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Is Winning Worth It?
[08/22/2002] [jewishjedi]

I’ve been playing Amtgard for close to four years now. For me and my friends, it's our major hobby. It’s what we do to get away from everyday life: From stress, deadlines, and the over-competitive nature of today’s workplace. However, I’ve seen a good deal of these things encroaching on Amtgard. One of them is the over-the-top desire to win the game at all costs.

The first thing that I see people do a lot to win more is something that we all disdain, sluffing. I’m sure you’ve all seen it (and may even be guilty of it). There are people whose desire to win is so high that they’ll dishonor themselves by not taking their hits. I’ve seen people ignore spell ball hits, sword swings, and even arrows to the groin. In one circumstance that I’ve heard of, a scout shot a knight in the belly and the knight took a knee. An observer of the scout said, ‘You’ve just given him a new belly button [with that arrow], aren’t you going to say something to him?’. To this the scout replied, ‘It’s no use with him, it’ll just stop the game.’ I’ve also heard of another case dealing in which an Amtgarder tried to not take a ‘call lighting’ spell that was cast on him, because he wasn’t playing the persona whose name was called out!

The other problem that I see is the reaction that most of us seem to have to sluffers. Sure, we all bitch and moan about them, but some of us go a little too far sometimes. It’s fairly common to see someone make a ‘sluff-buster’ sword - the ones that meet all of the rules and regulations of weapon safety in Amtgard, but when used in a certain way hurt like hell!

Another thing that I’ve seen done to stop sluffers is the ‘just swing harder’ mentality. While this may sometimes seem like a good idea, consider this situation. A friend of mine from Dagorhir was swinging at someone with one of these extra-hard swings. He knew that the guy he meant to hit could take it, but the scrawny little guy who stepped into the swing couldn’t. The little guy wasn’t paying attention to my friend, and ended up getting a minor fracture in his arm.

The final sluff-busting technique that I’ve heard of (and only recently) is the idea of ‘chalking’ a sword in the dirt. This seems like it could lead to more arguments to me, as you’re just as likely to leave a mark on garb, as on a person (I have yet to test this out). But this too has been taken to extremes, as many of you that read the E-Samurai’s discussion board may have heard. As Vigus said of his knight, Sir Father Thomas apparently chalked his polearm in a fire ant mound! Fire ants have been known to inject potentially LETHAL poison into people, yet he will fully put a human life on the line so he could win! If you ask me he should not only have his belt taken away for this act, but be kicked out of Amtgard for it!

So my question for everyone is, is it really worth it to ruin what others do for fun just so you can win? Is it worth it to hurt people severely to win? When did Atmgard stop being just a hobby?

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