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There Will Be Games
Angry male nerds are a blight upon the earth. Almost every dreadful cultural phenomenon of the past decade, from internet harassment, to social media bubbles, all the way up to cases of mass murder has been propelled by bitter, socially awkward young men. These are potentially people in our social spaces, and it's essential we help tackle it. So when I see things like this essay on toxic masculinity in gaming, I read it, looking for insight. It's a good essay and I agree with the sentiments it expresses. I'll return to what's good about it later. First, though, this being the internet and me being a straight white man, I'm going to risk abusing my privilege and argue with a minor aspect of it. Late in the essay, the author Angelus makes an assertion which strikes to the heart of gaming itself. He says that a hyper-competitive approach to games is a part of the problem.

Let's pause a moment and consider this statement. Board games are thousands of years old, dating back at least to the Neolithic. Co-operative games, at least as a significant factor in the field, are a mere blink of an eye. For the overwhelming majority of games, for the overwhelming majority of the time, are defined by being competitive. Taking away the competition from those games leaves nothing of value behind. Even co-operative games feature competition against the blind mechanics of the rules.

We can go further. Not only is competition integral to gaming but often the game gets better the more competitive the players get. Many players react with dismay to the idea that one of their number might tone down their competition to favour another. They view it almost as a form of cheating. For many games to function as a balanced, enjoyable activity, positively requires all the players to struggle to the best of their ability. The idea of toning down that struggle, even taking it away, strikes me as being quite dangerous to the health of the hobby.

Let me illustrate why, and where the problem in this thinking seems to be. When I first started playing Poker, I played for matchsticks and that was okay. As I grew older, I started playing for small pots, a few pounds, and that was amazing. The pressure of playing with real money, even if it was money I could afford to lose, improved the game experience a hundredfold. It made my decisions, my risks mean something. The coins weighted them with meaning in a way mere matchsticks could not. I can't imagine ever playing Poker for fake stakes again.

But at one point, some of my friends decided to up the ante. They went from a few pounds to a few tens of pounds, to a hundred pounds. For me, that increased the pressure to a level I found difficult, and the experience of play actively unpleasant. And this is where the problem is. It's not competition that's an issue, but how comfortable all the participants are with the risk and reward ratio on offer in that competition.

Finding that balance is tricky and it's down to the group, not the game. I have had times when I've invested so heavily in a game session that a reverse of fortune or betrayal has caused me real upset. But they're also among the most exciting, exhilarating experiences I've had gaming. I wouldn't change them for the world.

You might think that if you're not playing for money, everyone should just toughen up and tough it out. But people have different experiences of, and tolerances for, the risks and rewards of social interaction. If you've been the target of hatred, say because of your gender or race or sexual orientation, you may find losing feels like an extension of that. And it's not on people who feel that way to speak up. It's on us, the straight white guys with the power, to take note, to reach out and support them.

And this is where we come back to Angelus' excellent article. Because he saves the best until last. At the end, he comes up with a list of problematic behaviours that arise from hyper-competition in games, and how we can recoginse and combat them. This is what we need: to educate players on how to watch for and accommodate the comfort zones of their fellow players.

It's okay to want to compete. What's not okay is to bully or exclude because some players are uncomfortable with the pressure. Be understanding and observant. Be thoughtful and accommodating. The gamers you should be piling pressure on are those who want to gatekeep or harass or otherwise abuse others at the table. Being aware of that and reacting to it to help others feel welcome and safe is exactly where we need to be.

A few months ago a man told a woman she was wrong to differentiate between the words vulva and vagina. The internet reacted with understandable and justified mockery. So he went away, reflected on what he'd done and came back by writing a twenty-page essay explaining why he was, in fact, right along. I hope this isn't my vagina essay. But I do feel that it's wrong to cast competition as the problem in gaming. The real villain is, rather, exactly the kind of arrogant selfishness displayed by vagina man. Competition merely gives it a thin veneer of justification. Let's not confuse the two, and let's start by being more considerate toward our gaming foes.
There Will Be Games essay on toxic masculinity in gaming
essay on toxic masculinity in gaming
Matt Thrower
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Matt has been writing about tabletop games professional since 2012, blogging since 2006 and playing them since he could talk.

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Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #294403 25 Mar 2019 10:31
I read Angelus' essay. It was well written. He provides citations for his points, cites personal examples that are relevant to the topic, outlines the areas he identifies as problems, and closes with a call for introspection as you can't force change in others. It is worth reading regardless of your stance on the issue.

Matt, I think you're a skilled writer, but your piece offers nothing of substance on the topic. In the very first paragraph you open with several inflammatory statements and finish with self-flagellation for being part of the group you've identified as a problem. No one who would benefit from the changes you strive for will read past this because it's cringy at best and outright toxic at worst.

Your thesis as far as I can tell is that competition is dangerous to "the hobby". I'll ignore the fact that you don't define what "the hobby" means in this context. This point doesn't function. Competition IS games. Short of a group storytelling session with no set goal, you will not find a game that does not involve besting some form of opposition. This is not a threat, it's healthy. Your attempts at providing examples for your claim fall flat. Your friends allowed gambling to escalate? That's an issue with gambling and addiction, not competition. A hypothetical where someone from a marginalized group may find losing a game to be an extension of bigoted abuse if they lose to a white person? Are you kidding me? You then state in your second to last paragraph that "it's ok to want to compete", but you spend the entire rest of your piece saying otherwise, then continue to say so immediately afterwards. It's a backpedal, and a clumsy one.

I think I see what you tried to do with this piece. You would like players to be more empathetic and aware of how their behaviors, tendencies, and potential for aggression can alienate players. I would like the same. Browbeating people in this manner will not help your goal. All it's going to do is signal to people that they're unwanted, and they'll find their own tribes that are more conducive to playing the way they want to.

By sitting down to play a competitive game everyone has accepted the social contract that entails. If someone takes their win too far that is an issue, but so is being a sore loser and ascribing their loss to unproven malevolence from the other players.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #294405 25 Mar 2019 10:51
Thanks for the feedback. FYI, I fed this past Angelus before publishing it, partly because I was concerned it read much as you've read it. He thought it was worth putting out there as it added something to the discussion.

The point that I've failed to get across is that an inherently competitive hobby is likely to bring out the worst in people. Angelus seemed to be saying that the answer is to be less competitive, and that's where my concerns are. It seems like an awkward sentiment in space which is almost defined by competition. My take is: be competitive but be open and aware of the effect it might be having and be prepared to offer support where necessary.

That's the whole 900 words cut down to two sentences. Perhaps I should just do that and burn the rest :)
Nate Hayden's Avatar
Nate Hayden replied the topic: #294409 25 Mar 2019 11:22
"What's not okay is to bully or exclude because some players are uncomfortable with the pressure."

I have to disagree here. If the gaming is simply a game group with a simple gaming pleasure motive this is fine, but in truly competitive play and events bullying and pressure are part and parcel to gaining an edge.

Think of the common Boxing events in which the boxers are trying every form of humiliation before a fight to try to make their opponent either slightly doubt themselves, or better make them angry so their anger blurs their boxing skills.

Competition is an essential element of any game that has "winning". We can be tame regarding winning, and certainly create a gaming group that is more about appreciating gaming rather than a competitive nature. But in high level competition every kind of meta-strategy is often employed to gain edge. Some gamers get this and employ these strategies even in common game groups. This can feel like bullying, and often that can be the feeling one is trying to garner. This can feel out of place for a game group aiming strictly at appreciation. I would make a slight argument that even a group based solely on appreciation has competition still within it. It is unescapable.

Lastly, people can simply be jerks, and jerks at the table are no fun. But we ought not deplete competition due to a fear of competition and jerks.

High level play will have bullying, and it ought to, as bullying is part of gaining edge. It can be a chosen strategy that doesn't pan out, and the calm civilized nature may win the match. In Chess, Go and other high level board gaming these strategies are used (look at the nastiness of players in a downtown Chess park). The nastiness is gross, but the player employing the strategy wants it to be.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #294410 25 Mar 2019 11:22
I'm saying bullshit to this. You summed it up when you said games are competitive and if you don't want to play in the super-competitive league then you find a league at a level that you enjoy rather than attempting to destroy the first league (usually with the fashionable scapegoat of 'white male'). If you go and join a football (or baseball for our US readers) league you will end up at a level you enjoy playing at, you won't (want to or be allowed to) go into a level that you can not fit in with and then demand that everyone runs slower and kicks softer just so you can carry on.

It is so simple - if you join someone else's game and don't like the level of competition you put up with it or leave, if someone joins your game and doesn't like your level or competition then you tell them to put up with it or leave.

The euro group I got too are quite competitive (they mostly dislike co-ops) and one of the most competitive in the group is a 55 year old lady (she gets really annoyed if someone tries to give her advice or remind her of a rule). And just remember someone's bullying (and I'm not talking about the obvious derogatory abuse) may just be the someone else's, or even the groups, table banter and strong negotiation.

This is another example of certain groups thinking they can come and sit with people and then call them out when they don't agree with how the others act. I would not stand for it in a community I was a member of just like I would not stand for direct bullying within that same community.
mads b.'s Avatar
mads b. replied the topic: #294411 25 Mar 2019 11:22
I think Knizia sums it up pretty well when he said: the goal of the game is to win, but it's the goal that is important, not the winning.

Games are competitive, but what can be toxic is people playing primarily to win and not to, well, play the game. And you don't really need to care all that much about winning in order to play competitively.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294412 25 Mar 2019 11:25
I think I agree with the gist of your pushback...? To me, this is the Knizia quote about winning and the game, right? It isn't shitty to be competitive within the game but it can be very shitty to enact competitive behavior above the table in a meta-way (and yes, toxic, and super off-putting). The distinction is fragile but important. I wouldn't tease anyone or talk shit during a game that I didn't know well for this reason, very easy way to alienate people, especially if they're already on edge about where they are/strangers they're playing with. I know this isn't everyone's experience, but I see, for example, the game stores I've been at as a pretty hostile environment and I think I would personally be even more on edge if I was not a white man.

I do think there is something to the idea that nerd demographics tend to have a lot of trouble with the social distinction between game/above the table.

edit: haha, beaten by mads!!!
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #294414 25 Mar 2019 11:39

Nate Hayden wrote: High level play will have bullying, and it ought to, as bullying is part of gaining edge.

No, sorry, bullying is not a necessary part of competition and if you allow it in a tournament or league then your event is garbage.

Having to tolerate harrassment is not a valuable skill and should not be part of competition. I don't know what games you play, but I don't like playing games where calling the opponent a f***** and mocking his dead parents or his gender is part of the strategy. I prefer my tournaments to be about, well, playing the game instead of being a massive dickhead.

I don't know, I don't think the latest Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour would have been better or more competitive if players were throwing transphobic bullshit to the eventual winner. Or if everyone tried to cheat like a Chess hustler.

Really, I still don't understand why harrassment or bullying somehow become acceptable if you are competing. That shit is not tolerable in either circumstance.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #294416 25 Mar 2019 11:44

mads b. wrote: I think Knizia sums it up pretty well when he said: the goal of the game is to win, but it's the goal that is important, not the winning.

Games are competitive, but what can be toxic is people playing primarily to win and not to, well, play the game. And you don't really need to care all that much about winning in order to play competitively.


Yep. I used to have a forum signature from an old public school song, which phrases the same thing in a slightly more poetic way.

Forward where the scrimmage thickens; never stop to rub your shin;
Cowards count the kicks and ha'pence, only care to save their skin.
Oftentimes defeat is splendid, victory may still be shame;
Luck is good, the prize is pleasant but the glory's in the game.

GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #294417 25 Mar 2019 11:48
On the whole I agree with the author and with the cited article.

I don't agree that "bullying" is a natural part of healthy, competitive gameplay. I understand that it is an essential part of the types of competitive play we have now.

It's funny that, when I consider sports, I think of a little chest bumping alphaness as being genderless because I've seen so many women do it. Of course, these are all young people in their physical prime, whatever their gender, admiring one another as they insult each other, physically demonstrating their physical power as part of the limited rhetoric. It all takes place in a framework of larger organizational laws, of which Title IX is one. It doesn't repulse me. And I'm not a sports guy at all.

I do not extend that sense of grace and purpose to, say, Magic the Gathering players. Seeing edgelords practically drool on themselves attempting disqualify the other person on the basis of their sleeve sizes and calling each other little Hitlerianisms does not fill me with a sense of noble respect for the physical form, nor the mind at its competitive peak. It's toxic because it pretends to be lawless, and with all lawless arenas, the laws are very clear. The worst write the rules, hide them when necessary, and win.
DarthJoJo's Avatar
DarthJoJo replied the topic: #294418 25 Mar 2019 11:51
I agree with southernman in that the context of the group and its own competitiveness matters a lot. From my own experience with the Thrones LCG, don’t go to a regional tournament and complain that your super thematic Baratheon deck that won’t play Robert and Melisandre together isn’t winning against the Greyjoy/Stark Alliance decks, and maybe don’t bring your mind-numbing builders deck to a casual night. Sometimes people want to push the limits of the game and their own abilities, and sometimes those same people want to try something a little offbeat. To adapt out, read the room, the table at an open-play night.

My own problem with competitiveness is when it finds exploits in the rules, perhaps intended and perhaps not, and functionally ruins the game. Take Summoner Wars. It was one of my favorite games when I started in the hobby, and my wife and I played regularly. Then I visited the forums and learned about killing your own units to deny your opponent resources and build your own bank to just play your champions. That was not the game I was interested in playing and was pretty well the beginning of the end. I couldn’t play online because that was the only strategy people would run, and I couldn’t play with my wife because it felt like I was pulling my punches.

Maybe that’s an argument for the churn. Don’t play anything long enough to learn to break it, or find the twenty or so games well-designed enough that there is no 80% win strategy and still meaningful choices.
Nate Hayden's Avatar
Nate Hayden replied the topic: #294419 25 Mar 2019 11:54
Eric

I never implied any sort of subject or context to the bullying. You did.

To bully - to use force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others.

Obviously this is not boxing so force and abuse are out of the question. But the others will certainly be applicable in even board gaming, and especially in high competitive play.

High level gaming may have:
Threat: "You will be destroyed by me, and utterly defeated"
Intimidation: much the same as threat "You will be destroyed" "You will not beat me"
Aggressively Dominant: "I am the best and must reign" "I will remain 1st place"

These are part and parcel of gaming and can be found in Chess, Go and even Monopoly and Diplomacy events, also video gaming events. I've never been to a high level con like WBC but I imagine there are some serious players there that occasionally employ bullying tactics. I have played with players that use these kinds of things with a humorous jest, to being rather serious.
DWTripp's Avatar
DWTripp replied the topic: #294420 25 Mar 2019 12:02
So much wrong here Matt. At least you extracted some of your usual common sense out of this subject after starting it with the most bogus and ridiculous premise:

"Angry male nerds are a blight upon the earth. Almost every dreadful cultural phenomenon of the past decade, from internet harassment, to social media bubbles, all the way up to cases of mass murder has been propelled by bitter, socially awkward young men."

How you managed to recover from that stunningly uninformed and colossally silly premise is beyond me.

Your point about poker and levels of competition is well taken and I think spot on. There are people I don't enjoy sitting at a game table with and so I don't sit at a table with them. I'm pretty sure, given my cantankerous and unfiltered nature that there are plenty who wouldn't like gaming with me either. That's why more gamers is better.

We used to invite a guy who was comptroller for a chain of Pizza places. He did two things that eventually got him uninvited 1) he insisted we order discount Pizza from him and he collected the money. I later checked the menu pricing and figured out he wasn't paying anything, was getting it essentially for free and pocketing the cash. That's not "toxic" behavior, it's just a person cheating others for money. 2) He abused every other player's time, purposely. He intentionally spent easily five or even six times longer taking his turn than even a slow player would normally take. When finally confronted he responded that he usually won and that was how he did it. Huh. So we decided to never play with him again. I don't call that toxic or typical white male nerd -- he was and still is a huge guy rated as one of the top SCA fighters in North America. Huh, SCA? Pizza? Gaming? Maybe he was a bit toxic.

The overall thing, in my view anyway, that makes board gaming groups work is enjoying the games and having stiff competition at a level that makes you sweat. Too much politics or gender-shite creepiness or preachy religion or human rights lectures and it's not the right group for me. YMMV but the only board gaming blight I've seen in the last 30 years has been the flood of overpriced, poorly written, stupidly themed board games that cost $80, $90 or $100 and up.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294421 25 Mar 2019 12:10
So . . . Matt's recommendation to read the table and adjust appropriately is not going to be part of the discussion?
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #294422 25 Mar 2019 12:12

DWTripp wrote:
"Angry male nerds are a blight upon the earth. Almost every dreadful cultural phenomenon of the past decade, from internet harassment, to social media bubbles, all the way up to cases of mass murder has been propelled by bitter, socially awkward young men."

How you managed to recover from that stunningly uninformed and colossally silly premise is beyond me, but you pulled it out. 'It' being your head . Well done.


Hm. I don't know about the Earth, but we could be getting near that point in which bitter, socially awkward older men are going to become a blight on this discussion forum.

Matt's statement is totalizing, and begs for a fight, but I agree with it. Bitter, socially awkward young men are a big problem. There are underlying factors that go into this, but whether we're talking about young men who grow up in Syria or in Montana, they make up the bulk of spree murderers, as well as of the normalizers of political and economic instrumentation of human bodies which makes the world such a shit place to try and improve.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #294423 25 Mar 2019 12:14

Sagrilarus wrote: So . . . Matt's recommendation to read the table and adjust appropriately is not going to be part of the discussion?


No, because as I said in my reply earlier he alienated everyone he wants to listen to him with that opener. This clickbait shit will never inspire any kind of reasonable discussion.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #294424 25 Mar 2019 12:20

GorillaGrody wrote:

DWTripp wrote:
"Angry male nerds are a blight upon the earth. Almost every dreadful cultural phenomenon of the past decade, from internet harassment, to social media bubbles, all the way up to cases of mass murder has been propelled by bitter, socially awkward young men."

How you managed to recover from that stunningly uninformed and colossally silly premise is beyond me, but you pulled it out. 'It' being your head . Well done.


Hm. I don't know about the Earth, but we could be getting near that point in which bitter, socially awkward older men are going to become a blight on this discussion forum.

Matt's statement is totalizing, and begs for a fight, but I agree with it. Bitter, socially awkward young men are a big problem. There are underlying factors that go into this, but whether we're talking about young men who grow up in Syria or in Montana, they make up the bulk of spree murderers, as well as of the normalizers of political and economic instrumentation of human bodies which makes the world such a shit place to try and improve.


And I'm quoting myself here to append a note to say that this has nothing to do with some essential badness in men or boys, but a flaw in the way they're often raised. It took me a long time to get over getting called a pussy by every second male member of my family, watching them die young of liver failure and poverty and idiocy.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #294425 25 Mar 2019 12:23
Just a note to say that a few days ago, there was some staff chat via email saying how lovely and refreshing it was that everyone was being nice to each other on the forums and that they were talking mainly about games and other geek culture stuff.

Obviously, it's me that's kicked that apple cart right over with this piece, and I've got some apples to pick up. But can we not use them to have an apple fight, please, so that the staff who are left to clean up the apple mush when we're done can continue to enjoy that pleasant vibe?
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294426 25 Mar 2019 12:24

Vysetron wrote:

Sagrilarus wrote: So . . . Matt's recommendation to read the table and adjust appropriately is not going to be part of the discussion?


No, because as I said in my reply earlier he alienated everyone he wants to listen to him with that opener. This clickbait shit will never inspire any kind of reasonable discussion.


This is in the Southern Baptist tradition of speech, where you start on the downswing, rile up emotions, and then turn the corner to bring home the promised land. It's an oratory institution that is very effective, very entertaining. If you choose to storm off and sulk halfway through that's your business, but I opted to stay for the big finish.

So the question, again -- what about reading the table and adjusting accordingly? If you won't answer it for Matt, answer it for me instead. I'll even say please and use a smiley so as not to offend. :). (I hate smileys.)
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #294427 25 Mar 2019 12:32

Sagrilarus wrote: C'mon, seriously? How thin's your skin?

This is in the Southern Baptist tradition of speech, where you start on the downswing, rile up emotions, and then turn the corner to bring home the promised land. It's an oratory institution that is very effective, very entertaining. If you choose to storm off and sulk halfway through that's your business, but I opted to stay for the big finish.

So the question, again -- what about reading the table and adjusting accordingly? If you won't answer it for Matt, answer it for me instead. I'll even say please. :)

Somebody didn't read my other post. I'll clarify. For you.

This wasn't written in any tradition of speech other than "well this'll get clicks". The problem is that the content of the article is paper thin. It makes some weak statements on the issue then tries to backpedal for a milquetoast conclusion. If you're going to make a statement that you think is controversial you need stand by it and back your points up. I outlined everything in my post at the top of the thread, so for to state that I didn't read the thing is a really lazy attempt at mudslinging. If you're gonna try to stick me, try harder.

Obviously you read the table and the room in any social situation. That's how social interactions work, but that wasn't what this article was really about. If it was then the title, and the entire first paragraph, would reflect that. I think you know that.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #294428 25 Mar 2019 12:33
I think there is a scale of competitive behavior, and a place where it crosses into the unacceptable. I think that part of the point here is that some people excuse behaviors that are over the line by saying those behaviors are a normal part of competitiveness.

When I have to leave a game because the people I am playing with are getting so worked up over being beaten by a “girl” that their behavior has become so hostile and intimidating that I am honestly frightened for my personal safety, it has crossed a line. In fact I feel it doesn’t even have to go that far. If the people I’m playing with are purposely behaving in a way to offend me, demean me, harass me or make me highly uncomfortable, that is over the line, and goes beyond what I would consider acceptable for “psyching out” your opponent.

I suspect that most of you reading this have NOT engaged in this the kind of toxic behavior that some excuse as simply being competitive. I suspect that if you ever witnessed it or were subjected to it you probably would not excuse it. And I know for a fact that there are members of this site who have intervened when they have witnessed this behavior and have safety extracted the victim from the situation and let the perpetrators know that their behavior was “uncool.”
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #294430 25 Mar 2019 12:45
Several posts were moderated in this thread. One of the things moderated is in a quote tweet, so I am posting this note. Generally we prefer to discuss moderation privately over DMs instead.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #294434 25 Mar 2019 13:11

Vysetron wrote:

Sagrilarus wrote: C'mon, seriously? How thin's your skin?

This is in the Southern Baptist tradition of speech, where you start on the downswing, rile up emotions, and then turn the corner to bring home the promised land. It's an oratory institution that is very effective, very entertaining. If you choose to storm off and sulk halfway through that's your business, but I opted to stay for the big finish.

So the question, again -- what about reading the table and adjusting accordingly? If you won't answer it for Matt, answer it for me instead. I'll even say please. :)

Somebody didn't read my other post. I'll clarify. For you.


Thanks. You're a peach.

Obviously you read the table and the room in any social situation. That's how social interactions work, but that wasn't what this article was really about. If it was then the title, and the entire first paragraph, would reflect that. I think you know that.


Thank you for answering. It appears you and Matt are in agreement.

Leaping to the conclusion that shocking headlines and intentionally inflammatory speech to draw attention are a new invention is pretty surprising coming from you. Prior posts have been insightful. I'll give you prior notice -- I use the concept all the time in my writing. It's been an effective trick for centuries. Matt clearly is not indicting the readership here en masse, he's setting the stage for what follows.

I unintentionally scared the hell out of a guy at an open game night once years back. We were playing Timber Tom, the best sounding game ever published. He took a move designed to impede my progress, more or less standard operating procedure in the game. I looked up at him and said, "you shall be my sworn enemy" in a Maxwell Smart sort of voice, and he damn near leapt out of his skin. He didn't know me; he didn't hear it as an indication of respect for his move choice. I had to backpeddle like hell and my buddy explained to him that I was full of shit when I spoke. He settled down, we continued to play. That was a valuable learning moment for me, one that I think Matt speaks to in this article. So I like other (more toxic) individuals still have things to learn from other peoples' opinions. The article serves a purpose.
Anjou Valentine's Avatar
Anjou Valentine replied the topic: #294435 25 Mar 2019 13:17

Matt Thrower wrote: Just a note to say that a few days ago, there was some staff chat via email saying how lovely and refreshing it was that everyone was being nice to each other on the forums and that they were talking mainly about games and other geek culture stuff.


It's hard to look at the discussion now and think it wouldn't have been completely different if your article had been entitled "Are Competitive Gamers a Board Gaming Blight?"

When it comes to games, our individual stakes play a huge part in our level of competition. Like Mr. Thrower, I stop having fun with Poker when the pot hits a certain dollar value - I'll play, but I'll do anything to win. The intrinsic stakes of a game are a lot higher for certain male gamers when they're competing with, for example, women, homosexuals, Mormons, or anybody along the "pseudo-scientific" spectrum of gender identity.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #294436 25 Mar 2019 13:21

Anjou Valentine wrote: It's hard to look at the discussion now and think it wouldn't have been completely different if your article had been entitled "Are Competitive Gamers a Board Gaming Blight?"


In self-defence, that wasn't my title. It was edited, although I agreed to the edit.
Ken B.'s Avatar
Ken B. replied the topic: #294437 25 Mar 2019 13:24
"Angry white nerd" is a subgroup that I put only a few steps below "A Florida Man" in terms of folks I don't need to interact with any more. They've made whole swaths of entire hobbies and fandoms completely unenjoyable with their man-baby bullshit. You can find them currently moaning and pissing about a whole range of topics from Captain Marvel to (still) bitching about the Last Jedi. Get a fucking life, guys.

And yes, this is the same type of person who thinks they are King Shit because they have some skill at a board game and love to bray about it, and en route to their latest victory they'll belittle and (try to) intimidate anyone they can.

I say? Fuck 'em. I don't need 'em.