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Sportsmanship

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by hobbsyoyo, May 17, 2018 at 12:37 AM.

  1. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo https://thespacecadetblog.com/

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    Share stories of good sportsmanship, bad sportsmanship or in-between edge cases. Discussion of any competitive activity is welcome including (but not limited to) sports, video games and board games.

    Edge Case:
    Settlers of Catan (Board Game)

    After work a group of 5 of us got together. Several of us had some tasks to finish after the game so we all kind of wanted to finish it quickly. One gentleman, Bob, is semi-pro level and wins 75% of all the games played. He's very competitive, very good and over all a nice guy.

    The game came to what could have been the final round. I was in the lead and needed one more turn to clench it. Bob was in last place (for once) by a wide margin. By this point everyone was complaining about how long the game had dragged on and had concluded that regardless of what happened, this was their last round.

    It came to be Bob's turn on the last round and he decided to build three roads, which robbed me of the longest road +2 victory points and meant the game would continue. No one got mad, no fits were thrown. By all rights he should have played that move even though it didn't change his own ranking.

    Half the group go up and left. No feelings were hurt but to me it was pretty selfish even if perfectly logical.

    Am I wrong or just butthurt? Was his conduct sportsmanlike?

    (I was one of the people that walked because they had more work to do :sad: _
     
  2. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Prolonging a game out of ego when you know the others either don't have time, have lost interest, or are tired is definitely unsportsmanlike.

    I don't think you did anything wrong. It's not like he wasn't aware that some of you wanted the game to finish quickly and if it didn't, you intended to leave.
     
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  3. Berzerker

    Berzerker Chieftain

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    anyone here ever play "Diplomacy"?

    Its about the most unsportsmanlike game I've ever played, the goal is to dominate Europe by backstabbing other players you've convinced to trust you.

    Its hard to take the dagger in the back too, hurt feelings are common.
     
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  4. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo https://thespacecadetblog.com/

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    Yeah that's where I'm kind of at with it. It was ego and immaturity. I'm not even mad and legitimately couldn't care less that I didn't win. It was just frustrating he wouldn't let it end. I can't emphasize enough how there weren't any tantrums or hard feelings. A lot of Catan games do devolve into hurt feelings by the end but this one was different...we just wanted it over.

    But then I got home and thought, am I just a big baby about it? I'm glad at least some one agrees with me that it was unsportsmanlike.

    Catan's like that too.

    During my very first game (not of the night, but ever), a guy I was playing against tricked me into a too-good trade deal so that he could use a card that allowed him to steal everything he traded me and then some. The trick only worked because no one had told me the specific card he used even existed.

    The consensus was that it was a jerk move but honestly I feel like today's game was worse though feelings weren't really hurt.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018 at 1:16 AM
  5. Broken_Erika

    Broken_Erika Neurotic Panda

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    I remember seeing an ad for Diplomacy on the back of my old Axis and Allies board game manual...
    I also remember one time playing quake 3 online and having all the other players gang up on me while taunting me with various insults. Then i got kicked off the server and banned for actually fragging one of them. I guess i must have joined a Troll server.
     
  6. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo https://thespacecadetblog.com/

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    I don't play a lot of online games and have only encountered unsportsmanlike conduct once. During a Call of Duty match on the Wii, someone had a hack that kept them from dying and gave them unlimited ammo. If the person took a fatal shot their character would go down into the last stand mode (you're on the ground for a few seconds and can shoot a few last rounds at your enemies before dying) except you couldn't kill him. A group of players all stood around the player's prone body pumping lead into him/her while they emptied bottomless clips firing back. After a couple of minutes his avatar popped back on his feet and was able to play normally until it went down again to reset the cycle. He never actually died and nothing anyone could do could completely kill him, just disable him for a minute or two.

    That game pretty much sucked. It wasn't fun at all to play against an invincible hacker.

    Oh I guess there were a few hacked games of the original Star Craft back in the day that I dealt with but my memory of those is pretty spotty.
     
  7. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Chieftain

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    I played a little in college. I didn't like it. You were stupid if you told the truth, and I hated lying.
     
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  8. Berzerker

    Berzerker Chieftain

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    yeah, I actually felt lousy about backstabbing people...worse than when I was on the receiving end of a betrayal.
     
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  9. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I've played a lot of Diplomacy. It was actually part of my Grade 12 Social Studies class. The teacher had several sets, divided the class into groups of 7, and told us that each person who won our group's game would receive 5% extra on their final report card mark. So we were highly motivated to do well at it.

    Problem was, that was the first time I had ever played a strategy game, and the first time I'd ever played a game without either dice, a spinner, a timer, or something like checkers or crokinole. Added to that inexperience was the frustrating experience of being assigned Germany... right in the middle of the board, in everybody's way, and because of RL history, everyone hating Germany in the first place.

    Let's just say that if my game were RL, Germany would have surrendered within the first half-dozen turns and not been any further problem to anyone. Of course it did screw up the plans of the Austrian player, who complained, "You can't do that!". I told her, yes, I can do that, took my armies off the board, and proceeded to be a spectator for the remainder of the game. Even with a session of coaching from the teacher, I found the rules too confusing and figured that no extra 5% was worth this kind of stress - I'd just study extra hard for the final.

    The second person out of that game was Italy. My friend - who had also been my partner for the debate portion of the class - got frustrated one day, raised her textbooks above the game board, and declared, "I'm gonna nuke everything!". Since that would have wrecked everyone else's game (and by that time I'd discovered a love of time travel and alt-history stories), I told her, "You can't do that. They didn't have nukes in World War I."

    So she opted not to nuke everything by dropping her books on the board, but just quietly let her country be taken over by whoever. The rest of the group was more serious, and eventually it came to a showdown between Britain and Turkey. Britain won.

    After that, I felt... kinda dumb, and annoyed about the whole thing. I thought that I should have been able to learn that game, especially after picking up a book called The Winner's Guide to Board Games (an invaluable resource for gamers, and there's a nice long section dealing with Diplomacy). So I decided to get my own Diplomacy game and learn the damn thing. I was so determined that I walked to the mall in a blizzard, took my half-frozen self to the toy store, and bought it ($15.98 - a small fortune in those days). Then I walked home, all the while ignoring the people in the cars who thought I was nuts to be out walking on the bridge over the river in that weather.

    I studied the rules, and without the stress of the classroom situation, some of it started to make more sense. I taught a couple of the neighbor kids the basics, and so we practiced. We didn't get cutthroat like it was in the classroom, or how lots of adult gamers do. And years later, one of the kids came back for a visit, and said, "Do you still have that Diplomacy game we used to play? I want to look up something in the rules because I've got some people who want to play it."

    So I considered it to be overall a good thing that I didn't give up. And having forced myself to learn Diplomacy, it was easier to learn other games like Risk and the original Civilization board game (tip to new players: Crete is a bad place for novices to start from). The last time I played Civilization was a PBEM set up on a Yahoo! group. I did play Crete in that one, and had a couple of secret alliances with two other players. Sadly, the host went MIA a couple of turns before the game was to have ended. We never did finish it.

    I had a situation sort of like that. I was playing Risk with my boyfriend, and things got to the point where he could easily have taken over my last couple of territories, but stopped short and gave me a chance to recover a few. Things see-sawed back and forth for quite a few turns, and it was getting late at night. I was tired, and wanted the game to be over. Finally I said, "Will you just kill me and get this over with?"

    Unlike you, I couldn't leave. We were playing on my kitchen table.
     
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  10. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Chieftain

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    Played it a couple of time (board game) in the 70ies when one of my friends got it for his birthday.
    Remember not that much about it. A kind of WW1 setting. Too boring to play really.
    Especially because we were all addicted to the board game RISK, which was much more exciting.

    On sportmanship and RISK and how difficult the borderline can be:
    RISK is a power of balance game which plays most nicely with 3-5 people.
    The essence of that balance is that if you are not nr 1 in power at any given time, your actions should primarily be aimed at weakening the Nr 1, UNLESS you can gain power by weakening another that is NOT to the benefit of the Nr 1.
    IF you add to that, that communicating in RL with each other is (chosen to be) forbidden about alliances of any duration, and communication on alliances can only be guessed from your moves on the board... it is a fantastic game as long as everybody sticks to not secretly communicating, which we considered as highly unsportsmanlike.
    (as example: a simple way to nonverbal de-escalate tension on a border of a continent you own is to have only 1 army at the border cell and a pile of armies the area 1 move behind the border cell)
    The game then exists out of manoeuvring in such a way that other players are forced to bleed more than they gain compared to yourself, whereby often situations arise where you are forced to bleed, because otherwise the Nr 1 becoes too powerfull and wins the game.
    And there the more grey area starts of unsportmanship, because there is now also a blurring element of good judgment, how long you can postpone to act at a negative balance for yourself.
    New players to the game needed ofc their learning curve.

    With good players the game could last very long.
    But because of the high enough random effect of rolling the dices with every battle, in practice there occur sudden opportunities that change a local balance enough to roll on to bigger unbalances, complete wars and a victory.


    With chess, what I also played (too much) at that age, in formal competition the most unsportmanship action for me, that also regularly happened, was when you were clearly in a winning postion and had done your 40 moves (taking a full evening), and your opponent did not give up, @#$%^&, and you had to break off the game (noting the positions of all pieces for an envelope sealed with signatures) to waste an evening on playing it out. Often some remote location to travel to.
    Ofc there was an element of judgment in it, and it did also happened that players after analysing at home, gave up the game by phone. But most of the times it was just the stubborn behaviour of people not accepting the inevitable, or some pensioner having all the time of the world.

    With physical sports I find both deliberate or deliberate uncarefull actions by opponents leading to sports injuries really bad unsportmanship.
    I preferred volleybal because of that and the teamship.
    With basketball I got too many elbows in my groins (I am 6'4). With indoor football, already stressing my knees and ankles, there were more possibilities to retalliate, which I did consequently.
     
  11. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy Drinking with Obama

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    In that situation I hope everyone playing left the game thinking "hobbsyoyo won this game tonight", even if you didn't technically win yet. I know I would have.

    I don't know if poor sportmanship is the exact words to describe what Bob did. It doesn't sit right with me to have a losing player just roll over and die/give up to be considered good sportmanship. It's the opposite of the typical situation where someone is up by so many points it's bad sportsmanship to keep adding on points (though the ATL/NE superbowl should show that you better make sure that margin is large enough). There are things a losing player can do that I would consider bad sportsmanship, but this one isn't one of them.
     
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  12. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy Drinking with Obama

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    Receiving end of unsportsmanlike conduct:
    In my early days on being online I played early versions of online chess and these weren't properly thought out, this was late 90's, maybe 2000-2001. If the other player left the game you didn't get credit for the win. Perhaps this was because of connection issues (dial-up) would frustrate people by losing lots of games. Unfortunately this meant players who lost a piece early or in a losing position could leave the game so they wouldn't get a loss on their record/give you the win. Too many years ago to remember for sure, but another thing could have been if there was no time limit you could just not move and hope the other guy loses his connection/has to leave so you get a win by forfeit.

    My unsportsmanlike conduct on others:
    I played an online game where you build up your castle and go conquer other people and then when you conquered them they have to pay you tribute by giving you 10%? of their production until they can rebel or someone else conquers them and their tribute goes to the new master. I wasn't that interested in the game, had nothing invested in the game (I had invested time, but had not spent any money) and hated paying tribute, so I would shut off all production (10% of 0 is 0), even named my city 'NO TRIBUTE'. Most people after seeing me turn off production would return complete control back to me (no tribute) with a chuckle and say something like "Ok, I guess I don't really need your tribute" (some after a couple days to make sure I was serious). There was one guy who just couldn't comprehend this "I don't really care" mentality and never gave it up ("You WILL pay me tribute!!!! This is how you play the game!!!!!! With no production you aren't getting anything either!!!")

    Conduct thought to be unsportsmanlike (cheating) when it wasn't:
    Flash game, some game where you try to keep the balls bouncing (like breakout), but not increasingly difficult. Could pause the game so that is why I was able to keep the balls bouncing for 8 hours straight, since I could take breaks. Was assumed that since I had scored millions of points I must have cheated (when other high scores were in the tens of thousands).
     
  13. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Chieftain

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    In World of Tanks, and probably other online games, the issue of "seal clubbing" comes up a lot. That's when a skilled player competes at a lower in-game tier. There are legitimate reasons to do this once in a while, but one reason people do it is because novice players are, by definition, more numerous in the lower tiers and you can "pad your stats" and make yourself feel like a pro by clobbering players who don't know what they're doing. It's a challenging game, even without a shark snacking on the minnows, and the game's designers made the choice to throw everybody into the same pool, so it's up to the veteran players to decide to stay in the deep end or not.
     
  14. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo https://thespacecadetblog.com/

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    I agree, someone shouldn't necessarily throw in the towel solely to end the game. In this instance there were a lot of mitigating circumstances that don't normally apply. Unfortunately his pride was such that he would rather have half the table quit because they had long commutes back home or had to get back to work rather than let things wrap up. He was in last place, he just couldn't let someone else win despite being the all time champ by a huge margin. He valued loss avoidance higher than everyone else's time. And it isn't even the case that he was really throwing in the towel by letting the game end. He had no towel to throw, he was in last place by a large margin and was unable to change the overall rankings, he just prolonged the game because he could.

    I also suspect he wanted half the table to walk to give him a chance of winning that he didn't have.


    But I definitely concede it's an edge case and accept your assessment even if I disagree. I'm not even mad at the guy, just dissapointed in how little regard he held everyone else's time. One of the players had an 1.5 hr commute to tackle. It was 830pm and she was supposed to be back at 6am the next day. We were 3 hours into the game at that point.
     
  15. rah

    rah Chieftain Supporter

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    If a risk game last longer than 7 or 8 turns, something has gone extremely wrong.
    Unless we were all wasted 5 or 6 was usually the max. Once that many cards are available to take, risks should be taken.

    Fortunately the group of people that I usually game with don't take stuff personally and realize it's just a game.

    And yeah prolonging a lost game to inconvenience the group wouldn't sit well in our group. 99 out of a 100 times the person would just graciously concede.
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I'll go against the grain here and say those who stood up and left were unsportsmanlike. If you don't want to play a game that takes a while, don't play Catan.

    I've actually been in this exact sort of situation! Last saturday we were playing Catan and one of us was clearly going to win. This became apparent maybe 20-30 minutes before the game finished. Instead of throwing the game, we all started working against him to try to make it harder for him to win. He ended up winning anyway, but fun was had by all.

    This is normal to me. It's a game where the object is to win, so everyone's going to try to finish in the best possible situation. Sure, if we all agreed at the beginning to play "for 60 minutes MAX", then that would be another story entirely. But if no such agreement was made ahead of time, then you play as long as the game lasts. It's Catan, it can take a while, everybody knew that going in. Just walking away from the game is a jerk move IMO, unless the whole group agrees that the game should just end.

    In your case the person who was going to win usually wins (from what you said), so I can see that working out okay. With my group we don't have a pro among us, so you don't know who is going to win. So even if it at one point it becomes clear that player X is going to win, we give this person the satisfaction of actually winning, but we don't make it easy on him/her. It's supposed to be a game, so we all try to win, until the end. That seems fair - why quit the game just so the person winning can't get that satisfaction of a complete win? Games were meant to be finished, etc. Unless there's something important coming up, in which case we would have agreed for the game to run until a certain point in time ahead of time. But we usually don't do that, in that scenario we just play a game that doesn't take so long.

    Our group, when we meet for board games, we set aside enough time for complete games. I guess if you don't do that, and you agree to cut games short when it's clear that somebody's going to win, then that's fine, but IMO it should be agreed on before the game starts.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018 at 12:19 PM
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  17. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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  18. Berzerker

    Berzerker Chieftain

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    wrt civilization, I'm unsportsmanlike to the AI... If I'm not protected well and a fleet shows up to take a coastal city I just start a new game rather than struggle to retake the lost territory. Hell, I'll even load a save if I lose a general or important unit in battle when I'm on the attack.

    in RL, I play(ed) competitive sports. In HS/college I pitched and I wouldn't intentionally hit batters in retaliation for something they did. It wasn't so much about sportsmanship, I was just paranoid about hitting people. I didn't throw that hard but I still didn't want to risk causing someone a serious injury (or death) with a bean ball. I play competitive golf still, especially match play, and dont want to win on a 'cheap' penalty. One time my opponent lost his ball on the 18th hole and I saw him accidentally kick it as he wandered around looking. I told him he found his ball ;) and didn't count the penalty. If I was gonna win, it wouldn't be on something like that.
     
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  19. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    I'd say, even if you want to play a game that takes a while, don't play Catan. But I guess opinions will differ on that.

    The problem is that there is usually at least one player who gets boxed in early and then has to keep playing the next two hours without being able to do anything meaningful. This tends to be quite frustrating and sometimes that frustration leads to unsportsmanlike conduct.

    A lot of it depends on the mood of the people playing. If everyone has plenty of time and is having fun, then trying to make it difficult is ok. But if half of the people are tired already, then I consider delaying the inevitable to be bad sportsmanship. People might know that it might take a while, but might not be prepared to how long it could take to finish the game. What looked like a 90 minute game can turn out to be 5 hours. In that case it is perfectly acceptable to either finish prematurely or walk away if you have somewhere else to be.
     
  20. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    @warpus: The issue isn't that they didn't want to play a long game per se. It's that some of them had a long commute to get home and had to be at work very early the next morning. It wasn't the fun thing to do, but given that work is more important than Catan, it was the sensible thing to do.

    Of course there was another solution, although I'm not sure if it would have worked with this specific game. There were times when a Diplomacy game went long, so what I did was write down where everyone's armies and navies were, and we picked the game up the next day, or whenever we could get together again.
     

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