Counterus Hex

Hex and Counter games reviewed and discussed by an old Grognard.

This is a continuation of my list of people to avoid at gaming conventions. Part one can be found Here. Please note, for there has been a bit of confusion, that this list DOES NOT! represent the majority of people who attend board game conventions. The characters I point out here are a definite minority, and I dare say that one could spend four days at a Con and not run into a single one of them. However, they do exist and so I present to the old gamer and new what to look for and how to deal with those people who will negatively impact your Convention experience. 

7. The Art Critic: Miniature wargamers take great pride in painting their models for use in the games they run at conventions. Like all forms of art, and let me tell you this is an art form, there are varying degrees of talent and styles. The sheer amount of work and dedication it takes to build, paint, and mount the hundreds of minis on the table is really astounding, This doesn’t take into account the oft times elaborate and creative terrain features as well. The critic, though signed up to play the actual game, focuses his attention on the level of detail of the miniatures and terrain before him instead. Staring intently through his Pince-Nez glasses, he will gladly point out to the owner of the miniatures any areas he feels could use a bit of improvement. As he is an grand master in this field he can with great confidence explain that the use of washes to highlight shades is far superior to dry brushing, or that when trying to paint eyes one should attempt to catch the light reflection in the pupil for effect, etc.

The problem with these players is that Miniature war games tend to be larger affairs with a few people to a side, usually with each person responsible for a wing or two. If you have an art critic on your side of the table who is more interested in showing off his knowledge of painting technique than focusing on the task at hand, well then your team is playing at a deficit. The critic is there only to try and inflate their own perceptions of self worth at the expense of the person who worked so hard to put the game on. Their passive aggressive attitude is insulting and demeaning to the extreme and I personally find these players to be loathsome. For if they were really interested in helping to improve the talent or technique of the original artist then they would discuss such things with them in a more private setting not with an entire group of players as an audience. 

There is nothing you can do about such people, they simply exist, so if you are a player on a critic’s side of the table simply try not to support his wing etc. so he can he knocked out of the game quicker. Or as I have been known to do on occasion simply sacrifice your own wing in pointless attacks and then run away as quickly as possible.
8. Rivet Counters: Much like Historians, rivet counters look at the minutia of a game with great care in the hopes of finding any historical inaccuracies. They are most often found at miniature games where there are plenty of models to look over for what they perceive as errors. Such players will pick apart the most meaningless detail of a model or even a counter to show how intellectually gifted they are. Generally this behavior doesn’t have any negative effect on the game itself except that the rivet counter will, at all costs, bring these little bits of trivia to your attention, so as to educate all of the ignorant trolls within ear shot. These players can be dealt with by using a bit of wit and sarcasm. 

For example; (this actually happened to me) A rivet counter touched me on my arm as I was moving my troops, 12th century heavy horse, and pointing to the models in front of his wing said; “these crossbowmen are all wrong, the French of the time had bigger, heavier crossbows for which to pierce the armor of heavy cavalry.” 

Smiling, I looked him in the eye and replied; “Exactly! And the utter lack of proper representation of the MK IV Panzer for this battle is rather appalling. And where are the Stukas? Would that these things were thought out better before we volunteered to play.”  
My Rivet Counter did not appreciate these observations; however he also didn’t speak to me for the rest of the match so it was a win, win, in my book.

OMG! are you mentally challenged? I Just told you what to do!

9. The Bully: These unfortunate people are the guys at the table telling everyone else what to do, how to do it, and angrily expressing frustration when such direction is not followed.  They have no interest in allowing anyone else to play as individual human beings. Rather the Bully views everyone around him as mere cardboard cut outs, to be placed upon the stage of his unappreciated genius, to do as he bids them and nothing more. These players can make an enjoyable and fun experience go right down the toilet in the blink of an eye. Angry and uncompromising they take every wrong, according to them, move or play as a personal insult, for they had just firmly told you what to do, so obviously your actions are designed to challenge their authority. 

Those who bow to the Bully’s whims will be rewarded with the wonderful feeling that they have somehow been treated as poorly as those who do not. There is no winning with a bully at the table for even if everyone adheres to his wishes and a victory on the board is achieved the satisfaction of a job well done will be overshadowed by the knowledge that you as a player really didn’t contribute other than to push pieces about like an automaton, and the Bully will, with a self satisfied glow, exclaim how you are fortunate to benefit from his benevolent leadership.

The best way to deal with these players is to simply play the game as you see fit and crack jokes about absolutely everything. Make bad decisions on purpose, even to the point of losing, and watch your tormentor turn fifteen shades of red. A few rounds of this and the Bully will sulk in the corner or rage quit whilst you happily go on enjoying yourself. Whatever you do, don’t let them take control of a session for as I said before it never ends well.

Negative Expert to my left, I give the V for victory sign as I finish beating him soundly.

10. The Negative Expert: Experts are a hit or miss type of player that can be either a blessing or a curse. For Experts are people who have through, time, and dedication, mastered the game. They have played in tournaments, helped rewrite the rules and devised or mimicked winning strategies. For the most part, Experts simply enjoy the game and wish to share this passion with others. Those are the good ones, the people who impart knowledge to help others in a positive way. 

The Negative Experts are the ones to be wary of. These players show up at introductory and beginner sessions simply to beat up on players who are just learning. They try to intimidate others by saying such things as; “The reason I win is because I think three to four turns ahead at all times, unless you can do that you will never be good at this game etc. etc.”  

Negative Experts are not good sports; they are looking to win at the expense of the beginner, all the while bragging about intricate tactics and strategies that were used in his last tournament. These people are difficult to spot early enough for you as a player to take evasive or defensive action. For, they come with open hands and smiles. It is not until you are two to three turns into a game that their true nature is revealed. 

When spotted though the best you can do is to try and beat them at their own game. Stop listening to their advice and apply what you do know to winning at all costs. This can be accomplished, because the Negative Expert is overconfident, and usually unimaginative in his play.  Even if you cannot win in the end try not to focus too much on them and instead try to appreciate the game itself and any positive aspects of it that you liked.
Warning: this shirt “Triggers” Drama Monkeys.

11. Drama Monkeys: These players are a personal pet peeve of mine and though I have added them to this list most people today will find no issue with them. Drama Monkeys are politically correct to the extreme and will cringe in horror and complain if some part of a game contains anything they consider offensive. For example; the Euro game Puerto Rico which is about trading goods in the Caribbean during the 1600’s, the representation of slaves can be just too much for a drama monkey to bear. I’m good with that, except when they sign up to play such a game and then try to lecture everyone at the table on the evils of slavery. 

They also are the self appointed conversation police, ready and willing to flutter with consternation if anyone says anything off color or not up to their standards. Now, when I am at a convention I do try very hard not to swear, (really difficult for me) or offend other players with my rather coarse nature. Yet Drama Monkeys make my efforts all that more difficult, for their hypersensitivity to everything stifles my good natured side as well as my bad. Instead of making a joke or laughing at something I think is amusing, I find myself shutting down and simply focusing on not saying the wrong thing so as to avoid “triggering” them. I despise being hindered in such a way. These pests have become so bothersome that once I identify a Drama Monkey at a game in which I am playing, I don’t even finish the session and simply excuse myself. 

I do not go to game conventions to be miserable nor to listen to another person’s politics.  

Bastard Extremus. Steer clear and call the authorities.

12. This Guy: I will not divulge his name but he has been at every convention I have ever attended. This guy has at one time or another played the Historian, the Waffle Mite, Socialite, Master Tactician, and the Bully, and once even a strange combination of all them together. He is something of a pretentious douche with a temper who should be avoided at all costs. Do not approach him unannounced or look him directly in the eyes as it will be taken as a sign of aggression, and if his irises turn from blue to gray and his whiskey breath goes soft, back away slowly palms forward. Do not make any sudden moves whatever you do. Better yet if you see this man contact the local authorities or the FBI for he is bound to have outstanding warrants. 


One thought on “Convention Gamers to avoid; part 2 of 2

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