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FDQ: What Is Your Gaming Pet Peeve?

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We all love board gaming. It’s a great way to kick back, relax, have some fun, and enjoy time with friends. But as with any hobby, there are those things that really grind our gears. We try not to say anything about it—we don’t want to ruin the fun over something small or discourage people from playing. And we probably do things that irk the other players. But now is your chance to blow off some steam.  Let loose, and share your sufferings in safe place. We’re here for you. What is your biggest gaming pet peeve? Answer in the comments!

@Futurewolfie answers:
For me, there are really two things that bother me the most: first of all, when someone is trying to explain a board game and someone else interrupts with their own thought. I think this throws the teacher off a little and can overwhelm the players trying to learn—too many messages from too many different places. I like teaching people how to play board games, but if someone else is doing it, I sit back and wait till they finish before I add any of my own thoughts. Because of this, my wife usually volunteers to leave the room if I’m explaining a game she already knows; she can’t help but jump in with her comments if she’s sitting there listening.

The thing that bothers me in actual gameplay is when someone rushes through their turn without giving the other players a chance to see what they’re doing. For example, in many games other players can often play cards as a reaction to things the current player (let’s call him Rudolph) does. When Rudolph burns through his turn without giving people a chance to react, people can unfairly miss an opportunity. “But wait, I wanted to…” is a line I hate hearing. Another example—in something like Dominion, when someone announces their purchase, takes it, and discards their hand without actually laying down the necessary treasure. Okay, I get that we all know how to play and it’s nice to keep things moving, but it’s even nicer to allow all the players a chance to see what you’re doing—when it’s supposed to be public knowledge. It’s not that I’m assuming you’re cheating, but I know I’ve made mistakes before and people have called me on it, but they can only do that if they see the treasure I lay down, which is part of the rules of the game.

@Farmerlenny answers:
I don’t like it when other players cheat. There, I’ve said it.

Okay, a little broader than that, I know that I have a low patience/tolerance level for players who take too long on their turns. Not every game is a brain burner. I realize that, given infinite time, a player might be able to figure out the exact path to victory, but it really sucks the fun out of a game. Granted, there are some 2+ hour games where a little calculation is necessary in order not to ruin the prior two hours’ build up. Then again, there might not be so many 2+ hour games if…

I also have a low tolerance level for sore winners and losers. I don’t like excessive gloating or whining. I know it can be frustrating to lose and exhilarating to win (and it can be especially tempting and sometimes appropriate to rub your nemesis’s nose in it), but extended griping sessions or celebrations also suck the fun out of the experience. I wouldn’t say that winning and losing don’t matter–they should matter, at least within the game–but postgame, it’s time to let it go and enjoy the common experience shared with friends. Unfortunately, these two peeves often go hand in hand.

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You’ll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. I don’t like it when people take turns much longer than the rest of the players at the table. If everyone takes 1 minute per turn, take between 30s and 90s on your turn. If once or twice you have to spend 2 minutes, fine.

    But don’t take 5 minutes every turn… This bothers me in all games, I’ve had 3 hour games take 5 hours because of that and I’ve had 1 hour games take over 2 because of this. Come on people!

  2. Hehe ~ nice topic! As usual, my perspective from playing with my kids –

    @Futurewolfie – agree on the rules interruption. When teaching a game to some one new (rare, but still…), my kids who know the game will jump in, even after I nicely tell them to shut their traps before-hand! Just makes it harder on the newbie.

    @Farmerlenny – agree also on the whining and gloating. Which takes on a new angle with kids. We’re still working on the whole “it’s just a game” concept. Some days are good, others not so much.

    Another that comes with the territory is lack of focus. When it’s not their turn, they can be distracting. They’re just used to other activities with electronic gadgets keeping their attention for 100% every second. I’m hoping hobby gaming breaks them from that a little over time – it will be good for them as teens going into adulthood!

  3. @Matthew: That’s a good distinction. If everyone is carefully plotting their moves, it’s not such a big deal when one person is plotting just a little longer. What really makes it bad is when the time per turn ratio is lopsided.

    @Jason: Lack of focus is annoying! I almost banned one of my friends from bringing a cell phone to the table because he was texting every three seconds. (My wife and I don’t really text, so it’s hard for us to relate, I guess.) It was a LONG game of Settlers.

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