Winner Takes All . . . To The Game Closet

I can't figure out if I've shared this anecdote before; if I have, Google is failing me. But, to borrow an old quip, "Don't stop me if you've heard this one; I want to tell it again."

My wife's family has a tradition at their gaming table. It stemmed from her childhood, where certain parties (let's call them "her younger brother, Matt") would be less-than-gracious players. The behavior of these players – whomever he may be – would be such that it hampered the enjoyment of games in general for the non-winning participants . . . especially because such winner(s) were particularly skilled at games and thus won a lot.

The parents wanted to do what they could to promote unity at the table, so they had a rule: Whoever won the game had to put it away. This encouraged gracious behavior during the game (why risk alienating potential help with putting the game away?) and shifted the act of post-game maintenance from a communal activity – where everyone might be subjected to the gloating of the victorious – to an individual responsibility that let the losers walk away from the table and do other stuff while the winner had to toil.

Although the underlying impetus is decades in the past – the player(s) in question are more gracious than they were many years ago – this tradition continues whenever the family gets together to this day. Those who are vanquished can (jokingly?) say they lost intentionally so they didn't have to put the game away. Those who win treat post-game cleanup as a prize . . . and any players who want to stick around and help with the chore are free do so.

If anyone implements something similar at their gaming tables, I'd love to hear about it (maybe on the forums) . . . and so would my wife's family, I'm sure.

-- Steven Marsh