Table manners

Table manners

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Writer_smallerTable Manners

I have a feeling this will not be the only comic to bear the title ‘Table Manners’. Issues like this (table etiquette, I guess you could call it) are oft-discussed (just listen to the questions segment on any Dice Tower Podcast). Phones are not the end of it, and neither are they even the beginning.

But they are tricky one. People are people, and these days phones are part of people. Asking people to put away their phones at the table seems a little … school-ish? It’s not that I don’t want to do that, it’s more that I don’t want to have to do that. I would rather that situation just not arise, that people would come to the table with respect for the company they are in.

It affects some games more than others, obviously. It’s not too big a deal for light games or party games, but it can really slow down ‘bigger’ games. Where it hurts the most, though, is not slowing down a game, but bringing people out of a game. When everyone around the table is immersed, transported to somewhere else. When a box of cardboard has become a door, a portal to somewhere that its raw materials could only hint at. That’s when constant phone checking and messaging can ruin the experience. The game might be able to go on, but the experience can be lost, leaving the thing itself to limp awkwardly to its conclusion, exposed as nothing more than cardboard, dice and plastic.

It’s not just phones, of course. It can be achieved without the aid of a handset. One person at the table who doesn’t really want to be there, and that table will collapse as surely as if they took a saw to its legs. In this case, a phone is merely a symptom of a different problem. One that still needs to be addressed, just differently.

There’s a lot more to be said on this, obviously. This week we’re a little pressed for time, so the post is short. You may even have noticed we were a little quiet on Twitter.  But if you have anything to say on this matter (and if you’re reading a comic about board games I imagine you do) then please let us know. What are you experiences, views and solutions?

Pull up a chair, grab a hand of cards, warm up some dice, and click into the comments below. Come, sit at our table and talk to us.

Unless you’re the type of person who messages the whole way through a game (or talks through movies.) Then it’s a good old fashioned Jazzy Jeff exit for you.

8 Comments on Table manners
  • Paul Gillibrand

    I really agree with the point about having engaged players. People sometimes ask me what kind of games I like to play and my answer is usually that I like to play the games that the group I’m with will enjoy. That’s not me deflecting the question and saying “oh, you choose!”. It’s honest. I don’t want to try and play a 3-hour complex Euro with people who won’t enjoy it and I’ll have to drag through every turn. Similarly, I don’t want to play a light story-telling game with people who just want to min-max it and win. Knowing your group and being able to read the energy levels in the room is so important when deciding what to play next (and a great excuse for owning LOTS of games so you always have just the right thing…)

    • It really is more about the experience with people, isn’t it? You sound like our kind of gamer, you can stay at the table 🙂

  • TheSchaef

    Clearly the blame is yours for not playing with the gray pawn. 😉

  • Val Teixeira

    I completely disagree with this. I think it depends completely on the person – some of us are just able to multi-task better and are tired of waiting on your AP ass to take 10 minutes figuring out what it takes us 5 seconds to get. Who are you to judge me when you make me wait even longer to actually do anything. Perhaps if you took less time figuring out every possible permutation of your decision, I’d spend less time on my device (or watching paint dry).

    And another thing, if you spent less time posting great, interesting comics and clever points on the internet, I’d be less interested in reading and responding to them and more interested in the game I’m playing! If I wasn’t on my device, I may have completely missed it, and my life would be less meaningful and complete.

    Now please excuse me for a moment, somebody is shouting at me to play. What, how do these Green cards score again? And I can pitch one to build my wonder up, right? Oh, I’m sorry, I have to say that out loud because they not following this conversation on the internet – amateurs…

    (Yes, this is a joke post.)

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  • We always put our phones aside, on a different table. Helps a lot! 🙂

  • Bradley Conder

    Just include an in-game penalty for using a phone. Every time you are caught, you lose a card or a health point. This deals with the issues pretty quickly whenever I play.