Playing Well: Golden Rule

This is part of a series on how to play games well: Stoicly and enjoyably. Not to triumph, but to have fun.

This one is simple. Merely putting yourself in the other players’ shoes is the key to winning or losing well. Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the heat of the moment.

This is a very subjective rule and audience-dependent, but it’s flexibility is a feature. I’ll just give some examples of things that I find can often be off-putting and worth avoiding.

  • Taking overt pleasure in the conquest instead of the play.
  • Conversely, being angry, depressed, or obsessed about the fact that you’re losing.
  • Blaming luck.
  • Noting the cleverness of your own moves.
  • Suggesting that if a certain thing had happened differently, you would have totally won (obviously all players can construct fictional pasts where they won, but it’s not terribly interesting or helpful).
  • Similarly, the “I would have won in X more turns” argument.
  • Taking too long.

Now, these can all be done in good ways. It’s just that they can easily be unwanted.

Just think about the ideal behavior of someone you’ve just beaten. Now do that when you are beaten. Same for the ideal behavior of someone who’s just beaten you.

One interesting corollary here is that when you are doing well, it’s encouraged to note the bad luck of your losing opponent. Or if you’re doing poorly, how awesome a certain move of theirs was. It gives people the chance to talk about it without having brought it up (assuming you actually do want to talk about it :)).

One thought on “Playing Well: Golden Rule”

  1. There is some great hints there, I happen to recognize them because I do almost all those horrible things. It is nice to have them pointed out directly and gives me something to work on, thanks.

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