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Subject: Cell Phones At The Gaming Table rss

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William Garramone
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I've never posted on this forum before but I wanted to get some feedback on this subject. In the last couple of years I've noticed a significant number of people in my group tend to either stay "jacked in" to their phones during a game or as soon as their turn is over, they immediately start messing with their phone. I've got one person in our group who plays Trivia Crack in between his turns.

Is it wrong that this has really started to bother me? I think it really bothers me most when I'm game-master in a paper/pencil RPG but it's starting to irritate me with board-games now as well. Is there anyone else out there that has encountered this? Do you have rules about cell phones at the gaming table? Is there a "fair usage" compromise that you could think of? Does cell phone usage at the table bother you? And lastly, I've never been to a board-game convention but I wonder if this is prevalent at conventions? Thank you for your responses.
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Greg Rigo
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I can see how that could be irksome in immersion games like a pen/paper RPG or something like Dead of Winter where a lot of the fun comes from everyone being drawn into the story, but for light games that allow for side conversations and what not people seem to think it doesn't bother anyone.

I treat it like I would at the dinner table, you can keep your phone on and on you for emergencies but you'd better have a real good reason to have it out during gameplay.
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Boaty McBoatface
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It can be a problom in games where you need to be playing attention

"What are you doing?...what are you doing?... for *&77 sake put the phone down and tell us what you character is doing".
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Russ Williams
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Yep, it seems rude, and people I play with (or meet for conversation, eating together, etc) don't spend their time fiddling around with their phone, focused on their phone instead of on what's happening right there with their friends they supposedly wanted to meet with.

If a call or SMS comes, sure, check it, but playing a trivia game? Sheesh.
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maf man
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I'm happy with light use. Such as checking for calls/messages from family and close friends, people who you'd talk to on a daily bases or need a response quickly due to some reason like planning dinner or something.
If the user of the phone is checking emails/facebook/whatever I would call that very rude. Your playing a board game to be social. I've had experience with that through college and it was understandable if you were talking to your boyfriend/girlfriend but any more than that you were ether made fun of or worse you didn't get invited to hang out with us after that. I define myself as part of the generation that began using their phone as a security blanket from feeling awkward and I judge harshly.

Their are plenty of reasons to have/use the phone at the gaming table so making a actual rule seems too far, at least for me and my situations. If I was just doing something simple like banking and the player I was counting money for checked their phone I would be so pissed.
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Mark McKay
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I agree it is rude. The point of board games is to hang out with people in person. I don't like talking to someone who is staring at a phone and probably not catching everything I am saying. I think phones should be for important calls or texts only.
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Erin
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Yeah, it bothers me during RPGs or games that require all players to be completely present, but I've also been guilty of it too. I've found myself turning to my phone when the game wasn't engaging me, usually because the GM was busy looking something up (in RPGs) or the AP player was taking his typical 30-min turn (in board games).

For this reason, I try to leave my phone in my purse or another room when I'm playing RPGs. I've had one GM remind players nicely at the beginning of every game to try to keep their phones in their pockets. It worked because he wasn't targeting a specific player, just making a blanket statement at the beginning.

With board games, as long as people are focused when they need to be and don't delay the game, I really don't mind.
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I don't mind if it supplements the game, like looking up rules on BGG or online in general, or a companion app of rules and references.

If folks spend more time on their phone than the game, you may also want to consider if it's really them or the game. For example, the only way to get through a 8p game of Munchkin IS to have your phone to keep your sanity up between turns. You typically have 6 to 11 minutes between turns anyways. For RPGs where they need to be more engaged, I can see that as a bigger issue.

The folks I've encountered, some use their phones, others don't. The ones that do have either done it well, or we have needed to push him to say "it's your turn". All part of the hobby. These days, what bothers me more is actually trying to get a game started/finding people to play with, but that'll be for another thread.
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Moray Johnson
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If someone needs to be reminded of their turn, they shouldn't be playing at all, IMO.
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Eric Matthews
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We just ban them at the actual table. Everyone has to put their phones etc on the counter about 10 feet or so from the gaming area.

It doesn't completely solve the problem of distracted players, but now those that are phone addicted are at least aware of the fact that they have essentially left the game when they are using their phone.

In RPGs their are some natural mini breaks when for example DM needs to set up for an bigger encounter, so we take 5 min then to check phones, bio, grab a drink etc.


E
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David Janik-Jones
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"Are you here to play the game and connect socially with your fellow players, or are you more interested in your phone? If it's the first, put the damn thing down, turn it off, and get playing. If it's the second, please go away."

No phones out at my games. Ruins the entire social experience of gaming for me.

And get off my lawn.
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Chris SC

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We just had a ~10 page thread on this where all the grumpy elitists demand their friends pay attention to them.

If you make a rule about where my belongings can be, I won't play with you...period. That's some strange social behavior on YOUR part.

Now that said, if you can't find friends that'll actually pay attention to you and the activities they've agreed to be a part of, go make new friends instead of making new rules.
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C Bazler
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It has become a much bigger problem in our group recently when a regular member has a new SO. She is constantly texting, and if she's not, her SO is, so we hear the incessant chiming of new texts coming in.

We have tried asking her to stop, mocking her when she does it, even physically taking the phone out of her hands (which, to my annoyance, made her visibly angry). I even forwarded a BGG poll about it to her a month or so ago in which some 90% of BGGers responded that they don't think it's appropriate. Nothing works.

She is a good friend, and has been a regular part of our gaming group since day one, so it's doubly frustrating because we don't want to ask her to leave.
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Stuart Black
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DaveyJJ wrote:
No phones out at my games. Ruins the entire social experience of gaming for me.


This is exactly how I feel. Phones are banned while role playing.

If my friends can't abandon their phones (and reality) for a few hours - they have issues. If girlfriends and wives can't actually NOT call or text unless it's an emergency for a few hours - then I despair.

With some gamers, it's amazing how many girlfriends and wives suddenly have emergencies during gaming. Really, I'm talking an alarming number of incidents!

Am I just grumpy, or is this fair for a few hours a week?
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Russ Williams
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savagec wrote:
We just had a ~10 page thread on this where all the grumpy elitists demand their friends pay attention to them.

If you make a rule about where my belongings can be, I won't play with you...period. That's some strange social behavior on YOUR part.

Now that said, if you can't find friends that'll actually pay attention to you and the activities they've agreed to be a part of, go make new friends instead of making new rules.

If your friends are fiddling with their phone instead of focusing on the game, then between the 2 options:

1. Ask your friends to stop fiddling with their phone and focus on the game,

or

2. Dump your friends and find new friends,

I'm pretty sure that option 1 is not really the more demanding grumpy elitist option of the 2 choices.
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William Garramone
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savagec wrote:
We just had a ~10 page thread on this where all the grumpy elitists demand their friends pay attention to them.

If you make a rule about where my belongings can be, I won't play with you...period. That's some strange social behavior on YOUR part.

Now that said, if you can't find friends that'll actually pay attention to you and the activities they've agreed to be a part of, go make new friends instead of making new rules.


Fair enough. Your comment does hit close to why I posted this question. I'm certainly close to my gaming friends and the last thing I would want to do is be some sort of 'Net Nanny Phone Police'. I don't want to offend anyone either; it's hard enough to get people together to game as it is. I'm not out to violate anyone's right to have their "belongings" on their person either. And it's not really that I'm demanding attention, as that would imply some sort of ego trip on my part, but that the game is better for all if their attention is focused on the game at hand.

Yes, in the end we all have to make up our minds about the restraints of our gaming circle and if certain behavior is something we can tolerate or not. Thank you all for your opinions and input
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John Crawford
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I don't think this has to do with phones, but with paying attention in general. I've got kids who I play with and I'm constantly reminding them to pay attention during the game.

Would you feel the same way with someone in between turns if they pick up a book to read, leave the table to talk to another person, or even just put their head down on the table to wait for their turn to come again?

When people are using their phones during a game to look up rules clarifications or other related things, I don't mind. Just pay attention to the game.

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Mike
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This has never been discussed before.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=cell+phones+site%3Aboardgamegeek.com
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William Garramone
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comat0se wrote:


Sorry, didn't know I was supposed to "Google" everything before I open a discussion on any given topic on a web site. Perhaps you could direct me to the page in 'The Great Rulebook of Life' or other maxim that I've seemed to overlook? Naw... overreaching condescending remarks are much better. Carry on.
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dylan benton
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Playing on your cell phone while playing a game is so stupid. Most of the time people that do this are just fiddling around doing pointless nonsense. Checking Facebook, Instagram, playing another game. Live in the moment. Does anyone remember like five or six years ago when no one had cell phones? Imagine back then if someone would just walk over to the house phone and start dialing up some random person in the middle of the game. Or they whip out a peice of paper and start composing a letter to someone during a game. Or they pull another game off your shelf and just start playing it by themselves during the game. Or they whip out an old photo album some stranger gave them and start admiring pretty pastries that person has made. All of those things would be really, really wierd to do during a game. Take the fact that it's a cell phone out of the equation and point out to the person how ridiculous it is. If people are being ridiculous, call them out and tease them. They deserve it.
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Mike
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Seriously though, this comes up every 2 months. It's always the same conclusions.
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Stuart Black
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Keesvanloomacklin wrote:
comat0se wrote:


Sorry, didn't know I was supposed to "Google" everything before I open a discussion on any given topic on a web site. Perhaps you could direct me to the page in 'The Great Rulebook of Life' or other maxim that I've seemed to overlook? Naw... overreaching condescending remarks are much better. Carry on.


It's really frustrating when people start new topics (to some people) BUT in this case, I think this is a good subject and it's not always possible to search and find old threads.
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Christopher
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How else do you get in-game strategy feedback?
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Aaron Edwards
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This is a fairly common occurrence in my experience, and a couple of people I game with do this. My take is: checking your phone is fine. Completely disengaging from the game on the table: rude and makes me wonder why you bother showing up. It's a fuzzy line, but there is a line. And regarding conventions, I have only been to local conventions, but in my limited experience phone usage is not a problem at all there. People at conventions tend to be way more enthusiastic about games than the average meetup attendee.

And though I lean toward believing that cell phone usage is rude and should be minimalized, if I show up to game meetup and the organizer tells me to put my phone on a counter or in a basket across the room, I'm just going to leave. I can respond to my wife's text about whether I fed the dog without ripping the social fabric holding the earth together.
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howl hollow howl
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comat0se wrote:
Seriously though, this comes up every 2 months. It's always the same conclusions.

Outcome, yes. Conclusions, doubtful. laugh
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