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Subject: Bad Vibes or Evil Stares? rss

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p55carroll
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Just wondering about something. It used to be that dice and playing cards were severely frowned upon, especially in certain communities. I'll bet they still are in some places.

So, I'm curious as to whether you have ever run across such disdain and, if you did, how you felt or what you thought about it.

Or maybe you yourself have felt some "bad vibes" around card or dice players. If so, can you say something about that?

I suspect standard playing cards and dice have more "bad juju" attached to them than other game components, but maybe I'm wrong. What's your experience?

A little poll to collect some quick answers (but please post any thoughts you have):

Poll
Have you ever . . .
  Yes No
got the "evil eye" from someone who saw you playing cards?
got the "evil eye" from someone who saw you playing dice?
momentarily thought ill of someone you saw playing cards?
momentarily thought ill of someone you saw playing dice?
detected displeasure from someone who saw you playing another kind of game?
felt displeasure toward someone you saw playing another kind of game?
felt uncomfortable playing cards in a certain environment?
felt uncomfortable playing dice in a certain environment?
felt uncomfortable playing another kind of game in a certain environment?
      91 answers
Poll created by Patrick Carroll
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p55carroll
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I haven't experienced much of this myself, but here are the situations that prompted me to start this thread:

1. Years ago, I was working for a religious organization. The religion had no strictures against social gaming. Some coworkers and I used to play backgammon at lunchtime. Then, for a short while, we played cards (I forget what game we were playing). But one day, the guy I'd been playing cards with regularly said, "Sorry, but I just can't play cards here. I know it doesn't make sense; it's no different than backgammon. But I just don't feel right about it." And that was the end of that.

2. Recently (within the past few months), I've seen people playing games at local coffee shops. The first few games I saw were like Dominion--nonstandard card games with pictures and text; and they looked fine to me. I was mildly curious about them and glad to see people enjoying a game. Then one day I saw a few people gathered around a table playing a game with standard playing cards. And for just a moment, I experienced a twinge of discomfort. Somehow it seemed inappropriate. (Then I quickly recovered, realized it was perfectly OK, and shifted to favorable thoughts.)

3. Many years ago, I worked at a factory, and some coworkers and I got into the habit of shooting craps at break time. Just playing for fun and loose change. But somehow I felt it was kind of a low-life thing to be doing. Here we were huddled in an isolated corner, doing something we knew our supervisors and others might frown on. Later, at the same job, someone started bringing a chess set, and we'd play at lunchtime. That seemed like a classy game, and we played it in full view of everyone right in the lunch room.

4. There's a legend behind the domino game 42 that says it was invented by a couple Baptist boys in Texas. They wanted to play cards, but card playing was severely frowned on in their community. So they devised a bidding/trick-taking game that could be played with dominoes. Nobody ever thought badly of dominoes.
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Pete Belli
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At one church I attended there was a minor discussion regarding my appearance on the Jeopardy! TV game show. It was considered to be gambling by some among the faithful.
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McDog
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Wow, a no for every question.
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Tom
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Well I am willing to venture that part of this is due to cards being associated with gambling in historical terms, and gambling in the late 1800s taking part frequently in houses of ill repute. I lived in a town where women unmarried could not live in house with more than three women. This was the reason why sororities were not official (in essence banned). Try looking at your cities "blue laws" (laws still on the books but never or rarely enforced, often frequently unknown by the politicians. The laws frequently were forgotten, and were never eliminated from the books).

I read a lot of history books, and I think this is where some of this comes from.

However, in the strict areas of the bible belt (although there are plenty of northern areas where I have found this thinking) cards are gambling, or idle time wasted which leads to the devils work.

Then there is the old Tarot card pagean association where people who played with cards were part of the devil's work. These thoughts filtered there way into some societies via religion or cultural custom.

Honestly, I try to keep an open mind about culture and religion but I find it a bit strange when one can play cards with abstract images of witches, devils, torture, and violence, but cannot play cards with numbers. Playing devils advocate (pun intended) from an absolutist position that sees the world in a dichotomous fashion if playing cards with numbers are evil then are not abstract cards evil too?

I had friends (maybe the term associates is more appropriate) that could not play D&D, fantasy games, anything that could be considered a game of chance, or anything that detoured the celebration of God. To say one church, faith, or denomination follows these ideas is probably an exaggeration, but some do.

I would tell you if you feel your not sure ask your local religious leader.

Or you could be like some others and not care at all.
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Steve Bauer
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pete belli wrote:

At one church I attended there was a minor discussion regarding my appearance on the Jeopardy! TV game show. It was considered to be gambling by some among the faithful.


Was this at Wednesday night Bingo?

I blows my mind the Jeopardy could be considered Gambling.
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Pete Belli
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Technically the Jeopardy! TV show does involve gambling... in fact, when a Daily Double appears Alex will often ask a contestant: "How much are you willing to wager on your knowledge of __________ ?"
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Joseph
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pete belli wrote:

At one church I attended there was a minor discussion regarding my appearance on the Jeopardy! TV game show. It was considered to be gambling by some among the faithful.


You heathen. What's next, playing cards? Dancing? Romancing the wehrmacht?

laugh
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Justin Moore
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johnnyspys wrote:

However, in the strict areas of the bible belt (although there are plenty of northern areas where I have found this thinking) cards are gambling, or idle time wasted which leads to the devils work.


Yeah, because if you pause for a moment, you might actually think for yourself.
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T. Nomad
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I was told once by an after-school academy owner that neither dice nor cards were to be used in the classroom, as parents would think their kids were gambling.
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Steve Bauer
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pete belli wrote:

Technically the Jeopardy! TV show does involve gambling... in fact, when a Daily Double appears Alex will often ask a contestant: "How much are you willing to wager on your knowledge of __________ ?"


But it is not gambling as you have nothing of value at risk. The points are denoted in dollars but they have no monetary value, they are just points with a prize going to the winner. I do not consider this gambling and if you did, and were against gambling, you could not play any game that offered a prize.
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Pete Belli
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Good discussion.

Quote:
The points are denoted in dollars but they have no monetary value, they are just points with a prize going to the winner.


No monetary value? You are quite correct, but when your sweaty palm is pressed tightly against that buzzer waiting for the next question from Alex each "point" seems like a gold bar from Fort Knox.

Quote:
I do not consider this gambling and if you did, and were against gambling, you could not play any game that offered a prize.


Since I cashed the check this must indicate that I am not "against" gambling. All things in moderation.
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Tyrone Slothrop
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My grandmother used to not allow cards in her house (oddly dice were fine). She gave us something about the devil's work. By that time I had already decided superstition was bogus, so it didnt bother me. I do remember getting the Evil Eye several times at my own house though when we broke out some cards.

Small (semi-related) side, when I was younger I always wanted D&D, but my family wouldn't allow me for the longest time. I was always told that somehow roleplaying someone else was the devils work (like the cards, this was never explained beyond 'Devils work'). So after my Pop bails and my mom realized all that mumbo jumbo was bologna, she changes her mind. For Christmas I get Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay first edition, something waaaaay more occult that D&D. Anyway, I brought it to my Grandmas the next day, and hooo boy. They were about to take me for an exorcism. My ma caught a lot of flak for years after that, which goes to show some people really really believe this stuff.
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Christian Jorgensen
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Rastak wrote:
Wow, a no for every question.


Same here. I tend to only play games in situations were playing a game is appropriate (not over a casket at work for instance), and with people who want to play, like at home, or the club.

I guess I've just been lucky that most of the people I know don"t have a problem with dice or cards.
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Steve Bauer
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pete belli wrote:

No monetary value? You are quite correct, but when your sweaty palm is pressed tightly against that buzzer waiting for the next question from Alex each "point" seems like a gold bar from Fort Knox.


Indeed, having never experienced such a situation I have no bases for comparison. I can imagine that the experience is very similar to a high stacks gambler but does that make it gambling? In the end if you felt you were gambling and you think gambling is immoral you should not have done it. However I don't think it is fundamentally different than any other high stakes activities.
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Steve Bauer
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DarthXaos wrote:

Incorrect. The winner gets the amount of money they finish the game with.


Does this matter?
Do you think playing Jeopardy is gambling but playing Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, in which the winner gets a fixed dollar amount as a prize is not? If so why, as I don't see it.
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Joseph
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Colonel Ripper wrote:
My grandmother used to not allow cards in her house (oddly dice were fine). She gave us something about the devil's work.


I'm reminded of the Stephen Hawking quote: "Not only does God play dice, but he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen".

Colonel Ripper wrote:


For Christmas I get Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay first edition, something waaaaay more occult that D&D. Anyway, I brought it to my Grandmas the next day, and hooo boy. They were about to take me for an exorcism.


I would happily go along with that. Aim for the "Big tent revival" exorcism kind of thing. Throw yourself on the floor with convulsions whilst ranting about dungeons and dragons. ('Cause all RPGs are D&D to the uninitiated)

"Ah feels the DAEMONS leaving mah body! - There goes SECOND EDITION, FLYING out the door! It's being followed by the player's handbook!".

Make sure you call out the titles of all of the various modules, books and scenarios as they leave your body INDIVIDUALLY - ONE BY ONE. You could be there for a while, but BOY - do those daemons take up lots of room! Hold one title in reserve, and tell them that it refuses to leave. Tell them that this particular DAEMON will only respond to "Brother So and So" that you've seen on the TV set. He's the only one strong enough to cast it out.

Really. This is fun.

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Eric Jome
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Where I am from, it is extremely common for people to play a wide variety of parlor games using dice or cards while they drink in a tavern. As such, no one ever looks at anyone as bad or wrong for shaking a cup of dice or playing a handful of cards.

And playing a gamer game is only likely to ever evoke curiosity... on dozens of occasions I have done it, that is all I have ever seen. I have never been ridiculed or mocked by non-gamers.

Gamers can be gaming snobs. I have had lots of occasions between gamers where people, either in good spirits or more seriously, disparage or mock games one or the other may like. I've done it myself.
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Marshall Miller
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Given that I learned to play Magic, WarHammer, and a variety of RPGs at my church, they didn't frown on the LARPing either, I can't honestly say I've ever detected negativity regarding games.

That said, I'm also pretty conscientious about not offending people, so I may have just failed to put myself in a position to offend.
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Mark Christopher
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I don't recall ever getting a bad look from anyone, but this reminds me of an incident from my high school years.

A couple of friends and I were playing Ogre in the Prudential Center in Boston. A fellow came over, looking at the board, and stated, inquiringly, "it looks like a form of go." Being high school students, we just said something like "no, it's nothing like that."

However, that's where my interest in go started, which continues to this day.
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Ralph T
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We got an unfriendly stare from guys playing pool in the lounge because we were geeks playing a geeky game, but that's not what you had in mind.
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p55carroll
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cosine wrote:

Gamers can be gaming snobs. I have had lots of occasions between gamers where people, either in good spirits or more seriously, disparage or mock games one or the other may like. I've done it myself.


That reminds me--

My wife often watches a cable-TV station called the Style Channel, and a show she watches way too much of (IMO) is "Clean House." Sometimes it happens to be on while I'm having supper, so I end up watching too.

Anyhow, it's a sort of reality show where a team locates a messy house, sends the occupants off to a hotel for a few days, and transforms the house into something beautiful. Before they begin, however, the homeowners have to sell off a bunch of their stuff at a yard sale; and they're usually reluctant to give up some of the clutter they've accumulated.

So, I'm watching the other night, and this time the woman of the house owns a big stack of board games! The cleaning crew is amazed that she's so attached to mere games, but she insists that they're important to her, and she looks like she means it. She's almost in tears at the thought of having to let go of them.

Ordinarily I'd sympathize with the woman. I've got more games than she had, and I'd be devastated if they all went away. But I didn't recognize a single game in the woman's collection. From what I could tell, the games were all crappy anyway. So I was thinking, "Sell the damned things, and then go buy some good ones." My opinion of her dropped another notch: besides living in a pig sty, she also had lousy taste in games.

Gaming snob? Guilty, I guess. blush
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I guess you have to pity someone that is such a compulsive gambler that they can't imagine that dice or cards could be used in a non-gambling game.
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Hilko Drude
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Interesting that this is all focussed on religious prejudice. I was asked to stop playing cards (Rage I believe it was) in a tea house in Taiwan. That's although we had asked whether it was ok before we sat down and ordered, so when they asked us to stop (with many apologies), it felt like being kicked out the place (we left soon thereafter).
This was certainly not influenced by any religious ideas, just by "gambling" not being considered appropriate in a place where other people do other things. Quite possible that the manager of the place wouldn't mind some Mahjong at his own home. Since it is common to play cards in German bars, it took me by surprise, although I had been prepared by some of the Taiwanese who were playing with us.
 
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T. Nomad
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Banichi wrote:
Rastak wrote:
Wow, a no for every question.


Same here. I tend to only play games in situations were playing a game is appropriate (not over a casket)

When I die, I hope you'll all play Liar's Dice on my casket.
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