You’d think we all play for fun, right? And different people have different ideas of fun. Let’s agree on that. And yet, some people are clearly not enjoying themselves:
Jay Stribling remembers a player who lost it completely:
“We were playing WWII, a 28mm game, with rules derived from Larry Brom’s “The Sword and the Flame.”
S… was having a bad game. His hit dice missed, his saving throws did not save, and everyone seemed to be shooting at him. Turning upon mostly innocent me, the author of the rules variant, and the confabulator of the scenario, he poured out his frustration:
“Jay, these rules Suck! This game Sucks!” Briefly he paused and then delivered…”And YOU Suck!”
We all roared with laughter, which made him even more upset…”
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If shouting isn’t enough, Dave Mesquita saw something worse:
“We were playing a WW2 game on club night, the German player ran his halftrack, a beautifully detailed model, out into the open when it was immediately hit by fire from a AT gun. The American player said “Got it”, reached across the table, picked up the halftrack, ripped off the wheels and treads, put back down and said “There!”.
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Belgian wargamer Luc Burlage remembers a very frustrating game for one player:
“The Napoleonic rules of the Wargames Research Group demanded an artillery hit only on 6. Years ago one of the players fought a battle but to his utter frustration did not throw one 6 all day long! At the end of the day however a fellow player looked more closely at his dice: he had unwittingly played with average dice ! (For those who do not know average dice: they show 2,3,3,4,4,5).”
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Even the most even tempered of us can have issues with games which move at glacial speed, or run too long, or simply are too late in the evening. Bernie Chambers, a great raconteur, once claimed that, during a game of the notably detailed Empire III, he took his move, then drove to his girlfriend’s house, took her out to dinner, brought her home gain, and returned to the game, where it was not yet his next turn. I do not vouch for the absolute truth of this.
I once found myself in a western gunfight game at the end of a long day – a four hour drive and two previous games, followed by dinner. It was all very agreeable, but I’d had a busy week at work, and I was tired. I shouldn’t have agreed to play, but I had, and there I was with a single gunfighter stepping out onto Main Street along with a number of similar desperadoes. So I decided to get killed early, and go to bed. In this I failed miserably. Someone shot me in the leg, making me fall down and putting me out of action for a couple of turns. By the time I was able to act again, all the action had moved two blocks away, and I was only allowed to crawl at something like an inch a turn. So, unable to get within range of anyone else on the board, I had a quiet word with the GM, who allowed me to slip away to my room.