#2. The Forbidden Tactic
As Seen In: No Rushing in Real-Time Strategy Games
Real-time strategy (RTS) games, like Warcraft and Command & Conquer, involve the player moving around little military units that go around doing little military things, like delivering humanitarian aid or getting caught up in quagmires.
Victory Conditions: Everyone Must Hate That You're Here, Hate What You're Doing, and Hate That You Haven't Done It Yet, and Both Your Jeeps Must Be on Fire.
These games come in a few flavors, but the classic examples all involve base building of some sort, where the player spends the first part of each game establishing their economy, building up their production capacity, and erecting static defenses. In the single-player version of these games, this is normally done at a fairly leisurely pace, with the computer generally leaving you be while you get everything set up the way you like it.
That is decidedly not the case in the multiplayer versions of these games, where an opposing player could choose to delay much of their own base building to dedicate all their resources to launching a "rush." This is a very quick attack that is done in the hopes of catching you before you have your own defenses set up, which can quickly end the game, and possibly a friendship. So, depending on how competitive (and friendly) the players involved are, they may make a gentleman's agreement not to rush, or at least not before a certain time limit has elapsed.
Why It's So Important:
It's an anti-cheesing measure.
Rushing is one possible (and debatable) example of a game tactic that's "cheesy." It's a nebulous term, but roughly speaking, it means a tactic is simple and easy to execute, is quite powerful, and easily negates other, more "honest" tactics. That in itself is a big debate, and if you're interested in reading more about what constitutes an honest or dishonest tactic, just look for arguments written in capital letters anywhere on the Internet.
In this particular case, a rush, whether successful or not, will typically end the game extremely early, before a lot of the most interesting units and tactics become available. When used to the exclusion of all other tactics, it can make the game less fun. A house rule banning rushes, then, is an attempt by the players to resolve what they perceive is a mistake in the game's design, and to encourage what they feel are these more "honest" tactics.
Whaling on buildings with a club? Surprisingly honest. Just, you know. No hurry.
#1. The Forbidden Character
As Seen In: Oddjob
GoldenEye was a first-person shooter for the Nintendo 64 with an infamously good split-screen multiplayer mode.
Despite looking like the inside of a cubist's bowel movement.
One slight weakness it possessed, however, was its controls, in particular the difficulty in aiming up or down (in the default control scheme, at least). In most sections of the game, this wasn't much of a hindrance, with all the players running around on the same level. It was only when an enemy was substantially higher or lower than the player that it proved to be an issue. Which meant that if there was an enemy who was permanently lower than everyone else ...
He's the perfect height for giving sexual favors and shooting you in the groin, and he's all out of sexual favors.
... he'd have a massive advantage. In GoldenEye, that character was Oddjob, and few people played this ankle biter more than once before instituting a "No Oddjob" rule.
Why It's So Important:
It stopped people from murdering each other.
There's a concept called "balance" that needs to be discussed here. In most sports, opposing sides will have symmetrical powers -- for example, in a basketball game, both sides will have the same number of players, both sides are allowed to pass the ball, and so on. What we don't do is give one side tennis rackets and the other side fetish outfits.
Although maybe we should.
But unlike sports, a huge percentage of modern games (in the board, card, and video genres) are designed to be non-symmetrical. Players are granted wildly different characters and abilities and techniques, and it's this variety that makes these games so interesting and fun. Anything that interferes with that variety, like an overpowered character that everyone (who wants to be competitive) is forced to play, reduces that fun.
Many video games have featured characters that were overpowered to the point that they've been the subject of bans or gentleman's agreements not to use them. Street Fighter II had Akuma and Sagat. Super Smash Bros. Brawl had Meta Knight. Tecmo Bowl had Lawrence Taylor.
Monopoly had the dog.
And yes, those are cheap characters, fully deserving of their bans, but they also weren't 2-foot-tall cock-shooting machines. No one, no one, has deserved a punch to the throat more than a man playing Oddjob.
"I WILL RIP OFF YOUR ARM AND PAINT A MURAL OF PAIN WITH ITS BLOODY STUMP."