One of the great facets I find in studying game theory is that I am naturally competitive. I am never good at sitting down to play a game and not actively trying to win. I don't always strategize with the same ferocity, but rarely do I throw a game on purpose---even if doing so would be a social victory for me. It's easy to be too competitive!
I still hope to teach a combinatorial games course, and a big part of that would be playing different games during class time. Despite the fact that I would not keep track of wins and losses, I am afraid that some students may believe they are losing too often. Whether or not they are a "sore loser" this can still be very emotionally degrading. How can I do well in this course if I can't even play the games well?
Of course, you can still gain a really strong understanding of the game while losing. It's not true that being a good player is equivalent to being a good game theorist. This is likely not something that is immediately clear, though. So far I have no actual experience teaching this sort of course, so I don't know how to drive this point home.
Does anyone have any good suggestions? How can I convince students it is okay to play poorly?
People in general are competitive, and this lends well to taking a good interest in games. Unfortunately, that could play against the study if the competitive aspect becomes too great.
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