Spirit of the Game

With the start of a new year and the Reunion event right around the corner, I thought it would be apt for our first article of 2019 to focus on one of the FFTCG's strongest elements: the community. I have been playing games competitively for over a decade and FFTCG by far, in my opinion, has one of the most uplifting and positive communities that I have ever seen. We have worked together to create a warm, welcoming environment where we can celebrate our love for Final Fantasy and gaming and make new friendships every time we sit down to play. As our community grows in what is sure to be FFTCG's biggest year yet, it's important to focus on continuing to foster that positivity and setting a good example!

That's the Spirit!

So what exactly is "Spirit of the Game"? Spirit of the Game is a phrase that refers to how players carry themselves and treat others while playing a game. It is about sportsmanship whether you are at the table, between rounds, or hanging out after the event. Spirit of the Game is a pillar of one of the most established and long-running TCG's: the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Here's how they define Spirit of the Game:

"[Pokémon] events are enjoyed for their atmosphere of friendly competition and good sportsmanship. The objective for every [Pokémon] tournament is that every participant has fun while also playing at their best. We want everyone who participates in [Pokémon] events to keep these principles in mind—fun, fairness, honesty, respect, sportsmanship, and learning. Together, these principles make up our Spirit of the Game." - Pokémon TCG

Spirit of the Game is always important. We are all ambassadors of the FFTCG! When you sit down to play at a tournament or post on social media you are representing your store and community. When we all travel to large events and conventions, we are representing the Final Fantasy TCG and its community. I have had multiple store owners tell me how refreshing it is how positive and supportive the FFTCG community is of local game stores and new players. We are doing something right! By keeping Spirit of the Game in mind and conducting ourselves with Gracious Professionalism we can continue to leave a positive impact everywhere we go and bring more players and success to the FFTCG.

Going Pro

Gracious Professionalism is a term that was coined by Dr. Woody Flowers, a long-time professor at MIT and a founding member of the robotics competition FIRST. One of the major philosophies of FIRST, Gracious Professionalism teaches students and mentors in the program to emphasize the value of others and to respect both individuals and the community. Here is how FIRST describes Gracious Professionalism:

"With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. ...Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended." -FIRST

When I was a student and mentor of FIRST, Gracious Professionalism was absolutely one of the most powerful things about their community. Even though all of the teams are in fierce competition with each other, they will always go out of their way to assist each other and treat each other with respect. In FFTCG, I have seen countless examples of Gracious Professionalism. I have seen players lend strangers valuable cards before an event, sometimes even entire decks. Experienced players share decklists and advice with new players on social media and community sites every day. There have been multiple stories of the community coming together to assist players struggling with tough times. I am sure that every person reading this article who has attended a FFTCG tournament or interacted with he community online has experienced players acting as gracious professionals. Of course, there will always be players who are more isolated or prefer to do things their own way. While we cannot hold everyone to our own personal standards, we can each do our best to set a positive example of friendly yet fierce competition.

Table Manners

So now that we are excited to promote the Spirit of the Game and Gracious Professionalism in FFTCG, how can we promote those ideas in our community? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Greet your opponent and wish them luck before every game! If you don't know your opponent, introduce yourself!
  • Lose graciously - never take your loss out on your opponent. Don't mix emotion in! Always say "good game" and try to find things to compliment about their deck, strategy or play instead of giving them a list of reasons you feel you could have won. (Check out our article on handling a loss here!)
  • Be upset at the situation, not the player. If someone knocks you out of a tournament or beats you in a game, think about how you would want them to act if things went the other way. If a player calls a judge on you, do not take it personally! Judges just want to ensure a fair game.
  • Ask new players if they would like advice! Share strategies and tips and brainstorm deck ideas with them. By building up one member you build up your entire community.
  • When you disagree with somebody, respect their opinion.

Some of the following things may seem obvious to you, but that's good! It means you're on the right track. As simple as some of these things may seem, they honestly aren't as common as they should be in some other games. Hopefully we can surprise players coming from other communities with how welcoming and friendly we are!

Together we can continue to keep the FFTCG community one of the most positive, inclusive, and fun communities in any competitive game. Everyone who plays FFTCG does it for the love of the game; it is nobody's profession. It is our hobby, and it's something that we do in our free time to enjoy ourselves. I don't think that anybody wants to associate stress and negativity with their hobby. By practicing Gracious Professionalism we can define our own Spirit of the Game and instill these positive values into every new addition to our FF family. I hope this article wasn't too "preachy" of a read, and that you found some inspiration on how to use these values to level up your game!

by John Schreiner

The Aurochs know a thing or two about Spirit of the Game!

I feel like a Works Cited is necessary for this week! For more details on FIRST go to www.firstinspires.org

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