|The Capitulation of Kars, by Thomas Jones-Baker, 1855.|
This isn't something that I've had to deal with genuinely all that often in the recent past, mainly because I haven't played that many games. However, in the past few months I have been there to witness a number of interesting arguments and some etiquette issues that have gotten quite heated. It's not something that I for one have ever had that much negative experience with. I mean I've had people capitulate on me far too easily and early and just pack up because things haven't been going their way. That's fine I guess I don't mind that so much, although it's annoying that they don't want to play the game to its proper conclusion, I get that their heart isn't in it anymore and they just want to walk away. On the flip side I've never once waved the white flag unless my opponent has offered me that way out. I guess I realise that it takes two to tango, and I'm there just as much for my opponents enjoyment as I am my own. I feel it should be always the gamer with the upper hand who offers their opponent the chance to exchange handshakes, although it should always be by mutual consent.
|Capitulation at Baylén, by Maurice Henri, 1895.|
When I expressed my dismay at his attitude to the assembled throng of more mature gamers they informed me it wasn't uncommon now. In fact they said his behaviour wasn't out of the ordinary for many people. Now I'll say this sort of weak willed capitulation does not sit well with me. I'm the sort of person who has 'beaten' my opponent by turn two at HoMachine in the past by achieving the objectives and offering my opponent the opportunity to switch the game to caster kill. Why? Because although winning is important to me, playing a game worthy of winning is more important. What this capitulation showed was a very different attitude, one that said winning is all that is important. Not the how, and be damned with my opponent and what they want. I had hoped it was an isolated attitude, I'll be honest; but I've witnessed it on multiple occasions now, even as far afield as Madrid in Spain in a Games Workshop there, where a mini tournament was taking place.
|Capitulation de Madrid, Antoine-Jean Gros, 1808.|
The 'premature early capitulation' though isn't the only issue to consider. I have witnessed at times others clinging on to a game long after it is over as a meaningful contest. They're aim seemingly to piss off the opponent, waste their time rather provide them with a challenge. I've had people do this to me, mainly in Infinity by hiding their last remaining stuff behind a wall waiting for me to hunt them down, and it's mind numbingly dull. It's the reason the game actually needed those missions we got in the Paradiso Campaign book. I've seen it too in Dystopian Wars, with a faster fleet just running away in the hopes that the club would close its doors, and they might be able to claim a 'draw' of sorts. Now I have more sympathy with those who refuse to give up. Wanting to fight to the bitter end, no matter how futile, is sort of an admirable trait. Certainly to us Brits, we're sort of stubborn and fatalistic like that. I sort of respect that attitude I'll be honest with you. However, I was again witness to a really quite petulant display of selfishness I couldn't quite believe.
|Last Stand of the 44th foot at Gandamak, by William Barnes Wollen, 1898.|
A game that had dragged on to 4 turns a side of Dust Warfare. The game was for all intents and purposes over by turn 2. The Allied player reduced to two units that had taken damage, while his Axis opponent had more than enough full units to eventually hunt him down and obliterate him with consummate ease. The Axis player looked at his watch and saw there were others wanting to get a game in. So he offered his opponent the opportunity to call it a day and pack up. His opponents response? "If you do that I win"... there were a few laughs, until we realised he was being serious. We all tried to reason with him to just step away from the table and just accept that he was beaten. All to no avail. They had agreed prior to the game to play a straight up pitched battle to the last man, and he was holding out for that. Two full game turns later his wish was duly granted. Sadly this didn't leave enough time for others to get a game in, and I had to wander why he would resort to such a display of petulance.
|The Defence of Rourke's Drift 1879, by Alphonse de Neuville, 1880.|
It seems to me that these two extremes of the spectrum are probably quite rare, or I hope they bloody well are. But, there seems to be an issue around when you should exchange handshakes nowadays that I have to say I've never really come across before. I know much of it is context specific, because at my house if you want to play to the bitter end I'm down with that. But, in a games store or a club, when there are others who need the table is it right to carry on long after it has ceased to be a contest? Yet on the other hand, is it right to throw the towel in before the game has even got going because things aren't going your way early doors? I've experienced this a lot with Mofaux and HoMachine in particular, this unwillingness to fight an uphill struggle because of a perceived imbalance, or bad luck. Have other people encountered such behaviour? Do you think it's acceptable and how do you guys deal with it? If you do face it. When should a player concede defeat? Honestly, I'm listening. Peace out!