FUN TIMES: Dr Airdre Grant with Tagele Naiyaravoro at The Barbarians versus Classic Wallabies match in Lismore.
FUN TIMES: Dr Airdre Grant with Tagele Naiyaravoro at The Barbarians versus Classic Wallabies match in Lismore. Sophie Moeller

There are two kinds of players in this world

THERE are two kinds of players of board and other enjoyable games in this world. There are those who play for fun and those who play to win. These two kinds of players are best kept separated as the 'win at all costs' people get really annoyed with the more casual approach of the 'let's have fun people'. And the 'let's have fun people' find playing with the 'win at all costs' people dull, as they take delight in annihilating anyone else. Gloating is part of winning as is sulking when losing. A different understanding of fun, perhaps.

Two people I know, let's call them Harry and Madge, are fiercely competitive and love to win. I have long ago learned to not play games with them. Firstly the game is about them beating each other and secondly they become tremendously impatient if there is any kind of skylarking going on with a game. Games are serious business, and this includes all board and dice games! Stop mucking around they chide, this is serious!

My position in most games is that of designated loser. I like this place at it removes all competitive tension from the game, allows other players to overlook me entirely so that I can on occasion pull off a cheeky win - much to everyone's amazement. I make sure to not win very often; I have a reputation to uphold. If I win it only encourages the Harrys and Madges of the world to challenge me to a game. They can't bear losing. Anything less than world domination infuriates them, they must win, all the time. Rather tiring position I would think.

I understand that in the world of competitive sport, ruthlessness is necessary to win on the big stage. And I enjoy watching these games (go the All Blacks!), but I play at a domestic, kitchen table level and I maintain my stance that games are for fun. And to me, fun means lots of laughs and goodwill. There is an absence of argument, storming off or throwing the counters off the table although I concede does create more drama.

So where do you sit? Are you a Harry or Madge or other non-binary person? Or are you a lame loser destined to never win but just keep the food and drinks flowing, the object of disdain and occasional winner?