Setting the mood for a Friday night game can be one of the most important aspects of the entire evening. There are many different elements of this mood: correct battle music, overall intentions (hopefully good), a plan for the scenario at hand, and a good friend to crush into oblivion without making him/her feel too bad about the outcome.
We're very fortunate to be able to play with a great group of guys. This is partially because most of us were friends even before we started playing 40K together. And having to see each other at work the next Monday helps to keep things civil. However, we all know that a perfectly normal, nice guy might feel the temptation to become a monster in the heat of competition. A trip to the local game store or a visit to your favorite wargaming blog can quickly show that there are many gamers who play, first and foremost, to annihilate their competition. This kind of person makes a poor winner and a sore loser. Their attitude and behavior can create a very stressful situation for other players, especially for those who play simply to have a good time.
Here are a few of our suggestions to keep your gaming enjoyable:
1.) If both players become frustrated due to a rules concern that's not resolved appropriately, the rest of the game might not pan out very well. Take note that any rule question is not worth ruining an entire night of fun. When in true doubt of a rule, roll a dice and take it as a look-up next time; don't dwell. Or just hire a referee.
2.) When a battle is just for fun and one team is obviously overrun, maybe it is time to call the game and start anew. There is a clear winner and it probably won't be worth the extra two hours to complete the mop-up.
3.) When winning a crushing victory, be a victor with humility. Talk with your opponent on what could have been done differently and learn from the experience in an open and understanding manner. Remember, this is a game of friends, strategy, and painting prowess, not Sunday afternoon football. We do this for the companionship and the mental exercise; there are no glamor shots and million dollar contracts in the end.
4.) Take losing in stride. Perhaps your army build wasn't quite right to take on your opponent's or Tzeentch made sure you rolled lower than average. In either case, victory wasn't meant to be yours; congratulate your opponent on a good game and hope for better luck next time. If you lose because you were outmatched by your opponent, accept your loss as a learning opportunity and talk through what you could have done better. A loss from which you can learn will help your game more than a victory achieved through luck.
[Revised and expanded by James on 3/25/12]