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Subject: Non-gamers' reaction to gaming rss

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Matt Tonks
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To cut a long story short, I found out last week that a colleague in my department at work is a secret gamer & he mainly plays with his wife. This was something of a surprise to both of us since we had no clue about the mutual interest in the near 2 years since I started working at my company.

Anyway, after some discussion it turned out that we shared a mutual liking for Dominion & Race For The Galaxy. We arranged two sessions this week, one for each game, at lunchtime.

We played in the staff coffee area & as soon as we started playing, there seemed to be a lot of interest in what we were doing & playing - it wasn't the bemused smirk of someone having a look at something a bit eccentric or naff that I had been expecting, but more genuine interest than anything else. A couple of people sat down to watch even. Although I did get an 'Oi! Nerd!' look from my boss & my immediate workmate shake

On more than one occasion, people looked like they wanted to ask what we were doing, but didn't. Or they asked a bit, got an answer from me or my opponent & sort of stopped asking while looking like they wanted to know more, but something stopped them from asking.

I wonder if there are people who really like playing games but worry that any interest in gaming has an adverse reputation so they shy away from it. For as long as I can remember, there's always been people who love to diss games as soon as they see one & I don't know where or how that started; always been a bit mystifying for a hobby that is genuinely a lot of fun & value for money compared to other hobbies.

Sorry for the ramble, just had to speak my thoughts!
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CHAPEL
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I think we need a secret hand signal.
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Matt Tonks
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MWChapel wrote:
I think we need a secret hand signal.


That's funny, because I happen to be deaf so I know plenty of hand signals !
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Lacombe
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tonksey wrote:
I happen to be deaf


That makes your avatar all the more funny.
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Matthew Lock
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I know what you mean about non-gamer reactions to games, they can be rather odd. I play games during lunch at work as well, Pandemic, Dominion. And people just walk up and stand there and stare at the game. They usually don't say anything, they just look at it for a while and then walk away. Almost like they are interested, but I have stopped asking them to join because they always give these strange excuses. I don't get it.
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Mystery McMysteryface
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I think that people associate games with childhood and as an activity for children. Or as something adults would do with children when there is nothing productive/better to do--to kill time.

Some social games are acceptable for adults to play in the evenings in groups, but are usually the regular card game fare.

Folks have NO IDEA what our hobby consists of or how great these games are and that they ARE for adults and DO represent a constructive and positive use of our time.

My experience with non-gamers has generally been negative, from incredulous looks and words to total and complete disinterest.

My husband and I have gamed in public on a regular basis and the only 1 or 2 people who have even looked twice at our games have been children. The adults have totally ignored us.
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James Cheevers
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I find that non-gamers are happy enough to join in if we're playing games with children. But when the young'uns head off to bed and we say, "So, what shall we play next"? We get looked at as though we have two heads.
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Chris Taylor
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I like to cut to the chase with some people and ask "You think I am weird for playing boardgames, don't you?"

They usually say yes, so then I ask, "What do you do in your spare time?"

Some people have good hobbies and others watch TV of play some sport, etc. That is where I point out the many positive attributes of boardgames over sports, TV, solitary hobbies and unhealthy activities. That usually makes them step back and think or they get mad, but at least they don't make fun of me anymore. (that is, if I give them good reasons)
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Hunga Dunga
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Saying you enjoy playing board games is like telling people you enjoy playing the oboe.
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F H
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Here's a suggestion. At work play Mah Jong, that'll hook a few.
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Douglas Lesavoy
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athmok wrote:
"Nah, I don't want to think when I am playing a game".

I think this is way more common than any of the folks on this site would like to believe. I find I always need to be fully involved in whatever time killing activity I'm performing but most of the populous would prefer "vegging" out in front of the television. I've gotten this response from my boss at work, one of the most brilliant men I know but to him he "thinks enough at work", when he's home he's only plays mindless games if anything.
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athmok wrote:
Believe it or not the most common reaction I get when people watch for awhile and I offer them to join is "Nah, I don't want to think when I am playing a game". To me this comment comes across as an insult.
The comment makes sense to me. My family games more than most, I think, but they seem to have the same attitude. It's not that they can't think, it's just that they view games in a very different light. The game is just an excuse to get people around a table. They don't get any intrinsic reward from playing, so they occupy themselves with socializing instead (gasp!). Because of this, they dislike any games that require thinking beyond the current mood. If there's too much strategy involved, they'd have to stay at the table between turns and think, rather than chat or get up and do other stuff.

I'm trying not to make the above seem derogatory -- some people just have different tastes.

Hungadunga wrote:
Saying you enjoy playing board games is like telling people you enjoy playing the oboe.
Didn't realize there was a stigma attached to the oboe. Care to explain?
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athmok wrote:
..."Nah, I don't want to think when I am playing a game". To me this comment comes across as an insult.
I wouldn't see it as an insult to you or others that play, some people just overwhelmed by that which they don't understand. If they can't grasp the concept by just simply looking at it, than "It must be hard!"

Catan, while simple in appearance can look quite abstract and difficult with numbers all across the board and shapes to represent roads, cities or towns. Caracassone can look just as intimidating if you don't understand placement rules or how scoring works (and in the case of the later...I do not own Carcassone, but I remember trying to play it cold turkey on Asobrain. I felt very lost the first time.)

Others just want the simplicity of just "jumping pieces over other pieces" or roll and move. I like to think of it in the terms of video games - some players play fighting games by either mashing buttons or finding one or two special moves and exploiting it - where as others will learn how to link move after move to make unescapable, unbreakable combos, and that's just one genre of the whole thing.
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Hunga Dunga
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jpeters wrote:
Didn't realize there was a stigma attached to the oboe. Care to explain?

Do you know anyone who plays the oboe?
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JP
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Hungadunga wrote:
jpeters wrote:
Didn't realize there was a stigma attached to the oboe. Care to explain?

Do you know anyone who plays the oboe?
Yes.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
"Nah, I don't want to think when I am playing a game".



Quote:
I think this is way more common than any of the folks on this site would like to believe.


I think it is pretty common, but I also think it is a perfectly reasonable sentiment for some, given what their real obligations consist of. When it comes on BGG, it seems the general consensus is that there is something wrong with it and I think it is due to an underestimating of how people unwind and what they can tolerate as leisure.

For example, my wife is a geriatric psychologist that deals with death and dementia on a daily basis. (It is not uncommon for one of her patients to simply die before their next session.) We are talking really old, really depressed people here. The last thing she wants to do on some nights is figure out the best way to allocate her workers for maximum points or read through text on various cards to min-max the best hand for the situation. She really does just want to zone out watching 24 or play something really, really light to relax.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt, I would imagine the number of people in this boat is quite high. Sure, some people are legitimately lazy and any sort of thinking would make their heads explode. I think, however, we tend to lump too many people into this group by way of convenient aphorisms.

When someone says, “I don’t like to think on my leisure time,” it really could be because the obligations they have to meet on a daily basis require serious cognition and they just need to cool down on their off-time.

I’m like this sometimes also. I’m a high school teacher and during exam periods of lots of grading in a short time or just really stressful days, I’d rather not play games at all and just do something mindless for awhile.

We’ve all got subjective barometers of what we need to do to keep the engine going. If someone says, “I think enough at work,” I would think they are probably right. For their lives, they know best what leisure to engage in.

Kevin

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Hunga Dunga
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Personally, I love the oboe (though I've never tried to play one).

A general stereotype, at least here in the US, is that oboe players are a little strange. I've even seen High School band teachers segregate the oboe into the "marches to a different drummer" group of instruments.
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dave klokner
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Hungadunga wrote:
jpeters wrote:
Didn't realize there was a stigma attached to the oboe. Care to explain?

Do you know anyone who plays the oboe?


Every time I read your posts I hear Groucho's voice...
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Andrew Saunders
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mlock wrote:
I play games during lunch at work




Lunch at work!.......luxury
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Mike
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I think it goes both ways. Some gamers are simply not approachable and give off a very snobbish attitude. This probably stems from people unfamiliar with the hobby reacting negatively to those that play games as adults. However if both parties are genuinely friendly and willing to actually talk about the hobby some good might actually come of it.

For example my girlfriend's friends might invite us over for a game night which will surely includes things like Trivial Pursuit, Apple to Apples or maybe Cranium. I usually don't bother bringing anything from my collection because I know they probably won't go over well. If you show up to a game night with Cosmic Encounter or even something as simple as Bang! people will probably decline playing. Instead my girlfriend casually brings up my games and she can gauge their interest. Alot of people are resistant simply because the games look different and because they appear like they might be hard to understand. If people are genuinely interested you should really try to be excited and dismiss any doubts they might have. You may never get them to play Agricola or Runewars, but you might get them to play Cash n Guns, Citadels or Dice Town.

I think a big part of it is communication on both sides. It's also about not having a "holier than thou" attitude. I may despise Trivial Pursuit but I'll play it and try to have fun. I won't show up and say...nope I don't play games like that. If you find out what type of games they are into chances are you might find something they like. If they like Clue, get them to try Mr. Jack or Myster of the Abbey. If they are Trivia whores, tell them about Wits and Wagers. To get folks interested you might have to find out about what they want and maybe they won't react so negatively to the hobby. Worst case scenario is that they dismiss the hobby as a childish toy. Best case scenario is that you might plant the seeds and get people interested in a world of games they never even knew existed. That my friends...can be a beautiful thing.

~Bones
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J H
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There are four or five of us that game in my department. In fact, we use one of the large conference room tables after work on Friday or sometimes on the weekends to game, but I digress...

When we start getting grief over gaming (whether it's D&D or boardgames) from our peers I always say the same thing, "We mock what we don't understand".
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Marc Pavone
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Face it. Games like Dominion, Carcassonne and Settlers are WAY more complicated than the games most people know how to play. I know they may be simple for most of you veteran gamers but look at it from the point of your average on-gamer. Active trading, more co-operation than Monopoly, a wider list of options per turn than Clue, more individual components than Risk, cards that have more instructions than those in Sorry. Bigger games are pretty overwhelming for a lot of people.

Imagine if you broke out a copy of ASL during lunch!

When I was in high school I belonged to the group of kids that played BattleTech, WH40K, Car Wars, etc. Our stock reply was, "Yes, it's just like Dungeons and Dragons" because they were too hard to explain to most non-gamers.

My $.02
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Kate Callen
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I am laughing to myself because I've seen threads exactly like this one over on Ravelry about reactions to people crocheting/knitting/spinning in public.

Personally I think most people just think it's odd to go to the effort of bringing something to do (apart, maybe, from a book, newspaper or piece of work) in breaks from work/school/shopping/whatever. It's different, so fascinating to watch (unlike the people eating/working/talking/reading/websurfing on their breaks).

Kids are less embarrassed to be interested than adults are, and often more amenable to joining in, if that's appropriate.

(This is beyond the people who think it's odd to want to do stuff beyond watching television in their free time at home...)
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Mike
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pavo6503 wrote:
Face it. Games like Dominion, Carcassonne and Settlers are WAY more complicated than the games most people know how to play. I know they may be simple for most of you veteran gamers but look at it from the point of your average on-gamer. Active trading, more co-operation than Monopoly, a wider list of options per turn than Clue, more individual components than Risk, cards that have more instructions than those in Sorry. Bigger games are pretty overwhelming for a lot of people.

Imagine if you broke out a copy of ASL during lunch!

When I was in high school I belonged to the group of kids that played BattleTech, WH40K, Car Wars, etc. Our stock reply was, "Yes, it's just like Dungeons and Dragons" because they were too hard to explain to most non-gamers.

My $.02


I think this is a poor excuse and is just as much of the problem as people who are befuddled when they see a non-mainstream game.

Yes there are alot of games that are far more complex than Monopoly, Clue and Risk, but they aren't hard to explain. By immediately assuming that they can't grasp these games does nothing to help them understand the hobby. You're insulting their intelligence by basically assuming that they can't wrap their brain around something different. Yeah, you might be wasting your breathe trying to explain it to them, but they might become really interested. I'd rather take that chance than just let them assume the games are too difficult for them.

~ Bones
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Amy
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I enjoy playing games but even I am guilty of that "WOW!, kind of nerdy reaction on occasion"
The other day I stopped by a game store and the place fit the gamer "stereotype" so well, I almost started laughing. It was dirty, dusty and disorganized. It had that I still live in my Mom's basement kind of vibe. To top it off, there was a group of men in the back of the store totally geeking out... loud fake troll voices and all. I really wasn't comfortable spending time in this store, and I could only imagine the reaction someone right off the street would have....
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