Rant Column
Dueling with Honor?

For a game based on an anime in which the core values stressed are honor, respect, friendship, honesty, and heroism, there are surprisingly few of these traits in a lot of the people who play it.

When I have to hear about someone I respected having stolen cards and then coming to the realization that they regularly cheat, even against myself, I get just a bit disillusioned, thus the statement above.

It's impossible to attend a play session now without watching your deck, binders, and even the cards on your field like a hawk, half expecting someone to grab them right off the dueling table, and at the same time try to make sure that your opponent isn't cheating. Whether it's deck stacking, overpacking a certain card, drawing improperly, or trying to weasel your way out of effects, cheating sucks all the fun out of the game, and is so utterly pointless in the end. Especially at a casual play session, where there are no rewards or even bragging rights at stake.

So, what is the deal anyways? Has our culture really finally abandoned all values, and we are now raising a generation of kids with no morals? The more I look around, the more I fear this is true. And not because somebody cheated in a game against me, but because of all the other things LIKE it I encounter every day that arise from the same kind of spirit of disregard for one's fellow man, whether it's dealing with the incredible, unprecedented discipline problems at school where I substitute teach, almost getting murdered on the road by enraged maniac drivers (most of whom are under 18, coincidentally), or reading about cruel and unusual crimes in the newspaper committed by SEEMINGLY normal people.

At the last play session, I felt a sort of comraderie with some of the kids. They seemed to look up to me, and so I provided an example of a man with integrity while being a friend. This time, none of those kids were there, and instead I had to deal with stuff like cheating and being told about theft going on left and right, committed by people I wanted to respect. I felt rather isolated, and ended up watching more than I played (hence the fact I only faced four different opponents the entire time). Compared to previous experiences, this play session was a bit unpleasant. I still had a bit of fun thanks to the skilled players that came forth to challenge me, but I hope that in the future, things won't seem so ugly. I hope that more people come forward and prove that my thoughts here apply to the exceptions and not the rule.


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