Imagine Tiger Woods' caddy in a shouting match with a fan while Tiger is putting. Or Phil Jackson arguing and shouting with a fan in the stands while Kobe is shooting a foul shot to win the game.
Okay, maybe this is a little dramatic but the Settlers of Catan tournament finals at KublaCon was just this shocking for this event.
Four players from Sacramento, Seattle, and San Jose were in the final game with $750 in prize money at stake. 30 minutes into the game, a fan, who happened to be seated at the table for some reason, took offense at comments by one of the players and began to argue, yell, and heckle the player.
Any competition can be intense, and this tournament at KublaCon, with over 70 people participating, was no exception. But traditionally Settlers of Catan players are polite, friendly, and non-threatening. Which made the behavior so unusual.
The tournament organizer had to step in and end the arguing and warn the spectator to stop. It appeared to catch everyone off guard and unsure what to do. The Game Whisperer participated in the event, was in the Semi-Finals when the same spectator stood at the board, and interrupted on numerous occasions with comments and suggestions for play. The game ended before anything was said to the spectator.
If you have ever played a board game with family members, you can always be sure that someone at some time threw a fit, tossed the board, stormed off to their room, and slammed the door. No? You've never done that? Okay, must have just been me.
With the addition of game tournaments with cash prizes, it is possible the civility of gaming will become replaced with the behavior more often seen at the poker table, where tempers and nerves are frayed due to the increased pressure of money at stake.