Friday, 30 November 2007

The Fun Murderers

Sometimes, the stars just line up.

Today, the erstwhile Ken B. posted that image of CUBICOLA which of course pretty much sums up the arbeit macht frei ethos of the Eurogame design paradigm. Then I read this post over on Boardgamenews.com where Yehuda Berlinger offers his eloquent yet completely preposterous thoughts that games, somehow, aren't "supposed" to be fun, that the medium itself does not specifically require fun although every definition in the entire world in every language indicates that games are an amusement device. I've already ranted about this in the CUBICOLA post but it dovetails nicely into the sad events that transpired last night at my usual gaming get-together. But first, let's frame the story.

There's been this new guy coming around recently...I'll call him F. F is a middle-aged guy, probably has some kind of IT job but I don't know. He's the kind of guy who wears white Reeboks and would likely make fashion guru Tim Gunn throw up in his mouth. Probably lives alone and does well enough without a man or woman in his life. Definitely a longtime gamer, a veteran of who knows how many wars and auctions. Now, I usually have a strict policy that I'll never play games with somebody I don't know except under very specific circumstances- running a retail store with in-store gaming teaches you a lot of hard lessons that way. But a couple of weeks ago, I let F in on a game of STARCRAFT which included my best gaming buddies Duke, Billy Motion, and the elusive Robert Martin. What I didn't know at the time was that F was a Fun Murderer.

F spent the whole game, which he had played once before, informing us all of what our best moves were and how we should proceed with our turn. When I placed an order on top of a giant pile of Billy and Robert's orders, he notified me with impeccable elan that I was making a stupid and suboptimal move. I politely replied that I was simply fucking with Billy and Robert simultaneously and therefore I considered myself to be the winner of the game prior to any actual decision. We're talking a nearly constant steam of condescending rules lawyering, folks. To top it off, F happens to have one of those voices that is somehow louder than everything else at all times. Kind of like a Motorhead song.

So the next week, it was time for STARCRAFT again. I'm setting it up to play with a family that I've been gaming with for a couple of years that folks affectionately call the Rock n' Roll family for a number of reasons that don't matter here. Billy was promised seat #6 in this game. So I'm setting it up and F immediately inculcates himself into our game. So I very politely tell him that Billy is slated for the very seat he has taken command of and I even told him that if we play a second game I'd let him in on it. I lied.

So now we have a context for how F, one of the Fun Murderers out there who will stop at nothing until all fun is exterminated from gaming, and I ended our brief relationship last night over a game of WAR ON TERROR. When I arrived, the Rock n' Roll family was already there (and had brought REVOLUTION, a game that I really like but never get to play) and I pulled out my new copy of the now-domestically-available WAR ON TERROR, one of the silliest, stupidest, nastiest, and just plain fun games of recent years. I knew they'd dig it because they like big map, kill-em-all sorts of games with lots of negotiation. Me too. It really needs six, so when F came running up to once again insinuate himself at our table I didn't resist even though I knew I should have.

It actually went pretty well for the first 3/4 of the game despite F's repeat performance as a bar-approved rules lawyer. It was his first game, but he was no shrinking violet about telling everyone else how to play the game or what their best moves were. I told him at least five times that you can't make a terrorist attack with a "War" card yet he continually told everyone that they could. I refused to defer to his innate understanding of the rules which he had never read. F turned terrorist at that 3/4 point and then declared that the game was pretty much over- which is, in a game of outrageous fortune like WAR ON TERROR, very far from the truth.

Things came to a head when F decided to throw a fit directed at the youngest member of the Rock n' Roll family. He's a great kid, very smart and a pretty damn good gamer but he's very loud, outspoken, and he's well, a kid. So The Kid asks a rules question and F, in a very unfriendly and uncomfortably loud tone responds "Maybe if you'd pay attention to the game you'd know what you were doing. You're sitting there yelling the whole time it's no wonder you don't know what's going on."

Now, let me point a few things out here. One, this is a middle-aged man yelling at a child. Two, this is a middle-aged man yelling at a child while he's sitting next to the child's father, brothers, and a friend. Three, this is a middle-aged man yelling at a child while he's sitting next to the child's father, brothers, and friend while playing a board game that has no other purpose in life than to entertain us, make us laugh, and give us a fun social experience. And to top it off, this guy is louder than the voice of god and he's calling this kid out for yelling?

So the garrulous, goofy tone of the game was suddenly replaced by awkwardness, weirdness, and silent, Chuck Norris-level silent rage. The father, hoping to maintain an air of dignity, said nothing but his smile spoke volumes of wickedness and imagined cruelties. F just kept on, narrating every turn and completely oblivious to his gross social malfeasance. The kid played a card to steal something from F and we were, once again, treated to a monologue about how it was a suboptimal move and so forth and I said "You know, he probably did it because he thought pissing you off would be fun, which is the point of this game in the first place." We passed around a secret message and all agreed to turn terrorist just to end the game, which was no longer fun despite any number of nukes.

I know it's a long story, but it's leading up to something larger. I start packing the game up, and F gets up and grabs the rulebook. He thumbs through it and then says- in reference to a rules question that happened like an hour prior and that was already corrected- "Look here it, it says blah blah blah blah blah." At that, I was beyond the breaking point- which I have never, in all my years of gaming been at because I never take games that seriously and if I'm not having a good time then I know I just need to pack it up and do something else. I snapped at him, saying "I'm sick of your rules lawyering and aside from that you're not going to sit here and yell at my friends. We come here to have fun and enjoy ourselves and you've completely ruined that with your attitude so you're not ever going to play another game with me again." He was shocked. I kind of was too, because I've never had to just put the boot down like that.

He sheepishly started helping to pack up the game and I just said "No. I don't want your help, just fucking leave now."

In retrospect, it was kind of harsh and I do actually feel kind of bad about it. But the problem is that our styles of play simply didn't match up, and it took a volatile situation to get past the politeness and "hey, we're all gamers here" folderol to get to that truth.

And the truth is, that some people just murder all the fun out of gaming. It doesn't matter if you're playing the best game ever published or something like WAR ON TERROR that's specifically designed to be a fun, light affair if you've got one of these Fun Murderers on board then the game is in trouble. I've played the most dirt-dry Eurogames with fun loving people and had a great time even if the game sucked. And I've played really awesome games with fun hating people and had the worst gaming experiences of my life.

So who are these Fun Murderers? They're people like Yehuda Berlinger, who argues that games aren't meant to be fun for whatever pompous and psuedo-intellectual reason he argues (I'd love to see him follow up the article with "Fish Aren't Meant to Swim" using that same tenuous connection to a Woody Allen quote about Ingmar Bergman). They're the people who want to tell us that playing EL GRANDE is somehow a fundamentally different activity than playing CANDYLAND. They're the people that tell us games and toys are mutually exclusive. They're the rules lawyers like F who turn even the loosest, simplest rules into a nightmare of logic and overinterpretation. They're the designers who have thrown out fun in favor of "elegance" and "efficiency". They're the people who play ARKHAM HORROR but don't read the adventure cards out loud. They're the people who got into gaming to satisfy some other unfulfilled need, dream, ambition, or missing quality in their lives. They're the folks who have changed the definition of games to include things like "systems", "mathematics", "balance", and "mechanics". They're the ones who think playing games about elves and robots is below playing a game about farmers and builders. They're the gamers who think that playing TICKET TO RIDE somehow demonstrates a degree of intellectual superiority to the "Sheeples" having a great time playing MONOPOLY. They're the ones who take this hobby way too seriously and make every type of gaming look like the refuge for awkward, anal, socially inept, borderline Asperger Syndrome suffers that are into it for something other than amusement.

I guess it comes down to taking this hobby too seriously. And you know, I think that I've realized that the ultimate reason why hobby gaming will neither ever be mainstream nor grow beyond certain parameters is that there are, for whatever reasons, a high population of Fun Murderers involved in it at any given time that take everything way too seriously. The world, outside of Yehuda Berlinger and the Fun Murderers, play games to have fun. When outsiders to the hobby see people taking games of any description seriously, they automatically want to have nothing to do with it because it really demonstrates a lack of perspective as to how games fit into our larger lives and a disconnection from, well, reality. And I can't blame them. It's just like how when I see football fans taking things so seriously, I immediately don't want to be in the same room with them. I love BATTLESTAR GALACTICA but when somebody starts talking to me about minute fan crap I immediately want to put the DVDs up on Ebay.

I know what the chief counterargument here is- that people's idea of what "fun" is varies from person to person and I completely agree. If your idea of "fun" is playing a game like CAYLUS and figuring out how to squeeze the most points out, then that's fantastic and I completely stand by your enjoyment of the game even though I despise it and can't find a lick of fun in it beyond making fun of it ad infinitum. But if you're playing CAYLUS for any other reason than to entertain yourself then you are a Fun Murderer and should be subject to the death penalty where applicable. Even if by "fun" you mean digging around in the ASL rulebook or playing one of those accounting exercises packaged as 18xx games, there is simply no other justifiable or valid reason to play games.

The punchline to all this is that the next table over was playing a nice, quiet game of AGRICOLA. And having fun.

118 comments:

Ryan said...

I've only played boardgames with friends and acquaintences so I've thankfully not had to deal with people like F (though the girlfriends can be a drag if they're not in the mood for a 5-hour FFG game. Why the hell didn't you stay at home when you knew we were going to be playing Warrior Knights?).

When I first got interested in the hobby a little over a year ago, I thought I might start going to game nights at the local hobby store so that I could make more informed choices when picking up games (because they're fucking expensive when I buy locally, i.e., $100 + 13% tax for an FFG coffin). I poked my head in the backroom one game night and that was all it took for me to realize I wanted nothing to do with it. For one, people were pretty much exclusively playing miniature-games I had no interest in. But, more significantly, the people there were almost all either a) 12-year olds, or b) dishevelled men glaring at the 12-year olds. It didn't look like fun. It looked like a bunch of people who congregated together because they had no-one else to play with.

I've been to the store since and heard people having a good time in the back room, but that first time was enough for me to realize that it's a crapshoot on whether or not I'll have a terrible time with a bunch of slugs.

(There's also a local annual gaming convention, but LARPing seems to have a bigger presence than boardgames, so I see no reason to try my luck at that Gong Show.)

So I guess I'll continue only playing games with friends, which suits me just fine.

Gary Sax said...

OMFG did you hit it on the head. I'm sure everyone is going to chime in with a story but for me it is a grad student, N, in the department. He has completely ruined Axis and Allies (which I wasn't that into anyway) for me along with a couple of other games I've played with him. This guy is a dickface during games. A complete asshole--and not in a fun, taunting trash talking way. But more of a calculating, boring malevolent asshole. He ruins any game he plays by pointing out rules, critiquing play, and overall just having this "I must win" attitude. So now I play wargames with this other guy in our department in the office and will under no circumstances play with him--N apparently loves games, but I must admit that whenever he comes into the office (we share an office) and I revel in seeing him eye a game of POG or Twilight Struggle setup I can see his puppy dog eyes.

I wish I had confronted N as you confronted this fucker, but I guess I don't have the balls. I just won't play with him. And god damn do I need a gaming group of non-douchenozzles.

Gary Sax said...

"I've been to the store since and heard people having a good time in the back room, but that first time was enough for me to realize that it's a crapshoot on whether or not I'll have a terrible time with a bunch of slugs."

Also, Ryan, +++ on this. I've had this exact experience in Champaign-Urbana.

Juniper said...

When outsiders to the hobby see people taking games of any description seriously, they automatically want to have nothing to do with it because it really demonstrates a lack of perspective as to how games fit into our larger lives and a disconnection from, well, reality. And I can't blame them.

This, to me, is a perfect summary of the whole point of this website.

Gamers scare non-gamers away from boardgames.

I wish that there were a way to get boardgamegeek.com to remind people to get outside and exercise, to eat less, and sleep more. That would be a boon to the boardgaming hobby.

jts said...

Public gaming is a mixed bag. To a great extent, I really owe my rekindled enthusiasm for all things gaming to public events. In my case, Ward Batty's store was a great introduction to a whole slew of boardgames. It started out great -- not least of all because a few old timers were there, sharing their enthusiasm for the hobby and had a zen mastery of how to introduce people to new games. It was with great patience that people twice my age helped me wrap my head around Tigris. On the other hand, they had a disdain for some of the other games I wanted to play -- such as Junta, or even dry abstracts. And this didn't bother me -- simply because I was able to have fun with the games they enjoyed.


But then the twits began to appear. By my estimation, the twits were those who took the whole thing far too seriously. I've been puzzled by the Twits for a while -- are they really having fun? It seemed more like a compulsion than play. And, for me, they certainly pissed on the entire parade. All that was missing was R Kelly and a handycam.

I'm not convinced that boardgames will remain a fringe activity. It may take a generation or two, but if enough kids are introduced to some great games, I think it will rebound. Public gaming was a step in the right direction, but may ultimately hinder any progress because of the Twits.

What annoyed me most, is that the whole idea of public gaming was to introduce people to the games. New faces would appear, and the twits would become vocally aggressive and angry when rules are forgotten or misinterpreted. And when a night is spent playing one different game after another, new games each week, its absurd to expect people to grasp it all.

My patience for Twits -- well, really, ass-holes -- is fairly low. It only takes one or two Twits to ruin the night for me. I don't like having to spend my time dodging them -- I don't like listening to them a table over. I prefer, in my leisure time, to be surrounded by non-Twits.

I happened to make one great friend from the experience, and in a totally platonic way, we eloped. We left public gaming behind and inducted our friends to the habit. For whatever reason, its alot easier to make gamers out of friends than friends out of gamers.

Dave Lartigue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mst3k4ever said...

@Juniper:

I thought the whole point of this Web site (well, blog) was to provide a soapbox for exiled/"misfit" gamers who love to curse a blue streak and take people down a peg (a whole peg!).

Perhaps you would get some warm fuzzies out of reading the outpourings of happiness in the BGG International Secret Santa geeklist. Nary a stuffed shirt in evidence, just gamers of all sorts getting pleasant surprises from complete strangers.

Anonymous said...

"borderline Asperger Syndrome suffers"

-LOL - your description of F. makes me think of Ignatius Reilly from The Confederancy of Dunces - a riot.

-David

robartin said...

"Fun Murderers." I love it. It's almost as good as "Ameritrash". Geeklist anyone?

vandemonium said...

Great article Michael. I guess I am lucky to have a pretty diverse group of people to game with. The only person who really was a ruiner for me was this dude I used to play HeroClix with. He had all the dials memorized. There is like eleventy billion figures or some such and he had them all memorized. I'd roll the dice and before I could even add the numbers in my head (I admit I AM a bit slow at math) he'd announce the result.

Me: "Ok Hulk SMASH Superman!"
*rolls dice*
Him: "You miss, Superman will..."
Me: "Woah, hang on I have..."
Hm: "I know you still miss."
Me: "but..."
Him: "you miss"

Fun Murderer describes him exactly.

Like you I would often choose "suboptimal" moves with the exclusive hope of pissing him off.

He is one of the reasons I enjoy the game "Killer Bunnies" - it is just kind of a stick-it-to-ya card game like Munchkin but add into that the need to collect carrots to win. The game is all about luck. Well he had managed to gather a whole bunch of carrots and one of my other buddies had one. You can guess the rest. Fun Murderer lost and was beside himself because he "should have won" - refused to ever play it again. Ahhh bliss.

vandemonium said...


mst3k4ever said...
Perhaps you would get some warm fuzzies out of reading the outpourings of happiness in the BGG International Secret Santa geeklist. Nary a stuffed shirt in evidence, just gamers of all sorts getting pleasant surprises from complete strangers.


...well, except for the arguments on place holders, cheap secret santas, and who has been taunted or not by their secret Santa. ;)

But I do see your point. I am taking part in the secret Santa thing over there and my secret Santa has been very fun to go back and forth with, and it has taken some of the bitter taste out of my mouth from various recent events.

Shellhead said...

I now live less than two miles from the best game store in the state, and they have a large area set aside for gaming. Certain nights or weekend afternoons, at least part of the area is set aside for specific games or events.

Tonight is Friday night, which is the official boardgame night, although there are also a couple of D&D groups that play at other tables there tonight.

I'm not there right now, in part because they are the stereotypical BGG crowd. I know, because my best friend comes back to town for a few weeks each year and sometimes gets me to play with the Friday night crowd.

These guys range in age from roughly 30-55, and they are a fairly dull, analytical bunch. Some are obnoxious rules lawyers, but in a uniquely Minnesotan passive-aggressive way. Others are pretty nice guys. The overall scene is a drab, brown Eurofest.

That's why I host my own semi-regular AmeriTrash days. I know most of the people in advance, so we've only had one fun murderer, and he was a real disappointment. He had a KT-head haircut straight out of The Watchmen, which made him seem like an unusually literate young punk. He was actually pretty fun to play with, except that he wouldn't read his cards out loud in Arkham Horror, revealing a tin ear for fun. So I dropped him from the list. I think I will give him another chance, after explaining the connection between cards and theme in AH.

Years ago, I invited over this married couple to play boardgames with my friends. I knew the husband from role-playing at the game shop. Once we started playing, it became obvious that the wife was what my high school gaming group called a "rules lawyer jerk" and her husband was completely incapable of remembering rules, dragging out his every turn with lots of confusion and repetitive questions. That's right, they both murdered the fun that day.

The final strike was when they scammed my favorite pizza delivery place with the old "this pizza isn't hot" scam. It wouldn't have been so bad if they did it once, but they "rejected" and then ate three consecutive orders that afternoon. Don't goddamn mess with my pizza delivery, geeks. I got caller ID and never ever spoke to them again.

Blah blah blah. JTS said it very succinctly... it's easier to make gamers out of friends then friends out of gamers.

mst3k4ever said...

@vandemonium:

...well, except for the arguments on place holders, cheap secret santas, and who has been taunted or not by their secret Santa. ;)

Touche. ;P I thought the placeholder argument was particularly pointless. But that was a small fraction of the participants and it blew over.

kriz said...

Great article, the fun murderers should be kept away from games at all costs. They are the absolute worst. You've given me some insights as to the best ways to deal with them.

Maybe you should have a ready made speech you give before you play with someone new, to drive it through their skulls that its just a game.

Luckily I have a good gaming group I can play with. Maybe I should go to our local comic shop and adopt some of the gamers I see being abused by the packs of FMs I see there every time.

hacksword said...

"F" sounds bad, but at least he didn't spam your Yahoo! Group with anti-atheist glurge.

james griffith said...

"mst3k4ever said...
I thought the whole point of this Web site (well, blog) was to provide a soapbox for exiled/"misfit" gamers who love to curse a blue streak and take people down a peg (a whole peg!)"


The more you read blog post like Yeruba's and the various 250+ post rants about statistical minutia on BGG, you grasp the misfits are on the other side of the aisle.


I think I've gamed with a few Fun Murderers in my time. Luckily, they don't last long in my group. I think some of the most touching moments in gaming is when the group collectively (even new players) sense the lame black sheep who doesn't get the purpose of the game (ahem.... fun, Mr. Yeruba) and collectively cull him from the game. Once the howls of protest of unfairly targeting him rise to a fever pitch, everyone usually has more fun hammering him than playing victory. Hmmm, maybe I am a gaming misfit....oh well, my friends and I have fun. I'll just have to pretend that is enough to the disappoint of the great artistic minds of cube pushing and corn production.

In all fairness, I know wargamers have their own black sheep of social rejects which I've encountered. I'm sure Ameritrash has it own contigent but I think the vast majority of ours are across the hall playing Warhammer. You would think its hard to take yourself seriously when you're playing with Elves, Magic, or Space Marines but I know I've seen more Fun Murderers in Warhammer than even Euros. I think the problem is they think its a hobby/lifestyle/source of purpose in life/whatever, not a game... meant to be fun ....

Jan said...

I agree with what Michael says in this article except the suggestion that Yehuda Berlinger's preposterous article was at least 'eloquent'. I don't even think it was that. From reading the article I get the impression that Mr Berlinger understands neither games nor art. Take his line on painting: he says "the vast majority of painters in the world judge their work by how commercially successful they are." I really, really don't think so. I have not heard a bigger falacy in quite a while.

The article reminds me of the faux intellectual expounding on Marshall McLuhan in the movie queue in Annie Hall. Yuck! There's a good reason I lurk at F:AT and not at boardgamenews.

Berlinger should also go back and re-read the interview that Woody Allen gave Time: Allen makes clear that in between takes Bergman was laughing and jostling with actors and crew (in other words 'having fun')- no matter how 'high-minded' his artistic aims might have been. He too was having fun, despite the seriousness of his themes and vision. As for viewers of the films: obviosuly they are not having 'fun' in the same sense that you have 'fun; when you kick the Free People Player's ass in War of the Ring... But I'd had better bloody be enjoying/appreciating the film on some level, or I'm walking out.

I'll watch The Virgin Spring, Scenes from a Marriage, Fanny & Alexander over and over again but not the Serpent's Egg... know what I mean?

Michael said...

I read Yehuda's article. There was one word in that I agreed with. that word was 'bollocks'.

Playing games is one of my hobbies. It's one of these things I do when I want to enjoy myself. i.e when I want to have fun. I appreciate that having fun can mean different things to different people but the bottom line is that's what it's all about.

Shryke said...

Can someone link the article in question?

I'm not getting enough hate mail yet. It's making me feel unloved.

Southernman said...

(Already posted in previous topic)

I think what makes Mr Berlinger's post so unbelievable is that Tom Vasel completely pulverizes it ... how fucking non-human does that make Yehuda and his autonomon followers.

As mentioned by quite a few above, fun can be different things for different people ... but they are still having fun in their own little world.

mst3k4ever said...

Hmm. On Yehuda Berlinger's blog, in the article "The Five Qualities of a Good Gamer," #1 is Good Manners, which he defines as:

Good manners is a top quality of any human being. My definition of good manners is similar to that of Miss Manners' - the quality of taking care not to cause other people undue offense. This includes many things:

* Listening as much as talking, because other people have egos as big as yours
* Taking care to observe local customs
* Acting in a manner that increases everyone's enjoyment each session
* Keeping yourself and your surroundings clean and well-kept
* Good sportsmanship as both winner and loser

and many other items too numerous to mention.


That seems kind of anti-fun murderer, if somewhat robotic -- "keep yourself clean?" I guess he's gamed with a few gamy geeks. ;)

RobertB said...

Hell, it's 2:30 in the morning, so I'm probably punchy enough to take a stab at sticking up for Yehuda just a little bit.

Buried under that wall of text lies the notion that "game:fun::painting:artistic value".

Seems true enough, although a bit banal.

It's easy enough to think of examples of games that were designed to be no fun whatsoever (Kriegsspiel, anyone?), and it's downright trivial to think of games that are no fun regardless of the designer's intent. I don't think even the most hardcore Ameritrasher on here would point at Caylus (to pick a blog favorite whipping boy) and say, in all seriousness, "There's not a scrap of fun to be had in that assemblage of...whatever...over there. So whatever _that_ is, it isn't a 'game'."

jan said...

Tom Vasel's response I think is a good one and deserves to be repeated here. He says on BGN:

"Yehuda, I often agree with you on many things, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. Games are supposed to be fun. They aren’t art, they aren’t some vague media, they are supposed to be fun. So if they aren’t fun, they’ve failed...

...I think that the moment we stop looking at games as “fun” is a good hint that the hobby is no longer for us.

Posted by Tom Vasel on 11/30 at 10:02 PM | #

I may prefer AT games to most (but by no means all) euros, but if the people who favour the opposite aren't having "fun" what the hell are they doing? The preferance for AT or Euro, if you have one, is primarily a matter of taste, but I always assumed satisfaction/enjoyment/excitement/reward from playing games was the same. Otherwise, why waste my time playing a game at all? There's always plenty of leftover WORK to do...

StephenAvery said...

I agree that Yehuda is trying to equate gaming to something more than just having fun. "Games aren't supposed to be fun" is just a tagline to get the reader to bolt upright in dismay.

The plain fact of the matter though is that some games aren't fun. Or more pecisely, any given game won't be fun for a particuliar type of gamer. A while back I did a geeklist on the qualities of fun. The answers were so varied that I quickly realised that what some one else considers fun is going to be a painful excercise in mathmatics for me (ala Richhochet Robot)

As Micheal points out,one bad ingredient can ruin the soup. In another game with a different group the funmurderer would have fit right in and everyone would have had a great time. Perhaps the 'other' group would have enjoyed the witty banter of and clever debate over the most optimal moves and rules interpretations.

My basic axioms of gaming are exactly opposite Yehuda's philosophy and make it clear that you must avoid FM at all costs...

1. Its all about the fun.

2. Its not what you play its who you play it with.

3. Get Frank! (that one can be a bit esoteric until you actually play with Frank Branham but then it becomes crystal clear)

There are a few more that I've not listed (Like always game with hot chicks, and Wear tank tops whenever possible)but I've covered the important ones.

Steve"fun guru"Avery

Anonymous said...

Probably all he's trying to say is: "I play boardgames. But not that kids stuff."

jan said...

If THAT'S the case, how eurosnooty can you get? I have a couple 'non-gamer' friends I hadn't seen for years who have just gotten involved in the hobby, specifically playing Carc - Carc on steroids: two copies, most of the expansions all mixed together, with a large group of people all going for the jugular. (I like it as a two player game, but this was inspiring!) If they released a Carc expansion with nukes, these friends would incorporate them happily. These friends are a) all adults b) blue collar professionals and c) were enticed into the hobby through adverstising. Not through someone else, not through BGG, not through any guru or website. They simply got tired of playing Scrabble and found... there were other games out there. There may be some higher level of appreciation, some higher reason for playing games, but if there is, I don't think they know about it. Or need to. Right now, the're having F-U-N! Not over-intellectualising a hobby (albeit a great one I really, really love).

Frank Branham said...

I think that Yahuda's title is strictly to bother people.

But then he goes on to suggest in a follow-up comment that games should be more than ab out just having fun, and wanders into the realm of suggesting interactive art-like installations.

I think what he really WANTS is to promote that games are art. Videogames are having the same problem, with Roger Ebert claiming publically that videogames are not art and will never be.

I actually have several games where it is clear that the designer clearly had goals other than making a fun game. I actually really adore some of them. I just don't play them because they are rarely...fun.

So in fact, you COULD say that games don't have to be about being fun, but that what everyone actually wants them to be.

Which means that Big Trouble in Little China is one of the great artistic works of the last 2 decades. I'm actually serious about that.

StephenAvery said...

Which means that Big Trouble in Little China is one of the great artistic works of the last 2 decades. I'm actually serious about that.

Seconded.

Steve"critic"Avery

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to identify the people that are actually fun to play with and do invite only gaming because then the oblivions might find out, and you're having a symbolic affair, which can be stressful.

My more social, interesting friends aren't gamers, and when I try to invite members of my larger group to my home to play, nobody can make it, so maybe I'm the A-hole.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, don't you just love it when you post a huge article and then miss the talkback...

First off- great stories, folks...it's interesting to hear about your encounters and interactions with Fun Murderers. It helps us all to identify and deal with them more effectively. Good comments all around, this is the kind of discussion I really like here at F:AT. It could use a little more Hanno bashing though.

Public gaming seems to have been a common theme in the responses. Nowhere do you get to see the absolute lowest forms of gaming than in a game store, let alone one that you're in 15 hours a day for nearly two years. I've seen so many displays of outright assholism over games, new players, misinterpreted/misexplained rules, and whatnot to last a lifetime. And it is true- Warhammer tends to bring out Fun Murderers even more than board games do- sometimes. The problem is that the game stores (and public gaming groups) attract these socially incapable failures who have no friends to play with so they come and inflict their lack of social ability on other people. You'll see them in any FLGS or game meetup- they're the ones who can't have a conversation that doesn't involve gaming. Fun murderers, every one of 'em.

I used to be one of those folks who'd play games with anybody...but I'll tell you, when I got stuck playing a _5 hour long_ game of SCEPTER OF ZAVANDOR at the first Atlanta Game Fest I went to with _five_ Fun Murderers, I thought I'd have to screen everybody I would game with from there on out. At another AGF, I played THUNDER ROAD with some Fun Murderers who literally spent the whole game scoffing and rolling their eyes at how "childish" the game was while my pal Eddie and I had a great time destroying their cars and making machine gun noises. At the store, I did feel that I was in a position where I could introduce folks to games and act as a catalyst for getting people to play games together...unfortunately, that usually wound up with me going in to the back room and punching myself in the face repeatedly. Sadly, the majority of gamers really are just big fucking losers.

I do want to elaborate a little more on how how taking games "seriously" really ruins the hobby and drives mainstream folks away, but not here...I'm thinking up a Gameshark article for that one. I think it's an interesting idea because people's ideas of what taking something too seriously means varies. For some mainstream people, the idea of reading 6 pages of rules to play a game or setting aside a couple of hours a week to game is taking it too far.

RobertB said...

I figure getting Fun Murderers in your game is the risk you take when you play with strangers. I'm sure I've murdered (or at least knocked unconscious) someone's fun at some point or another. I had some dude totally pissed off in a game of Die Macher - I think he was expecting, "Well played," rather than, "Why don't I just pull my pants down right here so you can finish f***ing me!" Or something in that vein. Hell, I thought it was a compliment. Come to find out later he was offended. Who knew he had such delicate ears? Does that make me a boorish lout of a Fun Murderer? I guess so - that's the chance he took.

No excuse for yelling at kids though, especially other people's kids. Besides simply being bad form, that sort of thing might catch up with you in the parking lot, or right then and there.

Ryan said...

I thought of a sub-type of Fun Murderer that chaps my ass and is pretty much unavoidable: the Texas Hold 'Em mathematician.

I remember when poker was about getting drunk in a friend's heated garage (I live in Saskatchewan). Nowadays, most people I play with -- who are normally fun guys -- are too busy trying to calculate pot odds and count their outs to just enjoy themselves and shoot the breeze. We're playing with $5-10 buy-ins. Who cares who wins?? But they're using our poker nights largely to refine their skills and practice what they've learned, as if they're going to make the World Series of Poker or something. I've even played against a guy who would loudly sulk if you, say, bluff too often for his liking, or don't bet according to pot odds, because that goes against his narrow conception of how to play the game according to strategy guides and commentators on televised poker. (I think he sulks because different styles fuck with his strategy because most guides are catered towards either on-line or competitive tournament style Hold 'Em. He can't think on his feet because he's simply become a gaming automoton.)

But I can see why someone could be corralled into such an analytical playing style. Poker strategy is readily available on-line, in bookstores, on TV. We're bombarded with the idea that it's a sport, not just a card game. I'm guessing BGG has done the same thing to boardgames for some people: "This is the optimal play in Puerto Rico. Deviate and lose." I consciously avoid reading strategy tips because it'll take all the fun out of on-the-fly strategizing. I like my boardgames like I like my poker: as an unpredictable and boisterous diversion.

Michael Barnes said...

Oh for fuck's sake...I hate the fun murderers that rattle off statistics and probability during a game to either justify their own actions or to demonstrate how yours are wrong...

ozjesting said...

Well...this reads more like "Fun Manslaughter" really..."Murder 2" tops.

(But I do think that if the CSI chaps hit the fellow with their funky light his shirt would light up like a hyper-colour)

Mr Skeletor said...

If you want to witness fun murderers just go look at the people bitching about balance on the Last Night on Earth entry of BGG. Balance in a zombie game, give me a fucking break.


The punchline to all this is that the next table over was playing a nice, quiet game of AGRICOLA. And having fun.


BULL-SHIT!!!

mtlawson said...

I take it you got a chance to play Agricola then, Frank?

--Mike L.

Michael Barnes said...

I've seen those arguments about LNoE...I can't believe someone would even _consider_ an "issue". I guess it's another iteration of that "issue" of imbalance in WotR. In fact, there really shouldn't be any "issues" in a hobby beyond the fact that socially awkward, anal rententive middle-aged men with white reeboks and rules lawyer complexes have hijacked it. Or that a huge percentage of the gamer population consists of people unable to connect with or interact with anything other than pieces of cardboard.

It happens every so often, but my arch nemesis Tom Vasel and I agree- his retort to Yehuda was just right. Did you guys see Yehuda's defenses? This is a great one- Yehuda speaks thusly:

I walk into The Art-Games Museum. It costs $10 to enter, and I get a museum guide with rules for each game, notes about the game’s creators, and how long I should expect to play each game.

I enter the deconstructionist room. There are six tables with board games, and two dexterity games against opposite walls.

I sit down to one board game with my partner. It’s called Wild Raspberries, by Kevin Bergman, 2009. I reread the rules and we play.

I find myself without enough resources. My pieces keep getting older and losing their mobility. Past loves haunt me at every turn. My only helper piece never gives me what I need. In the meantime, my opponent’s pieces took a great risk. She accumulated early benefits, but also died an early death.

We leave the game, discussing the implications of the work.

I go to the Keiner R’nizia room, a collection of his works. One game involves tossing Black citizens at a wall called “Sense”. When they fall, they land in a spiked pit called “Hatred” with areas representing different countries. Each gives me a chance to redeem my piece, but some are less likely than others.

My partner and I play and then leave. We spent about an hour in the museum, and will come back tomorrow to try two other exhibitions.


Here is the official Michael Barnes response to that:

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.

He also says that games are not supposed to be replayable. What we have here folks, is the Jeffrey Dahmer of Fun Murderers.

Who wants to buy my board game collection? I don't want to risk being associated with this shit.

Gary Sax said...

That *must* be a joke

Juniper said...

Another (possible?) Fun Murderer: the guy that insists on playing the new Euro/AT/war game that he just bought online for $40 when his friends really only want to play Boggle.

Worse: the guy tries to argue that Boggle is an inferior game, as though that will lead his friends to suddenly realize that they never had fun with it after all.

Life imprisonment: his argument invokes the phrase "multiplayer solitaire." He patiently explains what constitutes a "good game," based on something he read on BGG.

Death penalty: he does it again a week later, only this time he's brought a pasted-up copy of AGRICOLA (i.e. a "multiplayer solitaire").

Matt Thrower said...

As an ex-Warhammer gamer can I chip in in defence of GW gamers please? Sure the hobby has it's fair share of fun-murderers just like boardgames do, but I don't recall meeting any more of them in the former than you do in the latter.

I suspect you *do* get more min/max types in Warhammer (the optimal army list contains ... etc etc) but that doesn't make someone a fun murderer IMO. That's all down to the way you behave at the table. There was a big discussion on the UK Warhammer boards about this a few years ago and that was the conclusion that was reached by the majority of the community.

If Warhammer people are more prone to the disease, I suspect it's down to the way that miniatures gaming is such a time consuming hobby. Unlike boardgaming, it's something that can fill every leisure hour of your life, if you choose to let it. I think that encourages quite a unique degree of obsessiveness. Almost as much so as amongst people who play boardgames and blog about them :)

Anyway, fine article and congrats to Mike for instituting yet another memorable phrase in the communal boardgamers' lexicon.

jan said...

I had a recent session of Galaxy Trucker murdered by an analytical type who couldn't keep himself from commenting how poor all the rest of our ships were (which is half the fun, given how you build ever-more comlex spacecraft under a time limit, knowing full well that you probably won't survive the asteroid fields, smugglers, and slavers). In truth, all of us got blown to bits except for Mr Brain, so he was *right*. That didn't make him fun. Instead, we were all rooting for the girl whose ship had one tile left when she made it to port. She lost the game of course but was the clear *winner*. The brain raked in all the space cash and was given the cold shoulder.

Surya said...

"I guess it comes down to taking this hobby too seriously."

I do take this hobby very seriously. Why? Because it's my life. It I'm not working (and I work in the game industry) and I'm not sleeping, I'm probably playing games. It's one of the most important aspects of my life, so it deserves to be taken very seriously.

I don't think playing a game about farming is better than playing one about slaying monsters, but it is what I like most of the two. I don't think Eurogames are better, I just think they are better for me.

About Fun Murderers. No one wants them. Not even serious gamers like me. Yesterday my girlfriend was in a game of Caylus (our favorite game) and she completely hated it because there was one guy who was always explaining everyone's strategy all the time, except off course his own. No one enjoyed that.

If someone who you don't want to play with comes in, try to explain why he can't join, or choose a game he won't like, or make sure you've already started when he comes in.

Michael Barnes said...

Well Surya, the difference there is that if you're involved in the industry in a work/ownership/publishing/designing capacity then you're not guilty of taking games too seriously because what you're doing is taking the business/your career/your livelihood seriously. And that's OK. Marginally. I've been involved in the industry myself and given the actual return on investment it's arguably not worth taking seriously on that level unless you're operating at its highest levels.

The problem is people who take playing games, collecting games, or winning games too seriously, really.

Fun Murderers are _not_ a Eurogamer phenomenon. There's _plenty_ of AT Fun Murderers. Wargamer Fun Murderers. Fun Murderers who only play MONOPOLY. Miniature gaming Fun Murderers.

Matt- I wonder if there might be some difference in the way US Warhammer players handle things than in the UK. Here, the game seems to be almost like American football for geeks. I've seen quite a number of near-fistfights over the game and a couple of the 40K tournaments I've ran were by far the most controversial and contested events at my store. As far as the min/maxing, that's really kind of the point of army building so I don't necessarily think it's a function of that. Vague rules coupled with anal gamers spells disaster.

Juniper- that's a good point...I do think the "Hobby Game Insister" is definitely a Fun Murderer. Sadly, I've been that guy myself. We've probably all been that guy/gal ourselves. You do it when you think everybody will get something like CARCASSONNE and halfway through the rules you realize that even that simple game is actually just beyond the nongamer's will to comprehend. So you trudge through it, and you know everyone thought by "let's play boardgames" that they'd be playing CLUE.

james griffith said...

Re: Warhammer

I think its just a function of how GW markets their games. They really push tournaments and public play. I think the nature of the people attracted to bring and play events is always going to have a higher proportion of the "socially questionable". On top of it, the rules are vague and they encourage a cutthroat style of gaming that is often discouraged in other games (i.e. even cheating/lying is not altogether uncommon in alot of the store games). Rules questions are common and those lead to rules arguments in no time which combined with the social skills of a Fun Murderer is the deathstroke.

My gaming buddies mostly play Warhammer Fantasy and even in our group there is a wide discrepency of playstyles. Even with 7 or 8 dedicated gamers, we try to keep the power gamers seperate from the "experience" gamers and while that's a shame but in the end, everyone has more .... fun.

RobertB said...

I have a pretty good endodontist, so a root canal actually _does_ sound more fun than a visit to Yehuda's game museum.

I walk into garage. In a toolbox on a shelf I find a box labelled "Craftsman". When I open it I see a collection of tools. Selecting the largest hammer I can comfortably swing, I hit myself in the head multiple times. It feels so good when I stop.

Leaving the garage, I discuss the knots on my head with my wife. I plan to try other tools in the future.

433 said...

Michael Barnes: tough, but fair.

ubarose said...

I sit down to one board game with my partner. It’s called Wild Raspberries, by Kevin Bergman, 2009. I reread the rules and we play.

I find myself without enough resources. My pieces keep getting older and losing their mobility. Past loves haunt me at every turn. My only helper piece never gives me what I need. In the meantime, my opponent’s pieces took a great risk. She accumulated early benefits, but also died an early death.


Actually, this sounds like FUN. Does that negate Yehuda's argument? However, I would probably get escoted out of the museum when I started yelling "M*th*erF*ck*ng Past Loves." According to my daughter, I yell louder than a "Cafateria Nazi." Perhaps this is why I never have to play with Fun Murderers. I think the nebbishy players avoid me.

Juniper said...

I was thinking the same thing. It's like THE GAME OF LIFE redesigned by the child of a bitter divorcee. It was only a matter of time before boardgames went Emo.

The problem with the boardgame museum is that visitors keep getting Cheetos dust all over the exhibits.

mtlawson said...

I swear that I had a flashback to playing Colossal Cave on a mainframe when I read the first part of that, robertb.

--Mike L.

Frank Branham said...

You know, at our game nights, there is a lonely ancient copy of Password in the glass case. This is, actually, one of my favorite games.

When I suggest we play it, I am looked at as if I've suddenly been infected with a sort of horrible disease.

I am quite fond of Agricola, but I am starting to suspect that the vaunted playability potential is not quite going to happen. And we were sitting at the next table over, being entirely glad we were not in that game of War on Terror.

And having fun.

RobertB said...

You are in a twisty maze of passages, all alike.

The youngster (23) playing Cubicula next to me actually fondly remembers playing all those old Infocom games on a C64 that was a handmedown or something. I know Colossal Cave predates that by a bunch, but I was impressed nonetheless.

Darilian said...

Michael Barnes said...
Oh for fuck's sake...I hate the fun murderers that rattle off statistics and probability during a game to either justify their own actions or to demonstrate how yours are wrong...

02 December 2007 18:37

Hey Mike-
I loved your article, and agree with it for the most part.

BUT- (there's always a but, isn't there?) I do think that there are some times when helping someone else is not being a Fun Murderer.

I was playing a big game of Flames of War on Sunday. A lot of the guys playing were either new, or fairly new to the game. I've been playing a lot. So, when I saw either my partner OR my opponent doing something poorly, I'd ask them "What is it that you are trying to do?". Then, I'd show them the BETTER way of doing what they wanted to do, rattling off the different statistics. (Ie, if you come at me THIS way, I can't defensive fire with these 4 teams, meaning you'll probably ge through. If you came at me the way you were trying, I'd autopin you.)

Anyway, I think that there is a role for using the numbers to point out suboptimal play- as long as you doing it in a FUN way (ie-pointing things out to help them be better players, rather than trying to weasel an advantage.) What I want to see are more GOOD players of Flames of War. Whether or not I WIN a game is not as important as whether I had a great time playing- and that my opponents are getting better also.

I hate puppy kickers- asshats who beat on newbies and only AFTER the game say "If you'd done such and such you might have won. But you're a newb, so you suck".

Man, I hate those guys. If I ever turn into an asshat like that, please feel free to shoot me.

Darilian

Shellhead said...

Darilian,

I think that you've raised an interesting new question... how much strategy should you teach a new player? Unless a new player wants to just jump into the game, it makes sense to teach the rules of the game before starting. Should you also teach strategy? And if so, how much strategy? Should you coach a new player throughout the game? Or just warn them away from major mistakes?

Michael Barnes said...

Oh no, Darillian, there's definitely a place for teaching people the best way to play games and showing new folks how to make the most of what they're doing- hell, I'm learning to play ASL and if it weren't for Billy Motion "instructing" me in simple infantry tactics I'd likely still have no idea what the heck I was doing.

The problem is the fun murderers who make it a point to let everyone know what they think of your move and how bad it is- even if it's a great move, or it's something somebody just wanted to do for whatever reason. Like when the kid stole F's card for no other reason than to chafe his hide.

As far as using numbers to demonstrate play- I hear ya, but you've got to admit that starts getting toward a fine line. I guess it's when you're using that kind of information to demonstrate your intellectual superiority to others then you fall guilty.

Frank, everyone knows that those games in the case aren't played by "proper" hobby gamers...Robert and I waited until everyone left one night and broke out that ancient copy of MILLES BORNE and had a good time with a couple of people who had never played it.

NeonPeon said...

I think the rule is: If your game talk even slightly resembles what Comic Book Guy says on The Simpsons, reassess yourself.

Darilian said...

Shellhead-

I think that the threshold of "How much should you coach someone" is proportional to how difficult the game is. If its about something that is pretty tricky, then yah, I like it when others point out to me how to do something (or how to make a play better). For example, the assault rules in FOW are pretty tricky. I know I appreciated it when Will Burns showed me "ok, now that you want to do this stupid thing, this how to increase your odds of this stupid move so that it might work." And then he trashed me anyway..... *s*

But, if the game is something pretty easy, like War on Terror, then I think that coaching moves from "lets try and explore this complicated subject matter together" and becomes "Here, let me show how not to fuck with and fuck with Mike instead" metagaming.

For me, its intent. If you do it to help someone become a better player, then its ok. (And never coach without their consent. Some players HATE it when you coach them). If you do it to get an advantage, then you are being an asshat.

Mike-
As for using numbers, it is important in some games. For instance, in FOW, if you get 5 hits on a platoon going into assualt, they pin, stalling the assualt. So its ALL about estimating how many hits the enemy team can get on you as you go in.

But if you're being a dork about it, then you are an Asshat.

Darilian

Michael Barnes said...

It's a good point on numbers. But there is a big difference between telling Joe Newbie that the 6 and 8 are best in SETTLERS and rattling off nonsensical probabilities.

That's actually a pretty good subject for discussion...just how much should you teach someone to actually play a game, and how does that change from different types of games?

You're right on about WAR ON TERROR, BTW...most of my "instruction" was showing them how to negotiate, threaten, blackmail, and really get into the spirit of the game. One of the first things I did was to put a terrorist vanguard in each player's capital and then tell them to give me $5mil or I'd attack them. I didn't need to, I didn't really want to per se but I did it to show them one of the kinds of ways you can wheel and deal in the game.

But I was _NOT_ loudly blabbering about what anybody should do throughout the rest of the game and I didn't get all pissy when someone did something just for the hell of it.

Mr Skeletor said...

I take it you got a chance to play Agricola then, Frank?

--Mike L.


Indeed. The verdict - quite boring.

Strangely enough though I didn't feel the need to immedatly write an over the top review claiming it the worst game ever, so I guess it isn't as bad as Starcraft is meant to be.

Jeb said...

Jeez, great article/comments, guys. Top notch, pip pip, what, etc.

I'm worried that I'm a fun murderer. I try not to be, but damn if I don't try to win. My Mom visited and showed the wife and I some card game (No-name). There was a technique like knocking to end the round early if you had an advantage. I kept doing this, and my Mom explained that this normally wasn't done--folks usually tried to play out to the table. I was fun murdering my Mom's game. Lessons learned.

My friends and I determined in high school that there are three kinds of people in the world: the vast majority are in two groups, funny and unfunny. Funny people tell jokes, and funny people get jokes. Unfunny people try to tell jokes, and aren't so hot at it (which can be funny, I guess), but they also don't really get jokes--they seem to play along and laugh when other do out of habit. The much rarer third group of people are antifunny. They actually suck laughter out of the air. You've all experienced this, everyone is cracking up, one joke into the next, and then the AntiFunny chimes in with some nugget that stops everything. Eyes glance furtively, a couple of sighs...and we move on.

I tend to be sort of douche when playing Eurogames. It's never as bad as "F", but it is closer to that description than I like. I have built my games library to be Ameritrash rich--I think I felt myself getting caught up in the win-at-expense-of-fun model. I have embraced games where it's tough to win at all, and that lessens the pressure I place on myself to win.

Maybe "F's" problem is that he has played against himself so many times, that it's become the only way he's ever known how to enjoy a game? Just a thought.

Malloc said...


My friends and I determined in high school that there are three kinds of people in the world: the vast majority are in two groups, funny and unfunny


Sorry Jeb, we have been over this and its 2 types of people, creeps and assholes.

here is a refresher course:

http://fortressameritrash.blogspot.com/2007/10/ameritrashers-are-leaders-eurogamers.html

-M

Malloc said...

Michael, nice post/rant.

I know F must have been an asshole but is that really as bas a Steve "powder Puff" Avery hiding behind a wall when he was supposed to be playing a Space Marine Captain?

F was and asshole, and Avery a Pussy, and there is only one thing that Fucks both pussies and Assholes...and thats a Dick....

Telling off Frank was the right move.

-M

(Member Team America, world police)

Michael Barnes said...

Ha! It wasn't Frank...Frank's good people...he's much more fun than most board gamers tend to be. He even had the balls to bring Guitar Hero to board game night back when it first came out. Definitely not a fun murderer. He's really more of a fun withholder, since he has every game ever published and somehow never manages to bring the coolest shit he owns.

Jeb- it sounds like you're aware of the problem. A game or two of NUCLEAR WAR and/or FAMILY BUSINESS should set you right.

Regarding Steve "Coward of the County" Avery- I'm pretty sure Steve had a really fun time being a chickenshit douchebag of a SM captain. Somehow the genetic engineering just didn't take with him, I guess.

Yehuda said...

Well, this ought to be fun ...

Michael, this was an excellent and informative article. I agree with you when you lament about people who make games no fun. Obviously I disagree with your characterization of me.

Though I'm walking into a lion's den, I suppose, here is where I have failed to communicate what I'm trying to say to you, and the other commenters, and Tom Vasel, and pretty much everyone else:

I don't think the industry that makes games should change AT ALL. I think any game made to sell MUST be fun, and that fun is more important than elegance, mechanics, or anything else, just like you.

I think that the people you play with are more important than the game you play. I think you can have a great time with dumb games, and a bad time with "great" games.

I do not advocate only Eurogames, as you can see from my Gift Guide. In fact, I've been complaining right from the beginning of my blog that one style of gaming is not any better than any other, and that all tabletop players have a lot more in common than otherwise.

In fact, gaming isn't critical to me; it's good times with friends and family that matter. If you have a great time together without games, and you don't like games, don't play them.

Nothing I wrote was meant to argue with any of this.

What I wrote was about the definition of the word "game". That's it.

It's a theoretical discussion which was meant to have implications only for artists, not for game players, designers, or publishers!

No company should ever try to sell a game that is not fun. Nobody should ever, in the context of their house, family, or game group, ever play a game that is not fun, for whatever your definition of fun is. Fun is paramount to games when played for entertainment.

My point, which again I'll agree was made badly both because I'm not a great writer nor any kind of artist, is that the "game format" should be usable as an art form as well, like any other interactive art format.

And my point, ditto, was that this has not seriously happened until now because the word "game" is currently only associated with corporations, homes, entertainment, and game groups.

I'm NOT saying that corporations, homes, entertainment, or game groups should change! I'm saying that other people in other industries could make some interesting experiments out of the game like process, experiments that are not purely sales-driven, fun-driven, and entertainment-based.

That's it.

Oh, one more thing. I also never said that for something to be artistic it has to not be fun. There is no relation between them. Something could be both, either, or neither.

I'm hoping this clarifies a little bit.

Yehuda

Juniper said...

But Yehuda, artists -- especially Dada and conceptual artists -- have been doing the games-as-art thing for decades. There are a few examples on this page.

I once watched a game played on one of Yoko Ono's all-white chess tables. The point of the work, I suppose, is that war is impossible if the two sides are indistinguishable. Leaving aside the scary collectivist overtones of her premise, it also doesn't quite work in practice. Any half-way competent chess player can tell whose pieces are whose, even if all the pieces are the same colour. Chess players think in terms of board positions, not individual pieces. And Memory Chess, in which there are no board and no pieces, is a common variant.

To do games-as-art well, it seems, the artist must know something about games.

Earlier this year in Toronto, I saw a giant OPERATION board. I don't remember what point was being made.

Yehuda said...

juniper: Wow! No, I didn't see that before, and it looks very interesting. Thank you for the link.

I'm not sure from only having read a few sentences here and there at the beginning of the article, but so far it looks as if games are used as static or dramatic art, which is interesting, but still not exactly what I mean.

My exact meaning is an interactive work in which the audience would participate in the same way that they do when play a regular games, and not one in which they are merely onlookers.

Yehuda

Juniper said...

Well, I could have played a game on one of Yoko's all-white chess tables, but I didn't feel like waiting for a seat to open up. The game that I watched was being played by two other visitors to the art gallery.

Yehuda said...

Then yes, that's exactly what I meant.

Yehuda

StephenAvery said...

Malloc I believe you have an acute case of short man's disease.I can "HULK SMASH" with the best of them but the yellow squad is all ballistics with no HTH equipment. I did an outstanding job of making intersecting lines of fire and was ahead almost all game.

Of course the only way we'll see who the true space marine is around here is to have a rematch ;D

As for Barnes, He's pretty easy to defeat. All i have to do is take his cell phone away and he curls up into a fetal position.

Steve"Blood Angel"Avery

StephenAvery said...

Malloc, I believe you have an acute case of short man's disease.I can "HULK SMASH" with the best of them but the yellow squad is all ballistics with no HTH equipment. I did an outstanding job of making intersecting lines of fire and was ahead almost all game.

Of course the only way we'll see who the true space marine is around here is to have a rematch ;D

As for Barnes, He's pretty easy to defeat. All i have to do is take his cell phone away and he curls up into a fetal position.

Steve"Blood Angel"Avery

Frank Branham said...

malloc:

Although I am analytical, tend to win games, and occasionally gloat (especially when Tank Top Man is involved) I'm really not going to scream at someone over War on Terror.

Mike:
I'll happily bring any game you request. When I bring one of the more demented and cool things, like the 60's psychedelic games, or obscure British family games, or games about stuffing babies into a phone booth, or the Cow Semen game, people ignore my amazingly whimsical finds in favor of the conventional FFG or Euros.

Both you AND Rob would not come near my game last week where you play children who are reanimating their dead pets. By sewing random bits together.

StephenAvery said...

The point of the work, I suppose, is that war is impossible if the two sides are indistinguishable.

Or that the enemy could be anywhere and everywhere and that you need to strike out before you are cut down...

Steve"paranoid"Avery

Michael Barnes said...

No Yehuda, this isn't a lion's den at all and in fact I commend you for coming here to defend the fun murdering charges leveled against you and for being a good sport about things. You know we're the rough-and-tumble end of the hobby but we're also pretty smart folks over here. Thanks for actually offering to discuss your points and clarify them further.

As far as my characterization of you goes, I'm afraid that your article did more to characterize you then I possibly could, which is why I had to stoop to making fun of your name and comparing you to serial killers- the material was already out there. It isn't hard for most people to read something like your article, particularly in this hobby, and characterize you as a pretentious twit. I'm no enemy of intellectualism and if you look way back in the posts here you'll find an article where I spill any number of words trying to arrive at how games with themes generate meaning via an alchemical transmutation enabled by rules interpretation and execution...hell, I even invoke the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky repeatedly in it. Was I characterized as a pretentious twit then? More than likely. I should have been, at least.

And I do get the "games as art" argument, believe me. When I started reviewing games online 5 years ago or so, one of the things that really bugged me was that almost every review I read was like a mechanical, soulless reiteration of the rules with an opinion (but not a feeling) of the overall effect of it. I thought that game reviews should be like film, music, or book reviews because I do believe, like you, that games are a medium and that they deserve to be treated as such in terms of how successfully they function, what feelings, ideas, and atmospheres they create, the choices they require, and how distinctly they display evidence of creative authorship.

But the problem I had more than anything was that you came out of the gate with a statement that just isn't true and it really poisoned your whole idea. I think you kind of stuck to that concept because it is so "daring" and maybe you thought it would drive your idea home the strongest. But I think you made a much better (and really different) argument here, maybe because it's more informal but maybe too because you've had a little more time to really put it together.

I think that games _by their very nature as a medium_ are in fact required to be fun. Even if we apprehend something like Yoko Ono's chess set as a piece of art, if you enjoy or get something out of conceptual art like that then it is entertaining and it is, in fact, "fun".

So if your point is ultimately that you believe that the modes of interaction and "usage" that we engage in when we play a game could be applied to other interactive mediums, then I'm inclined to agree with you. I'm just not completely sure we're discussing games at that point and not getting into conceptual art. But if it's something that involves a set of rules and is "fun", then it may very well be about games.

A question that this concept brings up interests me greatly- could a conceptual art piece (which we'll just call a "game" for the hell of it) that involves direct interaction, manipulation of components, and a set of "rules" create a sense of real fear or dread? Could "horror" be expressed in a way that board games, as we've talked about before here, can not accomplish?

Good stuff. Believe it or not, I love high-minded, quasi-intellectual discussion of games almost as much as I love starting fights and making fun of the hobby.

So verdict on Yehuda- on parole, but keep an eye on him.

Malloc said...

Malloc I believe you have an acute case of short man's disease.I can "HULK SMASH" with the best of them but the yellow squad is all ballistics with no HTH equipment. I did an outstanding job of making intersecting lines of fire and was ahead almost all game.

Of course the only way we'll see who the true space marine is around here is to have a rematch ;D

As for Barnes, He's pretty easy to defeat. All i have to do is take his cell phone away and he curls up into a fetal position.

Steve"Blood Angel"Avery


Steve, winning for most of the game? were you winning when I dropped the only dread? were you winning when I had to cross the entire length of the board to reach the other dread in hopes of dropping it before he killed your cowering captain?

where is no winning during that game, there are only winners and losers at the end of the game. My Captain Returned to his battle barge with the head of a chaos dread under his arm. You captain is now mounted atop the urinal in the chaos stronghold.....

Rematch anytime... when are you and Barnes road tripping to Baltimore?


I will start working on a need to goto Atlanta again for work....


However I think i wanna try War on Terror with you guys when there.


-M

Yehuda said...

Michael,

Everything you just wrote indicates to me that at last I have been able to communicate what I originally meant. Thank you.

I think it's the fact that I have now endured six months of similar reactions to this article that has now allowed me to clarify what I meant, and not merely the informality of blog comments as a medium of expression.

As I originally wrote in the article, anyone whose very definition of "game" includes the notion that it must be "fun" will of course disagree with me.

All that's really left is semantics. "Game" to me does not include the word fun; to you it does. "Fun" to me means various sort of happiness things and not merely any sort of thoughtful or emotional reaction, where for others it might. These are all arguments as to what is or isn't included in a word's definition, not about art or games themselves.

My original title has of course been one of the sticking points. I knew very well that "out of context" the title could be read in two ways. However, my article (was supposed to) made it clear that I meant that a game format is not necessarily supposed to be fun, not that all games shouldn't be fun (which everyone here disagrees with because of how you define "game", which is ok by me).

And I've been on parole in this forum since the first comment I wrote when the forum started.

Yehuda

Michael Barnes said...

You'll love WAR ON TERROR...the best thing ever was when I was trying to get everyone to nuke Billy Motion so I circulated this note with a drawing of Billy taking the dirt nap underneath the shade of a mushroom cloud and I made the written offer of $25 million per nuke underneath it. Somehow the note wound up on the floor and Billy, whom I had been cozy with through the whole game, picked it up and saw it. I've never been so embarassed in a game before. It created quite an international incident. But remember, it's not supposed to be fun. We learned quite a lot about the geopolitical situation and I think we all came home with a better understanding of the human condition.

Frank- I've told you I'll play the bull semen game with you many times. The offer still stands.

Steve- I noticed you updated your moniker to "Blood Angel"- that's about right since their icon is a bloody tear.

Juniper said...

I think that games-as-art is more likely to come from the literary and art worlds than from boardgamers or boardgame publishers. In fact, the literary world does games-as-art all the time. The problem is that the games aren't very playable. There was an issue of MCSWEENEY'S that included a set of playing cards, each of which included a segment of a short story. Those segments could be arranged in any order to create a new story each time. There have been several literary takes on the old CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE series of children's books, too. I've got one at home, but I don't remember what it's called.

I think there's an opportunity for people that want to make good boardgames and sell them to the MCSWEENEY'S/HARPER'S crowd. Those games would have to be utterly unlike AGRICOLA and STARCRAFT:TBG, though. And they wouldn't sell through the usual hobby channels. They'd probably have to be packaged for distribution to bookstores and arty boutiques.

Juniper said...

Frank- I've told you I'll play the bull semen game with you many times. The offer still stands.

This isn't a LARP, is it?

StephenAvery said...

Malloc I will concede kudos for escaping the deathtrap that Barnes sprung on you. With both you and Mark folding I was chuckling all the way to the bank...until...

Its games like that which make me love AT. I could almost hear the crys of MarrkZ's marines as their blood splattered in the hall. I was dragging my feet over there in hopes that I would be "just a second too late". Then when Barnes piled up on your last two guys I almost laughed out loud. Dammit! I want a rematch and I would totally be up for a road trip.

Drawing pictures in War on Terror should be mandatory. I have a frames WoT note with a picture of Dan Baden being hung,decapted, knifed and drawn and quatered. I Also have an original peice of art from none other than MB that I'll post here as soon as I get off my ass and scan it in.

Lastly, I'll have to take back what I said about Illuminati being the world's best world domination game. WoT trumps it but I still have much love for the Bavarian Illuminati. You know who you are my brethren and we will triumph.

Steve"Fnord"Avery

P.S. ...Good thing I didn't choose the "Crimson Fists"

ubarose said...

If you consider improvisational theatre or storytelling an art, than any game that creates narrative is an artistic medium, with the players as the artists.

Yehuda said...

ubarose: absolutely.

RPGs, more than any other game genre, contain the potential to be interactive art. And it's clear that performance within an RPG can be artistic.

There are some more sticky definitions here: actors are clearly artists of their performance, but who is the artist of a play? The actor, or the play's writer?

Either it's a collaborative work, or there are different levels of art happening simultaneously.

An in an RPG, you have other levels: the author of the RPG, the creator of the module, the GM, the players.

Of course, an RPG that is intended to be played by real people or sold commercially must be fun. And it's so easy to make RPGs fun, that artistic ones are no problem to make.

And, of course, there are endless examples of therapy practices based on roleplay which are not intended to be fun; I don't know if they would qualify as art.

I think Vampire is definitely an artistic work, where the participants gain from the experience. I also had a lot of strong feelings about Children of Fire.

Yehuda

ubarose said...

Yehuda said...
There are some more sticky definitions here: actors are clearly artists of their performance, but who is the artist of a play? The actor, or the play's writer?

Either it's a collaborative work, or there are different levels of art happening simultaneously.


Well, then you get into the debate of what is art and what is craft, and I don't know if you really want to go there. Personally, I have spent far too much of my life listening to people argue about. One of the reasons I prefaced my comment with "if you consider improvisation theatre and storytelling art" is that some people don't. They consider it a craft.

Many theatres get around the debate by calling the directors, actors, and designers "talent."

Frank Branham said...

Yehuda:

Do you follow RPG's much. They've changed dramatically in the past few years:

Little Fears: The player play young children (who are often abused) dealing with Monster in the Closet sorts of terrors that are reflections of their real world problems.

If Shannon were around, he could name others. There are a LOT more commercial indy RPGs that are aimed at more than just fun. There are also a few aimed at children.

The big difference is cost. It now costs practically nothing to make an RPG, as you can use a print on demand or PDF service. Your up front costs are now as low as possibly hiring an artist and paying a small submission fee to a POD printer.

Reinhold Wittig still comes the closest to a game designer / artist. His games are handmade from found/purchased bits, red shipping tubes, and short run printed vinyl boards. Often these are in runs of 100-200 copies.

Rliyen said...

433 said...

Michael Barnes: tough, but fair.


The same thing can be said about Judge Dredd.

Darilian said...

RE: Games as art....

Ok, I don't want to get into the wonderful world of art criticism semantics here, cuz I live on PLANET EARTH and not on PLANET BS, but here's my take.

If by art, you mean "an attempt to communicate a subjective experience to some other person", then yes, I agree that games can (and should!) be 'art'. I have always felt that the very best games are the ones that portray a "feel" of a given experience. For example, "Cash and Gunz" is great- it lets you pretend that you really are in the middle of a Quentin Tarantino film. The choices you make are thematic, the good strategies are thematic, the entire game is just dripping with theme.

On the OTHER hand, you have games that do NOT try and promote any type of experience. Condottiere, for instance, does not really promote any kind of experience. You declare where you want to 'fight'. You fight by playing a bidding game, but with odd types of cards that change the metagame of what the cards are worth. If you win three 'tricks' in a row, connected 'geographically', you win. Cute game, but it means nothing to me. This has nothing to do with the Renaissance Italy of Niccolo Machiavelli. There is no way to make deals. There's no currency for trading. There's no THERE THERE- its just a card game. So as a result, I am bored, bored BORED. I'm good at the game- I've won the past couple times I've played, but I just feel like I'd rather have my teeth pulled than play it again.

So again, if by 'art' you mean 'Experience', I agree with you, Yehuda. But if by 'art' you mean something else (ie- we should recognize how 'aesthetic' the subsystems within a game fit together), then I disagree with you. Thats not art, thats merely craftsmanship. Art can be beautiful, but it can also be ugly- and gritty.

Anyhoo, thats my $1.05.

Darilian

ubarose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ubarose said...

BTW - We have just another hour and thirteen minutes to go here on the US East Coast until sundown.

So, a Happy Chanukah to Yehuda, and all our other F:AT readers and contributors who celebrate.

J. said...

I go to the Keiner R’nizia room, a collection of his works. One game involves tossing Black citizens at a wall called “Sense”. When they fall, they land in a spiked pit called “Hatred” with areas representing different countries. Each gives me a chance to redeem my piece, but some are less likely than others.

I just think this is totally hilarious. Probably the best thing said about conceptual art in a long time (although I haven't read anything about it, really).

I've been throwing the slave meeples ('Black citizens', yeah right) at the wall tonight whilst listening to the new Ultimate Christmas Podcast (featuring Tom Vassel, who btw has some remarks on F:AT and mr Barnes which you may find interesting)

Darilian said...

Anyhoo, thats my $1.05.


Gosh, the dollar is really in a free fall now!

J. "pretentious twit" de Jong

Mr Skeletor said...

I just got suspended again. I don't know why. Then I realised I wasn't supposted to. You see, my suspension was really a piece of art, and like all modern art I experience I end up having no clue just what the hell was meant to be going on.

Darilian said...

Skelly Belly-

Were you comparing Modern Art to Piss Christ again at the 'other site' again?

Darilian

jan said...

IMO a game can be a "work of art" but a game is not art. Likewise, conceptual work can have playful or game-like elements but that doesn't make it a game in any recognisable sense. I agree with darilian that this is just semantic BS - and I would add in the case of the orginal article pretentious high posturing. A game is a game is a game.

Also, if F:AT ain't the lion's den, what the hell is it? I read this blog (usually in lurking form) expecting the authors not to pull any punches: not a love-in just because the author of the orginal article shows up.

goulo said...

Although I agree that having fun is a primary reason, I can think of other reasons to play a game than to have fun. E.g.:

* To earn money (playing gambling games).

* To bond with friends or family.

* To explore some mathematical or scientific phenomenon that is being simulated by the game.

There are, by the way, definitions of "game" that don't include the concept of fun or amusement. Even ignoring specialist mathematical definitions, I see "an activity or sport with rules in which people or teams compete against each other" in an ordinary dictionary - no mention about WHY people play games, just WHAT a game IS.

Michael Barnes said...

Also, if F:AT ain't the lion's den, what the hell is it?

It's more like Fight Club. Yehuda came by and rather than making a backpedaling, condescending, spinmeister ass out of himself (see: Tom Vasel and Sam Healy) he offered to talk openly about what he said and he defended his point (which is still bullshit) pretty well. Not only that, but he made an effort to clarify it and wound up with a stronger argument than he came in here with. He's like that dude in FIGHT CLUB grinning with the bloody, toothless mouth.

I did listen to part of the UPC with Vasel...strangely, I got bored and stopped listening. I can't think of a more irrelevant figure in board gaming at this point, and I really cared nothing about anything he had to say. But he seemed at least like a good sport about it, but what do you expect from him?

Ken B. said...

Yehuda's OK in my book. He's got a strong opinion (that I don't agree with), but he supports it without apologies or backpedaling. I may not see eye to eye with him on the topic, but he's got my respect.

At the very least he didn't try to act brave by posting here, then doing a full military running retreat when the action got hot.

Props to you, Yehuda. I mean that.

Michael Barnes said...

Awesome! Tim "Gilby" Gilberg had this to say about me in reponse to this article over on BGG:

What a worthless asshole.

Can somebody report a concern on that one for me?

Michael Barnes said...

Well said Ken- that's why I thought he deserved fair treatment.

Ken B. said...

I'd report it for you but I'm on a leave of absence from that hellhole for a little while.

vandemonium said...


Michael Barnes said...

Awesome! Tim "Gilby" Gilberg had this to say about me in reponse to this article over on BGG:

What a worthless asshole.

Can somebody report a concern on that one for me?

05 December 2007 06:31



Already done mon frere. A couple of days ago.

I have appointed myself the Commissioner for Fairness and Justice at BGG. My primary responsabilites are to bitch and complain to admins and in the complaint forum (where I am becoming a regular) *sigh*

Skels - do you really not know why you suspended again? I say you and generalpf start going after each other in the Starcraft forum I would assume it had something to do with that. If it is BS I'll bitch moan and complain. Lemme know...

You friend in acrimony,
Van

wnorris said...

goulo said...
Although I agree that having fun is a primary reason, I can think of other reasons to play a game than to have fun. E.g.:

* To earn money (playing gambling games).

* To bond with friends or family.

* To explore some mathematical or scientific phenomenon that is being simulated by the game.


Keep in mind, though, that if ones concern is making money, one could go dig ditches...but that ain't FUN. One could also bond with friends and family by going to group therapy...but that doesn't sound like FUN. And yes, scientists often look at game mechanics as models for using in some simulation of reality.....but at that point you're talking about something that isn't a game in the normal sense, but is maybe better termed game-like.

Bottom line, if playing games weren't fun or entertaining in some way then we all would be doing something else instead.

Ryan Walberg said...

Hey Frank, I know why we were suspended. It's because you called me a dickhead and I called you an obnoxious asshole. Those aren't really personal attacks because you and I know full well that I *am* a dickhead and you *are* an obnoxious asshole.

J de said...

I did listen to part of the UPC with Vasel...strangely, I got bored and stopped listening.

Was that before or after he replied that your contributions to F:AT were hate-filled?

Robertb said...

re: games as art - I'm stealing this thought straight off of shamusyoung's blog ( http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/ ), but he probably stole it off of someone else, so tough luck to him. He applies it to RPGs vs. literature/drama, but I think it's a little more applicable.

The tension which makes some works of art work is often set up between what the audience wants and what the audience gets. Or the aesthetic of what the audience sees and the meaning of what the audience sees. I want Hamlet to just kill his uncle or shut up about it already. That is the best photo of a crucifix stuck in a jar of urine that I've seen today. And so on. Tension is created between what the audience wants or would be comfortable with, and what the creator of the work provides.

But in a game (RPG, computer, board, whatever) the audience playes a much larger role in the creation of the experience. The designer of the game can constrain the actions in the game or place the players in situations where this tension may or may not exist, but anything the player does in the game is by the player's own volition. I'm Hamlet, so damn right I'm sticking a sword through my uncle for killing my father. Problem solved, but tension eliminated. And if a player _is_ placed in an uncomfortable situation morally, he can tell himself "I'm just attacking this game as a system qua game system, I'm not _really_ (insert heinous action here)," or they can simply refuse to play.

Does this mean games can't be art? I don't know. I think it sets up some pretty large hurdles to overcome.

As for shamusyoung, I gotta throw in a plug for DM of the Rings. Google it up if you're a full-bore RPG / Lord of the Rings geek. Not that there'd be any of those reading this blog or anything.

Michael Barnes said...

Was that before or after he replied that your contributions to F:AT were hate-filled?

Hmm...maybe I should go back and listen to it again...

Certainly he meant to say "honey-filled", right?

J de said...

Certainly he meant to say "honey-filled", right?

of course, but Steve never gave him the chance

pronoblem said...

Also, if F:AT ain't the lion's den, what the hell is it?

It's more like Fight Club.


Ha, ha, ha... funny stuff. With all the whining here and phony posturing at BGG I cannot imagine this place being in any way attached to that idea.

Michael Barnes said...

Eh, you just don't want to take your shirt off...

Darilian said...

Pro-Nob:

Well, given that the "Free Fire Zone" against AT-ers that started over Agricola seems to have been extended this week for Mike's post, I'm not surprised that you see people trying to prevent being sandbagged 'whining'.

But then, Mr. Nob, it sounds as if you'd prefer that everyone agreed with you.

WHINE WHINE WHINE. *sniff*

Can I have my blanky now?

Darilian

Southernman said...

Michael Barnes said...

Awesome! Tim "Gilby" Gilberg had this to say about me in reponse to this article over on BGG:

What a worthless asshole.

Can somebody report a concern on that one for me?

05 December 2007 06:31


Then vandemonium said...

Already done mon frere. A couple of days ago.

I have appointed myself the Commissioner for Fairness and Justice at BGG. My primary responsabilites are to bitch and complain to admins and in the complaint forum (where I am becoming a regular) *sigh*

Skels - do you really not know why you suspended again? I say you and generalpf start going after each other in the Starcraft forum I would assume it had something to do with that. If it is BS I'll bitch moan and complain. Lemme know...

You friend in acrimony,
Van


I'm glad you you made it official - I just got stuck in and then forgot to follow up :-)

The post got deleted and the tosser got whiney about it, so I had to tweak his knob a bit more ...

pronoblem said...

Yo, dar.

People are arguing about games... that's my point. They are getting emotional, calling names, getting "banned". It's akin to whining only because of the nature of the debate (this goes for both sides, I am not singling out F:AT). It's gay if you ask me (my toys are better than yours)... not very creative, revolutionary or mature.

That's were I get the un-FC like.

I will admit that it would not be a very interesting world if everyone agreed... but it is equally as uninteresting when it is akin to Jerry Springer Show. I don't think that AT should stoop to that level... Make a statement rather than simply bickering and pulling each other's hair. If you want "Fight Club" find out where the BGG server lives, fly there and leave a fire axe buried in it.... then post a picture of it here. That would be cool.

Peace.

Ken B. said...

Shit you own, ends up owning you, man.

Mr Skeletor said...

Allright, mixed post:


Also, if F:AT ain't the lion's den, what the hell is it?

It is, but I'm pretty sure Yehuda is Jewish and us lions only like Christian meat.

I did listen to part of the UPC with Vasel...strangely, I got bored and stopped listening. I can't think of a more irrelevant figure in board gaming at this point, and I really cared nothing about anything he had to say. But he seemed at least like a good sport about it, but what do you expect from him?

I thought it was one of Steve's best podcasts, and Tom handled himself very well showing a lot of guts and character.
I call bullshit on you not listening to the whole thing.

Hey Frank, I know why we were suspended. It's because you called me a dickhead and I called you an obnoxious asshole. Those aren't really personal attacks because you and I know full well that I *am* a dickhead and you *are* an obnoxious asshole.

Except that it was the other thread post that was deleted before the ban - the post you refer too wasn't spotted and removed until a little later.
Despite that there is no way those posts (admittedly I didn't see yours) would have gotten anyone else banned. Aldie confirmed that the rules apply differently to me then a normal user, which is absolute horseshit.

pronoblem said...

Ken... how very appropriate. Great quote.

Darilian said...

Pro Nob-

Fair enuff. But I don't really want to make a trip to Dallas to whack Aldie's server. I mean, DFW?? *ewwwwww*

That said, when ONE side says "We're all grown up, fair and mature" and then goes and gives a smack down on another side- and DOESN'T get reprimanded, or banned, whatever, then it makes sense that the other side might take a little offense to that.

S'all I'm sayin, uknowhaddimean?

But yes, ultimately its all a bit silly. Thats why I post here- most everyone knows its silly, as oppossed to BGG, where they think that it's SERIOUS.

Darilian

jan said...

"He's like that dude in FIGHT CLUB grinning with the bloody, toothless mouth." ...

Shit, you broke the first 1st rule!...

But, ok, I can live with that.

jan said...

"He's like that dude in FIGHT CLUB grinning with the bloody, toothless mouth." ...

Shit, you broke the first 1st rule!...

But, ok, I can live with that.

jan said...

Shit, I can't just post once...

J de said...

but you can remove a post

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