Family Gamers: When the Little Ones cry…

Note: Just want to remind everyone that input, criticism, etc is welcome and appreciated. I noticed last week’s article wasn’t read by many. Are you getting tired? Do I need a new direction? Was that article really that bad? Remember, you tell me if it’s a hit, miss, critical hit or a critical fumble. :) Thanks.

On with the show!! This week we move to something other than RPGs. We play all sorts of different games as families, friends and groups so it was bound to happen eventually.

There we were, all six of us sitting around the table, decks in hand. It was our monthly Magic the Gathering family game day; we always play a 60 card, Standard, multiplayer format. We’d just bought an M13 fat pack, and we were playing for first dibs at the card-type goodness inside. We had a variety of strategies and a variety of deck types. I’m no guru, and I’m not fully fluent in MtG lingo, so please forgive any inconsistencies or inaccuracies.

We had a black/blue zombie deck, red/black vampire deck, artifact/golem deck, red/white/blue flyer/control deck, red burn deck, and a white angel/human deck. We’d played these decks since Avacyn Restored was released with various results. The kids had targeted me (red/white/blue) the month before and were steamrolled by their Dad’s artifacts and golems. With that defeat in mind, they decided to take him out first, and his deck’s mana was no-where to be found.

Boom! Dad’s out by turn four. Much cackling, trash talking and ineffective “yeah, but…”s ensued.

By this time, the vampires and zombies had built up enough that the two younger kids and I decided to target the older two kids before our brains were eaten or our veins were sucked dry. The eldest daughter and her vamps aided us in stopping the eldest’s zombie apocalypse before it could really get going. I played Grafdigger’s Cage earlier in the game, so his ability to pull those guys out of the graveyard was effectively nullified, and I had a second one waiting in case someone managed to destroy the first one.

Despite the decrepit scrambling of dead fingers on dirt (or table as the case may be), the eldest went down to defeat. Yes, we salted the earth just in case. In Innistrad, better safe than sorry. ;)

The eldest boy, of zombie infamy, began to help his brother (red burn deck). Dad was helping youngest daughter with her white human deck. It was me and eldest girl versus the younger two. Unfortunately, the youngest boy’s mana was a problem for him as well; it wasn’t enough to play the big, boomie card he had in his hand. He is more interested in playing his big card, the cornerstone of his deck, than he is in effectively winning if winning means not playing his big card.

He was down to his last 7 life points. Finally, the mana came in, and he played his big dragon. He smiled largely at his older sister and said, “I’m coming for you next.” She looked nervously at her hand, drew her card since it was her turn. Then she smiled. “Okay.”

Don’t you know that girl had a Doom Blade sitting in her hand, and she wasn’t afraid to use it?

*whistle of large object through air* Crash!! Down went the dragon, the only creature he had on the board. In moved the vampires. It was all over for him. Some pouting and commiseration arose. In no time he was planning how to improve his deck for next time. He pulled a Worldfire out of the fat pack – which is a whole other story.

The youngest girl and I tag-teamed her older sister and quickly took her vampires out of the running for first place, and first dibs on the new cards. Eldest daughter wailed and gnashed her teeth. In true drama queen style, as only a teenaged girl can do, she howled, “My vampires abandoned me!!!” We called the waahmbulance. I have good news, she is a-ok. :lol:

This left the game between me and my youngest daughter, 7 years old, with her Dad’s help. I have my angels and spirits, including Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and two Drogskol Reavers, on the board. She has her angels, humans and human tokens on the board. She seriously out-numbers me. If I wasn’t the beneficiary of Gisela’s ability that halves damage dealt, I’d have been toast.

As it was, I benefited from enough lifegain and damage reduction that I was sitting pretty at 25 life points while she was sitting at 15. Drogskol Reavers took out the two angels she had on the board, leaving my flyers obstacle free. She drew her card for her turn. She suddenly became very excited. She and her Dad conferred. And she played Gideon Jura.

It costs nothing for this card to become a 6/6 creature and negate all damage done to him for that turn. The card also gains points if he forces everything you have to attack this card instead of anything else. This was not a good thing as far as I was concerned. I happened to have one of the deck's few Cancel cards in my hand, and I happily played it.

We have always encouraged graceful winning and losing. It’s an important skill for children to develop, and we try very hard to model it for them and with them. At this time, Dad was playing with her, and Mom (yes, that would be me) has a competitive streak a mile wide when it comes to win/lose situations and games, and that streak isn’t moderated even half so well with adults as with children. :-S

Long and the short of it, I slapped my Cancel down, cackled maniacally…all while looking at my husband as if he were the player I just beat. And my baby girl burst into tears. Gideon was her favorite card in that deck, and I had just stomped on her heart in addition to annihilating her ability to play it. :blush:

I felt this “|-|” tall. I teared up with her and spent the next 15 minutes consoling her and apologizing for being a poor winner. When she finally calmed down, I sent in just enough creatures to beat her, then we put the decks away until it was time to tweak our decks later in the week.

Then, joy of joys, we all sat down, and I used myself as a real-life learning example of why it’s so important to not be a butt-head when you win.

The lesson I learned: I should always be the kind of person I encourage others to be. Otherwise, I get a large helping of Humble-Pie without benefit of a drink to wash it down. And the added benefit of feeling like a horrible, awful, no good, very bad mom.

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DM Howard

Yeah, sometimes it's hard to remember not to be a sore player, when winning or losing. I have issues with this all the time when I play competitive games because I lose sight of the fact that, in the end, it's for fun. I try super hard to be extremely positive when I play so that when I'm down in the sore player dumps I still don't come across as rude just intense.

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