Games Stop

Games Stop

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Writer_smallerThe importance of games

Writing an accompanying blog post for this week’s comic was difficult. It felt wrong to be attempting humour under the circumstances – as I write this, the election results have been called, appointments are being made, and a new era is beginning.

But humour is important. Aileen reminded me of that this morning, and it’s true. I know maintaining a sense of humour has helped me through some challenging and dark times in my life. Humour is, perhaps, more important now than ever.

Something we talked about a lot when we started Tiny Wooden Pieces was that there were far too many people who took board gaming far too seriously, and found no humour, or silliness in the hobby. And what’s life without some silliness? Everyone needs to laugh and act out and just do something ridiculous every now and then. Little things can help. A fun evening of gaming with friends was the best distraction I’ve had all day, and it left me feeling a lot better.

If playing board games can make a difference in my life, they can make a difference for others as well. A highlight of the past week has been some great content coming from the board game community on making the hobby more inclusive. This is how you can make a difference. Little changes can make a difference, and change can start at your gaming table. It SHOULD start at your gaming table. Follow @425suzanne on twitter, and start by reading these points on helping our hobby to be more inclusive. Then watch this Board Game Breakfast, which talks about the issue as well. If you are feeling down this week, look at all of these things and understand how you can make a difference. It helps. You can help. If life is going to be more difficult for some people from now on, we should all do our best to let them know that not everyone feels the same way.

Tiny Wooden Pieces isn’t going to change the world, but we hope it makes your world that little bit brighter. I know that hearing your feedback and getting to talk to you all in the comments brightens our own world, and remains our favourite thing about making the comic. So join the conversation. Say hello, and have a chat with us. We’re all in this together, and we would love to hear from you. Join us at the table.

11 Comments on Games Stop
  • Emily

    I can be guily of taking my game too seriously sometimes but I try not to. I know some people who are ultra serious about their gaming and they can just suck all the fun out of the game.
    Sometimes it can be more fun to lose in an amusing way than it can be to slaughter everyone else’s scores. (Although I like doing that too)

    Like last night at Role Play. We were all rolling terribly, couldn’t hit the side of a barn. But we had a great time. Listening to the GM’s maniacal laughter as I rolled another 1 which caused me to lose my great sword and have it eaten.
    You want to know our best roll of the night? After the terrible landing of our newly acquired ship we rolled to pose dramatically as the ship door was opened…
    The five of us rolled: 20, 20, 19, 17 and 16.

    Most. Dramatic. Pose. Ever.

    • Thanks for being part of the conversation so often, Emily! I’m glad you share our view on how games should be played, and of course I must confess I too like the occasional outright slaughter of my opponents at the table 🙂
      Had something similar happen a few nights ago while we were playing Dead of Winter. I was first player, and on my very first action of my first turn I rolled a bite, killing my character instantly. The infection then spread, killing my second character as well, and reducing group morale from 5 to 3 (we lose the game at 0) We did manage to claw back a victory, but my nerves never recovered and that dice terrified me for the rest of the game.
      By the way, that RPG sounds like amazing fun, what were you playing? Or does it just come down to the group having a lot of fun with the system?
      (it sounds like a great group)

      • Emily

        Always happy to be a part of conversations here, it’s a great comic with friendly people 🙂

        It’s a fun system, and also a great group that I’ve been playing with for years. The GM has heaps of experience so he’s good at making fun campaigns.

        Currently we’re playing the Cypher system which is based on Numenera, you just roll a d20 for everything (whether you are the one attacking or defending) and the GM just tells you the difficulty you have to beat. (Which you can modify with your stats & items).
        It gets fun when the GM decides to interrupt your action, give you some XP and has something go wrong. You can spend XP to ignore it, or roll with the punches.

  • Dexter Ó Thuithear

    I find that people taking things super seriously has contributed to a lack of inclusion in some areas. Very intense players can be off putting to new players, and often those intense people don’t really see it as an issue because they’re “just trying to win”.
    There’s also the flip side where people are simply immersing themselves in a game and all of it’s mechanics, but doing so causes alienation of others who may simply be playing casually. Both are trying you have fun, but approaching it from what can be conflicting angles. I’ve seen this personally with games like The Resistance (and it’s Avalon counterpart), where the intensity of some players makes others uncomfortable, and unwilling to play again (either the game, or maybe even with that group).

    I’ve seen it, too, in competitive games. While it’s more understandable to be upset at a loss or heavily focused on winning the game in those settings, it’s sometimes a struggle to find the spirit of gameplay present. Attitudes vary wildly, and the results can often be a negative play experience. This is where it’s important to be an ambassador for the hobby, presenting less of a win at all costs face, and more of an engaged with good humour attitude.
    Myself, I actively try to help people out wherever possible. I’d rather lose a game amusingly, than win it through technicality or even humiliation. The strategist in me will forever try to find ways to bend the rules or odds in my favour, but it will always be weighed against how such actions will affect those I play with, and those who I may get to play with in the future.

    • It can be Very off-putting for newer players to go up agsinst someone whose sole objective is winning, and doesn’t make any allowances for the fact that they are playing someone new to the hobby/game. I hate seeing that, and I really hate seeing people being put off the hobby because of encounters like that.
      Playing to win is fine, of course, I just don’t think it should be the ONLY reason to play a game.

      • Dexter Ó Thuithear

        I’m never going to insult someone’s intelligence by throwing a game I could win, but I will often stack in favour of a new player until they can run without training wheels. I’ve done it a fair bit now X-wing, and it’s always resulted in players sticking around, and then progressing at their own pace. I don’t think it’s much to expect from an experienced players to be so mindful. After all, everyone you convince to stick the hobby is likely not just a new opponent, but potentially a new friend.

        • Well put as ever, man. Exactly the kind of attitude that helps and grows the hobby, which benefits everyone.

  • wr00t

    Yes, gaming with my coworkers helped me a number of times to overcome some psychological problems in the past. Well, this is mostly interaction that helped, but gaming sure helped to make that interaction to happen and be cheerful and making you forget bad stuff even if just for an evening.

    • The social element is almost always the best part of playing board games for us. It just provides a great way to have fun with people, to laugh and tell stories together.
      Thank you for sharing, and for the regular comments.

  • Daniel Newman

    Suz is the bestest

    • She is doing more than anyone else I know if right now to spearhead awareness of diversity and inclusion in the hobby right now, and we should all be thankful of that. It makes the hobby better for everyone.