In a moment of extreme weakness I joined Words With Friends. I was fully aware of how addictive it could become for a self-employed game-addict such as myself, but it was late and I was itching for a word game. Let’s just say that one thing lead to another and any day now I’m going to need to find a group to help battle my Scramble With Friends addiction. But I don’t want to talk about how addictive these games are – instead I want to address the “Resign” button that these games include.
The first Words with Friends games I played I won because the other player “resigned.” The score was 335 to 236 and 13 tiles remained, so I celebrated my victory and looked for another random player. The second time, the same thing happened only this time there were more than three times as many tiles left and immediately after they resigned they requested to play me again! I was speechless! I’ve never been a great Scrabble player and I really struggle with the end of the game because I never bothered to study the long list of crazy 2 and 3 letter words that, when placed correctly on a Scrabble board, may earn a savvy opponent 20+ points to my single-digit moves. But here, I’ve chalked up two victories in games with loads of tiles left!
Call me old school but I was taught that you play a game to the end. You don’t just give up part way in because you feel that you got off on the wrong foot. Sure, I know that there are games that have a “slaughter rule” providing a quick end for the losing player or team, and I’m okay with that. If I’m getting squashed in bags or ping-pong, please put me out of my misery. In those games there is a minimum amount of game you must play before you can gracefully accept defeat but I also understand conceding when there are only a handful of Scrabble tiles left and it’s obvious that there is no hope of a comeback. But what are we saying by allowing players to quit after 2-3 bad turns or whenever else they want? Is it okay to call a “do-over”?
Maybe we’ve been playing games on our phones and computers for so long, hitting the reset button when we get tiles we don’t like, that we’ve forgotten that there’s someone playing against us out there in the ether. In this digital age we can easily hide behind our avatars ignoring those lessons of being good winners and losers that we learned in pre-school. So I ask, is the respect we showed to our opponents in the past coming to an end because of digital gaming? Are we all out for the win when it comes to playing board games turned apps online? Well, not me. And while I’ve yet to complete a Words with Friends game without my opponent resigning, I am playing a real life friend who promises she’ll play to the end.