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Subject: Paying Attention During Other Players Turns rss

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Mock Tundra
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Hey folks, I've tried hunting through the forums and doing general google searches for the answer to this, but haven't had much luck finding anything. I'm sorry if this is similar to something that's already been discussed, but I wanted to get some opinions on the matter. Recently, I was playing a board game with a group of 4 players. This particular game is not my favorite (though I do enjoy it), takes a very long time, and is a competitive free-for-all game. We were only really this game over others because it was requested by one player, Player A. My participation was needed as I am the only one that knows the rules and set up without constantly referring to the rulebook.

About half an hour into the game, Player A started playing around with the spare pieces and taking pictures (Instagram?) of them in various poses. Player A continued to do this for the next 1.5 hours, only paying attention when informed it was their turn. When I asked Player A to pay attention during the other players turns as well, Player A became defensive and said they shouldn't have to because the game was based on "individual play".

I've seen a number of posts about how it is important to pay attention to the game in general, and Player A did normally complete their turn quickly so the game flow was not interrupted, but is it bad etiquette to pay so little attention to what the other players are doing, or am I over-reacting? I feel that it shows a complete lack of respect to the other players, but Player A disagrees. What are your thoughts on this?
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Bryan Thunkd
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I agree it's a hard question. It depends on the game. There are some games where the position changes so much by the time it gets back to your turn that it's almost pointless to pay attention until it's your turn again. But that's fairly rare.

So outside of those edge cases I'd say the other player should be following the game. I'd consider it rude if they didn't. Especially if it came back to their turn and it took them longer because they had to look at what had happened when they could have been doing that all along.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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If he does not want to affect other player's decisions during their turns and learn from what they do, and the game does not have any player interaction, then be it.

I too dislike players that end up performing unrelated things during a game. I either try to avoid playing with them, or try to arrange a game that requires constant participation or observation. I would suggest you try to do similar and not select multiplayer solitaire games. If you are pressured to select such a game, you can explain why you don't appreciate a game and rather have a game that everyone is involved in. You can play solitaire games alone at home, when you have other players it is the time to be social and engage everyone.


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Brandon
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Even when a game is completely non-interactive, playing it is still a social activity. We get together to play games because, not only are the games fun, but it's fun to be in each other's company, to comment on the game, maybe do a bit of good-hearted trash talk, and so on. If one of the players isn't participating beyond taking his/her turn, then they are detracting from that experience for everyone and they might as well go home and play solitaire. So, I agree that his/her actions were rude.
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Mock Tundra
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Thank you for the quick responses! We were playing a game called Zombies!!! with several expansion packs. One of the issues that I ran into is that I do not view the game as solitary at all. If any of you are familiar with the game, then you probably know that the cutthroat nature of the player cards means that at any point any player can completely destroy you. Player A insists that it is based on "individual play" because we are not working together (the other game we play a lot is Pandemic, which she does not like because it is cooperative). Maybe I'll just start targeting Player A whenever the camera phone comes out.
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Jay Brennan
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We have one player in our group who played handheld video games during other players' turns (in games with mechanics that make for long turns and/or a long time between turns.) It was made more aggravating when they then asked "What happened?" when it gets back to them. I finally had to tell them that if they couldn't pay attention during the game, they should stay home and play video games.

I agree that boardgaming is as much about the social aspects as it is playing the game itself; I enjoy watching what other players are doing and how they are strategizing, even if their turns could in no way whatsoever impact what I'm going to do on my turn (I am hard pressed to think of a game though, where other players' actions don't alter the game by the time it gets back around to me.)
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Boss Beau Blasterfire
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I think it is poor etiquette if you are interrupting the flow of the game or causing a distraction; otherwise, you are over reacting. People should be able to do what they like when they aren't active as long as it doesn't interfere with others.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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MockTundra wrote:
Maybe I'll just start targeting Player A whenever the camera phone comes out.


That's the spirit! devil
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Donnie Clark
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
Even when a game is completely non-interactive, playing it is still a social activity. We get together to play games because, not only are the games fun, but it's fun to be in each other's company, to comment on the game, maybe do a bit of good-hearted trash talk, and so on. If one of the players isn't participating beyond taking his/her turn, then they are detracting from that experience for everyone and they might as well go home and play solitaire. So, I agree that his/her actions were rude.

100% Mechanics, themes, game flow, AP, and all game specific issue aside, games are vehicles to social interaction. To ignore the people you sit down around the table to play with is just rude.
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Bryan Thunkd
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MockTundra wrote:
We were playing a game called Zombies!!!

Forget everything I said, you should have all quit immediately.
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Mark Halsey
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Yep, people texting during a game is annoying. I got passive aggressive the last time. When this person looks up from her phone and says, "ok who's turn is it?" I responded with, "how about going forward if you don't know who's turn it is and we are all giving you cold stares, assume its yours."
 
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Kelly Bass
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imho, it is rude to not participate in the social experience during a game. I can understand that people occasionally get texts, emails, & calls that they need to attend to immediately, but I expect someone who comes to my table to show good gamesmanship, be polite (excepting trashtalk of a clearly joking manner), and be part of the ongoing game.

If at someone else's house, I'd let the host determine the proper etiquette.
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Monica Elida Forssell
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Playing a board game, all action happens on a table. It happens in a social event. You shouldn`t have to demand that they pay attention to what happens on the TABLE. If I wanted individual play, without paying attention to other players, I would go find myself a computer game. On gaming events I at least have the decency to apologise if I have to answer a text or recieve a phone call.

Even if there are individual turns, it can be useful to watch what the others do. But again, that might just be me. I play to learn, I play to be social, I play to have fun.
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N R
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My attitude is if they aren't into the game 100%, they shouldn't bother playing it. That is only at my table though. If it's another player's game at his or her house, then it's ultimately up to them what is acceptable and what isn't.
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I can also tell a story of rude behaviour, in somewhat different way. I played Magic tournament many years ago. Being almost the only female player I felt I was met by an ice wall. This was a boy, maybe 14. He wanted to end the game to go to town, he got up from the table more than once, sighing, complaining and everything. I gave him a chance to leave, but he would accept that the game would be walk-over. He showed all signs of not wanting to play against a female gamer.

Luckily not all guys are like that!
 
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Matt Kruczek
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I once was part of a game where two players had a game of iPad Ascension on the go. One was the host, the other (I believe his brother) was teaching.

And this was in a shop.

I quietly decided that it would take exceptional circumstances for me to go back. I also decided to not mention the three sets of people who came in, looked for help, then left when they didn't get it.
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N R
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What atrocious service. It's amazing how stupid some business owners can be.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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Thunkd wrote:
I agree it's a hard question. It depends on the game.


Depends more on the group. Each group has its own little dynamic
and etiquette. Don't look to a bunch of random strangers on the
interwebz to try and enforce one which does not grow dynamically.
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Mac Mcleod
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Exactly

1) If nothing the other players do matter (multiplayer solo)..
or
2) If the game changes so much with each player that it's maddening to watch the changes...

Then there's not a lot of point in burning your brain or counting on things (which are going to change with each player).

Similar issue between "socializing" and "just playing the game" for different groups.

---

Still I find more than a couple texts per game (not per turn) annoying.

I have to admit- we just did 10 days of straight gaming- and I was reading "Deadline" during some of the games.
 
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Brian B.
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calandale wrote:
Depends more on the group. Each group has its own little dynamic and etiquette. Don't look to a bunch of random strangers on the
interwebz to try and enforce one which does not grow dynamically.


Exactly what I was about to say. Every group is different. Some groups only care about playing to win, and in that case, as long as player A's indifference didn't make her turns last longer, then I see no problem. However, if your group is as much about the social aspect (as is the one I mostly game in), then being constantly distracted is, in a sense, disrespecting the group. I'd be more inclined to try a gentler approach, such as trying to strike up conversation with Player A between turns or whatever to keep her focused on the game or at least the people who are there at the table.
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PJ Killian
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Theoretically there is a game that is so non-interactive that what other players do has no effect at all on the choices you make. Theoretically there is a game that is so trivial that you can pay no attention at all to other people's play and immediately get all the information you need from a quick glance at the board.

But why on earth would you bother playing anything that dull? Assuming you're not playing such a game, your tablemate is being a bad opponent, in my opinion.
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Mark Nicosia
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If they ever have to be told it is their turn then they aren't paying proper attention. It's not other players job to tell them.
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Michael Hyland

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I guess I'm old school but if you are playing with people around the table you should be present and interact with the players at the table. I'd be okay with side conversations with the people present. I don't mind picking up the phone if the turns are long and following the game isn't important for a quick min or two but to sit there glued to the phone the second your turn ends sort of sends the message that the people around the table are boring and uninteresting and unworthy of your time.
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Sam Cook
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I think it's bad etiquette primarily because people on their phones are acting as a distraction to the players that are trying to pay attention and participate in the game.

When I'm playing a game, I need to be mindful of what everyone is doing to make informed decisions. If every time I go to scan someone's pieces, I see them on their phone, that takes me out of the game experience. It's flow breaking.

Zombies!!! specifically is supposed to be enjoyed as a fun thematic experience. I can see how it would be pretty boring if everyone was just keeping to themselves when it wasn't their turn.
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PJ Killian
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calandale wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
I agree it's a hard question. It depends on the game.


Depends more on the group. Each group has its own little dynamic
and etiquette. Don't look to a bunch of random strangers on the
interwebz to try and enforce one which does not grow dynamically.


calandale wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
I agree it's a hard question. It depends on the game.


Depends more on the group. Each group has its own little dynamic
and etiquette. Don't look to a bunch of random strangers on the
interwebz to try and enforce one which does not grow dynamically.


It doesn't seem all that likely that there is a group of gamers that places no value at all on any of:

* doing your best to win
* being a pleasant person to socialize with
* avoiding preventable slow play

Different groups put different emphasis on those three goals relative to one another, and some groups may play no emphasis at all on one of them, but paying no attention to the game on the board or your fellow gamers when it's not your turn is at odds with all three.
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