The question here is what do you do about powergaming. The answer, IMHO, should be: don't mistake it for a problem.That's answering a pretty different question than the one asked though. If the GM's "job" is to ''balance for a more powerful party" with no say on how powerful is too powerful there must be tools built into 5ethat enable that gm to finesse monsters encounters & even individual PC strengths to the needs of their group. Past editions had various tools for that & I even named a few. You seem to be answering a very different & unasked question.
[qyuote]If you need to point at YouTube reddit & these forums as examples of tools 5e provides the gm you've listed three tools that are explicitly not things that [k]5e provides°. To go on and even suggest specific monsters for a group of a specific level very much calls into question if 5e actually provides[j] any tools for the gm to finesse encounters & even specific PCs as older editions once did. Our of the three tools you listed that are not provided by 5e reddit was created in 2004, YouTube 2005, & it looks like these forums seem to go back to 99 putting them squarely in the time frame of multiple past editions predating 5e. If there are "plenty" provided by 5e itself, why can they not be named[/QUOTE]You're awfully focused on where advice is available, and not on whether it is available. I advocate for better advice in the DM book to train DMs on how to handle a variety of issues, but it is a quibble in my mind because the advice is out there in huge amounts.
Consider that you might be removing people from the table for appearing to be incompatible - when in fact there are many ways in which you can all be at that table, have fun, and walk away super excited to play again - even with powergamers mixed with non-power gamers. It is undeniable that DMs make this work all the time. I fully admit there are some players that are incompatible with the rest of a table - but if you sweep any mix of power gamer and non-power gamer at the same table into this class, then that is a very, broad class and you're going to miss out on opportunities for fun.I don’t take steps to curtail power gaming, I remove folks from my games for being incompatible. Also, yes there have been times I am the person who left the group.
YOu're making assumptions about pwoergaming that do not hold up at the tables I see.The problem I find with the comparison here is that the showboating baseball player is simply doing trick shots (or the equivalent, I guess) in a contest that may not even be truly scored. Even if it is, the points don't really matter. No one on these casual teams is trying to win. It may not even rise to the level of "horse" or other nominally competitive games.
By comparison, the entire point of powergaming IS to win. To achieve, by some external standard, the best possible result--not just an enjoyable result. What I have previously called the "Score and Achievement" purpose of gaming. Score is the (semi-objective) metric by which one judges success, and Achievement is the act of succeeding at relevant goals while avoiding pitfalls along the way. The pleasure of powergaming is very specifically rooted in, as the kids say, wanting "to be the very best, like no one ever was."
I see powergamers that do it because they like the challenge of building the best. I see others do it because they aree desparate for attention and respect. I see others do it because there is someone specific at the table they want to impress. I see others do it because they want their character, for RP reasons, to be the best. I see others do it because they have an ego the size of the Earth. There are a lot of reasons to powergame - but they're not usually about winning the combats. Most power gamers expect that a DM will power game back at them and make combats more challenging. This isn't always true - but most power gamers I see tend to expect the DM to 'step it up' in response to their PC.
So - don't play that game. That is not what we do at my table when we have power gamers. We let them be effective. We applaud them when they are as effective as they plan. We build them up and make them happy - because those players tend to want that response and the rest of the table can provide it without ruining their fun.Because of this emphasis, not merely on being skillful, but on pursuing and displaying optimal success, Score and Achievement has the risk of very, very easily promoting the dark side of competition, even in a game that is supposed to be cooperative. It can foster vainglory and resentment, hubris and envy, acquisitiveness, aggression, and belligerence. Note: can cause, as in does not absolutely have to. The problem is that it's a major temptation to fall into that sort of pattern, and once it starts, it's self-reinforcing.
To expand your game analogy: imagine this baseball team of yours is actually competing in an amateur tournament against a slate of other teams. The prize is small but valuable to every member of the team, perhaps tickets to their favorite pro team or whatever. The only way to get the prize is to actually perform the best they can--they are not simply playing for the joy of the sport, they're motivated to win. Now the pro and college players are heavily incentivized to give it their all, because if they do well, everyone is more likely to win. But if the team was formed on the premise that everyone would be contributing more or less similarly, it can foster feelings of inferiority and resentment if you're the backbencher and evergone knows it. Being carried across the finish line by someone massively more powerful than you can be very disappointing and even demoralizing.
Your argument falls flat because it is basically arguing that the game tables I've sat at for the last 30+ years do not exist. Having a power gamer at your table trying to optimize their PC only ruins the game if they're a jerk - which is usually in ways independent of their power gaming - or if others make it a problem. If not, you can have fun. I've been at those tables over and over and over again. I've also been at tables where the DM handled it negatively, or certain players handled it negatively - but I've had a lot of luck with getting the tables to try to simmer down and try just riding it out with a positive attitude. It is amazing how well it works when people are actually just having fun.So...yeah. I respect the analogical argument you have made here, but there's a critical difference that makes both your analogy and the one I just gave flawed: sports don't have this mix of "it's just for fun, not for an actual prize per se" and yet also "it actually involves trying to win, and to avoid losing, as much as you possibly can." Purely cooperative sport analogies will fail to recognize the critical importance of "I need to win the most" that is so incredibly common in powergamers, while competitive sports miss the fact that there is no "prize" other than continuing to play and gettibg outcomes one would prefer to see.