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Subject: Do you think others perceive you as "childish" for playing board games? rss

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April W
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This was inspired by the geek discussing in another thread. I stated that I don't mind being referred to as a geek, but I do mind feeling like others look down on me and see me as immature/lazy/frivolous because of my hobby.

It seems like people make comments like "I would play more games if I had the time..." which, for me, implies that I should be spending my time doing more "adult" things. Or they kind of chuckle in an "Oh you play games? That's cute," manner and return to their scrap-booking or knitting or head out for a game of golf.

I believe the fact is that we all make time for the hobbies and things that are most important to us. Playing golf seems like a much more "mature" hobby than board gaming, so most won't bat an eyelash at it.

This isn't something blatant, just a sense that I sometimes get.

Do you ever feel this way, or do you think it's just in my head?

Share your thoughts/experiences!
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Dan Licata
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I definitely get this vibe from some people, my dad for instance, so it's not just in your head it's at least in mine as well.
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Richard Keiser

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Meh
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mortego
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I've told this particular story a couple of times already but a few years ago at work during lunch I was telling some of my colleagues about board gaming and this woman walks in and started listening and then asked me why I play children's games. After I briefly explained that the games I play weren't Chutes & ladders she could not understand why a board game would be anymore complex than a game made for children.

Her bottom line was that no matter how complex I told her a game was she always equated it to being a children's game made for under 10 years old and din't think Castle Ravenloft was appropriate for children under 10.

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Gentle Gamer
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Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

C. S. Lewis
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Thanks for granting my wish


I don't personally feel as if others look down on me, nor would I particularly care if they did. I *do* get the sense when people register "surprise" that I play games (and, for that matter, spend time actually reviewing them) that they may be judging me. That's sad for them, though.

As a parent, I can think of no better modeling for my children than to be someone who still loves to play. I ascribe to Huizinga's belief that play is a significant cultural production and I feel fortunate to have the resources to engage in doing it. My form of play right now is through board games. At other times in my life it was through other things and may yet change again. That's lucky for me and too bad for those who don't see the beauty in it.



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Boaty McBoatface
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Yes, but then so do I.
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K S
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I started "gaming" by playing CCGs when I was a preteen, first with my older brother, then with other players (all adults) at a local shop, I was also the youngest member of my first D&D campaign in college. So I guess I always associated gaming with older, higher-level nerds. I've only started getting really into the hobby (building a collection, hosting game nights) the past couple months, and up till now I have kept it mostly inside my own, very-nerdy friends and family. Although I wouldn't be surprised if I encounter such views as I go forward in life.
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Jason Long
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Anyone who would ever look down on tabletop gaming as "childish" (or lazy or a waste of time) obviously hasn't played the rich and rewarding wealth of games the world now enjoys. That, or they're jealously lashing out because they had unfulfilling childhoods.
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Kent Reuber
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Here in Silicon Valley, people are into all sorts of hobbies. People have learned not to disparage other people's odd hobbies.
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Jason Bush
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Josh Aaron
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Geek/nerd culture has been building cache over the past decade or two, but it's still not all entirely mainstream and accepted. Most people still think of Monopoly and such when someone mentions "board games," so if that is their only reference, yes, they may continue to view the activity as childish. The solution of course is either to ignore their uninformed opinions or to seek to educate them.

You can also take consolation in the fact that many other people's hobbies can arguably be just as silly. Watching sports is just about seeing other people play games, they aren't even taking part in them. A great deal of hobbies involve spending absurd sums of money chasing minuscule or even imperceptible differences in quality. Many more high-brow activities are very abstract and removed from the rest of life. I have nothing against these either, everyone just needs some perspective.

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin that noted, "we do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing."
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Agricola, Sekigahara, Concordia, Innovation, COOKIE!!! (and Guinness)
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Yes, some people feel this way. More often, perhaps, they perceive your hobby as childish, not necessarily you. ("Oh, Carl, he's a great guy, even if he does play those silly games.") My mother-in-law sees it as pure childishness, but she's a mother-in-law, it's what they do.

Whatever, I don't care. (Well, mostly I don't. I'm human. I can occasionally get miffed.)

Being childish is not a bad thing. I don't ever want to lose my childish sense of wonder, my childish joy at play. Games are intellectual adventures shared with friends and family. There seems to be this idea that at age 18 people should stop playing and become serious stodgy responsible members of society. What a sad plan for one's adult life. I want to laugh and explore, I want to keep that child inside me alive and well nourished. Ok, so now my knees creak whenever I get up and my belly is rounder than I'd like, and that all kinda sucks. But last night, when my wife and I were rushing to finish a game of Concordia (with Salsa!) before her dinner guests came over (theater people), we were having gleeful fun. One guest arrived early and stared at the strange board with some interest as we rushed our pieces around and played our cards. We didn't care. We counted up the score quickly (I won by 2 points!) and I whisk away the game so the wife can set up the table for cheese and bread for the "adult" guests. This is childhood never forgotten, this is fun, even if we are now a couple of middle-aged oldsters. Never mind what the adults in your life are thinking.

Be childish, have fun, play games!!!

(It turned out that the young theater guy had played some board games already, including a regular game of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) with his buddies, so he was intrigued rather than judgemental.)
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Greg Schmittgens
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Never. When I

A) Show them the Advanced Squad Leader rulebook

B) Show them the Kanban: Automotive Revolution board or

C) Describe the topics of some games I play, like the Protestant Reformation (Here I Stand), the Cold War (Twilight Struggle) or drafting the US Constitution (Founding Fathers)

We're pretty much past 'childish'.
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Ri
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Yes, but not because I play board games.
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April W
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skutsch wrote:
Yes, some people feel this way. More often, perhaps, they perceive your hobby as childish, not necessarily you. ("Oh, Carl, he's a great guy, even if he does play those silly games.") My mother-in-law sees it as pure childishness, but she's a mother-in-law, it's what they do.

Whatever, I don't care. (Well, mostly I don't. I'm human. I can occasionally get miffed.)

Being childish is not a bad thing. I don't ever want to lose my childish sense of wonder, my childish joy at play. Games are intellectual adventures shared with friends and family. There seems to be this idea that at age 18 people should stop playing and become serious stodgy responsible members of society. What a sad plan for one's adult life. I want to laugh and explore, I want to keep that child inside me alive and well nourished. Ok, so now my knees creak whenever I get up and my belly is rounder than I'd like, and that all kinda sucks. But last night, when my wife and I were rushing to finish a game of Concordia (with Salsa!) before her dinner guests came over (theater people), we were having gleeful fun. One guest arrived early and stared at the strange board with some interest as we rushed our pieces around and played our cards. We didn't care. We counted up the score quickly (I won by 2 points!) and I whisk away the game so the wife can set up the table for cheese and bread for the "adult" guests. This is childhood never forgotten, this is fun, even if we are now a couple of middle-aged oldsters. Never mind what the adults in your life are thinking.

Be childish, have fun, play games!!!

(It turned out that the young theater guy had played some board games already, including a regular game of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) with his buddies, so he was intrigued rather than judgemental.)

I love you for this, Skutch! My sentiments exactly.
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f h
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I found life became a lot easier when I stopped trying to live up to other people's expectations or cared about what they thought of me
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Chris
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They generally think it's childish right up to the point where I start explaining the rules.
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Austria
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I don't give a damn.
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Colm McCarthy
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I don't care what those big stinky poopyhead dummies think.
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N R
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Doesn't bother me a bit. I have great experiences with gaming and if people wish to look down on me for having fun, so be it.
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Reed Dawley
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I wish I could play more games.
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Collecting games is not playing games.
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I'm a 250 lb guy with a biker beard, long hair and tattoos. I can knit while having a tea party with kittens while wearing a diamond tiara and no one would think I was childish, or at least not say it out loud to my face.
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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"I'd rather stay a child
And keep my self-respect
If being an adult
Means being like you"

- Dead Kennedys
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Jim Carvin
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Just go to Amazon.com and you'll see what people think of board games. They're under the "Toys, Kids and Babies" section! It bugs me that they have it like that but it just shows what people think. Walk into any box store and where are they? In the toy section.

You also have to consider that most people's exposure to board game is the pretty lousy selection they generally have at those stores. Sure, the selection has gotten better at places like Target and Barnes & Nobles but everywhere else it's mostly trash (IMO).

I get the same response when I tell people that I play disc golf. Like it's golf for kids or something. Grrr...
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Chris
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
"I'd rather stay a child
And keep my self-respect
If being an adult
Means being like you"

- Dead Kennedys


Also:

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." -- G Stanley Hall.
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