Friday, March 18, 2011

How do you tell a player...

...that he's being a dick?

I'm sure a lot of players have wondered this while playing me.  I like to think of myself as a slightly reformed dick (or jerk) (or asshole) (or whatever word you want to use).  I know I used to be "that jerk" all the time.  And I point it out when referring to myself a lot.  Sometime in the last 5 years or so, I think I've made some progress towards changing.

I've come to realize that while I used to have fun because I won the game I was playing, that now I win the game (regardless of the final score) by having fun. 

We played two-headed giant sealed deck Magic tonight at the FLGS.  I was lucky enough to partner with Bill Board.  We didn't pull a single bomb, but made somewhat stable decks.  We lost round one, and won the next two rounds in very close matches.  Everyone we played (including the two boys who beat us in round one) played well, and had well thought out decks.

Something came up in one of the games that my opponents did that irritated me.  Doesn't matter exactly what.  It wasn't unsporting, or cheating, or anything truly bad, it was just something that I might have done back in the day.

I took a chance and told them afterwards (and I tried to tell them in a very friendly way) that in a local Friday Night Magic, where everything was supposed to be kept fairly casual, that what they had done was kind of a "dick move".  I tried to temper my words by saying that I probably knew what I was talking about because I used to be the king of "dick moves", and gave them several examples of things that I had done.  My opponents seemed to take what I said as I was hoping to convey it.

I followed up later by making sure to tell them that at a competition level, what they had done would be perfectly fine, and with a couple of caveats (strategically), that they shouldn't hesitate to do so.  It was just that at a local store, where everyone is trying to be casual and have a good time, that it was a little out of place.

I'm just hoping I wasn't being a dick, but telling them not to be dicks. 

I probably was. 

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. 

Argh.  Angst. 

Still working on self-improvement.  One day at a time.


  1. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. When the similar discussion came up last week at the Gopher, it did kind of remind me why I would never play Magic in an "open" venue, because I suck, and if I just want to have fun, I worry a lot about eventually running into "that guy" that wants to teach me why amateurs shouldn't play "real" players.

    I think, especially in a public place, maintaining a certain feel is important. One really important aspect of this is to, in a very non-threatening manner, point out what's gone over the line.

  2. One of the nice things about playing at the Gopher is that overwhelmingly, the players are great. They are friendly, helpful, and there is a high level of sportsmanship.

    There are one or two players that people consider "that guy", and it is possible to simply play the event that they are not in. (If you choose the least competitive of the two offered formats, generally you are safe from people like me!) So I get to play lots of sealed events, and occasionally I'll sit out a week (which gives me cash to spend on books like Inner Sea Guide).

  3. You saw it, I said it. "You're being a jerk, stop it." I'll admit that was a special case, but I did feel it needed to be said; directly and with witnesses.