Player Etiquette Can Wreck It

I finished a Battle Roads today (went 3/3) where I played with many different players. Of course everyone reacts differently under stressful situations, like meeting new people or confronting them competitively, but how you deal with your opponent on a social level very much contributes to how much you enjoy the game. The overall goal of the TCG and the VGC is simple, have fun. That was the original idea when developing them both and perhaps the idea that we need to focus on the most. 

Tip 1: Be positive. 

In my first game I played an older gentleman whom there with his grandaughter. He played a grass deck that worked around Sunflora from the Heart Gold Soul Silver set. Not a teir 1 deck in anyway. This was the game that I enjoyed the most. We both played competitively but the way we discussed what was happening was with a smile. We complimented each other on the plays we made and affirmed the success of the other player. We laughed at our own misfortunes and at the end of the match we parted ways not with a resentment at a loss but with a satisfactory feeling of joy. Remember that every player is working hard but this is a game to have fun with. If you do not see a competitive win in your future that doesn't mean you can't have fun. 

Tip 2: Make eye contact be clear.

You are effectively having a discussion about what you are doing with your opponent. When eye contact is lacking it is a terribly awkward and unejoyable conversation. This is a matter of manners and being poilte. Making sure your opponent understands what is happening and proving to them you are as engaged in the game as they are is as important as winning. Looking them in the eyes and speaking to them instead of just about what is happening will help. My first loss was to a dad playing a steel deck. There was great split between focus on the game and a conversation about the event. We couldn't have had that discussion about the event without looking at each other face to face.

Tip 3: Be aware of your physical space. 

When sitting at a table it is easy to allow yourself to get jittery. Perhaps you start bouncing your leg or ruffle shuffling your hand. Hopefully your opponent is respecting your turn and not being distracting and you should do the same. Consider how your actions may be disruptive to another player even though that may not be your intention. I played a player who I believe never once stopped moving. His being in constant motion was disruptive and resulted in me not enjoying what should have a been a great competitive game. 

Tip 4: Lose well.

You spent a lot of time building a deck. You've play tested and considered your match ups and put not only time but a lot of brain power into building a deck that you thought would be the best. A loss is a disappointing thing. To see something you worked so hard at fail can be a blow. I heard an interesting statistic from a player that 70% of games won are won by the player who wins the coin toss at the start of the game. Pokemon is a game that relies heavily on chance. In my fourth game I lost on turn three. I played a Voltorb and nothing else. I held a mess of energy cards, a Pokemon Communication and a Switch in my hand. If it is any consolation, and it should be, you can always chuck it up to bad luck.  

Hopefully these tips make for better games. They can't help you win games but the kids with more friends are always winners, right?