I started replying to one of Col. Corbane’s posts on sportsmanship, and I got long-winded enough to convert it into a post of my own. The problem of scoring this category is that, like any other category, people will try to get the best possible score–even if that means that some have to exploit the system to do so. The irony of this post, and many antagonists to sportsmanship scores in general is that those that twist the sportsmanship points around to their advantage are ironically the same people who deserve the lower scores.
If you’re fun to play with, then you’ll naturally get a high score–even if you don’t know the rules perfectly. As a game, a major goal should be to ensure that all involved parties enjoy themselves, and people that can manage that are the best to play against. If you’re giving your opponent lower sportsmanship scores just to win the tourny, then you deserve to have low scores yourself.
- You enjoyed playing the game against your opponent (weighed heavily for the average)
- Your opponent was friendly
- Your opponent didn’t get mad during the game
- Your opponent didn’t whine or cry during the game
- You do not believe your opponent cheated during the game
- You do not feel that your opponent exploited rules to their advantage
- You would be happy to play this opponent again.
Instead of making it a simple yes/no, give them a graded scale of 1-5 (Strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree/disagree, agree, strongly agree), and the average score they achieve is their points for sportsmanship in the round. This way, if you play a good clean game, you can assure you come back with a good score.
And here’s the kicker: You can’t keep these secret from your opponent. At the end of each round, you sign your revew of your opponent and those scores are posted for the entire tournament to see. The theory i that if you have to say to your opponent’s face what you’ve scored them, you’ll probably be more honest about it. If not, the fact that everyone can see that you give low scores to your opponents can give them a clearer idea of what kind of gamer you really are.
Lastly, it could be used as a learning tool. Those that consistantly get rated as low in one category, can see why they’re being docked points and can work to improve things in the future. If I’m see I’m getting docked because my opponents think I’m cheating–even though I’m not–it can foster open dialogue between us. Maybe the problem is that I pick up my dice too quickly after rolling them, and my opponents are skeptical. Whatever the case, it helps me realize that I should slow down.
So, those who really embody good sportsmanship will get naturally high scores, those that are flawed but trying should get reasonable scores (and learn how they can improve them in the future), and those that are looking to use sportsmanships as merely a tool to win, should get docked accordingly.
Granted, there’s no way a single post can squeslch this ongoing debate, but it’s a thought… There are many sources out there on the matter. Another good read is on BoLS’s website, in a timely editorial: The Spirit of the Game.