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Subject: I, boardgamer, distracted rss

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Yes, I'm one of those people who checks my voice mail, texts, looks up references on my PDA, and plays games on mobile devices while in the middle of a board game. Not necessarily in that order, not necessarily in that order of preference, and not necessarily in that order of frequency. It's not a habit though. I have given my full attention playing many games, thinking through my turns ahead of time, leaving to get food or use restroom only when it's safe and whenever possible such as if we're waiting up on someone else instead or sucking it up till the game ends, putting down that spoonful of food to take my turn instead, and moderating games even if it costs me mental power that could've gone towards me winning the game.

It's just that sometimes... people.... good people, are "forced" into games they don't really want to play due to peer pressure, family pressure, or those from untold favors owed. I've been "coerced" into games I don't like, such as Quelf, Apples To Apples, Power Grid, and trick taking games. For the most part, I avoid groups that like those types of games, and decline whenever the social situation allows for 1 person sitting out a game everyone else agrees to, but it can still happen despite drawing on experience and research. To keep myself from being bored out of my skull, I can sometimes turn to an event's fine food to satiate my appetite and not do any of the "forbidden acts" mentioned above that many other gamers despise, but sometimes, I need to check a quick text, or play a quickie 2 minute game on my Iphone. Othertimes, we play a heavy game like Age Of Steam, and someone's clearly going beyond the 5 minute mark for what otherwise was a very streamlined and swift game given the prompt turns so far.

I have pushed games onto people to see if they'll like them and in the hopes they'd be willing to play them more, but some of these people have inadvertly returned the favor.... they end up not enjoying them, and much of the time, they're checking the scores every few minutes on their sports teams, surfing, or just build stuff with their bits to keep themselves from being bored. Gamers often don't like this sort of behavior, but I'd gander despite people's best intentions, it still happens, and that's OK.... for some part of it. To me, I think the most memorable case of being distracted was an article where Klaus Teuber writes that when he was playtesting Settlers Of Catan, he used his family as guinea pigs. His wife would constantly walk away from the table to do laundry while his son just read comic books underneath the table. Though, that did stop when the game got more fun in its current form.
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Rick Weckermann
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We have absolutely no cell phone issues in our group. Switch the phone jammer on, anyone wanting to use their phone can do so, about 50' from the house we have games night at.
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Rishi A.
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nastycleavage wrote:
We have absolutely no cell phone issues in our group. Switch the phone jammer on, anyone wanting to use their phone can do so, about 50' from the house we have games night at.


This would bother me. Having access to texts and phone calls occasionally allows me to go to play board games when I wouldn't be able to. If I'm expecting an important call that will take five minutes, do you expect me to sit at home for the entire day waiting for that call? I usually warn people if I'm waiting for a call.

I remember once I was playing a game at an event at someone's office. I got a phone call and answered it. One of the players got really grumpy. The phone call? "Hey, I got locked out. Can you send someone downstairs to let me in?"

Honestly, I don't care if people check their e-mail or texts during the game as long as they don't slow the game down. Or do it during rules explanations (unless they already know how to play). I'm not sure why it's such a taboo with some people.
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Sweetgotham
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nastycleavage wrote:
We have absolutely no cell phone issues in our group. Switch the phone jammer on, anyone wanting to use their phone can do so, about 50' from the house we have games night at.


How am I supposed to log my play on BGG then?

But seriously, this is not something parents or people in certain employment can do (I am in emergency response, for example, if a bomb goes off, the excuses that will NOT be tolerated is 'oh my game group bans cell phones).

Furthermore, phone access and being 'distracted' was able to keep me from strangling someone I wound up stuck with at two games with who had the worst case of AP I have ever experienced. I would take my turn, get up, visit other tables, see what my husband was up to, check my messages and et back and they would STILL be debating their move.
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Rick Weckermann
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Quote:
But seriously, this is not something parents or people in certain employment can do (I am in emergency response, for example, if a bomb goes off, the excuses that will NOT be tolerated is 'oh my game group bans cell phones).

After years of coaching/watching hockey/swimming, i have noted many of the emergency people have no issues attending and hanging out at our sports complex. Our sports complex is notoriously noted for having virtually no cell phone service due to its bunker like location. Can not count the people that like it there for that reason. I wonder if you had a passion for a certain sport and your excuse was you wanted to see your team play would you go, knowing full well cell phone service was not available? Also many theaters and high end restaurants have jammers that you do not know about, nor can they advertise. In your case we would not have the jammer on unless cell phone use was being abused.
As far as gaming goes, i wonder how all these cell phones work out at a chess tourney and how accepted they are to be used while playing? If i were hosting you would be disqualified for using a cell phone, as i do not know if you used it to cheat.
The issue at stake is ruining other peoples fun. Issues like some one getting a call politely leaves the room 20 or 30 min. while others wait. We have a strong games group, that has almost to many gamers and players that want to play or host, we tend to not actively recruit new gamers. If you can not take out a couple hours a week for yourself and your friends..... well that is unfortunate. I am sure you could call in and say you are unavailable for the next 4 hours, or have some one pick you up directly if needed.
 
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Sweetgotham
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nastycleavage wrote:
Quote:
But seriously, this is not something parents or people in certain employment can do (I am in emergency response, for example, if a bomb goes off, the excuses that will NOT be tolerated is 'oh my game group bans cell phones).

After years of coaching/watching hockey/swimming, i have noted many of the emergency people have no issues attending and hanging out at our sports complex. Our sports complex is notoriously noted for having virtually no cell phone service due to its bunker like location.


There is a differences between the people who actually lead and run an emergency event and people who are part of the emergency services. NYC has 100s of EMTs, for example, but only a few dozen people total who are managers...so, no. It's one thing when I go someplace for a hour or two...quite another when it is like Saturday where I was gaming for over 10 hours.

[/q] If you can not take out a couple hours a week for yourself and your friends..... well that is unfortunate. I am sure you could call in and say you are unavailable for the next 4 hours, or have some one pick you up directly if needed. [/q]

I happen to love my job and the type of full-scale emergency that would require me to drop and go are (thankfully) few and far between. Having said that- what would people think if I WAS the kind of person who thought "Screw those people who just were killed in a suicide bomb attack...Stone Age is on the table!"

But I get that my situation is rare...I would still think that parents would want to be in contact with their children or people watching their children but I guess if you leave the wife at home with the kids you don't care; I happen to game with my partner and when we have children, any sort of 'cell phone jamming policy' group would be a terrible fit.

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Rishi A.
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I don't begrudge public venues that jam cell phone signals - but if one of my friends did it, I would wonder why they wouldn't just politely ask me not to use my cell phone. If I was told not to use my phone unless it was an emergency, I would respect the other players and the host. And if I didn't, I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't invited back.

Now if the host, who was supposedly my friend, started jamming my cell phone signal, then I'd find it disrespectful that someone would feel the need to police my personal behavior instead of trusting me to do it myself.
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Rick Weckermann
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Quote:
Now if the host, who was supposedly my friend, started jamming my cell phone signal, then I'd find it disrespectful that someone would feel the need to police my personal behavior instead of trusting me to do it myself.

All know, like going to the hockey rink to watch the game.
I think part of it was when someone was accused of using it to their advantage in a game one night, and is only used when requested by host.
 
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Sweetgotham
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nastycleavage wrote:
Quote:
Now if the host, who was supposedly my friend, started jamming my cell phone signal, then I'd find it disrespectful that someone would feel the need to police my personal behavior instead of trusting me to do it myself.

All know, like going to the hockey rink to watch the game.
I think part of it was when someone was accused of using it to their advantage in a game one night, and is only used when requested by host.


I would think the issue is then with the person looking for an 'advantage' and not with the phone it's self.
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nastycleavage wrote:
Quote:
Now if the host, who was supposedly my friend, started jamming my cell phone signal, then I'd find it disrespectful that someone would feel the need to police my personal behavior instead of trusting me to do it myself.

All know, like going to the hockey rink to watch the game.
I think part of it was when someone was accused of using it to their advantage in a game one night, and is only used when requested by host.


I figured that people knew. I was not accusing you of doing it surreptitiously.

But, I guess you know your gaming group. I'm sure that if it was a huge issue for them, people would complain about the jammer, but it sounds like your group is complicit. I'm just saying that I would not like it if I was in a gaming group that did it.
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Brian Schroth
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cell signal jammers are illegal to use, FYI.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/jamming.html
 
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Rishi A.
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BagelManB wrote:
cell signal jammers are illegal to use, FYI.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/jamming.html


He's in Canada. Now, cell jammers may be illegal in Canada as well, but the FCC certainly does not apply.
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Daniel Rocchi
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Rishi wrote:
BagelManB wrote:
cell signal jammers are illegal to use, FYI.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/jamming.html


He's in Canada. Now, cell jammers may be illegal in Canada as well, but the FCC certainly does not apply.


Call phone jammers ARE illegal in Canada, because they can interfere with emergency calls. I looked it up. I really wanted to get one for my high school classroom.




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I don't care what you do as long as your head is as still in the game as it needs to be. If the game is easy and you can do two things at once, more power to you. If the game is very slow and you've got time, go ahead - just be ready to jump back in when it's your turn.

Don't hold me up and don't throw the game and beyond that do whatever you like.
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Hammerite wrote:
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Well, played sir.... But how does this comment not have 900 thumbs yet?
 
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Honestly, the only reason that cell phones or distracted gaming is a problem is when it makes your turn go long, or when we have to catch you up because you weren't paying attention to the turn before yours.

If you can play a little game and still be part of the group, or the discussion, and not miss out on plays then more power to you.

In fact, in one extremely long Talisman game (eight players - so about five minutes or more between turns) we actually broke out Zombie Dice for people to play while waiting for their turn.
 
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Mario Lanza
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I generally find someone doing a non-essential secondary activity rude.

I was at a convention where one of the players I ended up sitting with (on more than one occasion) always was looking down at his iPad. I found this extremely rude. "It's as if to say this machine is more important than you people."
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Kevin C.
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I think I would feel put out if someone had to entertain themselves during my turn. Either I was out of sync with the expectations of the group in terms of AP or that person was.

Either way, for me it would be pretty rude to take out an ancillary activity while the primary activity is still going on to further occupy yourself. For me, the game isn’t only my turn, but the whole atmosphere of the game. Doing that, to my mind, is a clear statement that your partners aren't interesting company.

I mean, I certainly get up and get a drink or go to the bathroom when it isn’t my turn to save time, but I don’t pull out something else to do because the wait is too long for my turn to come back.

Similarly, a phone call that needs to be taken or a quick text to check on family is obviously reasonable...nobody signs up to put their entire lives on hold during a game. Still, pulling out a video game while the game is going on, to my mind, is a different kettle of fish.

You should, of course, enjoy your leisure any way you wish. It wouldn’t work for me to be at a table with people doing some of the things described in the thread.

To each their own….If I decide to play a game with family that I'm not very into, I try not to make this clear..it just ruins the time for everyone.

Plus, I know I'll get my gamer fix somewhere down the road...no need to rub into Aunt Mary's face that I find her and her Balderdash boring by whipping out my smartphone. I'll let her enjoy my company and get in 'my' games some other time.

Kevin

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Rishi A.
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natsean wrote:

Similarly, a phone call that needs to be taken or a quick text to check on family is obviously reasonable...nobody signs up to put their entire lives on hold during a game. Still, pulling out a video game while the game is going on, to my mind, is a different kettle of fish.


I actually agree with this. I think that checking your e-mail or sending a text isn't terrible while playing a game. If someone starts playing Angry Birds though, I probably wouldn't like it.
 
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mlanza wrote:
I generally find someone doing a non-essential secondary activity rude.

I was at a convention where one of the players I ended up sitting with (on more than one occasion) always was looking down at his iPad. I found this extremely rude. "It's as if to say this machine is more important than you people."


thumbsupx10

Exactly so - much as when you're waiting for service in a store, the phone rings, and you have to wait while the person on the line effectively cuts in front of you. It's as if suddenly you, who have taken the time to show up in person, are not as important as the person who stayed home and called. Texting has made remote interruptions even more widespread. If I was in a conversation with someone who kept stopping to use a phone or a blackberry, I'd consider it rude (barring the obvious situations like emergencies or being on call). I don't see how a game is any different.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be bothered if somebody was doing something like reading rules or punching pieces for another game between turns. There's something about the phone that seems to exclude others from the user's presence in a way that other distractions don't.
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Sweetgotham
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Agreed...hell, even if was the Angry Birds: Knock on Wood game I would be annoyed.
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