The Patriots let the game slip from their grasp when the Giants played a superior game to win today’s Superbowl putting an end to the Patriots’ perfect season. Before everyone in New England calls me a traitor let me say that although I thought the Pats would lose the game, after I saw how the Giants were playing, I hoped I would be wrong. Everyone loves the local team to win and winning the Superbowl on top of a perfect season and combined with the Red Sox winning the World Series would be a great way for this sports season to go in Boston. Sadly that was not to be.
By now reader, you are thinking “this is a gaming blog why the heck are we talking sports?” It is true that most gamers don’t care about sports. If they did they would spend more time outdoors being physically healthy. But that is a topic for another day. The reason I mention the Superbowl and the Patriots losing it will become apparent momentarily.
There comes a time in every gamer’s life when they see the unhappy truth approaching of losing the game. Maybe the Repeater Bolt Thrower didn’t take out enough Chaos Warriors. Perhaps those Cygnarian Warjacks couldn’t kill the Butcher. Possibly you couldn’t get Power 9 out in time. Or maybe your level 70 Tauren Hunter has no friends to heal him as he ventures into Onyxia’s Lair in World of Warcraft. Whatever the case is you suddenly lose that elated feeling and realize that victory is slipping out of reach. Call it an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. Call it fate. Call it luck. No matter what you call it you’re losing.
Do you cry? Do you get throw your models across the table? Do you cede the win and give up? Or, do you throw yourself into it with a greater fervor providing the most fun your opponent and you have ever had? I’m sure you may feel like doing the first three, from time to time. However I hope that you choose the road less traveled and give it your all with a renewed source of energy.
Losing a game does not equate to being a loser. Yet, doing anything but putting your best foot forward and having a blast results in your election as Mayor of Loserville. Most of the big tournaments out there such as Games Day, the Grand Tournaments, Rogue Traders, and all the major cons (GenCon, Kublacon, etc) place a major emphasis on good sportsmanship. The #1 Rule of Warmachine is “play like you got a pair!” That doesn’t mean to be a jackass or exploit every rule. It means to play your best and make each game as fun as possible. Your opponent will thank you and you’ll thank yourself for putting in the effort. Nobody likes to lose but if you have a fun game, that is all you will both remember.
I know this sounds trite. Play nice, be a good sport, be friendly, don’t pout and on and on are maxims drilled into us from an early age. As with any maxim there is at least a modicum of truth. I firmly believe that a game is great if all players have fun. The only times I’ve failed to like a game are when my opponent or I are bad sports. People who take advantage of all the rules aka “Rules Lawyers” are no fun to play against. Players who cheat intentionally or otherwise find themselves void of opponents soon enough. This happens in the best of times but when your well laid plans are falling apart it is easy to let the little things bother you and to revert to a less than happy place.
When you find yourself losing a game try these 10 step to turn things around.
- Take a deep breath. It is cleansing and allows you to refocus.
- Ignore everyone around you. Friends and others at the event may be cheering you on or taunting you. Either way they’re a distraction.
- SMILE! Nothing says happiness like a big smile.
- Look your opponent in the eye. Establishing eye contact shows trust and creates a personal relationship.
- Make jokes. When your charge fails say “I guess they drank too much Dwarven Ale last night.” You’ll both get a laugh.
- Be gracious and helpful. If your opponent forgets to do something they meant to, then remind them. Yes, even in a tourney.
- Don’t give up! No matter what, don’t make stupid moves. Don’t sacrifice your troops without just cause. Don’t flee. Don’t swipe and cede the win. Play until the end.
- Shake hands. You do this in little league and you should do this now. Shake your opponent’s hand and say “Good game” like you mean it. This can, more than anything, show that you’re a good sport.
- Help clean up. Put the terrain away. Clear the table off. Move onto the next station in a tourney. Doing these simple chores together shows that you’re both just people who game and are equal. No winner and no loser just two people.
- Hang out afterwards. Grab a beer together. Get some food. Or, just play another game. If you can, talk about the game in a friendly way. Laugh about it and have some fun. It is only a game and friendships formed with fellow gamers mean more than winning or losing a game.
These steps may seem simple at first and they are. Mostly they are common sense but implementing them can be hard. Just do your best even if your opponent is being a bad sport. Stooping to their level is never good. At least you can remind yourself that you did your best to make it a fun game. More times than not, I’ve bonded with gamers after losing a game than winning one.
There’s an old adage about not letting girls (or guys as the case may be) coming between friends. I like to think that games shouldn’t come between gamers. I’ve met a lot of great people through gaming and like to think of many of them as friends. Even if they’re just gaming friends they are still a friendly face and a buddy to chat with. If you remember this and use the 10 Steps you’ll always have a blast and turn the emphasis from winning onto having fun. The Patriots may have lost the big game but they did the best they could and made it a fun game for both teams. We can all take a page from their playbook. Now get out there and keep gaming!