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Wargaming ASKEW: Behavior Modification

3 Minute Read
Apr 30 2010

I am pretty whinny person when it comes down to it. I whine about paying car insurance. I whine about having to walk up three flights of stairs to my condo. I whine almost daily about how terrible the new Clash of the Titans movie was. I even whine sometimes playing 40k. Worse, the better you get to know me, chances of me whining increase. My whining though revolves around things I cannot control– like rolling 6s all the time.

I remember I was 11 when I started the dark journey into wargaming. At that point if the dice wouldn’t go my way I would often curse and throw mini tantrums. Still I would never get violent towards my opponent. I might throw the dice across the room or break one of my own models. Of course as I got older I matured into the happy-go-lucky guy you can find today.

Nowadays I am pretty much play fast and loose. Occasionally in competitive play I might get a little uptight if you don’t know the rules. I didn’t know at the time that showing grown men the rules can cause some to cry. Made only more tragic (funny) when they are like 6’4 and had a good 100 pounds heavier than you. Anyway I digress.

I do think there is a point somewhere… so I was wondering the Interweb this week, I came across a thread asking gamers if they had ever been kicked out of their local gaming store or gaming circles. I found it amazing that not only did people had stories of being kicked out, but just how violent some of them were. One in chap in particular regaled how he’d been kicked out of two different stores and would be arrested if he went to a third.

This guy got in a fist fight for the first store. Threw a metal figure at another person’s head for the second one. Then, attempted a throat choke against a bystander for trying to “steal” one of his figures. Regardless if this is just an Internet tall-tale for attention, many other stories had similar tones. I just could not imagine this sort of thing was even possible. I mean there are win at all costs players and then there is criminal behavior– I never knew they could be so close.

Then I thought of a tournament I attended awhile back. I remember my final game got done before the top table had finished. So I went over to watch as a silent spectator. What I saw blew my mind. Never had I seen such a verbally abusive game in my life. I was having flashbacks to Heathers and Pump up the Volume movie moments– minus the Christian Slater. It was the big kid picking on the little kid, only difference was these were adults!

It was obvious that one person wanted to win more than the other. The big guy started off by accusing the little guy of all things that anyone would consider makes a bad player. From not knowing rules, to cheating, to slow play and everything in between.

What was worse, anytime things would go the bug guy’s way he would fist bump and curse down at the little guy. The big guy was such a tool, even though he played by the rules I still got the same feelings I get from watching a total cheater. To top it off he added in some racial epithets for good measure. I stood in silent horror as everything transpired.

The little guy kept his head low saying he was sorry anytime the big guy raged. The big guy ended up winning the game only because the little guy forgot to move a model in the final turn. Something I sure he would have remember if he was not badgered for the entire game. I should have said something and stand up for the little guy, but rules of non-interference prevented me.


So now seeing such behavior first hand I wonder does the big guy knows what he is doing? That he is drives away players he might want to play? Does the little guy know this sort of WAAC player is few and far between? Should the observer step in? All anyone wants is to have fun and people who might have problems with losing need to either pick a different game or learn to treat everyone with a little more respect. You’d think it would be that simple…

What kind of bad behavior you’ve seen on the table top? What has been your reaction to bad behavior by your fellow gamers. How do you react when treated poorly? If you want more abuse come and visit

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