The 5 Stages of Family Games with Sore Losers

Amanda Taylor | Jan 23, 2017

Playing family games with sore losers is brutal. But you can prepare yourself with this handy guide.

Family Games with Sore Losers

“BUT I FINALLY HAD AUSTRAILIA,” I yelled in desperation to my cousins. Hundreds of tiny army men splatted against the sliding door of the dining room. The game board and some nachos followed. It was the longest we’d made it into a game of Risk without adopting our standard speed-method of play:
  • balling-up our socks
  • dropping the socks like bombs onto the map to knock over the plastic pieces
Note: our standard speed-method only works before a fist fight breaks out. I’ve never finished Monopoly either, and it’s not for lack of time. Pinochle always ends with my uncles in tears. I’ve been to the hospital dozens of times for broken wrists and concussions. Typical game-related injuries. My rage-aholic friends and family are so quick to snap, I’ve had to develop a set of preparatory measures. Here's the different stages of playing family games with sore losers.

Denial: “This Game Sucks Anyway”

When playing a family game with sore losers, you'll discover that the defeated need space. A losing guest will try to distance themselves from the winners, you, and the game itself. That includes creating a space for actual physical distance. Your best bet is to have a separate room. A retreat with food and music. These sour losers need to hide their tears, and blanket their rage in lasagna and sweet Motown hits. If you fill them up with pasta, they will be slow and sedate, and you’ll be able to see their punches coming.

Anger: "I Hate This Game"

Sharp metal game pieces plunged into your neighbor's thigh can be avoided. To protect your party, play games on a heavy table. This will help prevent someone from flipping the game. Important note: go ahead and glue the game board to the table if someone likes to throw it like a Frisbee. Don't use metal game pieces, or plastic ones with sharp edges. File down sharp objects when you open a new game, and throw away anything that makes an annoying noise. Nothing triggers hulking outbursts like a screaming buzzer.

Bargaining: “This Round Doesn’t Count!”

Playing family games with sore losers will feel like babysitting real quick. Sour players will make declarations about how the game isn't actually worth anything. Watch out for accusations that someone has cheated to help prove their case. In reality the game forces crappy losers to face their wealth of failures. Oh the joys of playing family games with sore losers. It’s your job as host to lighten the mood by farting, and revealing that you do in fact stink, and you too are terrible. Next you should remind them how this loss in-fact shows what a winner they are in other ways. “You only lost at this word game because you’re a math person." "You couldn’t be so great with numbers if you knew 35 synonyms for a small sofa.” “You’ve been thinking about your girlfriend’s new Vespa all day, bud. That’s why you couldn’t remember what instrument Ringo Starr played.” Low level compliments are key, if you pander too hard it will seem insincere.

Depression: "I Never Win Because I'm Terrible"

Some guests to your board game night will not enjoy the outcome of the game. So maybe your friend's boyfriend will be a bit condescending about why he lost and the game sucks. But play family games with sore losers, and you can get an Eeyore on your hands. No one wants to remember they live in a world of arbitrarily distributed failures. That’s why we poison our bodies and minds with substances that help us forget what it is to be alive. If you don’t have a separate room inside your home, it might be blessing. Make your retreat outdoors and let a fire pit or fireworks or fire dancers be the entertainment! (I like fire.) Near death experiences will perk you right back up again.

Acceptance: "I'm A Sore Loser"

You might not have this breakthrough with a guest at board game night, but you can get the next best thing. Lure the loser into watching movie to help them forget about the game. 100 minutes the rage will have dissipated. If it's a not a good movie, then maybe a light simmer. If you subjected this person to a bad movie, then you're a monster. Have fun letting them boil over at your party.

Accepting Your Fate

If you decide to have a board game night with people prone to raging out if they lose, that's on you. These methods can help douse the flames, but you still created the fire. If you love peaceful board game nights, then consider replacing your friends and getting a new family.

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