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  #1  
Old 05-17-2020, 04:39 PM
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Do you beat children?


...in games?

My wife ruthlessly beats our niece in tic-tac-toe, while I always let her win.

Which are you more likely to do?
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:22 PM
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If I'm forced to play with them, I pull no punches. You learn more by losing.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:27 PM
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And when did you stop beating your wife?
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:30 PM
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I vary it up. I have a 6- and 4-year-old. The 6-year-old really doesn't like to lose, but, well, I let her win some Mario Party games or whatever, but I also need her to learn that sometimes you lose, and you have to figure out a way to emotionally handle it. And that it's okay to lose. And that games wouldn't be fun if you always won. So, it's always a balancing act between being nice and letting the kid win, and trying to emotionally develop them by getting them accustomed to the fact that sometimes you lose in a game.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:49 PM
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I win the game if I can do it fair and square. Then I punch the kid in the face, as a means of celebration.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:53 PM
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I try not to beat dogs too badly. I'll let them win some rounds of tug-of-war.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:53 PM
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It just depends. When I was teaching my son chess, I didn't make all the best moves every time because I wanted to encourage him to keep playing. I didn't always let him win, but I took it easy on him.

Embarrassingly, by the time he was 9 or 10, he was going easy on me.
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:00 PM
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Same here. Little Banjo took his chess seriously, and was killing me at age ten.

With cribbage, I wanted him to learn to enjoy it, and felt guilty as hell every time I beat him. Now he’s 24 and his squeeze is a Czech engineering student who loves cribbage (after we taught her), and they play all the time. He’s improved.
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:00 PM
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I've been beating my kids at Scrabble since they were sentient enough to play. I was brutal. They are all good players now. I still win.
My DIL is closest to beating me.

We've had 2 tournaments while locked down. I didn't win every game but my points held up to win both tournies.
They don't wanna play with me anymore
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:21 PM
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I kicked my nephew's butt at Mario Kart last time I saw him. I told him I wasn't going to go easy. However, I suspect that in a year or two he's going to kick my butt, due to the fact that kids can play games for hundreds of hours, and that kids have better reaction times than the 40+. So I'll take my wins when I can.
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:53 PM
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I've never let anyone win. My nephew (age 14) has only just gotten to the point where he beats me sometimes at chess, and I don't think it'll be too long before I struggle against him.

Oh, and moving to the Game Room
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:53 PM
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I've never let anyone win. My nephew (age 14) has only just gotten to the point where he beats me sometimes at chess, and I don't think it'll be too long before I struggle against him.

Oh, and moving to the Game Room
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:15 PM
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I let my youngest two win, and the older ones play fairly. As they get older, they'll be held to proper standards, but it's good learning for them to play the game and encouraging for them to get points.

Example: When we're playing Boggle, we'll let those kids get points for words they find and spell correctly even if other people have those words. They only know simple, short words and they're the ones that other people will likely have, but if they keep getting no points, they'll just get discouraged and quit and never really learn to play for real.
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:20 PM
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The only time I played a competitive game with my niece, I couldn't let her win because I couldn't figure out the rules - she wanted to play 'Crazy Eights', but the game she was playing was more like Asshole, but not quite enough like it that I could just play Asshole... (I then tried to teach her the proper rules of Crazy Eights, but she was having none of it.)
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:51 PM
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When they wanted to play a serious game like chess, I played them seriously. When they wanted to play a board game, I let the roll of the dice lead the way, and didn't try any heavy strategizing.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:01 PM
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If they're old enough to fully understand the rules, no mercy. But if I like them, I'll show them how I beat them, afterwards.

The only game I get obnoxious about is Scrabble. I am a good speller with a surprisingly large vocabulary, and I do not suffer misspellings. (also, Monopoly, but I hate that game and I have decided that I really have no need to play it ever again)
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:04 PM
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When my kids were learning to play chess, I would give myself an explicit handicap at the start - take, say, a knight and a bishop of mine off the board before the first move. Then play as hard as I could.

Scrabble rules with kids is "no playing a word unless everyone at the table knows it". Apart from that, fair game (well, we also give advice actually. But that's above board, no playing low-point words ourselves when we see a better option)

Once we graduated to Euro-boardgames and the like, just beat them as hard as I could as often as I could manage it
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:38 PM
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I agree with the "Take it easy" part. Kids need to learn how to lose gracefully, and how to use that experience to get better at games the right way. However, in some games, just stomping the bejesus out of them without mercy is counterproductive. The difference between me and my kid in Scrabble is so gargantuan that if I just go balls to the wall, she'll be losing by 200 points in twenty minutes and I'll be blocking all the best moves. I can stay just ahead of her, not letting her win but not humiliating her. She won't enjoy it and won't actually learn how to play. But if we're playing Ticket To Ride I may as well try my best; the game is less conducive to crushing your opponent like a bug.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:56 PM
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There was that time I played Russian roulette with my neighbor's toddler. I was damned if I was going to let him win.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:59 PM
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What I sometimes do is play with extremely little pondering or strategizing. Against a very young kid, I might pick my move within 3 or 4 seconds, rather than really think about it. So I'm still playing to win, but any advantage from my greater experience is greatly diminished. It works really well for games like Connect Four, checkers, chess, and others like that where a lot of the adults' advantage comes from being better able to anticipate and think ahead. It would probably work for Scrabble, too. And you can tailor how much pondering you're doing in response to the kid's skill level, and they don't know you're doing it.

One unintended plus is that the game moves much faster, so you can play a lot more rounds in the same amount of time.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:03 PM
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I have a vague memory of this question coming up in an episode of Gilliganis Island, but I can't remember which one.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:08 PM
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I mostly play games with children that they have a chance of winning. Like "concentration". (The card game where you have to find cards that match.) Mosts kids are better at that than adults. Or "Sorry". There's strategy, but not much, and kids can learn it easily enough.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:32 AM
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I may not play cut-throat but I will play to win. So if I lose to a child, it's because they beat me not because I let them win.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:27 AM
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I play plenty of games with kids as part of my job. Most of my students have significant disabilities and some degree of cognitive impairment. Yes, I usually let them win, or I'll engineer a tie. Unless they need to work on the social skill of losing. Most are working on just paying attention long enough to take turns, figuring out how the count on the spinner or dice relates to how they're supposed to move their piece, answering a basic question, or making a simple comment to another player that's related to the game and not totally out in left field. Actual game strategy is not the point and if they never get anything right, they'll shut down and the session is wasted. I've got exactly one kid on my caseload, a 9-year-old, that I'll play against for real, with full effort.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:39 AM
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Yeah, it's a fine balance between letting them be competitive enough that they enjoy the game and want to play again, and teaching them that no-one is allowed to win every time. Overall, I think Euro-style games such as Ticket to Ride are better for this, because even the losing players feel like they achieved a lot, even if they didn't come out first on the scoreboard. As opposed to, say, Monopoly where the losers just get crushed. On the other hand, dice-heavy/strategy-light games are good in that kids have a fair chance of winning from a fairly young age with no need for the adults to play softly. So both have their place, IMO.

We recently introduced our 6-year-old to Carcassonne, starting with the very basic rules and then gradually introducing abbotts, gardens etc (farmers are next). He seems to like it and is already fairly competitive, but if I make the best move all the time and give him no help with his moves, it would be a blow-out. So I gently suggest other places for his tiles, and don't always place mine in the highest scoring positions.

Of course, to keep doing that as they get older, without them catching on (which would defeat the object of the exercise), becomes a skill in itself. A few months ago I was playing football (soccer) with my 9-year-old cousin and he could tell I wasn't trying my hardest. Very difficult to pull off a fake in a purely physical contest, like that. In a board game you have more plausible deniability ("Darn, I didn't see that!").
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:51 AM
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When I play against kids I tone it down but don't actively try to lose.

My wife really, REALLY likes to win so for some games with her I do the same. We both have more fun when she wins once in awhile.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:56 AM
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I never just let the kid win. But, I try to win gently so they learn and enjoy the game.


The very first time I played Magic The Gathering, my oponent pulverized me. The game was over extremely quickly and I was left confused and learned nothing. The second oponent I played made it clear he could have won just as quickly. Instead, he took his time and helped me learn the game.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:19 AM
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What I will do when playing a child (or anyone else new to a game) is to ask "Are you sure you want to do that?", or the like, and offer take-backs, and sometimes give advice on moves. And, yes, sometimes I'll spend less time on considering my moves than I otherwise would.

The benefit of not letting children win is that, when they eventually do win, they know that they genuinely earned it. And my nephew is now close enough to me in chess skill that I also don't give him hints any more, and I think he recognizes that as a compliment, too.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:08 AM
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Depends on the child and the age. Some kids are competitive by nature, others lose interest with every loss. That can be a problem if you're trying to develop a love of a particular game, or of gaming in general.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:15 AM
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I can't recall ever directly letting a kid win a game I've played against them.

On the other hand, the OP mentions tic-tac-toe, which has so little strategy that I could see just leaving openings or deliberately making things harder for myself. Plus, once the kid learns perfect play, there's no more fun to be had--the outcome is fixed at a draw. The only reason to beat them is so they learn that perfect play by example.

So I think it finally opened up my mind to deliberately handicapping myself in order to keep things fun. Not letting them win, so much as giving them a fighting chance when playing a mismatched opponent.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:19 AM
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It depends. Most games appropriate for young children depend entirely on chance. Like Chutes and Ladders. I wouldn't try manipulating a game like that to let them win.

For games that require some sort of skill, like memory games, I also wouldn't just let them win every game, but I'd certainly pretend to miss if required to keep them motivated to keep playing. The last time I had occasion to practice that though it turned out my young cousin had noticed how some of that cards had creases and wear patterns that made it possible to memorize what was on the other side and had proceeded to mark all the cards. She beat me handidly every time.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:32 AM
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dup

Last edited by puzzlegal; 05-18-2020 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:34 AM
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What I will do when playing a child (or anyone else new to a game) is to ask "Are you sure you want to do that?", or the like, and offer take-backs, and sometimes give advice on moves. And, yes, sometimes I'll spend less time on considering my moves than I otherwise would.

The benefit of not letting children win is that, when they eventually do win, they know that they genuinely earned it. And my nephew is now close enough to me in chess skill that I also don't give him hints any more, and I think he recognizes that as a compliment, too.
I go to game parties where I am usually the newby and everyone else already knows whatever game I am playing for the first time. Yeah, the best player at the table routinely does that for me, and I would certainly do that for a child. (Not "fail to make a good move", but "explain to me what I ought to be trying to do right now, and letting me take back a really dumb move.")

I see that as very different from throwing the game to the child. That's teaching, and the child is fully aware you are doing it. And I wouldn't do that over and over, just the first couple of time through the game.

If the game is too hard for the kid to play decently well after doing that a couple of times I feel like it's not a great game to play with that child.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:50 AM
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dup
Nuttin. Wha dup wit u?
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:34 PM
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I show my children zero mercy in Mario Kart. Eventually, I chose to sometimes handicap them(head start), but even then, it was merciless from me.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:53 PM
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Depends on whether the kid is nice or not. If a good kid, I'll let them win, and also make it challenging enough that they'll get mental gratification and won't sense that I was tanking the game on purpose.

Now if the kid is a snotty brat, sure, I'll beat him at chess, or Mario Kart, or whatever.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:31 PM
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Depends on the age and what I'm trying to accomplish. When my youngest was about 4, he was a terrible loser - crying and running away from the table - so I'd let him get close but still beat him, and encourage him "you almost beat me that time. Don't give up". Eventually his brain clicked on "I was close, how I do I actually win" instead of demanding instant gratification in victory, and from then on I was able to play fair.

Sometimes I would hold back to avoid crushing them to (a) let the game last longer and (b) keep them from losing interest in the game, especially in card games where they couldn't see my hand and know that I was holding back.

Once they got to around 10 or 11, I always played fair. And I always went all out in video games, because they had the reflex advantage.

The last time I deliberately threw a game was when my oldest was about 10 and we were in a single-elimination Pokemon tournament. We ended up playing each other in the semi-finals. Each round was best-of-3. I crushed him the first round, could have crushed him the second round, but I decided to let him tie it up. Then he legitimately beat me in the third round and advanced to the finals (which he lost). So I "let" him come in 2nd instead of third.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:07 PM
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If I'm good enough at a game I'll try to let the opponent win at least 30% of the time.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:16 PM
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Yes. I let the kids win on occasion and my wife too. Many games are able to be played merely as a social experience.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:50 PM
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Family gaming in my household has increased a huge amount since we've been schooling/working from home. I have a 7 year old and feel no need to let her win and she is quite capable of winning on her own once she knows the rules and understands the strategy.
  #41  
Old 05-20-2020, 04:38 PM
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...in games?

My wife ruthlessly beats our niece in tic-tac-toe, while I always let her win.

Which are you more likely to do?
How old is your niece? At a certain point you should be able to teach her (prove to her mathematically, even) that Tic-Tac-Toe is a game that should always end in a tie, unless someone (intentionally or not) makes a mistake. It's a flow chart logic tree that fits on a single sheet of paper.

Disclaimer: I once lost at Tic-Tac-Toe to a chicken in an arcade booth because I was sure the chicken was not playing optimally, and that after three straight ties, I could "bluff" it for a win. But it was, and I could not, and I lost. To a chicken.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:01 PM
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I try not to beat dogs too badly. I'll let them win some rounds of tug-of-war.
I've never won a game of Ball with any of my dogs.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:19 PM
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Yeah, I beat children. Also my husband, every chance I get. We're talking table tennis here. One notable Thanksgiving I beat my husband and my three oldest sons becoming the winner of The Cup. (A Wile E. Coyote cup, with a loooong nose.)

But as to my children, I did not smash them. Nor did I let them get way ahead and then refused to allow them a point until I won. Or spot them 17 points and then play my top game. (This was back in the 21 point days.) I did spot them a few points, at times, and I played just better enough to stay on top. Or I played left-handed. In this way they were able to pick up a few points so they weren't completely demoralized. And they got better with every game.

I showed my husband no mercy. Get better or get out.

You know, if it's a three-year-old playing a Barbie board game whose rules are kinda questionable to begin with, that's different. Nor did we play Cuthroat Candyland.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:58 AM
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Quoth Jackmanii:

I've never won a game of Ball with any of my dogs.
My mom's dog's favorite game is Old Milk Jug, and he always wins. The jug always loses.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:27 AM
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I vary it up. I have a 6- and 4-year-old. The 6-year-old really doesn't like to lose, but, well, I let her win some Mario Party games or whatever, but I also need her to learn that sometimes you lose, and you have to figure out a way to emotionally handle it. And that it's okay to lose. And that games wouldn't be fun if you always won. So, it's always a balancing act between being nice and letting the kid win, and trying to emotionally develop them by getting them accustomed to the fact that sometimes you lose in a game.
Exactly. And sometimes the best teaching methods are to both win and lose when playing your kids- showing them how certain ways of play turn out is instructive without just hammering your little ones relentlessly at whatever game it is.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:50 AM
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Mine are older now but I never deliberately lost. But I also tailored my play to make it competitive. Some times, depending on the game, that would mean never taking the best move. Other times it might mean giving advise. Or making all my moves super quickly. Or taking a turn or two off.
They would still have to stretch themselves to beat me.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:33 AM
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I pick fights and beat the shit out of them relentlessly for as long as time will allow to show them who's the fucking king around here


....besides running up the score on NHL 2020!

Last edited by Sparky812; 05-21-2020 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:39 PM
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I've never won a game of Ball with any of my dogs.
My dog lets me win tug-of-war with the ball. I then throw the ball away in disgust, but he quickly brings it back for another round.

Is he trying to teach me something that I'm not picking up?
  #49  
Old 05-22-2020, 04:12 AM
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Letting someone win at Tic-Tac-Toe/Noughts and Crosses isn't doing them any favor. The game is simple (one might say chilldishly simple) and is a solved game in which perfect play by both players results in a draw. A better choice, IMHO, is to play Pentago (objective is to get a 5-in-a-row, and is played on board you twist after you place your stone) or Chung Toi (same objective as Tic-Tac-Toe but each player only has three pieces, moves one piece per move and may rotate the piece at the end of the move to determine which direction piece may move on player's next turn). Pentago is a solved game (first player win), but it requires a lot more memorization than Tic-Tac-Toe to get there. I'm not having any luck at the moment finding out if Chung Toi is solved.

My father taught me how to play Chess and his theory on gaming was that one should play to win each time. I didn't mind it because he was not a sore winner. Also, he explained the system of handicaps for Chess and other games. Although he I soon got good enough to beat him far more often than not, Dad's demeanor stayed the same: good opponent, good play, be a good winner and a good loser, always being sportsmanlike.

That's just my view on the OP.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:56 AM
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And when did you stop beating your wife?
That's not a fair question. Who else's wife am I supposed to beat?
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