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"Does playing board games with people always lead to frustration and anger?"

(This is another Quora answer, to the question quoted in the title.)

Of course not! Even with traditional-style board games that are directly competitive, most people remember most of the time that IT'S A GAME, not real-world. A particularly cut-throat game like Diplomacy or Age of Renaissance may engender more anger than others, but there are lots of quite peaceful board games as well.

Traditional games are intended to frustrate, to pose obstacles, to create tension, but a well-designed game poses that tension in game terms, and most players are aware of the potential for frustration when they play the game. (Much of this tension is lost in single-player video games because you can save your game, and try over and over again until you like the result. In a board game, you can LOSE, and (in most cases) you can't call "REDO".)

Moreover, there are co-operative board games, and solo board games, where there is little or no conflict among players, who are playing against the game system, just as players usually do in video games.

There are certainly board games that are designed to de-emphasize conflict, to reduce emotion, usually because they are fundamentally puzzles rather than traditional-style games. Often they are so abstract that despite decoration/atmosphere, they have nothing to do with the real world (which tends to reduce unwanted tension). These games allow people to progress in their efforts to solve the puzzle, even if they don't do as well as someone else. They're parallel competitions where players can do little or nothing to hinder one another, like many Olympic sports, rather than direct competitions (such as in major-league sports). Most Euro-style games are of this type. I personally dislike this kind of puzzle-game, but they're very popular with many older folks, especially those who don't play video games.

If a person cannot accept that "it's a game", if a person cannot stand away from their own self-centeredness/ego, then they shouldn't play the kinds of games that provide direct human opposition. There are lots of ways to play against the system (computer or other programmed opponent as in co-op games) if the psychological side of game playing does not appeal.

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My game Doomstar now available on Steam ($7.49 until Sept 23, list $9.99) http://store.steampowered.com/app/504750/?snr=1_620_4_1401_45

It's the boardgame in video form, not something designed as a video game from scratch. Works just like the (two player, turn-based) tactical boardgame. You can play against the computer (AI is weak), but it's mainly intended for playing against someone else online (which could include two computers in the same house, I think). It is vaguley Stratego-like, but much quicker (15-30 minutes for most games) and much more fluid.

Comments

I couldn't disagree

I couldn't disagree more.

Having a temper or being overly emotional shouldn't disqualify someone from having a social life. That only makes sense if you are designing games for Vulcans. The average person by all means should be allowed to enjoy themselves at activities that they are not ideally suited for. By your logic, half of the population would be telecommuting and playing at racing simulators rather than driving an actual car to and from work.

Assuming "it's just a game" isn't characterizing a player who is flat-out delusional and unable to differentiate fantasy from reality then what this frustration and anger really signals is competitiveness. Games are a social experience, and this means that all players must adjust their style of play to accommodate the needs of the group. If one player is competitive to the point of feeling anger or frustration then the group has failed that individual, and it is not just the competitive player who is in some way broken in that dynamic. Tabletop gaming is stereotyped for attracting the socially awkward and maladjusted, and it is not an undeserved reputation. A competitive person will struggle in a group of passive-aggressive players (who are the ones most likely to go complaining about their peers online), but that one person acting out signals an overall deficiency in the group, not just the individual. All parties involved need to improve their ability to negotiate these situations and enjoy healthy relationships with their peers.

lewpuls wrote:If a person

lewpuls wrote:
If a person cannot accept that "it's a game", if a person cannot stand away from their own self-centeredness/ego, then they shouldn't play the kinds of games that provide direct human opposition. There are lots of ways to play against the system (computer or other programmed opponent as in co-op games) if the psychological side of game playing does not appeal.

It's possible for someone to get angry at losing a game even when no-one else is involved. There are multiple explanations for getting angry about games.

Some people feel insecure about losing, feel small in front of others when they lose, need to be seen to win. But that isn't actually self-centred, that's other-centred. It's someone who is actually selfless and places their judgement of themselves in the hands of others. They lack self-esteem.

Some people *have* to win, feel like it's a disaster when they get stuff wrong. Feel like they're not good enough to live when they fail. This is something that can happen whether they're playing with others or not. They have a bad attitude to failure.

There are other explanations too.

As to the question:

No I don't think games necessarily lead to frustration or anger. Anyone can learn to have a better attitude to difficult problems and failure. As long as a player isn't actually harmful (table-flips or other violence), their anger isn't a problem for me in the game. Anger issues like this are not easy to overcome, but if they take a positive/self-improving attitude to their anger then playing can help them understand why they keep making that mistake and (again, as long as there is no violence) I wouldn't deny them that.

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