Well it’s a bit delayed in getting here, but I’m ready to write a bit on this topic to sort of wrap-up this discussion of problem gamers and how they usually exist in the typical gaming group.

What it almost always comes down to with gaming is this. It is a hobby shared in most cases by friends. In some cases, the friends are brought together from other parts of each others’ lives and in some cases they only have gaming really between them. Ultimately, the important facet is that these folks get along with each other enough to have fun and enjoy gaming.

This tolerance doesn’t always extend itself, nor do I necessarily believe it should, to gamers who can’t participate in an average gaming social setting without making the others miserable. If we were required to have such people in our groups, why would we even play? Unless you wish to make an argument that the whole field is masochistic, there is no reason.

In cases of “girlfriends” or friends who you keep, but who you don’t normally mix with your “gaming friends” as two fine examples of this issue, there is a secondary relationship that makes it more difficult than to just say “F*ck you” and show them the door as one of my commenters mentioned (and as I previously noted, our group came very close to using that exact language more than once). In these kinds of situations, you just have to let the drama play itself out. There is no easy answer.

In situations in general that involve friends, drama is a natural by-product and for people who game it is usually enhanced. We all seem to share a basic “acting” gene in our desire to either run games or be players, and perhaps the melodrama is artificially magnified as a result. With these situations, what happens will happen and you’re usually going to be left with the aftermath and dealing with how it affects your (perhaps revised) gaming group.

Violent gamers, usually that way as the result of some mental instability or another, or maybe just born mean, are a very touchy subject. Once they exhibit violence, the whole group has to be united in getting them out. Put it on one or two people and you risk endangering those people. People who are prone to violence have in my experience the ability to focus in ways you’d prefer they not and if six or seven people calmly ask them to not come back as opposed to one, there’s less of a chance of an incident. Again, this is just advice. Handle things how best you feel they need to be handled, but always use a bit of caution. Who wants their ass beat (or brains bashed in) over a game?

Another commenter brought up the significant other variant…the “Watcher”. Yes I’ve dealt with them too. Their sole function seems to be to ruin everyone’s good time. Unlike problem gamers, these people are just problems. They don’t want to be there. Whether they think you’re all retarded or not is immaterial. It’s how they will act to one degree or another. The person who brought them will naturally want to defend them even as he/she is cringing at their comments. They might see any criticisms from you as an attack on that person and all that causes is a “rallying around the flag” situation.

Your best bet in these cases is to ignore them as best you can. That usually makes them worse, but some also shut up when they realize no one’s playing. The ones who get worse, well you can continue to ignore them or fire back your own one liners. Turning the other cheek only goes so far. Ensure also that when you talk to the person that brought them later, you don’t flat out blame them for it, but DO make it clear that such a move wasn’t the brightest and that they made everyone miserable as a result.

Feel free to use the phrase “I’m sure he/she’s a very nice person, but they were a grand douchebag during our game”. If that douchebag can’t sell it, nothing can. 🙂

Please take these suggestions for what they are; a small window into how I and some I know have had to deal with such issues in the past. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Such problems are best excised like a tumor at the earliest possible opportunity before they become a real problem for your group. Don’t worry. They’ll find another group. They always do. How do you think they got into yours???

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