The topic of this blog came from a few people that I have had constant contact with these last few months and all have had a similar problem. They only play to win, they do not play to enjoy the game. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with a little competition and gamers who play aggressively but there comes a point when a person stops playing the game because they like it and more or less plays to annihilate all players. It becomes unfun for all parties involved.
One of the things I’ve noticed is how many people are very sore losers about how they are defeated(I have to admit that I sometimes am too depending on the game). Some gamers also try to “break” the game which makes it almost impossible to defeat them. When this happens, gamers get irritated and either leave or dislike others. In certain situations like RPG’s, you can end up having party members leave or worse do other things like flip tables(Yes it does happen, and I have seen it).
Although I could go into the deep psychology of it, I am going to keep it simple. In my opinion, those who play to win instead of enjoy the game usually have a control or aggression issues that are not resolved. Many times there is very little you can do about the personal issues, but there are things you can do to level the playing field for all.
1) Play in different formats. In doing so you find out a format that keeps things interesting without certain people overpowering the game.
2) Talk to the player that is causing the tension, and let them know about your issues with them. A lot of times, the ones causing the tension, do not realize that they are presenting a problem. Usually communication will tone down the player and make them more inclined to play a little less aggressively.
3) If you must, modify your rules to keep the game fair. Sometimes, gamers manipulate the main rules of the game in order to win. By closing the loopholes, you not only keep things fair, but many time the gamer will have a decision to make: stay or leave. At that point, you have a clean conscience, and others have to decide what to do. If they leave, you are fine and if they stay, you get to keep the peace.
4) The ultimate last resort is to not let them play at the table anymore. No one really wants to do this, but sometimes, when you have exhausted all other options it’s the only way. But only do it during the game session when you have exhausted all options