Note: This article is written in collaboration with Spilled Spagehtti Janitor in our now defunct group blog Tuesdays with Bison.
The people in Tuesdays With Bison is a group of friends who have been playing board games for a couple of years now. On and off in the beginning, but of late, an established group of regulars and a group of guests have been made.
It all started with “because it looks like a lot of fun” until we buy more games and grow a little more competitive. Viscous Vega has always been into RPG (even before we all met) and eventually got everyone into it. Over the years, we have established some guidelines and rules when going through a board game day.
Here’s our tips on the DO’s and DONT’s of boardgaming sessions:
Who To Play With –
DO invite people you’re comfortable with.
To most people, board games are one of the casual ways to pass the time. For more hardcore gamers, choose people you gave a good rapport with and are as passionate as you are and do not mind a game for the 6 hours straight. These kinds of games would bring out all kinds of trash-talking and unsavory jokes. However, that does not mean you can rear your ugly head all the time.
After all, the point of all these games, regardless if one is hardcore or casual, is fun.
DON’T bring unknown people into the group.
It’s always a good thing to share your interests with people outside the group, like another friend or a significant other. The more, the merrier. And if that person has a good appreciation for what you do, why not?
However, bringing another person or people who are unfamiliar with the group dynamic can cause problems. It can seriously affect group rapport – trash-talking is frequent and various eccentricities tend to come out. It is not the best first impression to give out. A new person might not be able to get it and see this as a true reflection of the people in the group.
The best way to deal with this is, if you hang with your group outside games, is to bring this person when they are not in their worst. There, this new person would be able to decipher the difference between what people are really like and what they are when in competitive mode. Then… you can invite them to board game days.
DO take pictures.
Why? So that the players who were supposed to be there will be jealous and many lulz can be had. *looks at dandydandydan*
Where To Play –
DO help out a public establishment.
Being in public entails you in finding a spot that you can roll the dice without alerting authorities. Unlike special establishments that cater to board gamers, places like restaurants and coffee shops would not have the level of appreciation for your games as you do. Be a paying customer – buy food and drinks and watch the swearing and the noise level as to not disrupt their business and scare away other patrons. It can get expensive though, but so are the tables and chairs, the air-conditioning and the wait staff there. Despite these cons in the public places, clean-up is a breeze as you only need to get your games and exit thru the establishment door.
DO help out in a private place.
For private place like someone’s home, you can be as loud as you can (as long as the neighbors don’t complain) and you don’t really need to dress all chic and glamorous. However, you need to cook your own food, or at least order from a delivery service. Regardless of where the food and drinks come from, the host not only provides the venue, but also bowls, plates, utensils and glasses at the most basic. Be a good guest and offer to help out with the clean-up. There is always something to help with and added hands will make everything go quicker.
Refusal to help out makes others think you’re just there for the games and just downright rude. Remember gaming is social event that sometimes forge or break friendships in the end. We joke about how this is all in good fun, but this can also be a character establishing moment.
When playing –
DO play fair.
Cheating is a great no-no when it comes to playing any kind of games. Rules are there for a reason, not just to occupy the majority of the rulebook, but to make sure that everyone will beat the game fair and square. There are some instances that boardgames have provisions for optional or special house rules, depending on the GM’s leniency. However, there’s no point of deviating when you don’t know the core rules yourself. Regardless, you still need the basic rules ironed out because it will still serve as a backbone of whatever house rules you want to play in the future.
DON’T hijack characters.
Everyone has a learning curve and some people may not understand the game fully after just one or two rounds. Regardless if you just want your turn to come already or because you think you’re being helpful, do not just grab your playmates’ cards and items and do it for them. That’s not being helpful. In fact, it sucks the fun out of the inept player that they would not be so enticed to play the next game anymore.
Want to be helpful? Encourage questions and answer them.
DON’T be a sore loser.
In a game, there are winners and losers. If you lose, do not lose also your temper and start throwing game pieces around or even just sulk and not do anything to help out. Good games cost money and are not cheap at all. Throwing them around not only compromises the game piece but can also harm someone’s person and property. This is the purpose of trash-talking, which is acceptable to a certain degree. Games are there to promote healthy competition between people. Being competitive is different from being a sore loser.
DON’T take games too seriously.
Games should be fun, don’t you agree? Griping and whining for days, weeks, months, years, after playing the games about things that happen in-game will make all the other players dislike the game all of you are playing.
Usually, GMs remove those kinds of players as they suck out all the fun the other players are experiencing. Mind you, there is a difference trash-talking in-game and taking every mistake as a life and death scenario of a players life.