I've realized something—something that I should have realized earlier than now, for sure, given my love of gaming. But here it is.
All other things equal, the most fun people to play games with are those who are precisely as intent on winning as you. You don't want someone who cares less about winning than you do, because they'll screw things up. You don't want someone who cares more about winning, because they'll kick your ass and not be willing to engage in useless side conversations. For a tiebreaker, play games with people who are as skilled as you.
Now, of course, it won't be fun to play with someone who's just a jerk, for example. But that falls under the "all other things equal" restriction.
You just NOW realized this?
I have people that I love playing games with...and other people that I would sooner gnaw off my own arm than get involved in a game with them. I'm sure you can tell who is who...just watch who I tend to get involved in games with.
Maybe I have realized this sooner than you have, because I have been to many, many, many gaming events around and played with a wide range of people. I think that this could be why I love Thursday gaming as much as I do. A majority of the people that attend are a lot of fun. They know how to play to win, but they also know how to have a good time playing.
As for jerks...they just suck. They don't care at all about the game - and many of them king-make. I played a game of Settlers where this took place - and I wanted to reach across the table and strangle the guy where he sat, because HE decided who would win the game with the silly trades he made.
My favorite example of a game where there was a massive imbalance was the time we played Kandamir (and I believe it was the last time we played that game!!!) with Kat and Ben.
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