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Subject: Manners - No Phones at the Table? rss

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Nick McCollum
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Recently, I played a game of Feast for Odin with a local MeetUp group. There were four of us: three who were very comfortable with the game, and one who had never played before. The guy who hadn't played before, in addition to not having familiarized himself with the rules prior to playing (per the event description), spent a fair amount of time texting between turns. Thus, each time his turn came up, he not only had no idea what he wanted to do, but he also didn't know what he could do.

Now, I have no problem with someone taking a while to make decisions—particularly when learning a new game. But I would also expect that person to pay attention between turns to what others are doing, both to accelerate the learning process and to respect the other players' time. I also have no problem with a game taking a while if it's a result of socializing with the others at the table. After all, that's one of the big reasons I play tabletop games.

This is all not to rant but to frame the following question: How would you feel about a disclaimer—either written in the event description or spoken at the start of the game—that no phones are allowed on the table? Or perhaps no phone use is allowed at all? I by no means want to come across as harsh, demanding, or unwelcoming, but I'd also like to foster an engaging experience for everyone at the table.

Do any of you have house rules like this? And do you ever extend them to games with strangers?

(I apologize if there is already a thread about this topic. My search just turned up a whole bunch of threads about games that incorporate phones, but there's a good chance I'm just a terribly unskilled BGGoogler.)
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Crispin Moakler
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I'd love to see a no phones rule implemented, or even better a 'phones go in a pint' rule. Turn the damn things off. If there's a legitimate reason for having it on (wife in labour etc.) then at least apologise in advance.
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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I'd have a "without good reason" clause.

One lass I sometimes game with is a nurse and you'd be excluding her any night she's on call.
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James Clarke
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CrispinTheGoblinKing wrote:
If there's a legitimate reason for having it on (wife in labour etc.) then at least apologise in advance.

Yes, you'd want to be kept informed during your games session, if your wife was in labour.

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Joe Martineau
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Maybe I'll just stay home and play KDM.
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Say something. Don't sit there and passively endure for two hours.
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Nick McCollum
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
I'd have a "without good reason" clause.

One lass I sometimes game with is a nurse and you'd be excluding her any night she's on call.


Yes, that's a good point—need to update the rule book to add that clause. ;-) The main idea is that the focus should be on the game and not the phone. In my main group, we'll occasionally say "hey, I might be getting a call/message within the next hour that I'll have to respond to," and it isn't a big deal.
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Level 3 Tunt
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Rude people are rude whether they have a phone or not.

In my experience, it's not the phone that's the issue so I don't make rules like that.
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Nick McCollum
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RageGoblin wrote:
Say something. Don't sit there and passively endure for two hours.


I definitely would have if I were hosting the MeetUp, but I didn't want to step out of bounds as a lowly participant. It was curious to me that the organizer didn't say something, which is why I figured I'd pose the question before the next time I organize something.
 
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Level 3 Tunt
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enjayem wrote:
RageGoblin wrote:
Say something. Don't sit there and passively endure for two hours.


I definitely would have if I were hosting the MeetUp, but I didn't want to step out of bounds as a lowly participant. It was curious to me that the organizer didn't say something, which is why I figured I'd pose the question before the next time I organize something.


You can still say something as a participant. You're all just people, and presumably adults. I think it's totally fine to say, "Dude, that's the third thing you missed in a row. Are you in this game or out?"
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Derry Salewski
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My standard response: I start losing, you can start suggesting I not check my phone if I feel like it like the adult I am. I promise I'm giving you the attention required to attempt to defeat you as best I can.

Shouldn't it only take like one gentle suggestion, then one pointed reminder for that guy to get it though? Like . . . stop reminding him of the game state if he asks. Tell him to pay attention. "dude, pay attention, you're taking forever."
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Chris
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Why do these threads always go like this?


No banning phones is a horrible idea. You should have been an adult and said something to them. Odds are they are new to gaming and had no idea that was bad table ettiquette.

If you feel you must add a rule dont blanket ban cell phones just say pay attention to your turn and use your phone sparingly. Plenty of people have legitimate reason to keep their phone on or even occasionally glance at their phone. Keeping your phone handy can be damned handy for a first player chooser app or looking up a rule on bgg.

And trust me if I am looking at my phone during a game, it means you are taking to long on your turn.
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Jerry Martin
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I run a weekly Dnd group. I am the current DM. At the beginning of the campaign I went over how I planned to run things and I just requested that people didn't use their phones. I didn't ban them. I just asked that people focus on gaming and role playing and phones don't work with that. One guy likes to take a picture of the minis in combat and one of the players is an IT person that needs to be on call. When it comes up she leaves the room and occasionally someone looks up a rules question online, but they rarely distract us.

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Jeremy Gray
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I think others have really hit the nail on the head: you've identified a symptom (the phone) and aren't focusing enough on the cause (overall distraction or lack of investment in the game). I go on my phone from time to time during games with a bit of down time, but always try to have an idea of what my turn will consist of. And I put the phone immediately away when the turn comes back around to me. All-encompassing rules in response to symptoms of problems rarely fix the core problems themselves, at least in my experience.

What you need to do is address the core issue. And that usually involves, as others have said, direct communication about it. It doesn't need to get dramatic or tense, but it should be addressed if it's bugging people.
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Bryan Thunkd
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enjayem wrote:
How would you feel about a disclaimer—either written in the event description or spoken at the start of the game—that no phones are allowed on the table?
You mean so that the guy who ignored the rule about reading the rules of the game before the event could also ignore the rule about not using his phone?

If you’re troubled by bad behavior ask the person to stop. You don’t need to explicitly outlaw bad behavior before you do something about it. And even if you outlaw it, you’re going to end up in the exact same situation, where someone is checking their phone and you need to confront them about it.
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Jason DiGennaro
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My group is made up of folks who are professionals, married, parents, and/or in relationships, which are good enough reasons for all of us to keep our phones on the table in case we need to be contacted. Gaming with sometimes distracted members is better than not gaming at all, in our seemingly shared opinion.
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Travis Scott

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Yeah, no phones unless it is clearly something that you need to deal with than excuse yourself and take it elsewhere. No texting, if you do the next round or beer run is on you.
 
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Martijn Broeren
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I call it one of the modern 'diseases' that plague our society. Some people are so addicted to their phones, they cannot put them away no matter what activity they are doing.

I saw several people busy with their phones while participating in a half marathon run competition.. There our phones made that can be used while showering. I see people using phones non-stop during a romantic/special/family dinner. During concerts. While watching movies. Several cyclists almost crashed into my car because they were to busy staring at their phones instead of paying attention to traffic. shake

So yeah, once in a while you get one of these individuals on board game nights. I think they would go through addiction withdrawal if you apply a 'no phones' rule..
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Robbert Vervuurt
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RageGoblin wrote:
Say something. Don't sit there and passively endure for two hours.


That's not how it works these days. These days, people suck it up while it happens, while complaining to people who have nothing to do with it (or can do anything about it) afterwards.
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Sebastian Grab
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Having phones around is fine for me - people have responsibilities or want to take pictures, than it's fine. I'm also ok with stopping the game when someone needs to make a call.

But when it comes to someone who barly pays attention to the game, constantly texting someone between turns, I will not play with that person ever again. If they want to join a game in an open setting (as in an open meeting), I will just say no. I endured a session of Twilight Imperium with a player playing with his phone most of the time. NEVER. AGAIN.

People that to this have no respect for you or your time. You don't have to have any respect for them.
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mortego
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If anything is interrupting the flow of game play then I'd ask that person to either do what they're doing on someone else's turn (if it's a game where you don't have to be concerned what others are doing) or stop doing it.

 
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enjayem wrote:
Recently, I played a game of Feast for Odin with a local MeetUp group. There were four of us: three who were very comfortable with the game, and one who had never played before. The guy who hadn't played before, in addition to not having familiarized himself with the rules prior to playing (per the event description), spent a fair amount of time texting between turns. Thus, each time his turn came up, he not only had no idea what he wanted to do, but he also didn't know what he could do.

Now, I have no problem with someone taking a while to make decisions—particularly when learning a new game. But I would also expect that person to pay attention between turns to what others are doing, both to accelerate the learning process and to respect the other players' time. I also have no problem with a game taking a while if it's a result of socializing with the others at the table. After all, that's one of the big reasons I play tabletop games.

This is all not to rant but to frame the following question: How would you feel about a disclaimer—either written in the event description or spoken at the start of the game—that no phones are allowed on the table? Or perhaps no phone use is allowed at all? I by no means want to come across as harsh, demanding, or unwelcoming, but I'd also like to foster an engaging experience for everyone at the table.

Do any of you have house rules like this? And do you ever extend them to games with strangers?

(I apologize if there is already a thread about this topic. My search just turned up a whole bunch of threads about games that incorporate phones, but there's a good chance I'm just a terribly unskilled BGGoogler.)


It is not the phone.

You say yourself that he didn't read the rules beforehand despite the event saying to do that. He wasn't engaged preparing for the game (like he was asked) and he wasn't engaged in the game. This is a problem with the individual, and he almost definitely would have been distracted by something else if he didn't have his phone. It is not the phone.

Also, how do I feel about a disclaimer saying no phones at the table? I would say it sounds overcontrolling and condescending to adults. You aren't our principal.
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Oliver MacFarlane
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Banning phones is not a good idea in general. I agree it can be rude when you keep on being reminded of your go because they are on the phone or bring really slow when you could have been thinking of your move, or never taking part in conversation.

However you can also not be rude when you are on the phone. I regularly look at my phone to answer messages from someone else or look at the latest sport scores. However I only do this if I already know my move and so I won't be delaying the second it is my go. I am quick player and so I get little to no complaints about my looking at my phone. I also don't look at my phone all the time and have converstations most of the time.

Not every conversation people are having round a table is interesting to me and hence I may look at my phone while they are talking.

I can see the viewpoint that what I do is rude, however I will make that decision based on my group. As 15 Keys says it is overcontrolling and condescending to adults

Banning things in general is not going to help, it would be better to talk to someone face to face. If it was banned by any of my clubs I would simply stop going.
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Philip Hinton
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TBH I see constant phone use in any social gathering, by that out at the pub, in a restaurant or playing board games, to be extremely rude. Basically they're saying I'm so board here, I'll talk to my other friends. Well you can "sod off" and be with your other friends and don't bother coming back.
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mortego
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Iscoed1815 wrote:
TBH I see constant phone use in any social gathering, by that out at the pub, in a restaurant or playing board games, to be extremely rude. Basically they're saying I'm so board here, I'll talk to my other friends. Well you can "sod off" and be with your other friends and don't bother coming back.


I'll be interested to see who agrees that they actually do that.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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fifteenkeys wrote:
I would say it sounds overcontrolling and condescending to adults.
This.

If it becomes an issue, talk to the person. But mandating rules of behavior comes across with a bad vibe.
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