Let’s face it, games are about people. Specifically, they’re about the people that we play with. Otherwise, we’d always play solo games or, (gasp!) video games. One of the big reasons that tabletop games are coming back in style is the fact that they force us to sit across the table from one-another and interact. It stands to reason that the people we play with will make a big impact on the experience we have.
For this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we decided to look at the people that we game with and some of the tips and tricks that can be used to make the experience run smoothly.
This is a pretty wide ranging category. It can include siblings, parents, kids, significant others, and any other sort of relation you can think of. Sometimes, these people are our favorite gaming partners. At other times, we’re stuck with them on the holidays, and it’s games that are going to get you through. Either way, the important thing to remember is that no matter what happens in a game, these folks are a part of your life, you’re going to want to preserve that relationship. A lot of us game on a regular basis with our kids or partners. Gaming is a wonderful hobby to share with your immediate family, but whenever you introduce competition to that dynamic, there’s some potential for problems. If you find that destroying each other in Blood Rage is threatening your familial bliss, consider some cooperative alternatives: The Grizzled, Zombicide: Black Plague, or Kreus. You’ll find working together for a shared victory (or a narrow defeat) will very quickly help mend the ties that bind.
Some friendships are so close, we consider them family, but there is a big difference. We choose the friends we have based on shared interests, geographic locations, and who you sat next to on the school bus. Sometimes, our friends become our gaming groups, and sometimes our gaming group becomes our friends. There is a hierarchy to friendships that can become more pronounced when you’re playing board games together on a regular basis. Consider these few simple steps to make everyone feel like a valuable member of the group and you’ll ensure years of harmonious gaming. First idea: rotate who picks the game. You’re not always going to like what your friends want to play. But hey, they won’t always like what you want to put on the table, either. Having a rotating schedule means everyone gets a chance to choose and play their games. Second idea: be ready to host and be ready to travel. It’s great when the group is willing to come to your house. You get to stay at home and play host, but it’s important to remember to be a good one. By that same token, sometimes you should be the one to do the traveling and make it easy on other people to host a game night. Everyone benefits when there is a give and take of the hosting duties. Third idea: be open to new people. We can be selective about the people we game with, but friendships can come and go and so the more people you have in your life to play games with, the better off you’re going to be.
This is a tricky one. A professional relationship is a delicate thing and you don’t want to ruin your career by destroying your coworkers at Rum and Bones! We talked about having a game group at work in a previous article, and those lessons apply here. Games are great ways to build teamwork and trust in staff. For some good tips and game suggestions, check out our previous article.
There are a lot of scenarios, like open gaming nights, conventions, or even house parties, where we’ll end up across the table from complete strangers. This can be a tough way to meet people for the first time, but you already have the love of games in common. Playing games can be a great ice-breaker. Just remember to approach people the way you’d want to be approached. Don’t take the game too seriously, and be open to other people’s ideas and attitudes. Sometimes it takes some patience to meet new people, but if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing. For the most part, the gaming hobby is full of wonderful people that are friendly and fun to be around. You just have to give yourself a chance to get to know them, and you’re on your way to moving a stranger to the friend column.
Analog games are about people, and whether they’re your best friends, a family member, or someone you just met, games are just the conduit for that human interaction. Playing with other people gives us insight into them and ourselves. So next time you’re sitting down to roll some dice with someone, appreciate their presence. It wouldn’t be the same experience without them.