I came across this article on BGG talking about how to handle someone who sporadically quit games when he had no chance of winning. I've never had to deal with this specifically, but I have had the whiners and complainers, which drive people to think about quitting.
I talked about this tangentially in my All About People article from February, but that was more about appreciating the people we play games with.
So, what's my take on quitting a game?
Well, it's two-fold. In a 2-player game, I have no problem with a resignation. This probably has a fair amount to do with early Chess training, and tipping your King when there is no hope. I see it a lot in Dominion when one player is clearly ahead, but the game is going to take several more long turns to come to a conclusion. Even so, part of me is torn because in a lot of games, anything can happen. Chess is a different animal, because if both players know what they're doing, there isn't going to be a mistake. Most of the games I play involve some form of luck. There are dice, random cards, cube bags, etc. that allow for momentum swings. I've had several games of Small World where I thought I was clearly winning or clearly losing; yet when final scoring came, the results had gone the other way. Sometimes you just don't know where you're at, and what might happen in the end.
2-player games, it's ok to resign, but if the end is near, try to play it out and see what happens.
Multiplayer games are a completely different story. It is poor sportsmanship to quit a multi-player game. You aren't surrendering to the other side, you're walking out on a group of people, and fundamentally changing the way they're playing the game. Many games play differently with various numbers of players. By quitting, you've changed the interactions, and quite possibly handed one player an easy victory that they would not have otherwise had.
I can see not bothering to count your final score at the end, but even that creates some problems. I had another game of Small World (5 player game) where one person thought they had lost miserably. We counted their score and they came in 2nd, and lost by I believe 5 points. I'll use Ticket to Ride as another example. There are times where you've completed none of your destination tickets. At that point, it's reasonable to not bother scoring your points, and just ending it, but that's a matter of a minute to score versus quitting a game.
The idea that's driving this whole thing is sportsmanship. We play games with the pursuit of winning, and the notion of always having fun. It is the pursuit of winning that many find enjoyable, but not the actual win. I enjoy winning games, but I have great fun in losing them too. I just wrapped up a forum game of Cosmic Encounter, which has been going on for 6 weeks. I had horrible luck, but I still had a chance to win the game at the end, only to be cleverly sent home before I could win. Now, I wasn't exactly happy at being played that way, but it was a very Cosmic move, and I appreciated it for that. That game was a long haul at times, and I really thought I had no chance, but quitting was never a serious thought in my mind.
The other notion here is this, don't let your bad time ruin everyone else's good time. If you're not winning, try to play to improve your position by 1 spot. Don't just quit and spoil the game for everyone else. Plus, most people don't want to play with a quitter, and you'll probably find that most people won't play with you. Be a courteous person, congratulate the winner, help clean up, or set-up for the next game. If all else fails, remember the old adage "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
How would I handle the situation of a repeated multi-player game quitter? Very simply, they're not welcome to play with me. They can play with other people, but I won't play with them. I'll play 2 player games, but not group games. If you're ruining my ability to have fun, I have other people I can play with.