Gather 'round children. Tell use your tales of horror.
I have but a few, but we all likely have some. I have two that come to memory, and I just told one on Twitter, so here is the other:
After having moved around the state a bit, I decided to pop back into my old local game group, which I haven't regularly attended in 3 years. They were a bastion of good people. Every Wednesday night, like clockwork, 8 or 9 normal, intelligent Euro game fans would gather in the party room of a local bowling alley. Stranger, this was a 100% open meetup, with a thread on BGG that had been pulling in new players like myself for many years. What was their secret?!
Luck. Dumb fucking luck. When I showed up, following my long absence, one new player stuck out like a sore thumb. As we sat down to play Roll for the Galaxy, I could tell this group was already onto his shit. As he fumbled to take his first turn, two players take out their phones and start timing him. From that turn on, he is given a post-turn admonishment informing him how much longer he took than every other player.
We then decided to play a few rounds of The Game (if you haven't played it, just picture Hanabi where you can see your own cards but can't communicate), and it became painfully obvious that this man is a complete idiot. Near the end of the second game, where the draw deck is empty and we just have to get around the table two more times, he decides he is going to play multiple cards on his first change. The entire table is yelling at him not to do this. Begging him. Ultimately he decides to do it anyway because he feels it really is the smart play. We lose the game.
At the moment our defeat is sealed. I seized the opportunity. The defeat is in the books, but we can rewind time. Everyone takes back their cards, and I force Mr. Idiot to now only play one card. We all go around the table for two turns, playing the same exact cards. We would have won The Game. Death stares ensued.
I don't know what they'll do with this fine gentleman, but if they don't fix their people problem, and I ever find myself back there, I'd head home rather than do all of that over again.
I wanted to play some games. I could see that the room was mostly, but not completely, full, through the door as I approached.
I walked toward that door.
I smelled it from a good 20' away.
By the time I actually reached the door to the room, the shit-BO was so bad I wretched a little. The room was vile, poisoned. I had to flee. My eyes watered. I think I would have literally been sick had I actually entered the room.
AND THERE WERE A DOZEN PEOPLE PLAYING GAMES IN THERE.
I ran The Sword for a group, including guy who smelled like pungent rotting yogurt. It was fucking powerful. I could barely breathe.
Remember when they were giving away soap that one time at RIT, and I grabbed a full box? All 44 pounds of it?
All of that soap would have been powerless against this stench.
It's the "gaming" rooms at non-gaming cons, or the gaming cons that are small and have per-event tickets, that have the most powerful cloudkill.
At PAX I think you have a fair barrier to entry in terms of cost that makes a lot of the crowd a little older and a little more professional, but by day 3 you start to pick up on the people that are not keeping up with daily hygiene.
I remember a friend of a friend that came over once that I actually got so offended by his foot stank that I told him to wash his feet or leave. Like, being poorly dressed or whatever doesn't really impact other people, but smelling bad may actually ruin someone elses experience.
Chairs were broken in such quantity that a fund was necessary to pay for the damages.
Big. Fucking. Mistake. It was a Friday night. It was elbow-to-elbow Warhammer players. Middle of the summer, no air conditioning. I'm surprised that environment was capable of supporting life. We lasted about 10 seconds.
Game's going OK, but they have this weird ritual where any time someone can move the robber, everyone gives them one card instead and they move it to the desert.
So when I eventually get the robber, I take the card from two of the players, refuse it from the leading player, and dump the robber right on his 6 grain spot with a city and a settlement and steal a card.
Holy shit did he freak out about this not being fair and me being a horrible person. Demanded I back out the turn and put the robber in the desert instead. The other players supported him. I offered to give all the cards they gave me back and still rob him, but they refused this as well. They ended the game, I never played with any of them ever again.
We've talked about this off and on on GeekNights before, since it was a surprisingly common thing among basically everyone in that club. But this was the precipitating incident. I still think a lot of the bad blood they all had toward us stems from this one game of Settlers.
I was going to share a story of some dinner guests the other night, and a fun game of Colt Express, but I guess I won't now.
I took your advice word for word in one instance and apparently have driven my gaming group away from directly competitive board games in one fel swoop.
I made a threat in Small World, I said the following "If you attack my tiles, I will abandon trying to win this game and rededicate my game to destroying you." The most sensitive member of my gaming group a few turns later, made what was probably her most optimal move into my territory, had I not stood behind my threat. I did, and saw blood. I made the most sub optimal plays in favor of conquering her territory.
Complaints of me making the game unfun were abound however, I think my reputation of being very black and white held at least that game together to the end. However, things were tense for the rest of the night and she refuses to play small world with me, probably forever. Which is fine, and fair and it hasn't broken up the group or anything. But I think I need to hunt down some thicker skinned friends as this group generally shies away from games where players actions can directly impact each other's actions as a result of that night.
Entering with a new army, 2/3 of way through game, I had a big decision. I'm not proud. I wiped out any chance players 3 and 4 had of taking anyone out. I effectively locked up the game, and player 1 ran away with it. I guaranteed myself a medal though.
You did the right thing.
Rando had some problems. First, they were acting goofy in a way I can't recall well enough to describe. Odd, disjointed speech. Giggling. Second, they refused to draw from the player deck in the normal way, which is taking a card off the top. Instead they poorly shuffled/smeared the deck and then grabbed a card blind from the middle. All right.
After I explained the basics of the setting, which is primarily about friendship and cooperation, they went full on Wetwork ninja—no other experiences, no other interface, no other tech. A murder machine. Which could be fun, except…
They proceeded to sit out of every conflict in the game. If it wasn't killing someone, they apparently weren't interested. They followed the rest of the MRCZ around as the MRCZ did interesting things.
The other players apologized/sympathized afterward.
It was a massacre. I cannot describe the horrors she unleashed on us. The No-God would have cowered from her terrible fury.
I would say I learned something, but the only thing I learned was my place in the pecking order.
It was glorious, like watching a nuclear blast happen 10 feet in front of your face.
No, no, no.
You don't get to be salty about Kingmaking in Munchkin. That's what that game IS. To be sodium chloride over that is to be NaCl over the sky being blue or Scott being surly.
It ended with him slamming the table, ruining the game, making the lady who was winning start to cry, him packing up his gluten-free PB&J sandwiches, and leaving. So on the balance it was a win.
I was at a furry convention teaching one of my friends how to play Jaipur. Some beardo walks over as I'm setting it up and he says, "Oh, I've played that game before." I tell him that I think it's a lot of fun, and all he responds with is, "...No, it's not." He then proceeds to just walk away.
Similarly, at ConnectiCon, Pence and I were playing Traders of Osaka together in the Marriott's cafe. Another beardo-type walks by and pauses to asks, "Are you crushing your enemies?" Pence explains that the game isn't about combat, and partway through his explanation, the guy also just kind of walks away. He comes back a minute or two later to say, "Games are better when you're crushing your enemies." Once again, he leaves us to our game without saying anything else.
"Games are better when you're crushing your enemies."