PLAYING TO WIN BY DAVID SIRLIN #5: SPORTSMANSHIP & THE FEAR AURA
David Sirlin argues that a competitive player should be willing to use any tournament legal tactic that maximizes his chance to win a game. Some players interpret this to mean that they should engage in unbecoming conduct to gain an edge. This behavior is unnecessary. The very best players are likely to be excellent sports.
Warmachine is fortunate in that it uncommon for a player to be a poor sport. For example, trash talking is much more prevalent in online games than in Warmachine. Although some unsavory tactics can earn a player an advantage in a game, it is my belief that those tactics do not gain a long term advantage. A player that is viewed as a bully or as someone that uses cheap tricks will have people gunning for him and he will be surrounded by an air of negativity.
Besides not being an effective long term tactic, good sportsmanship is its own reward. When you win a game and were an excellent sport, the victory is extra sweet. When you win a game and used questionable tricks, your victory will feel hollow. Building up a reputation as someone that plays the game with sportsmanship is worth the time and effort.
Many players display poor sportsmanship to intimidate their opponent. The most effective way to do that is to win tournaments. As a player increases in skill and accomplishment, he begins to develop a “fear aura”. When a player has a strong fear aura, his opponent frequently feels that the game is lost before it even begins. A player with a fear aura can frequently execute a risky maneuver because his opponent will be playing very conservatively or giving him the benefit of the doubt. Once you have developed a fear aura through winning, you will laugh at the idea of intimidating your opponents through offensive verbal comments.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I was not going to do a review of this book since most geeks have probably read this novel, but Ender’s Game is my favorite book. I couldn’t resist. Long ago, earth was attacked by an alien race nicknamed the “Buggers”. The Buggers were defeated and humanity is preparing soldiers to protect itself from future threats by the Buggers. Ender Wiggin showed great promise and was recruited to join the military as a child. The children in his class are trained through a series of games that pit themselves against each other.
I usually read this book a couple of times a year. Whenever I read the book I have great feelings of compassion towards the characters. One of the central themes of the book revolves around empathy. It is also comforting to subclasses, like geeks or nerds, that deal with feeling like a social outcast. I’ve discussed the book with several friends who found the book to be a bit trite, but I personally give this book my highest recommendation.