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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Teaching Board Game Etiquette rss

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Lucas Fox
United States
Cairo
New York
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So I wasn't sure exactly where to post this. So if the mods need to move this, I apologize right now for that.

So, I am currently running a board game club in my middle school. This is my 3 or 4th year doing it, but this is the first group I have had that knows NOTHING of Board Game Etiquette. Mostly, in how to deal with handling a game that isn't theirs.

All of the games we play for the club come from my own personal collect, as the school feels that Board Games aren't "educational" and will not buy any of their own. I will be looking into some grants for games, so I can build a collection for the school. Also, so I don't have to use my own games.

Anyway, I am looking for some suggestions in how to teach Etiquette to them with out having to sacrifice one of my own games. Already bad enough some of my Get Bit! cards have felt their clumsy wrath.

Any and all suggestions welcomed.

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Warren Fitzpatrick
United States
Ohio
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Could you just go over it prior to bringing the game out? I remember the Chemistry teacher going through a litany of rules before we tried to blow up the classroom, so I figure the kids would be used to that sort of talk.

Also, make sure everything is sleeved and as protected as possible.

wf
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Jerry Martin
United States
Loveland
Colorado
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Well, After 12 years running a club for 4th-5th graders the real answer is...you can't.

Here are my rules.

All pieces are everybody's pieces. If something falls on the ground, EVERYONE should be ready to pick it up.

All Pieces need to be respected and put back in the box when the game is done.

The game box should close all the way when you are done. If it doesn't close you haven't put it away.


The thing is kids have been taught to be disrespectful to games their whole life. They are cheap and don't matter. NO matter what you do someone is going to bend or put a card in their mouth. Yes, they just can't seem to NOT put it in their mouth.

All the games I bring for my game club I take with the knowledge that things may be damaged. Occasionally I will bring something personal of mine and I only let kids play it with me and I avoid using ones with cards.

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marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
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I had a high school game club for about 15 years (recently retired).

1. All the games were mine. I did not have any expectation that the school would pay for them. Exception: The school paid for chess sets and go sets. There are also probably a few games that are closer to curriculum that you may be able to charge to the school. For example Khet for teaching reflexion, or some wordgames or art games.

2. You can give them a lecture with a piece of paper with a list of etiquette rules BUT they wont be remembered. But you should do it anyways. If you want to kick a student out of the club then you have the list to support your position.

3. Etiquette is not taught by words but by example and action.

4. Etiquette by example: The kids should see you use the proper etiquette. They should see you be happy when you lose. They should see you have fun. They should see you help put away the games. As you put away a game WITH the kids, you should point out how you are doing it the proper way.

5. Etiquette by action: There should be consequences to bad and good etiquette. Without consequences the students learn that etiquette is not important. In adult gaming poor sportsmanship and cheating is punished by being kicked out of gaming groups. A student caught cheating must be expelled for at least one session (the second time it should be much more severe). Otherwise the other kids will think that cheating is the best way to win.

6. Since the games were owned by me (and the students knew it), they accepted my not being happy when games were damaged or pieces lost. The more responsible students would look out for my games. I am not so certain they would have done it if the games had been owned by an non human called "the school". Kids don't like to "snitch" on other kids, but if the victim is a teacher they like then they have a moral dilemma. They have to choose who to protect: A teacher they like or a kid they don't like too much.

Have fun ! For 15 years I got to spend all my lunch hours playing games with a bunch of students. And I like playing games.
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Max Power
United States
North Carolina
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I agree with Warren.

I taught middle school lego robotics and saw firsthand the difference between preceding the use of the robots with a lengthy outline of my boundaries and proper behavior and not doing so.

In the latter group pieces were thrown, broken, transported to alternate dimensions etc..

While members of the former group were perfect angels.

Your mileage may vary and the delivery is important, but the effect of clearly and firmly outlining your expectations and boundaries (as well as consequences for breaching them) can hardly be overstated.


EDIT: As another poster has said you need credible deterrents. That is when someone breaches your boundaries you need to react depending on the severity. The reaction can be anything from a polite reminder to a polite expulsion.
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marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
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Over the years the worst damage was to ordinary decks of cards. Cards are lost, damaged, etc. Students who came from background where games were not played at home tended to gravitate to cards and chess. These students tended to be rougher on games. So with cards I was more tolerant especially since new decks are inexpensive.

My solution: About once a month I would check over the card decks (I usually had two available) and replace them with new ones if needed.
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dave bcs
United States
College Station
Texas
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My biggest source of wear and tear in games with kids (and even some careless adults!) is how cards get handled: excessive gripping, bending, even putting them in the mouth!

I would create a mat with designated spaces for them to stack or lay their cards, and practice having them only pick up the cards when the need to be looked at.
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Derek H
South Africa
Pretoria
Gauteng
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drdranetz wrote:
My biggest source of wear and tear in games with kids (and even some careless adults!) is how cards get handled: excessive gripping, bending, even putting them in the mouth!

I would create a mat with designated spaces for them to stack or lay their cards, and practice having them only pick up the cards when the need to be looked at.

Good idea! How about making cardholder stands so cards are not held in players hands?
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Kirk
United States
Commerce Twp.
Michigan
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Just like anything with children (or people in general)

1. Set clear expectations
2. Enforce / support expectations consistently and reasonably
3. Hold individuals accountable for not meeting expectations
4. Reward desired behavior with recognition or other means
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Lluluien
United States
Missouri
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I don't run a club, but my son has been in one, and I run gaming groups with adults that treat my games more poorly than my 12 year old, so I empathize with this.

Here are a couple other things to possibly consider that haven't been mentioned yet:

1) Don't bring anything irreplaceable. There are games I won't play with certain people (adults, these!) because the game can't be replaced for any reasonable cost. For games that can be replaced easily, I care a lot less about how they're handled. I think this underlies a lot of angst that we all feel about this topic because you don't have to be in this hobby very long to know there are some pretty huge supply chain problems in it.

2) Ask the kids to bring games. That's how my son's game group coach handled it. I sent quite a few games from my collection for them to play (in accordance with the first point, of course!).

3) Maybe you could ask for donations to buy games for the club? I think a lot of parents might do this (and I need to suggest it to my son's teacher and get her started w/ a donation of my own) if the coach said he's trying to put a game library together for the school. It's a lot more fun than donating pencils and glue sticks.
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