Fairness is slippery and it can be hard to find a definition that most players in a game share. Brian, Tom and Jim all agree that the perception of unfairness does tend to ruin fun in a game.
It can often be hard to differentiate between lack of balance and a gap in player skill. Often what a player might call unfair is just poor game design or balance.
Brian worries about players who apply arbitrary limitations or restrictions to a game in single player mode and get crushed when they try multiplayer. Tom thinks these people are crybaby losers.
For multiplayer games, open communication about exploits is just as important as how fast they are resolved. We talked about what it means for a single player game to be unfair, but didn't come to firm conclusions. If a game's AI "cheats", is it unfair?
Links to referenced items:
My First Cow Clicker, Cow Clicker, Internet [Jerk]wad Theory, World of Tanks, Backgammon, Supreme Commander Two, Halo, Military Madness, Secret World - Tom Chick, World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Minion, WoT is Rigged - Greedy Goblin, League of Legends, Street Fighter Two, Wimbledon, You Will Die Instantly! - Hypercitical, Playing to Win in Badminton - Sirlin, Sumo Wrestling Collusion - Freakonomics, Blood Doping, Warsong Gulch, Insider Trading, Red Weenie, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock, Big Bang Theory, Eve Exploit Notice, Hacking Scrabble, Qwordy, Eternal Darkness, Gaslighting, Team Fortress Two, Rocket Jumping, Artemis, Killzone Three, Catherine, Dark Souls, Scroll of Resurrection, Guild Wars Two, EvE Online, Champions Online, Guild Wars, Left 4 Dead, Kill Screen, Gameological Society, Sawbuck Gamer.