Table Top

The 7 Deadly Sins of Board Gaming

So, this second post for today comes from a thread over on Board Game Geek called “The 7 Sins of Boardgaming” and I thought while reading through it, I should do that. I should write up some of my “rules” for board gaming. Obviously, each gaming table will be different, there are people talking about no food and drink at the table, which is common place for my game nights. But I do think that there are some things at least for me that are important for a game group and gaming.

1 – Not Being Ready to Game

Now this one might seem obvious, but I don’t think that some people get it or are ready to game. While there are certainly social elements to game nights, that is meant to be done in the context of while you are playing a game. So come ready to sit down and play again, not ready to talk for 30 minutes to an hour and then play a game at some point in time and then talk more after a filler game. I fairly often theme in filler game nights for those more social times, but sometimes you need to be prepared to play a bigger game and it’s a game night, so that should be the mindset.

2 – Quashing Fun

This really is #1 through #7, but I want to call this out specifically. It’s something that was talked about in the thread a fair amount. Don’t quash other people’s fun because something in the game offends you and the flip side of this as well, don’t pull out a game that you know will offend someone. If you aren’t sure, leave it on the shelf, if you are uncomfortable, sit out the game. You can always bring it up after the fact and do so respectfully. And if you don’t know, ask before pulling out a game if the person is fine with it. This also is true for conversation on a board game night. We’re trying to create an inclusive place. If you can’t shut up about the debate last night, don’t come, if you are wearing hateful or polarizing material on your shirt, or whatever it might be, don’t assume everyone is like you, and don’t assume everyone wants to talk about politics or whatever polarizing thing like you do.

3 – Alpha Gaming/Analysis Paralysis Gaming

Now, I’m lumping these two together, and really, like I said, this falls into quashing people’s fun. But while that is more specifically about your tastes and views on things, this is more about the game itself. Don’t tell people what to do on their turns, sure they might not be doing an optimal play, but that’s okay. It might mean you’re less likely to win a cooperative game, and that’s okay. By the same token, don’t take too long on your turn, that is how people checkout of games, and I’ll talk about that later. But slowing a game down makes it less fun for everyone. For AP players, they feel the pressure to go fast and not let everyone else get bored, for the other players, they don’t want to get bored. Here’s going to be an odd statement, but alpha gamers and AP gamers tend to have the same issue, they need to win. The issue is how they do it, one thinks they know what everyone should do, and one locks up to make the optimal play. Winning the game isn’t everything.

Image Source: Mythic Games

4 – Sore Losing/Winning

As I just said, winning the game isn’t everything, and losing the game isn’t nothing. But don’t be sore at either of them. Don’t huff and puff and say that the game isn’t fair, that people ganged up on you (even if they did), lose graciously. Again, this steps on people’s fun if you lose poorly. At the same time, if you win, don’t gloat about it. Also don’t deflect and say it was all luck and that you just happened to get lucky to win, because someone might have been playing their hardest and gotten crushed and feel now like they are a terrible player. Instead be gracious in both winning and losing and that’ll make the game more fun for everyone.

5 – Cheating

Simply put, don’t do this. No game matters that much that it’s worth cheating at, at a board game night. I don’t care if you’re playing poker for the last piece of Rhubarb Cream Pie, don’t cheat. Cheating if you get caught ruins the game for everyone. If you don’t get caught, it makes the whole experience more hollow. I’ve found that the people who cheat usually don’t cheat to win, or if they do, they’ll also cheat to win by more, which makes it less fun.

6 – Readily Getting Distracted/Checkout of the Game

This can happen for several reasons, but try not to. Firstly, again, it’s a game night, you’re hear to play a game, not to look at your phone, not to have a conversation with someone who is playing another game, or someone who just showed up at the expense of missing it’s you’re turn. It’s fine to chat, but don’t get so distracted you lose track of the game, hold it up by missing your turn, and then spend a while figuring out your turn because you weren’t paying attention to what everyone else did. Also, don’t checkout of a game because you think you can’t win. First, you might not be able to actually tell that. But also if you start playing worse than you were, you can king make or otherwise mess up the fun other people are having. See your strategy and plan through to the end.

Image Source: Haba

7 – Mistreating the Game

Now, as I’ve said, we have food at the table, so I’m not as strict about this as most people. In fact we’ve had Doritos and red wine (not the worlds tastiest combo) at the table before. But I’m talking about doing stuff intentionally to a game, or subconsciously. Don’t bend cards and throw pieces. Wipe off your fingers if you have Cheetos or Doritos’ dust on them before picking up pieces and cards. Just generally be respectful of other people’s property, it’s a common courtesy but be conscious of that, and resprect the rules the owner of the game has for their game.

So obviously some people in the thread were more clever than I was and created ones related to the actual seven deadly sins, but I thought it was an interesting topic for a gaming group and board gaming in general, so I wanted to write something up about it. Generally, I think that The RPG Academy gets it right with their motto, “If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right”. So make sure that you’re having fun, and make sure that everyone at the table is as well and playing board games will be fun for everyone.

What are your rules for gaming?

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