When you lose a game, do you take it well or do you get a little bummed out or disappointed in yourself? I don't think anybody prefers losing a game, but some people handle it muuuuch worse than others. I think most people are fairly good sports about it though.
To speak for myself, I don't usually mind a lose if it's well fought and the players involved are respectful, but I might get a little upset if there are instances such as careless play on my part, bad partners, or trash talking opponents.
Personally, I see no point in getting upset at losing. Each defeat provides an opportunity for me to learn. If I lose I flick through the history to watch both points of view and see where I screwed up. Trash talking opponents amuse me greatly, however. The angrier the better :D
I prefer the big multi-player games. If I'm one of 10 players, my odds of winning start out at 10%. So how can I be that upset if I lose?
IMO, the main deciding factors, in order of importance:
1. Initial placement. Both absolute and relative to others. If someone can expand quickly and without interruption for a number of turns, there's a good chance they'll win. In a big multi-player game, if someone starts out near an opponent, it's unlikely either will last to the end of the game.
2. Persistence. A booted player can make a big difference. Especially in a team game. An extreme case -- I had one game where I had the lowest income of four players. All three of them got booted on the same turn and I ended up winning the game.
3. Guessing correctly, or just plain luck. I've won and lost a number of 1v1 games, or seen myself or another player broken, where one battle turned the tide, simply because one player attacked before the other counter-attacked. Or picked the right territory to defend.
4. Actual skill at strategy.
That's assuming a player isn't really bad at the game. Most games are actually decided fairly quickly, primarily because of #1 above. Exponential growth rules all. AKA -- "Expand or die" :)
When you win you know why because you've made your moves purposely to gain such an advantage to hence win. After I win, I instinctively just go over what I did correctly and carry that on to that next game with high confidence.
When I lose, you know your gonna lose in a high-level game.. so you have those 1-2 turns where you do crazy shit to try and come back but you feel bad and wonder "how the hell did you get in this position" and replay the turns in my mind.
Now I don't keep a diary and write all my thoughts in a bloody diary, it's all just how I instinctively feel in the moment and the thought process that happens for 3-5 seconds after a game.
It depends on how close I came to winning, if I didn't stand a chance, I'll shrug it off, and fight a different opponent, if I came close, as in "if I could've just gotten/defended that territory, I would've won" close, I admittingly do get a little flustered, it is what it is though, after all it's just a game. lol