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Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Colin


Cardcore Gamer: Know Your Foe


Board gaming isn’t all about what happens on the table, it’s also about the people you’re playing with…or maybe they’re playing with you. You can never be too sure what’s going on in the mind of your opponent, so here’s a handy-dandy guide to the different species of gamer you might encounter in the wild. I’m not going to talk about their mating habits, ask your father (but only if he’s Desmond Morris).

I’ve encountered many a wily foe in the cardboardy tundra, in fact I keep their heads as trophies on my drawing room wall. Sometimes I hang my hat jauntily on their antlers. If you too wish to bag a fine collection of game faces like a true big game hunter, you’ll need to know what you’re up against. Tamp down you pipe, it’s time to get educated!


The Strategist

Not as cunning as the name will lead you to believe, in fact the Strategist is all bluster and no pantaloons; No matter the game, they will insist that they “have a strategy” and that every single thing which they, or anyone else in the game does relates back to and indeed happens in accordance with said strategy. The game itself is unimportant, even an innocuous game such as ‘Snakes And Ladders’ will evoke the same knowing smirk and self-assured phrase: “It’s all part of my plan”.


The Strategist rarely wins a game, but if they do, do not look them in the eyes; the degree of ill-won smugness exuded will make your eyes run clean off your face.


The Doom-sayer

Seemingly harmless, the Doom-sayer will proclaim their impending downfall from the first slight misfortune they suffer. To them, their fate is sealed from the first poor die roll, or missed opportunity. Doom-sayers often express feelings of hopelessness, persecution and even predict the way in which events or other players will contribute to their demise, but beware! Doom-sayers are rarely correct in their assumptions.


Doom-sayers will lull you into a false sense of security with their self-deprecation, often experiencing a later change in fortune and going on to win the game. Be politely merciless and show them a picture of irresistible kittens (preferably in a basket, or tea-cup) to break their gloomy spell.

It may not look like it, but he's going to win.

It may not look like it, but he’s going to win.


The Optimal Playbot

Board games are fun and while winning is nice, it’s the social interaction and experience of play that matters. Not to the Optimal Playbot! Fun is an alien concept where there is data to analyse and Optimal Playbot is determined to make the perfect move, no matter how long it takes, how bored everyone else gets, nor how many insults and beer-soaked peanuts are thrown at them.


Optimal Playbot will take over any game and drain it of all enjoyment, either through the excruciating time it takes for them to make a decision, or through their insistence of suggesting the best moves to other players. Combat them by imposing a turn-time limit, or force them to play a game involving colossal amounts of dice. If these methods fail, introduce them to ‘Chaotic Annoying’.


The ‘Chaotic Annoying’

The polar opposite of Optimal Playbot, Chaotic Annoying will make their moves seemingly at random and always at the expense of another player and to the detriment of the game as a whole. What makes them so insidious is that Chaotic Annoying players do play by the rules and are trying to achieve…something, so the other players can’t accuse them of ‘not playing properly’, even though their overall play is straight-jacket flailingly bizarre.


Whether you pick on them or not doesn’t matter, eventually the Chaotic Annoying will arbitrarily decide to nobble your plans. Get in their first and stump them before it’s too late. Take care, however, not to trigger their passive-aggressive force field making your aggressive plays appear Chaotic Annoying too.


The Rules Duck

“How does that work again? Can I use this card? When do we roll the dice?” these are the quackings of the Rules Duck for whom the clearest and most patient explanation of any game simply rolls straight off their memory. Rules Ducks are often sincere and polite in their bizarre inability to remember the rule you have just this second finished explaining to everyone and this makes them a tricksy opponent; Distracting, annoying, but very difficult to actually dislike or get annoyed with. “Quack!” they say, “Is it a 3+ I need to roll?”.


Pass them the rule book, take a Valium and prepare a large vat of orange sauce.



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