We’ve all played with them. You might even be one of them sometimes. The players who whine and complain when things don’t go their way, who act unreasonably vengeful against someone who offends them in the slightest (and such revenge being often without any real benefit to their own position). They get angry, they get snotty, they trash talk, and they often make the game a lot less fun for everyone else.
You no doubt try to keep your patience, try to help calm them down, and try to keep the game together for everyone else to keep having fun. But you know that temptation is there… so the question is, have you ever targeted a player like this, simply to knock them down a few pegs or blow off some steam? I’m talking about sidestepping your own strategy just to bust some knuckles. Well, have ya? Answer in the comments!
As it is one of my goals to introduce more people into the world of board gaming and show them that games are fun, this type of player is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m willing to give up strategies, play light, or point out my own weaknesses to help newbies understand a game and have fun playing it. When a game starts breaking down because someone has a bad attitude, not only is that detrimental to the game of the moment, but it could send other people running.
Still, I’ve found that fighting fire with fire doesn’t usually do any good. Antagonizing a player like that can turn into a one-on-one firefight that excludes the other players. So usually I try to talk the other player down, point out how they can get back in the game (although that’s usually with an inexperienced player; I wouldn’t want to offend someone who knew what to do but was just frustrated). Often these players are just frustrated with a run of bad luck and can be brought back into the game. And sometimes there’s nothing you can do during the game except try to balance it out for the other players and keep it fun for them. Often a little chat after the game can result in better play sessions down the road, if the person can understand that they’re ruining everyone else’s fun.
I do find the temptation to be too strong occassionally. I rarely go out of my way and break down my strategy to attack that player, but if it falls within a reasonable realm of possibility, I will jump on their weakness to get a little satisfaction.
And sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do except not invite that person anymore.
I’m an enabler; it’s true. Usually if there’s a whiner in the bunch, I let up and try to make the game better for them. I am an appeaser.
The game where I don’t do this, however, is Acquire. There’s not really a way to help someone out of poor buying choices early in the game. I try to help newbies decide which stocks to buy, but I can’t do this too much because the whole game is buying stocks, and it’s built on insider information. Strapped players can sulk in the end game, but there’s really nothing to be done.
While I don’t care for overly whiny players, I still try to make it fun for everyone. If a player makes a wrong move and it’s not to other players’ detriment, I’ll let the player take it back (especially if the player is the greenest of the group). But this realization has to be immediate; I’m not willing to sacrifice several turns of play to do so.
Ultimately, whiny players are players, too, and I try to bring them into the fold…even if I am tempted to turn every ounce of ire against them. But hey, that’s what @Futurewolfie is for, whether he’s whining or not.