has a good time!

Is it, though?

Well, okay, usually it is. Sometimes, however, you just have to accept that there are people you should not try to play games with. Some people suck the fun out the experience – they take ages over every turn, get angry at dice rolls, argue the rules, or just sit in silence and make everyone feel awkward. Some people are so bad though, they can be entertaining; well, at least, so bad that I can write about them in a mildly entertaining blog post…

I have a friend who once wanted to win Werewolf so badly, that she slightly marked the backs of the cards so that she could always tell who had the one with the werewolf on it.  After winning a few games, she felt guilty, and confessed; so now, if we play with that set, everybody knows who the werewolf is, which rather takes the fun out of it don’t you think?

I have another friend who always finds something to loudly complain about whenever I am explaining the rules of a game. He complained loudly because Coup was too similar to poker; then, the next week, he complained loudly that Sheriff of Nottingham was insufficiently similar poker.

I also have a relative who does not really enjoy playing games, but occasionally gets roped into the sessions against his will. He literally never understands the rules explanations, no matter how simple the game, and I am pretty sure he does it on purpose. Once, at the end of my two minute explanation of the rules of Skull (the most simple game I own) he asked “so where does the weasel come into it?” There are no weasels in Skull.

The problem player who really sticks in my mind, though, is a young woman who I came up against the last time (and I think it will be the last time) I played Trivial Pursuit. She would not accept my answer of Margaret Thatcher because “it says Maggie Thatcher on the card!”  She was laughing as she spoke, but she meant it – I was not going to get my piece of pie. This caused me a bit of a dilemma – I had to decide whether to argue the point with her (like a small child), refuse to play any more (like a small child), laugh it off and carry on without the piece of pie (treating her like a small child), or reluctantly let her have her way but make a mental note never to play any game with her ever again and hold a grudge for twenty years, until eventually I will attain closure by making a joke of it in a stupid blog that I will write about board games. See if you can guess which option I chose.

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