Author Topic: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better  (Read 10075 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

whatsanenigma

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1974
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2013, 01:19:29 PM »
I am that trivia whiz. There are people in my circle of friends who refuse to play Trivial Pursuits because of "how easy it is for Cwm to win". Except I've lost the last five games in a row I've played. Yes, it's been close, but I have bad luck with the cards and always get the ridiculously hard ones, and other people get the ones that are quite easy.

It actually hurts, having people tell me to my face that they refuse to play a game if I'm playing. I don't like being a guinea pig on games, which is what usually ends up happening. Someone has a new game on the scale of Arkham Horror or Game of Thrones and we spend four hours looking up rules and clarifying things online because the fifty page rulebook isn't clear, and I can't stand it. I bow out so I don't end up throwing a fit (I know my limits), but people don't want to play the "boring" games like Clue or Monopoly or Scrabble (actual board game). They won't play trivia with me, I won't play long drawn-out games, and that leaves us with about three games that we can agree on, which everyone is getting tired of.

It leaves me out of things. When everyone else in the group starts clamoring when someone suggests trivia because I have an unfair advantage, they all then decide on a game that I'm not likely to play. Nearly everyone in the group knows this. I have a reputation for not wanting to play those games. So I end up sitting aside, hurt because I'm "too good" with trivia. They all have fun, and then tease me for not wanting to join them in the fun, which hurts even more. There is no winning at this point.

Also, there is such a great amount of expectation that a person has to live up to in that case.  People expect you to be the best at a particular thing, and when you fall short, they somehow don't like it....even though your being better at it than they are is something they don't like either.  Especially if you are on a team and your team ends up not winning.  If you're considered the best at this particular thing, your own team is mad at you for letting them down, and the other team teases you in a way they wouldn't if they considered you to be only as good as they are.

What I'm thinking of in myself is not exactly a competitive sport, but because people consider me to be good at singing, I'm honestly uncomfortable even singing "Happy Birthday".  Because I get stared at.   I don't know what people expect but it seems I can never figure out what that is, and meet it.

I think this has a broader application, though, in that when one person is a lot better at the activity than the others, those others are always going to have some unrealistic thoughts that the one who is better has no control over, no matter what they do.  They are stuck between the rock and hard place of being perceived as arrogant, and being perceived as having false modesty.  Do you minimize your ability and risk being told you are "fishing for compliments"?  Do you acknowledge your ability, offer to take a handicap or bow out, and risk being perceived as "showing off"? Where is the line to balance on, where everybody else will be comfortable and no one will take any offense? 

It's impossible to know.  Which is sad, because then the activity you enjoy (so much, that you have become just that good at it, and take pride in your accomplishments regarding) is now something you can only do as though it is work, never again as an informal activity with your friends.

My vote for the situation in the OP?  I agree with those who say pick another game.  One everybody likes and has some element of chance.  Bunco and Yahtzee are good candidates for this, IMHO.

And everybody also should keep in mind what others have suggested in terms of the question of "Why are you playing in the first place?".  It's probably a question that could use some explicit discussion before the games, sometimes, I think.

Lady Snowdon

  • Super cool awesome title
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5995
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2013, 01:30:14 PM »
I asked my DH about this, because one of his friends is that person.  DH's friend is literally "beat everyone all the time" good at every game I've seen him play.  It's very discouraging since I'm usually a total newbie at these games, and being whupped within three turns makes me not want to play again.  I don't see the point of trying to get better and mastering the game if this guy is still always going to beat me.  He also gloats about winning and is very much, "Well, I win all the time, so if you're prepared to lose, I'd love to play" about his propensity to win.  No one wants to deal with that all the time.  My DH can beat me in any video game we play together, but playing with him is different.  He explains things, gives me tips, etc.  It's not as awful to lose if the person you've lost to doesn't make it an awful thing to lose.  My DH's viewpoint was that playing with someone who is better than you and wins most of the time makes you want to get better at the game and someday have a hope of beating them.  He's a better person than I am!

I really like games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, where it's not as strategy based and you can enjoy the game thoroughly without even having a winner, if you don't want to have one.  I played a game of Cards Against Humanity last weekend where we went through the entire deck.  That was our stated goal.  My DH technically "won" with 27 black cards, but that wasn't the point at all. 

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12951
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2013, 01:34:49 PM »
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?
It doesn't sound like much fun.  Still, it's hard to imagine that someone would excel at every activity, so I would try to arrange activities in which he or she does not have a huge advantage.  If the group wants to play those activities at which he  excels, can you break off into smaller groups where average players can compete while the better players do so among themselves?

So, no the person should not have to bow out or be treated differently than other players.  There are other solutions.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Sheila Take a Bow

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 777
  • Formerly arija but I felt like a name change.
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2013, 02:32:24 PM »
I'm that person for trivia games. And I deal with it in a couple of different ways.

In one group, if someone is stumped or if there's a wrong answer, the question will go to me (for no points). I'm not part of any team but I am playing along.

In another group, there's another trivia buff like me and we don't play on the same team.

But it's not much fun for me to play a game and win easily. I don't feel bad when people don't want to play with me.

AzaleaBloom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 129
  • Help, I'm stepping into the twilight zone...
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2013, 04:06:53 PM »
I'm a trivia nerd.  As in, I was on Jeopardy several months ago.

However, I do still play trivia games with my friends.  Even though I have a pretty large storeroom of useless information, there are still gaps in there.

So, during game nights, we might do trivia games, and we'll also play other types of games.  Generally it goes pretty well.  I am pretty competitive by nature, though (I do reign it in when necessary, but sometimes it's hard!).

The point I'm getting at is, don't punish someone for being good at certain types of games.  But do change it up a bit so everyone has a chance.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1392
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2013, 05:44:15 PM »

Cooperative games also great, you just have to make sure the whiz isn't an 'alpha player' type who will take control. (and to sweetsono: I've never played Arkham Horror, but if you say it is long and complicated but don't make that same comment about Shadows Over Camelot all I can think is "wow! that must be quite a game!").


It is quite a game! I loved it, but it's pretty much Shadows Over Camelot squared. It's definitely not for everyone. It takes quite a lot of focus.

I also POD on Lady Snowden. Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples are lots of fun. I also like games like 25 Words or Less, Balderdash, and Wise and Otherwise. They are in a similar vein. Have you tried The Game of Things? If you play with all adults, it can get very, very adult (and very, very funny).

GreenEyedHawk

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2092
  • Not hot but SPICY
    • My Facebook.  Feel free to add me!
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2013, 05:51:08 PM »
I'm like this with trivia games as well.

A couple weekends ago Anthony and I were visiting friends and we decided to play You Don't Know Jack. After the second round I realised I was really running away with it and felt a little badly so I reined it in a little, making myself wait a split second longer before answering, or whatever.  It didn't really matter to me whether I won or not; I was having fun with my friends and that's all that mattered so throwing a game or two without telling anyone was completely no big deal.  I still had fun and didn't feel like I was dominating the game.
"After all this time?"
"Always."

baglady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4617
  • A big lass and a bonny lass and she loves her beer
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2013, 09:22:49 PM »
I don't see what the big deal is. It's games. With friends. The next day it's not going to matter who won.

When we form teams for Trivial Pursuit or similar knowledge-based games, the people who are good at it aren't excluded. The other players (good-naturedly) fight over who's going to get them on their team. I'm pretty good at Trivial Pursuit and Encore (the song lyric game), and I've been the one "fought over." But I have as good a chance as anyone else of getting questions I don't know the answer to.

I can tell you who beat me and my partner at Trivial Pursuit last Thanksgiving weekend, because it was fairly recent (and fun!), but I can't remember whether my team won or lost at Encore last New Year's. Games. Friends. No Big Deal.
My photography is on Redbubble! Come see: http://www.redbubble.com/people/baglady

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4409
    • My blog!
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2013, 09:43:39 PM »
Cwm, what if you brought a few games?  Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Apples to Apples are favorites of ours.  Neither take too long for newbies to pick up, they're fun and not endless, and if you brought a game, you'd be familiar with the rules and could help explain them so that you didn't have to spend too long on rehashing rules (sometimes it's just easier to get the game started and explain any complicated scenarios as you go).

LadyR

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1001
    • Musings of A Pinterest Mom
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2013, 12:55:20 AM »

Cooperative games also great, you just have to make sure the whiz isn't an 'alpha player' type who will take control. (and to sweetsono: I've never played Arkham Horror, but if you say it is long and complicated but don't make that same comment about Shadows Over Camelot all I can think is "wow! that must be quite a game!").


It is quite a game! I loved it, but it's pretty much Shadows Over Camelot squared. It's definitely not for everyone. It takes quite a lot of focus.

I also POD on Lady Snowden. Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples are lots of fun. I also like games like 25 Words or Less, Balderdash, and Wise and Otherwise. They are in a similar vein. Have you tried The Game of Things? If you play with all adults, it can get very, very adult (and very, very funny).

I actually find Arkham Horror (base game) less complicated than Shadows Over Camelot. It always seems to run smoother on the co-operative level even if you end up dying a horrible death 2/3s of the time.

For the OP, my DH is one of those people, we have a couple games he always wins and some times it takes the fun out of it, but he never gloats and when someone does beat him, it feels like a major accomolishemnt.


desireesgranny

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 196
    • www.TickerFactory.com
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #40 on: December 26, 2013, 08:27:15 AM »
I am often told I cannot play word games at showers and parties.

I'm the best at them out of everyone in my family.

I just play anyways. When I win, sometimes I give the prize away. I don't really care about the prize, just the competition.

hjaye

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1224
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2013, 09:13:19 AM »
I wouldn't ask them to bow out, hopefully by playing against someone who is much better, it will increase the skill level of those playing against him.  Who knows he might actually end up losing a few times.


cwm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #42 on: December 26, 2013, 10:18:22 AM »
Cwm, what if you brought a few games?  Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Apples to Apples are favorites of ours.  Neither take too long for newbies to pick up, they're fun and not endless, and if you brought a game, you'd be familiar with the rules and could help explain them so that you didn't have to spend too long on rehashing rules (sometimes it's just easier to get the game started and explain any complicated scenarios as you go).

We're usally at BF's house and he's already got an entire bookshelf full of games. Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity are the ones that everyone's getting burned out on, because we end up sitting for three hours playing just that. I've tried Catan, and I don't like it, and nobody has Ticket to Ride.

Most of the games he and his friends like are the long ones, like Game of Thrones or Arkham Horror or Shadows over Camelot. I don't like that kind of game, especially when it's the first go-round for half the people playing and the other half haven't played in over a year or two and can't remember everything.

When we do go places, I bring games that are light and quick and fun (and with little to no trivia knowledge involved) and everyone just shoots them down because they've never heard of them, and why don't we all play this insanely complicated game instead? I'm actually pulling back from a few of boyfriends' friends because of it, all they want to do is trivia or complicated stuff, and while they're not the ones who tell me to my face they don't want to play trivia, those people are at all the parties.


ETA: Side note: I'm hugely fond of We Didn't Playtest This and its expansions and sequels. It's kind of like Fluxx in that the rules change all the time, but the rounds last anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Easy to pick up on, quick, and fun. I try to take it everywhere. It still gets shot down because it's apparently "too fast".  :-\
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 10:20:37 AM by cwm »

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7335
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2013, 12:13:55 PM »
I am often told I cannot play word games at showers and parties.

I'm the best at them out of everyone in my family.

I just play anyways. When I win, sometimes I give the prize away. I don't really care about the prize, just the competition.

Socially, I think most people play these types of games for fun and not competition.  And if you are that much better than everyone else, then where is the competition in that?

I think I am a bit confused by your comments but what you have descirbed doesn't sound very polite.

tinkytinky

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 430
Re: Competitive Group Activities when one person is significantly better
« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2013, 02:18:23 PM »
OP, I think you could do this several different ways. some would involve changing the rules of the game a little, so if that would be unacceptable to the group, don't change.

**Play more than one game, with good player switching teams.

**have enough players on the team so that each person gets a category to answer. Good player can only answer for his/her category.

**play cash cab style, each person gets a set number of "street shout outs" where they can ask for help on the question from everyone, and they get a set number of "call a friend"  where they can ask a specific person for help.

**Good player has to answer TWO questions in order to earn a pie slice. (or more, depending on how good they are.)

**If good player knows they are very good at the game, wants to answer questions and not be given a perfunctory job, have him/her answer the question on a white board/note card. When answer has been said, see if  good player has the correct answer. you can give "points" to that team. (so good player is playing for both sides.....when the game is over, the points can be for a special prize, going first next game, prime seating, extra drinks, etc. so even the losing team has a chance at "winning").

I think if it's a casual group, you can come up with a solution, you just need to get creative.




            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter