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AkumaKaze

Is there a difference between a competitive player and being "that guy"?

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I post this simply to ask the subject's question. I really want to know what your thoughts are on this. LET'S KEEP THIS CONSTRUCTIVE! I don't want a flame war starting. I will add to this by posting an article by David Sirlin, a top-level Street Fighter player and game designer. What does this have to do with Malifaux you may ask? Well the concepts are all the same, just replace Street Fighter with Malifaux and whatever moves he lists with a tactic that bothers you. Read it over, think on it, and respond. Thanks everyone!

http://www.sirlin.net/articles/playing-to-win-part-1.html

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It's a good article (the book that polishes it all up and expands upon it is a great read for those that have the notion), the OP has a great question whether its calling out "That Guy" is little more than being a scrub that calls foul because someone is using a legitimate tactic based on the rule set.

The difference I guess I see in video games vs. board games, is at least you don't have the semantic rule lawyering because the rules are not open to interpretation for "bending", as the Machine makes the rule calls ending the debate in ones a zeros.

One of Eric J's examples of "that guy" is the person with that tries to break the game where he cannot win, but makes you "lose as well" kind of thing. In fighting games that is more like the old Mega Man Marvel v. Capcom 3 glitch that just crashed the game. Making a soft ban on the tactic I don't see as a scrub asking another player to agree to play suboptimally, must just an agree net to let the game function as it was intended.

---------- Post added at 01:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:42 PM ----------

However, asking a player to say, don't run Lady J because you like to play rezzers and feel its to hard to adapt you play to her is a "scrub" move by Sirlin's parlance, as Lady J is a valid choice with which you simply don't want compete.

I guess the same would go for any faction, model, scheme choice a player makes.

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"That Guy" who exploits rule holes in competitive tournaments is never gonna go away...

and will always find something to manipulate.

But other gamers and organized tournament events can choose to turn away said players.

This person makes the game not fun. And to be honest, while I kinda agree with the "play to win", I believe you should be playing to have fun first. You can still play for fun and better yourself and learn. Playing for fun doesn't mean your not taking note of special effects that happened, or triggers, or whatever. It means your not hung up on losing. You can walk away from a loss and be thinking "that was still fun, and next time maybe I'll get em". Not taking a loss and rage quitting, flipping the table and exclaiming the game is broken.

These are games people.

Games are meant to be fun.

Choose not to play against the "that guy" player. Choose not to have negative people in your life.

Choose not to be frustrated by your opponent who's being a dick.

It's not the game. It's the person playing it.

Really, life is too short not to enjoy yourself. Find someone to play against who feels the same way, have fun.

The "that guy" players will eventually see they have no one to play against. Maybe even realize the error of their ways and try to change there attitudes... But more likely will label the game broke and move on to the next thing they can figure out a way to crush everyone in their path...

Have integrity. Have Fun. It's just a game. (its not real)

My opinion.

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A competitive player is fine..... 'that guy' is not

In reference to the article 'that guy' would be the one who spends the time to unlock the god character or uses the bugs to crash the game if he is loosing....

Me I am a scrub, and made the decision to stay a scrub *grin*

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There is a world of difference, fortunately :)

There is nothing wrong with learning all the rules of a game, and learning how to use them so that you can attempt to swing a game in your favour.

This is nothing, however, to do with being "that guy" who needs to lie, cheat, play dirty and ruin games because all he wants, or care about, is "winning".

I play games to win, but I don't play them to have other people lose. Playing, and being able to play those people again in good spirits, is far more important than the result of any game.

I win if I enjoyed myself

I win if my opponent enjoyed him/herself

I win if I can still get games when I want them

The trick is to do all this and still get more VP than your opponent :)

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That Guy will often have a strange mark upon his body which is immune to pain. He will often be accompanied by an animal familiar with whom he conspires constantly.

In order to identify him, we recommend binding his hands and feet and throwing him into a pond. Or simply asking if he has ever owned a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Demons army.

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Or simply asking if he has ever owned a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Demons army.

(twitch) I actually knew someone like that...singlehandedly killed my interest in that game. It was...impressive.

Honestly, for me, the difference between a competitive player and 'that guy' is that for 'that guy', it isn't enough that he wins. Someone has to lose for him to be having fun. In that sense, I don't think his version of 'fun' is valid. If you're only having fun at the expense of your opponent, not having fun playing the game with your opponent, then you're being 'that guy'.

Another marker for me- He could be steamrolling his opponent, with little effort, and have one thing go wrong and he'll spend the rest of the game complaining about that thing. It doesn't change the outcome of the game, but allowing a 'moral victory' for his opponent actually seems to ruin his 'fun'.

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That Guy will often have a strange mark upon his body which is immune to pain. He will often be accompanied by an animal familiar with whom he conspires constantly.

In order to identify him, we recommend binding his hands and feet and throwing him into a pond. Or simply asking if he has ever owned a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Demons army.

Hey, all those apply to me! And I've never won a game that wasn't a beta test where something turned out to be broken and later got fixed...

I even had a fantasy daemons army. Though in my defence, it never saw a gaming table, or even got unboxed in the same building as a gaming table.

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I find it to be a dangerous line in my experience.

The large competitions that have been held in the area are great for building a sense of a larger community, and the desire to be competitive is a natural extension of that.

The problem is that players get left behind, which can form dangerous schisms in a store play group. People end up not wanting to play other people because they don't have a good experience playing against them (and i'm not innocent of this, i can be a grumpy bastard at times if i can tell my game is over turns before the match is actually done).

I'd say encourage the heavy hitter players to learn new things, and table their 'uber' combos periodically. Sure they have move sets that can crush a 'scrub' every time, but that can end up causing less experienced players to quit, and that in turn can deprive them of interesting match ups in the future.

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Playing competitively is fine, but its also the mark of a good player to be able to read his opponent and know when to use his uber moves/ uber list,.. or not. Especially against younger or newer players (so you don't turn them off from the game)

If the 8yr old you're playing against leaves the table, crying like you just fed his pet rabbit to the neighbors dog,... you're probably being "that guy"

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Playing competitively is fine, but its also the mark of a good player to be able to read his opponent and know when to use his uber moves/ uber list,.. or not. Especially against younger or newer players (so you don't turn them off from the game)

If the 8yr old you're playing against leaves the table, crying like you just fed his pet rabbit to the neighbors dog,... you're probably being "that guy"

This so much. My biggest pet peeve is when people bring their A-game to stomp a newbie. For me, playing a new player is a chance to try something silly and fun as well as teach a new player how to get into the game. People who want to stomp new players into the ground are just...ugh. I will outright refuse to play people who do this.

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That guy = Someone playing a game in a way you don't like.

The application of this term tends to bother me. It is a label that gets attached to opponents who are playing a game the way they want to play it by people who aren't playing the game that way and don't want their opponent to, either.

If a person enjoys playing a game in a certain way, I'm not sure why we need to try to browbeat them into stopping because that's not what we like. I feel it would be similar to me going into my store and starting to classify everyone who didn't play the most efficiently "noobs" and informing them that they need to learn to play or leave the store.

We all enjoy games differently. If someone wants to be "that guy" they are more than welcome to be. Just as you are more than welcome to not play against that person. If you're not having fun, it's on you to change your behavior and not on your opponent to help you have fun.

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That guy = Someone playing a game in a way you don't like.

The application of this term tends to bother me. It is a label that gets attached to opponents who are playing a game the way they want to play it by people who aren't playing the game that way and don't want their opponent to, either.

If a person enjoys playing a game in a certain way, I'm not sure why we need to try to browbeat them into stopping because that's not what we like. I feel it would be similar to me going into my store and starting to classify everyone who didn't play the most efficiently "noobs" and informing them that they need to learn to play or leave the store.

We all enjoy games differently. If someone wants to be "that guy" they are more than welcome to be. Just as you are more than welcome to not play against that person. If you're not having fun, it's on you to change your behavior and not on your opponent to help you have fun.

The only way in which I'll disagree with you on this is that this is a social game. If a person is only having fun when they are clubbing an opponent into submission and they can't do anything about it, that's being 'that guy'. If you sulk because your opponent screwed up your perfect plan and managed to kill a unit, even though you still won (in Malifaux) 8-0, you're being 'that guy'. In general, if the only way a person is having fun is to make sure someone else isn't- then I'm all for forcing them to change their behavior or making it clear they aren't welcome.

That being said, there is room for competitive and fluffy players, and room for them to play each other. I think the dividing line is far too harsh in most places.

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The only way in which I'll disagree with you on this is that this is a social game. If a person is only having fun when they are clubbing an opponent into submission and they can't do anything about it, that's being 'that guy'. If you sulk because your opponent screwed up your perfect plan and managed to kill a unit, even though you still won (in Malifaux) 8-0, you're being 'that guy'. In general, if the only way a person is having fun is to make sure someone else isn't- then I'm all for forcing them to change their behavior or making it clear they aren't welcome.

That being said, there is room for competitive and fluffy players, and room for them to play each other. I think the dividing line is far too harsh in most places.

If we are using "that guy" as a non-derogatory label used to identify the type of player someone is, I have no issue with it. We all fit into some gaming categories. Similarly, we all have the right to say "my way or the highway" to players we don't enjoy playing with.

So I see what you're saying. The issue comes down to the fact that the term "that guy" is generally intended as a derogatory term (similar to the way Rules Lawyer is used). As long as we're not trying to belittle another person's choices in the process of improving our own enjoyment, more power to you.

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That guy = Someone playing a game in a way you don't like.

"I don't think that word means what you think it means"

I think we're talking about, That Guy = being a dick (in the words of Will Wheaton)

Like others said, the one who is only happy to stomp new players, puts a list together that exploits rule holes, and generally is no fun to play against.

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That's how I was using it. Hm. Maybe we need to make a brand new term for the kind of person I was just talking about...

There may already be names for these things. I dunno.

  • Differential gamer - One who wants to have the biggest possible differential to their opponent (I think this will hit most "that guys" that are being referred to.
  • System gamer - One who likes to win the game by manipulating the system itself
  • Non-interpretation gamer - One who likes to try to read the rules strictly as written
  • Competitive gamer - One who will do their best to win games
  • Fluff gamer - Someone who is more interested in thematic approaches to the game
  • Spirit gamer - Someone more interested in the 'spirit' of the rules than the strict writing
  • Casual gamer - Someone who shows up, plays a game, and just doesn't really care about the rest

etc.

I think "that guys" tend to fall into the first 3, depending on who you ask. I don't see any of them as bad approaches to the game. The problem is when it's coupled with a bad attitude.

A great example is the only Malifaux tournament I ever played in, I played as a Differential gamer because it was the best way to win. I used Leve + Collodi. My opponent had no fun in the game. When I bumped into her at GenCon, now approximately a year later, she brought it up again. It stuck with her. And yet, we could still have a decent conversation because my attitude wasn't hostile -- I was just doing everything I could to crush her.

Shrug. It's just not how you play the game to me. It's all about personality. Which is why I don't like using terms that are intended to be derogatory in describing the type of player someone is.

---------- Post added at 04:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:42 PM ----------

"I don't think that word means what you think it means"

I think we're talking about, That Guy = being a dick (in the words of Will Wheaton)

Like others said, the one who is only happy to stomp new players, puts a list together that exploits rule holes, and generally is no fun to play against.

Being a dick and how you play the game are independent things. I'd encourage a separation of things like "exploiting rules holes" and the attitude of a dick.

In other words, this thread could be named: Is it possible to be a competitive player without being a dick?

My answer is yes.

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In other words, this thread could be named: Is it possible to be a competitive player without being a dick?

My answer is yes.

Also possible to be a dick and still be fun to play with.......[points at self].

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just not how you play the game to me. It's all about personality. Which is why I don't like using terms that are intended to be derogatory in describing the type of player someone is.

But 'that guy' is a personality type and a gamer type. There are certain in-game behaviours that you will typically see, but fundamentally its much more about personality than any specific gameplay thing. And this is fundamentally a social hobby, based around doing something we find fun and it includes an implicit social contract for how to behave. That contract will vary a bit depending on your location and situation but in general most people 'get it' and follow pretty much the same contract. 'That guy' is the one who don't care about the social contract, he might (or might not) be following the rules of the game he is playing, but he is disregarding the social rules that governs the interaction. Now some people think that this would be more common/accepted in 'competitive' gaming and so think tournaments are full of this type of persons but I've never personally found this to be the case. Certainly over here the tournament circuit (for any game I've played) have been a very social thing. Indeed for a lot of people the social aspect is at least as important. In some ways I could actually see the more rigid structure and possible outside enforcement of behaviour (TOs) discouraging 'that guy' as they can't impose their will on the situation that easily, bit its really a lot more complicates than that.

Anyway, 'that guy' is, unfortunately, a player type. But one defined by his social behaviour rather than automatically by a specific gameplay behaviour.

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There may already be names for these things. I dunno.

  • Differential gamer - One who wants to have the biggest possible differential to their opponent (I think this will hit most "that guys" that are being referred to.
  • System gamer - One who likes to win the game by manipulating the system itself
  • Non-interpretation gamer - One who likes to try to read the rules strictly as written
  • Competitive gamer - One who will do their best to win games
  • Fluff gamer - Someone who is more interested in thematic approaches to the game
  • Spirit gamer - Someone more interested in the 'spirit' of the rules than the strict writing
  • Casual gamer - Someone who shows up, plays a game, and just doesn't really care about the rest

etc.

I think "that guys" tend to fall into the first 3, depending on who you ask. I don't see any of them as bad approaches to the game. The problem is when it's coupled with a bad attitude.

A great example is the only Malifaux tournament I ever played in, I played as a Differential gamer because it was the best way to win. I used Leve + Collodi. My opponent had no fun in the game. When I bumped into her at GenCon, now approximately a year later, she brought it up again. It stuck with her. And yet, we could still have a decent conversation because my attitude wasn't hostile -- I was just doing everything I could to crush her.

That sort of thing is, I think, acceptable in a tournament to an extent (at which point, like you said, personality is far more of an indicator than gamer type). I remember one time there was a 40k team tournament between two local stores, where folks from each store played each other and scored victory points based on how well they won. I didn't particularly want to play, but one of the stores was down a player on the second day so I stepped in to keep things smooth. I was never a competitive 40k player and usually built fluffy story lists. And the players were polite to me because they knew I was more into that part of the hobby. Some even apologized after stomping on me to death. But that was the tournament, winning by margins counted, so they had every right and reason to do so.

What would make me less than happy is if someone knew I was a fluff player, asked me to play a game, and then proceed to melt me down into nothing by bringing their A-game tournament level list, and then argue about the rules every inch of the way. That never happened to me personally. Usually if someone wanted to face me they'd usually play a for-fun or experimental list (I tended to be the practice dummy for a lot of those). But I have seen instances where people have done that to clearly new players and its just really, really bothersome.

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When I demo with new players I try to make it as fun an experience as possible. When I have been playing against a regular opponent for a while and are both experienced, we will play some games (for fun) where we both bring filth lists and try to curb stomp each other as badly as possible. But these are still fun. We are both doing it, and going in to the game with this expectation. We dont play this way with people who are new.

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A while ago I summed my opinion with: "be as much of a dick as possible to enemy forces, while remaining a gentleman towards the opposing player". I think it still applies.

 

I assume that we're talking about competitive play, because otherwise all the talk about scrubs and pros and cheap strategies go out of the window because a "friendly" match implies different approach.

 

When I play, I play to win, and that's an obvious thing for me. If I play a game, I have to have a real chance to win, even if that chance is 1% because I'm facing a far superior player. If I'm not going to be able to win, I'd rather play a computer game or read a book. That's why I don't like to play games that have roughly fixed length (e.g. you calculate the score at the end, no player elimination) with far superior players. If there's variable length/player elimination, I'm all for it, I love to learn how proper strategies can brutalize inferior ones.

 

I hate to handicap myself during the game. If I want to give myself a handicap, I'd rather play a sub-par list/character against a stronger one. Why should I perform badly?

 

For me, the limits of playing to WAAC are:

- no cheating - that includes grabbing dice, fudging measurements, erasing wounds, lying about rules/stats/etc., and also lying by omission - if you know there's a rule that harms you and you "forget" to mention that, it's still cheating in my book.

- no gaming the rules for your advantage - some rules are unclear and open to interpretation, that does not mean you should always take the one that benefits you the most. Otherwise we might as well roll a die/flip a card every time this happens, because no one's gonna budge.

- psychological warfare is kept against the army, not against the player - bragging, claims of superiority, trash talk etc., are part of the game, as long as they're kept at what pertains to the table directly. Telling a player he's gonna lose because *insert other unrelated life failing* or blackmailing to win ("if you attack me you're sleeping on the couch today" - some female players) make you an asshole at the cost of the other player

- do you deserve to win? - some might argue that WAAC plays are justified when there's prize money on the line. I say that if you're gonna cross basic lines of decency/honesty, you might as well steal the prize because after all, it's about the money right? Why waste others' time.

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Honestly, for me, the difference between a competitive player and 'that guy' is that for 'that guy', it isn't enough that he wins. Someone has to lose for him to be having fun.

This is the best definition I've ever heard.

 

The competitive player plays to win. If they're in a differential tournament, they play for differential. If they're in a win-count tournament, they play to maximize win odds. First they define winning, then they strive for it.

 

That Guy plays to beat people. For them, game enjoyment is a zero-sum experience. Every ounce of enjoyment that their opponent derives from a game is fun they did not have.

 

It's not about tactics, it's about attitude.

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Playing Malifaux back in 1.5, I took my Sonnia army against my friends Ramos.  We were both playing fluffy, but I had more experience with my army than he had with his.  I gave that little thought since we both had lots of gaming experience and plenty against each other as well.  I proceeded to stomp him into the dirt.  Now, I tried not to be rude about it, but the fight was entirely one sided.  I think he did not get any victory points.  Now, I have beat him before, he has beat me.  Our victories have been one sided at times, but this was so bad, that he no longer had fun and even though Sonnia was one of my favorites, he asked me not to play them anymore.  I understood why, and I benched them until 2E where he is happier with the balance and does not feel like the game is not fun.  That aside, there were several things that kept me from being "that guy."  The main thing was that I took little joy in the fact that loosing to me was a crush to his actual gaming spirit.  We joke about it now, but at the time, it was bad.  

 

That was an example of being competitive and it ending badly.  No one was trying to be "that guy" but I kinda ended up that way, or at least close to it.  I have several armies and was able to play him with everything under the sun instead of Sonnia.  WE had many fun games after that, no bad blood or love loss between us.  We are still good friends and game regularly to this day.  He is one of my best friends up here in WA.  I am looking at you Davicus.

 

Now, this is an example of being "that guy."

 

I was in a Battletech Tourny back in FL.  The group that was hosting it was from a town over and we heard through the grapevine about it.  So my play group decided that we would come and enjoy the sport.  So, we got there and paid our fees and entered the tourney.  The players there were a bit shocked to see us as they figured they would be handing out gift cards to the only few people that showed up.  We all set up and played our games.  We scored our victory points and when we got to the semifinals, I bested my opponent putting me in the last match.  I was happy and I watched the ending of the other semi final and I saw something that I will never forget.  The person from the hosting playgroup was winning the battle.  He had more victory points, but he was going for the kill as that would have gained him the auto win.  At the end of the turn when time was called, the guy from my playgroup had a pilot that was unconscious and almost dead.   Time was called and the mech was still alive.  According to the rules that they had set up, points should be tallied and whoever had the most collective points would go to the finals.  Instead, they said "because he is unconscious, next turn he can call shot and kill him that way."  The tourney coordinator was being "that guy" by going against the established rules, by cheating for his friend.  The other player was also being that guy by not sticking up for the rules that they established, he could have played by the rules, but instead he cheated.   After that match, I became "that guy" by using every dirty underhanded trick in the book to win the tourney and make my opponent feel bad.  By the end of that game, there were three people being "that guy."  Perhaps I should not have crossed that line, but I did, and I rubbed it in my opponents face.  I feel a little bad about that, not as bad as I should.  

 

In the first example, there was no intent on being a jerk.  There were a few moves that I rubbed into my friends face, but it was friendly jest.  When I saw that I was hurting him, I stopped.  In the second example, everyone was intending to be a jerk.  To the point that they went out of their way to put people into the ground, myself included.  You can want to win and not be a jerk or a dick or whatever you want to call it.  But when you cross that line and your intent is to cut someone down, then that is when you become that guy.  

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