The group dynamic is a very curious thing indeed. At times we will each get on each other's last nerve, and occasionally one of us may even get a little bit salty. In spite of this, we each come back to the game week after week. We all know it is just a game, and we all know we are friends first and foremost. We don't talk politics. We don't talk religion. We do speak of semantics, and then resource the rules database if necessary. Most of us have been playing since before it was possible to access the rules online. In fact, in 1993 or 1994 when many of us began playing the game, the word, "Online" was not in common usage, if it was in use at all. At least one of us would have a copy of the rule book at hand. In addition to the sometimes colorful semantic arguments, we will speak of ethics, for we are honorable in our gameplay and hold disdain for cheating. We each want to win for that is the point of competition. We want to win by using every cunning, devious, vicious, inventive, and sometimes witty means at our disposal, but not one of us ever wants to win by dishonesty.
Team Dishman most often plays the Melee format. Melee is pretty much anything goes, and in any direction, ideally and frequently in all directions simultaneously. A Melee is an interesting dynamic to say the least. The ultimate goal for each player is to be the last man standing; victorious. However, very curious things may occur in this Australian Rules form of play. Logic is part of the game. Mathematics are part of the game. Randomness is part of the game, and the random element is not only restricted to a well shuffled Library. There is a random element to the human dynamic; an element of chaos.
Each player has weaknesses and strengths in understanding the interaction of cards/deck construction, psychological manipulation of other players, timing, and a multitude of other factors. We are each dangerous in our own right, and have each won our fair share of games over the years. A frequent statement made in this group, perhaps even an axiom for its excessive use is, "Kill Rob first." It is not necessarily that Rob is the most dangerous player, although it could be argued that he is. It is that Rob seems to be able to step into a pile of manure and come out smelling like a rose. Rob's nickname is, "One mana short," but the one reference to Rob does not seem to exclude the other. It is very curious indeed, almost fuel for a lengthy philosophical discussion.
Typically, depending on who shows up to play, there are between four and eight players in a Team Dishman Melee. We have had as many as ten or twelve, and at times it will dwindle down to three players, which I guess is not so much a Melee as a "la magie à trois." There are many considerations for action and reaction during a game, but one decision you will often face is whether to go after the biggest threat, or the low hanging fruit. There are so many random elements in a game that often the best strategy is to play the man rather than playing the ball. Slight of hand and misdirection are key to strategy too. If you decide to go after the biggest threat, the other players may dogpile and help you eliminate the threat. It is also possible your other opponents will simply sit back comfortably and watch while the offended player retaliates against you. This is not uncommon if you are also perceived as a threat. It is a two-fold response as your threat potential is reduced, and the biggest threat may now be vulnerable after expending resources against you. So perhaps it would be best to go after the low hanging fruit. Again, the others may join in to pummel this easy target. If this happens, you have started a cascade effect that may reveal vulnerabilities of your other opponents. At the very least, with minimal effort you have enticed them to expend resources on actions that do not target you. However, your opponents may each just sit back and watch you commit your resources to this cheesy, merciless action, or worse, come to the aide of your target. Yes, it matters which cards you put in your deck. Yes, it matters whether or not you have the right cards in hand, or if you top deck the perfect card at the perfect moment, but chaos is ever vigilant in the wings. It is a common tactic to create havoc in the game state for no particular reason other than simply that, to stir things up, confuse the cat, and see what happens. The bottom line is that you must do something. You cannot always rely on your opponents to remove each other from the game. It will happen at times, but no matter how quiet you are, someone will notice you. Someone will take action against you. You must be ready, and often it will be necessary to take the offensive. So what's it gonna be? What are you going to do? When it is time to test your mettle in Magic: the Gathering, will you go after the biggest threat, or the low hanging fruit?