Casual Or Competitive: Know Your Game

Have you ever been playing someone or discussing ASL and had that, “they seem very competitive” vibe? Or maybe your opponent was “too chatty”, and you were wishing they were a bit more focused?

I have seen a few posts online where people have opinions (sometimes quite heated but also quite rare) about playing in spirit of the game, sportsmanship, or ettiquite. “I only would ever do this if …” “I think this about someone that plays like that ….” “I think it is wrong how some players …“.
Often they can revolve around how casually or competitively a player seems to be approaching their games.

I feel that it is important to know which type of game you are playing for your opponents and your own benefit.

Are You Casual or Competitive?

You can have 2 players playing the same game from totally different perspectives.

I like to think of it as the below …

You Are ⌄ You feel / They feelYou feel / They feel
CompetitiveNot serious / Too seriousStrong Game / Strong Game
CasualFun Game / Fun GameToo serious / Not serious
They Are >CasualCompetitive

Generally, as you already know, we are a pretty friendly lot. 🙂 But in some rare circumstances you get a mismatch …

The most common of which is between competitive and casual.

Now both competitive and casual can be loaded terms. They can mean different things to different people.


  • You don’t have to be in a tournament to be competitive.
  • You can go from casual to competitive during the playing of a single game, “It was fun before, but I won’t be beaten like this!”
  • Playing with the rules correctly adhered to is very important.
  • It can be used by some to label others as ruthless or showing bad sportmanship.
  • It’s is more a function of the increased seriousness felt at what is at stake with that game.


  • You can have casual play at tournaments too.
  • Playing with the rules is important, but not necessarily at the expense of diminshed enjoyment with your opponent. A more “live and let live” philosophy. Willing to sacrifice being right over fun.
  • Increased banter and conversation.
  • It can be used by some to mean sloppy or not serious play or showing poor sportmanship.
  • It’s more a function of the decreased seriousness, that there is less at stake with the game.

This can lead to some mismatches.

Casual vs Competitive

Casual players can sometimes talk about others having that killer instinct. Their competitive behaviour overlapping into a level of ruthlessness or poor sportsmanship. As they impose the rules too stringently or unforgivingly.

In online communities, it can show as overly serious, snarky and surly behaviour about the game.

This leads the casual player to say “Bah, it’s just a game.” “Hey, we are not keeping score here.

Their Aim: Stop being sooo serious.

Competitive vs Casual

Competitive players can sometimes talk others not knowing the rules properly. Their casual behaviour slipping allowing a sloppy level of play or not respecting them by not playing to best ability they should. As they impose the rules to freely and without due care.

In online communities, it can show as irrelevant or “stupid” questions or unwarranted opinions about the game (that they haven’t earned the right to have).

This leads to the competitive player to say “Bah, enough of this banter, lets talk get serious” “Hey, I am keeping score here.

Their Aim: Stop being sooo frivolous.

Competitive AND Casual

The truth is however, that you can be both. There is massive overlap between the two. You can:

  • Aim to make it enjoyable for the other player in the way they wish to experience the game.
  • Be the best opponent you can be for the other player at the level that you can offer.
  • Enjoy ridiculous narratives created by Heat of Battle results.
  • Bitch and moan about dice ( 😉 within reason).

Knowing where your opponent is coming from can make for a more enjoyable game. It’s about meeting in the middle.

Play The Same Game

Choose your style. Know why you are playing.

Match your opponent. Know what your opponent is expecting from you and play to match. (i.e. Less banter or maybe chill out).

Enjoy Your Game Together



2 thoughts on “Casual Or Competitive: Know Your Game

  1. Personally, I prefer a competitive game meaning both parties do the very best we can to put up a fight (not failing PMC and throwing games) and we are both fair about the rules even when it hurts us but will allow slips (mostly) off the ASOP where it makes no material impact. At the same time I’d prefer to be casual about the (dice) results and to be able to jointly enjoy the narrative that ASL presents and laugh heartily at all sorts of cardboard mishaps.

    1. I love the insane narratives personally. I think that without the Heat of Battle rules the soul is gone from the game. Everyone can remember a story of some single SMC counter that steps up and changes the face of the battle (and not necessarily for the better 😉 )

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