04/12/2011 SF: "How to Win Friends and Influence Games"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Hey Stybs,

I don't post about articles very often, but I really wanted to thank you for this weeks article. I think you did a good job of addressing some social aspects that most players could focus on. I don't mean that to simply say other players and not me, but I in particular need to focus on beeing a more "fun" player to play with. 

I've been trying to figure out ways that I could improve my enjoyability and comfortability for others, and you gave me some great suggestions as well as ways to measure myself. 

Thanks again, Doug 
I liked this article a lot -- especially the nickname thing, Stybs :-) -- but I did want to make one quick comment:

Sometimes keeping someone alive is a jerk move, when it's all about BWAHAHAHAHAHA I COULD KILL YOU, BUT I WON'T, F33R MY POWAH. But sometimes it's not. I know some folks who have very, very powerful multiplayer decks and can, should they choose, end games quickly and take multiple people out. Sometimes not doing that is about allowing for the unexpected when someone's clearly got the better deck or the upper hand. It depends very much on the attitude.
Great article!!

Soo much stuff in here applies not only to playing magic with new people, but to everyday life as well!! Everyday whether at school, or work, or a social event there are always new people to meet. It's not always straight forward how to approach an introverted person or even encountering someone who is so extroverted can be a little intimidating to approach them at all.

Wanting to work in entertainment business after collage I need to practice how to read people and determine the best way to interact with them, prefferably on a personal / business casual level, and reading this article just kinda made me happy seeing these techniques applied to such a casual encounter like playing a game of magic.

I honestly believe everyone should try to meet as many people as possible because as different as everyone is, it's surprising how similiar a lot of people are.

Thanks!!

EDIT: Yeh!! Me first post on the Wizard forums =D
Good article! Sometimes it's easy to get so bogged down in deck design, play strategy, and tournament pools that one forgets that the point is for everyone to have fun. And to that end, all players should strive not only to have fun, but to be fun. As a relatively new player, I thought I'd throw in my own .02.

My own list of Do's:
-Do compliment nice plays. It's pretty easy to drop a big monster, but sometimes someone uses two or three cards in a particularly smart way. Even though this is almost certainly bad for you, verbally recognize a good play when you see one.
-Do help out new players with minor strategic pointers even if they hurt you. If they have a great card out that they aren't using effectively, point out what they could be doing with it. This will garner you good will, and help someone else enjoy the game more.
-Do include new players in casual conversations. Make an effort to never let anyone feel like the outsider.

And somd Dont's
-Don't "take it easy" on new players by making intentionally bad plays. It can be insulting and condescending. If your deck completely outclasses what they have, kill them quick and pick a different deck for the next game.
-Don't have exclusive conversations with people not in the game. Pay attention to your game and your opponent. I played a particularly obnoxious guy who would turn around and talk to his friend over his shoulder during my turn. Very obnoxious.
 
"How to win friends" is a little different than "How to be a friend".  The major point I want to hit here is "Don't criticize people".  On one hand, if somebody doesn't care to take Magic seriously, you're probably better off letting sleeping dragons lie.  On the other hand, someone who expresses consistent frustration with a major problem could probably use a constructive reminder (e.g. The artifact deck that keeps killing them wouldn't be so bad if they included those nice removal spells like the Stomp Howler -- or maybe you know a more obscure card that would help?).  Useful removal in particular is always at a premium in Multiplayer.

I know that multiplayer games are a little different for everyone, but taking the focus completely off the game makes me wonder why we get together to play it.  Even if you're not trying to actually be good at it, sucking at it a little less goes a long way toward making the game fun.
Hey, thanks for that article Stybs, it was actually quite refreshing to get a written point of view around something that is more often talked about but never said.

The one thing I'd like to comment on quickly is for this:

  • Kept someone alive they could kill at any time; blackmailed or coerced other players

  • In our multiplayer games, we often find that although we could kill a player, it doesn't mean we should, as it is often the case they have a better means of keeping in line another opponent with whom we are either unable to deal with or unable to deal with yet. Thus, keeping them in the game provides us time to get to where we should be.

    I think people tend to forget just how much the dynamics of a deck changes when faced with multiple opponents and you have to divide your attentions.

    I definitely think that mutually discussing your opponents' decks following a game is a great way to "clear the air" too, as you can all talk about plays that were made, or not made, and actually help others get ideas on how to do things differently.

    If I had to stand up and say it, I believe that probably the majority of people I've been exposed to that play Magic do not offer any advice or suggestions about how you can improve what you do. As someone that's always struggled in pre-releases or drafts to understand why I've made the wrong choices and am not doing as well as I'd like to, it would be nice to have someone take me aside and teach me what I could do differently or better that would then make a difference to all my games. Isn't that what we should all be doing to bring new players up to our level, which ultimately must make us lift our games too?

    Anyway, thanks for the insights, a shame you'll probably never get the chance to sit around our kitchen table to play.

    In our multiplayer games, we often find that although we could kill a player, it doesn't mean we should, as it is often the case they have a better means of keeping in line another opponent with whom we are either unable to deal with or unable to deal with yet. Thus, keeping them in the game provides us time to get to where we should be.


    It's easier to take down two injured players than a healthy one and a dying one. I have learned this the hard way.
    In our multiplayer games, we often find that although we could kill a player, it doesn't mean we should, as it is often the case they have a better means of keeping in line another opponent with whom we are either unable to deal with or unable to deal with yet. Thus, keeping them in the game provides us time to get to where we should be.


    It's easier to take down two injured players than a healthy one and a dying one. I have learned this the hard way.

    Very true, and it's also more interesting for the "perilously close to dying" player to be able to participate instead of sitting for a while waiting for the healthy players to finish.