Author Topic: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better  (Read 10248 times)

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Victim Of Fate

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So this is something that came up at a get-together at a friend's house, but it's something that has come up before in our social group, and I was interested to read other people's takes on it:

A reasonably large group of friends (say 10 people) are together in a social setting, and want to take part in a friendly competitive activity. The particular example in this case was board games, but it could really be anything competitive (e.g. a sporting activity or video games). The problem is that one person in the group is significantly better than the rest at the activity in question, to the point where they or their team (if it's a team activity) are virtually guaranteed to win.

Is it rude to ask them not to take part in the activity, or to ask them to take on a neutral role (such as scorer, question-master, banker, etc.)? Should the group simply not undertake these activities? Should the person in question voluntarily bow out, and if they do should the rest of the group allow them to?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 07:15:27 AM »
I sort if think it's mean to penalize someone for being good at an activity to the point of not being allowed to play. But maybe give them a handicap of some sort. Like if you are having a tennis match and one guy used to play on the pro circuit, maybe he can only serve with his alternate hand.

But for something like trivial pursuit with a quiz wizard, unless he's a professional I don't know what you'd do. Maybe he'd agree to only participate in certain categories.

magician5

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 07:17:20 AM »
If I were the more capable person and I knew it, I'd bow out for fear of ruining the evening.
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cicero

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 07:21:43 AM »
So this is something that came up at a get-together at a friend's house, but it's something that has come up before in our social group, and I was interested to read other people's takes on it:

A reasonably large group of friends (say 10 people) are together in a social setting, and want to take part in a friendly competitive activity. The particular example in this case was board games, but it could really be anything competitive (e.g. a sporting activity or video games). The problem is that one person in the group is significantly better than the rest at the activity in question, to the point where they or their team (if it's a team activity) are virtually guaranteed to win.

Is it rude to ask them not to take part in the activity, or to ask them to take on a neutral role (such as scorer, question-master, banker, etc.)? Should the group simply not undertake these activities? Should the person in question voluntarily bow out, and if they do should the rest of the group allow them to?
what's the point of the activity?

if it's to get together and have a fun evening, then who cares if the other team wins? I don't. the point is to spend time together and have fun. at least that's what i do. I don't see why one person gets punished just because they happen to be good at X activity. next time do Y activity that someone else excels in. I see this as a 'friendly' competition and even if i lose, nobody's evening is ruined

If this is a group of players where everyone is at a beginners level and they are seriously competing, then the "better" player should find a different group to play with.

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Victim Of Fate

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2013, 07:22:29 AM »
If I were the more capable person and I knew it, I'd bow out for fear of ruining the evening.

If you were in that situation, how would you go about bowing out though? It would be rude to say "Oh, I won't take part because there's no point as I'll definitely win", wouldn't it?

camlan

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 07:24:47 AM »
This person is better at all board games? That's a tough one. I've only known people who were better at specific games, not every single one of them.

What we do in cases where one person is better at a particular game is to play in teams. The really good player is teamed with a newbie, or someone who isn't very good at that game. That tends to even things out a bit.

Maybe try out some new board games and find one this person isn't an expert at?

And if it's just a friendly activity, the person who is really good could try to hold back a bit, so as to make the game more fun/last longer for everyone. You don't have to try to win all the time, especially if the point of playing the game is a group of friends just having a fun time. If this person is winning so much that other people aren't willing to play with them anymore, then maybe it is not just that they win, but how they win and their attitude about winning.
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Victim Of Fate

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2013, 07:26:45 AM »
what's the point of the activity?

if it's to get together and have a fun evening, then who cares if the other team wins? I don't. the point is to spend time together and have fun. at least that's what i do. I don't see why one person gets punished just because they happen to be good at X activity. next time do Y activity that someone else excels in. I see this as a 'friendly' competition and even if i lose, nobody's evening is ruined

If this is a group of players where everyone is at a beginners level and they are seriously competing, then the "better" player should find a different group to play with.

It's a fun activity done among friends who have met up to socialise, rather than the main point of meeting up. So, in this example, it was Trivial Pursuit among a group of friends who had met up for dinner at someone's home.

Victim Of Fate

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2013, 07:31:54 AM »
This person is better at all board games? That's a tough one. I've only known people who were better at specific games, not every single one of them.

What we do in cases where one person is better at a particular game is to play in teams. The really good player is teamed with a newbie, or someone who isn't very good at that game. That tends to even things out a bit.

Maybe try out some new board games and find one this person isn't an expert at?

And if it's just a friendly activity, the person who is really good could try to hold back a bit, so as to make the game more fun/last longer for everyone. You don't have to try to win all the time, especially if the point of playing the game is a group of friends just having a fun time. If this person is winning so much that other people aren't willing to play with them anymore, then maybe it is not just that they win, but how they win and their attitude about winning.

It's not so much that they're better at all board games, but they are better at things like Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Articulate and Pictionary to the point that their team will almost certainly win.

The problem with teaming them up with a weaker player is that you'd then have to decide who the weakest player was, which is a bit rude in and of itself, especially with something like Trivial pursuit, which doesn't really call for any acquired skill, just general knowledge.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2013, 07:59:25 AM »
So this is something that came up at a get-together at a friend's house, but it's something that has come up before in our social group, and I was interested to read other people's takes on it:

A reasonably large group of friends (say 10 people) are together in a social setting, and want to take part in a friendly competitive activity. The particular example in this case was board games, but it could really be anything competitive (e.g. a sporting activity or video games). The problem is that one person in the group is significantly better than the rest at the activity in question, to the point where they or their team (if it's a team activity) are virtually guaranteed to win.

Is it rude to ask them not to take part in the activity, or to ask them to take on a neutral role (such as scorer, question-master, banker, etc.)? Should the group simply not undertake these activities? Should the person in question voluntarily bow out, and if they do should the rest of the group allow them to?

I actually have one of these in my social circle.  He has a really good memory combined with a mind for strategy, so he wins board or card games quite lot. We wouldn't dream of asking him to bow out.   It hardly seems fair or friendly to do that.

What I would suggest is either introducing games which the friend doesn't excel at (Pictionary, for example, if they're normally good at strategy games), or playing games which have more randomness built in so that winning isn't a given.  Then there are other games like Shadows Over Camelot which tip the concept of winning or losing so that it's difficult for one person to consistently be a winner.

I'd be more inclined to mix up the roster of games that are played than exclude one particular person from playing, if that makes sense.

camlan

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2013, 08:05:10 AM »
With the new information, I think it's time to introduce some new games to the group, ones that aren't in this person's area of expertise.

Or continue to play the other games, and just stop caring about who wins and enjoy playing the game.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


iridaceae

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2013, 08:12:18 AM »
I can't win at dominos a all. I srltill love playing it. It's the whole fun social atmosphere not the game.

But yeah try different games.

NyaChan

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2013, 08:26:01 AM »
I'm that person for video games.  I played enough that I have to work against muscle memory and instinct to not completely run the tables.  I tend to self-police - I warn ahead of time, give tips/help to others, encourage taking turns if I've been the player to beat for too long, I choose handicaps to put on myself (like giving others stars to start in Mario Party or deciding myself that I can't use a familiar player or certain combos in Mortal Kombat).  It is easier in my case though because there is such a gap that no one feels bad bringing it up since it is fairly obvious that the rest simply haven't played enough or retained enough from before to play fair and square between us. 

If it were someone else, I'd probably joke about it and then keep playing.  If it really bugged me, which I don't think it has in the past when someone was just on a streak, unless it was a one on one game because that gets boring with only one winner, I might at most suggest a game I thought was more even for us all to have a chance or that ranks winning so that we could fight for 2nd, 3rd, and so on.

otterwoman

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2013, 08:40:12 AM »
My dad was a whiz at Trivial Pursuit. What he did was play as a team on his own, and let the other people team up as they wanted.  So, his one against teams of 4-5 people. Gave the others a fighting chance.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2013, 08:45:07 AM »
My dad was a whiz at Trivial Pursuit. What he did was play as a team on his own, and let the other people team up as they wanted.  So, his one against teams of 4-5 people. Gave the others a fighting chance.

Mine was too. He literally never got a question wrong. So we mutually agreed (and usually played only with family and close friends) he got 3 turns and then moved on to the next person. Otherwise no one else would have gotten a turn!

mrs_deb

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Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2013, 09:03:25 AM »

Mine was too. He literally never got a question wrong. So we mutually agreed (and usually played only with family and close friends) he got 3 turns and then moved on to the next person. Otherwise no one else would have gotten a turn!

That's a great idea!  I never would have thought of that.

I used to date a guy who loved to play Trivial Pursuit - but we played that no matter what colour he landed on, he only got a sports question.  I still always won, but hopefully it was more fun for him  ;D.