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Subject: Non-gamers are just sad rss

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Don
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So my wife, daughter and I visited my wife’s sister and her family on Sunday.

They’re nice people. You can call them at 2 in the morning from a police station and they would come to bail you out (though I’ve never tried to test this).

I often bring children’s board games over that my daughter and her cousins like. We play these with her cousins and have a great time. These include Chicken Cha Cha Cha and lately Two by Two amongst others.

So I’m known as the board game uncle.

Yesterday, there was an open slot in a game of Two-by-two so I invited their mother to join in. She said no, she didn’t want to think on the weekend. So my wife took the slot so I was playing with my daughter, my wife and my niece.

The mother then went back to playing spider solitaire on her laptop computer. She then announced that she was trying a different game that her daughter, who was playing two-by-two with us, would like.

So of course I pointed out that she was now "thinking on a weekend." She then amended her statement that she didn’t want to learn any "new" games. I then pointed out that she had just announced that she found a "new" video game.

She then became annoyed with me. Thankfully her daughter played out the rest of two-by-two with us.

Near the end of the game, my brother-in-law came in, took a look at the game, and said "too complicated for me." He went to sit beside his wife to look at the laptop video game.

After the game her daughter then went to check out the video game her mother had mentioned.

As my family and I were leaving, I looked back at them, huddled around a laptop screen, focused on the video game and not each other.

Pressing my luck I then mentioned that a board game would allow them to actually face each other and interact "you know, as a family."

I then pressed even further and said that I had discovered this great new video game. It has a 360 degree viewing radius so you just set it up on a table and sit around it so you are facing each other. "It is fully 3D and includes real tactile sensation. You can even touch the game icons and they will move where you want to put them." It took a few minutes before they realized that I was talking about a board game.

So we left, my daughter having a strong grasp of logic and math while having laughed and played with me, her mother and her cousin. Their family huddled around a screen not looking at each other.

I don’t hate video games - as a matter of fact I play them but there is so much opportunity wasted simply because of board game misconceptions.

PS. None of these exchanges were angry in any way. We do get along as a family.

The point of this post is just to vent by the way.
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Aaron Potter
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Lockridge wrote:
...
The mother then went back to playing spider solitaire on her laptop computer. She then announced that she was trying a different game that her daughter, who was playing two-by-two with us, would like.

So of course I pointed out that she was now "thinking on a weekend." She then amended her statement that she didn’t want to learn any "new" games. I then pointed out that she had just announced that she found a "new" video game.

She then became annoyed with me....


And she was right to do so. You were playing a game of "gotcha." What did you expect, that she'd throw herself on her intellectual sword and grovel at your feet, begging forgiveness for her foolishness?
It may be the tone of your post here, but if you were as confrontational about it as it seems, then naturally she was annoyed. You were making game time into "I'm gonna teach you a lesson" time.

And then you come here and label her "sad?"

Nice job proselytizing, there. Way to promote the hobby.

Quote:

As my family and I were leaving, I looked back at them, huddled around a laptop screen, focused on the video game and not each other.

Pressing my luck I then mentioned that a board game would allow them to actually face each other and interact "you know, as a family."

I then pressed even further and said that I had discovered this great new video game. It has a 360 degree viewing radius so you just set it up on a table and sit around it so you are facing each other. "It is fully 3D and includes real tactile sensation. You can even touch the game icons and they will move where you want to put them." It took a few minutes before they realized that I was talking about a board game.


I'm frankly surprised they didn't throw you out of the house. I would have.

They *were* interacting. No, they weren't facing one another...neither do most boardgamers, who spend the majority of their time looking at their cards or the board. So you come along and play 'gotcha' again with them...

Wow. Just wow.

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dustin boggs
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I think it is the intimidation that they have to learn the rules to enforce them rather than click on things blindly until they learn what happens.
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Aaron Potter
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ramkitty wrote:
I think it is the intimidation that they have to learn the rules to enforce them rather than click on things blindly until they learn what happens.


You think that's how people learn or play video games?

Or that plenty of boardgamers don't misinterpret the rules, sometimes for years, before correction?

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dustin boggs
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You may be an exception but I do not know anyone who has read a video game manual/rules in the last decade, myself included. Regardless of rules correctness they management of the rule set is on the players rather than some IA.
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Don
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potterama wrote:
Lockridge wrote:
...
The mother then went back to playing spider solitaire on her laptop computer. She then announced that she was trying a different game that her daughter, who was playing two-by-two with us, would like.

So of course I pointed out that she was now "thinking on a weekend." She then amended her statement that she didn’t want to learn any "new" games. I then pointed out that she had just announced that she found a "new" video game.

She then became annoyed with me....


And she was right to do so. You were playing a game of "gotcha." What did you expect, that she'd throw herself on her intellectual sword and grovel at your feet, begging forgiveness for her foolishness?
It may be the tone of your post here, but if you were as confrontational about it as it seems, then naturally she was annoyed. You were making game time into "I'm gonna teach you a lesson" time.

And then you come here and label her "sad?"

Nice job proselytizing, there. Way to promote the hobby.

Quote:

As my family and I were leaving, I looked back at them, huddled around a laptop screen, focused on the video game and not each other.

Pressing my luck I then mentioned that a board game would allow them to actually face each other and interact "you know, as a family."

I then pressed even further and said that I had discovered this great new video game. It has a 360 degree viewing radius so you just set it up on a table and sit around it so you are facing each other. "It is fully 3D and includes real tactile sensation. You can even touch the game icons and they will move where you want to put them." It took a few minutes before they realized that I was talking about a board game.


I'm frankly surprised they didn't throw you out of the house. I would have.

They *were* interacting. No, they weren't facing one another...neither do most boardgamers, who spend the majority of their time looking at their cards or the board. So you come along and play 'gotcha' again with them...

Wow. Just wow.



You're reading a little too much into the post Aaron. Have some more coffee.
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ramkitty wrote:
You may be an exception but I do not know anyone who has read a video game manual/rules in the last decade, myself included. Regardless of rules correctness they management of the rule set is on the players rather than some IA.


Well, most video games now use scaffolding techniques to teach the game while you are playing the game. The "manual" is less direction on how to play and more of a control/keybindings reference.
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potterama wrote:
Lockridge wrote:
...
The mother then went back to playing spider solitaire on her laptop computer. She then announced that she was trying a different game that her daughter, who was playing two-by-two with us, would like.

So of course I pointed out that she was now "thinking on a weekend." She then amended her statement that she didn’t want to learn any "new" games. I then pointed out that she had just announced that she found a "new" video game.

She then became annoyed with me....


And she was right to do so. You were playing a game of "gotcha." What did you expect, that she'd throw herself on her intellectual sword and grovel at your feet, begging forgiveness for her foolishness?
It may be the tone of your post here, but if you were as confrontational about it as it seems, then naturally she was annoyed. You were making game time into "I'm gonna teach you a lesson" time.

And then you come here and label her "sad?"

Nice job proselytizing, there. Way to promote the hobby.

Quote:

As my family and I were leaving, I looked back at them, huddled around a laptop screen, focused on the video game and not each other.

Pressing my luck I then mentioned that a board game would allow them to actually face each other and interact "you know, as a family."

I then pressed even further and said that I had discovered this great new video game. It has a 360 degree viewing radius so you just set it up on a table and sit around it so you are facing each other. "It is fully 3D and includes real tactile sensation. You can even touch the game icons and they will move where you want to put them." It took a few minutes before they realized that I was talking about a board game.


I'm frankly surprised they didn't throw you out of the house. I would have.

They *were* interacting. No, they weren't facing one another...neither do most boardgamers, who spend the majority of their time looking at their cards or the board. So you come along and play 'gotcha' again with them...

Wow. Just wow.



This is all quote correct. I'm going to take it a step in a different direction...Don...your comment about "non-gamers" being sad is ludicrous. These particular people do not strike me as very intelligent based on your description. I may be stereotyping, but people who say things like "I don't think on weekends" and "Looks too complicated for me" are generally the type that revel in their own ignorance. I'm guessing they find FOX News fair and unbiased?

That said. It also seems you have pre-existing hostility with these people. So why would you even try to get them to do anything? Clearly they aren't the type, so why would we tar and feather them for being what they are?
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My mom is that way. She won't play "new" games as "they make her think too much". She sticks to her pinocle and bunko.

But my sisters, Dad, and Brother-in-law must have been built from the same DNA as myself, as they are ready to rock whatever board game I bring. I've been careful not to go overboard, but I've gotten about to the level of Agricola and La Havre no problem. I think it's their competitive nature. Only my bro-in-law likes video games though.
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potterama wrote:

I'm frankly surprised they didn't throw you out of the house. I would have.

They *were* interacting. No, they weren't facing one another...neither do most boardgamers, who spend the majority of their time looking at their cards or the board. So you come along and play 'gotcha' again with them...

Wow. Just wow.



Is this before or after your sister tells you you're getting fat, or how you tell your baby sister that she needs to divorce that loser, or after you tell your mom she doesn't see the grandkids enough.

Heh, or do you have one of those "don't express feelings" kind of family?

I would be the first to tell them straight up to get off the computer, it'll rot your mind.
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clockwerk76 wrote:
I may be stereotyping, but people who say things like "I don't think on weekends" and "Looks too complicated for me" are generally the type that revel in their own ignorance. I'm guessing they find FOX News fair and unbiased?


My girlfriend handles millions of dollars of financial trades all week. She happily says that "she doesn't think on weekends". She likes to bake, and walk the dog, and read graphic novels.

This bizarre superiority that boardgame nerds get from their hobby is one of THE most baffling thing about this hobby. You are grown men who push wooden cubes around and somehow that's intellectualism?

It's like The Enlightenment never happened.
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I never work / push that hard to get people to join - I figure if it's that hard to get them to play, they'll probably play in a disinterested manner and that will be a lesser outcome.

I'd rather have the right game for the number of interested gamers I have, that is at the right level of complexity for the individuals involved and leave uninterested people to do whatever they want.
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clockwerk76 wrote:

That said. It also seems you have pre-existing hostility with these people. So why would you even try to get them to do anything? Clearly they aren't the type, so why would we tar and feather them for being what they are?


Because they are family and I therefore must spend time with them. Spending a weekend drinking endlessly is fine once in a while but once in a while it is also nice to do something else.

Spending time with them usually means burning a day off doing nothing I enjoy. Perhaps in the future I'll just suggest that my wife visit them on her own unless I'm in the mood to drink all day. But wait, I'm married...
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potterama wrote:
ramkitty wrote:
I think it is the intimidation that they have to learn the rules to enforce them rather than click on things blindly until they learn what happens.


You think that's how people learn or play video games?

Or that plenty of boardgamers don't misinterpret the rules, sometimes for years, before correction?



It surprises me the hate I see towards video games from the board game crowd. Video games can be just as social as board games, and just as intellectually stimulating.

Video games suffered the same stigma as board games for much of their early existence. A big part of this was the barrier to entry - video games had a ruleset that needed to be learned, or levels and patterns to be memorized. The first video games were built to ensure a steady flow of quarters into the machine, and so often had an accelerated level of difficulty. The home console changed much of this, and in that transition, lessons were learned that made the barrier to entry lower, and in turn opened up their popularity.

Probably the most important difference between board games and video games (which I think was spotlighted in the OPs story), is that board games require full knowledge of the rules at the start of play. Video games have evolved so that the game experience itself teaches it's own mechanics. It's not as basic as "blindly clicking" until the rules are figured out. This is bad game design, and won't fly in video games.

Levels, encounters, and experiences in video games are built around introducing the full game experience in bite sized pieces. The experience at the start of a video game is most often nothing like the experience towards the end. New rules, abilities, and difficulty are introduced as players learn and become familiar with them. The game teaches itself, and the players usually don't realize that this occurs for a majority of the game, long past the end of the tutorial. In fact, well designed games don't really need a tutorial, because the first player experiences are so tightly integrated into gameplay, that the players don't realize they are being taught anything. This is what brought video games to the mainstream.

Board games are beginning to embrace these ideas, though, and games that expand during gameplay are becoming more popular (and in fact are finding more success as gateway games). Take Dominion for example. The complexity of the game is introduced through the cards that are purchased. There is an inherent pacing in Dominion that brings the new cards and abilities slowly into the deck, gradually bringing the player to speed with the effects of all of the cards (or at least the subset they choose to play with).

More interesting, however, is the idea of the campaign game. Risk Legacy has been lauded as innovative. It certainly is, but I think the impact may be greater than people realize. This is a game that changes over the course of many plays, by slowly changing, and introducing new components, and even rules. I have a feeling that this is not the last we will be seeing of this game model, as it has the potential to blow the doors of gaming wide open.

Board games can start out as simple as video games that players can just pick up and play; but slowly, gradually introduce rules in new games, through gameplay when players have embraced the concepts taught in the previous games. With a learning curve that is spread over the course of many games, and new rules introduced as rewards, learning the game become an experience in and of itself. IF done right, players won't even realize they are learning a game, but instead just treat it as part of the experience - just like in modern video games.

This is just a prediction, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Risk Legacy model of Board Games doesn't become more prevalent, and attack, head on, the symptom of "I don't want to learn another game".
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clockwerk76 wrote:
These particular people do not strike me as very intelligent...

clockwerk76 wrote:
...I'm guessing they find FOX News fair and unbiased?


So people who aren't very intelligent and who revel in their ignorance are the type of people who are likely to find FOX News fair and unbiased? That's pretty harsh towards fans of FOX News... shake They could say something similar about other news sources. IMO, statements like these do much more harm then good. Why slip a not so subtle political jab into this conversation about board games anyway?

On a different note, I think our hobby is pretty awesome and it is sad that some people won't give board gaming a shot. Calling them sad as a group may be a bit much but calling them unintelligent is making quite an assumption. Some very intelligent people are turned off by boardgames. Perhaps they have played too many traditional ones and got burned out. Not a few gamers were in their shoes within the last few years, including myself.
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The thing I noticed is that the mom in question wasn't too keen on playing a game and hence participating in something her daughter appeared to be enjoing.

I guess if it were me, I'd be willing to suspend my own motivations/desires in the interest of doing something that support's my child's learning/discovery of something new. But who am I to judge?
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Don,

Man, I feel for you. I've been in your position a few times with my parents and family. Not in the video game winning over board gaming position but the the the guy who infringes board games upon the unwilling. It's painful because you they'll like it if they tried it. But, it really sucked being that guy.

It's all about perception. You want to change the perception people have of you being "the guy to force board games" to the "guy who knows a lot of board games and has the skills to recommend the right choice given the group and mood."

Nowadays I have a few subtle tactics to get non-gamers interested in board gaming. Think of it as a game. If you can get the group to want to play games, you've won. This weekend, you lost. But that's ok... it was only the first game.

1. I bring board games but I'm almost never the one to suggest playing; often I just leave them in the car and hope someone other than me will mention how fun it'd be to play a board game. Your daughter might come in handy here.. "Daddy, can we play the one with the animals?" Or.. you can be sneaky and relate the current conversation to a board game you have in your car (much harder, but has worked for me).

2. It's the mix of colors / art crammed into a small space that is intimidating. Before I played Power Grid it was scary to me too; this is human. So before I even show the game to people, I describe it. I've found descriptions more alluring than one huge gob of colors, shapes, and pieces. And (bonus) you can describe the best parts of it so they can more easily relate their preferences to your description.

3. If you're introducing a new game that you know well, either sit out or play sub-optimally. This sounds bad, I know, but think of it from their perspective. Who wants to play with someone who has played 10+ times? They have no chance of winning. I have found that the likelihood of getting a game replayed, or getting games played at all, at later gatherings more than triples if I'm not the winner (and the introducer).

I realize parts of this post are manipulative / borderline immoral but damn we sometimes have to make sacrifices to enjoy the hobby. In end result is that everyone is happier so no harm has been done. Right? ;-)
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Timmy Rink
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If it makes you feel any better, they are probably equally frustrated that you always want to play board games and not drink all day. Everybody has their own thing, board games just aren't for them.
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hezkezl wrote:
It surprises me the hate I see towards video games from the board game crowd. Video games can be just as social as board games, and just as intellectually stimulating.


It always suprises me how one person thinks any more or any less of any other person based on comparing what activities they choose to do with their free time. Isn't the whole point of "free time" is that it's yours to do as you like?
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Quote:
My mom is that way. She won't play "new" games as "they make her think too much". She sticks to her pinocle and bunko.


My mother won't play any games at all.
"They are for children ".
I guess she is a little dissappointed I never 'grew up'
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potterama wrote:
Lockridge wrote:
...
The mother then went back to playing spider solitaire on her laptop computer. She then announced that she was trying a different game that her daughter, who was playing two-by-two with us, would like.

So of course I pointed out that she was now "thinking on a weekend." She then amended her statement that she didn’t want to learn any "new" games. I then pointed out that she had just announced that she found a "new" video game.

She then became annoyed with me....


And she was right to do so. You were playing a game of "gotcha." What did you expect, that she'd throw herself on her intellectual sword and grovel at your feet, begging forgiveness for her foolishness?
It may be the tone of your post here, but if you were as confrontational about it as it seems, then naturally she was annoyed. You were making game time into "I'm gonna teach you a lesson" time.

And then you come here and label her "sad?"

Nice job proselytizing, there. Way to promote the hobby.

Quote:

As my family and I were leaving, I looked back at them, huddled around a laptop screen, focused on the video game and not each other.

Pressing my luck I then mentioned that a board game would allow them to actually face each other and interact "you know, as a family."

I then pressed even further and said that I had discovered this great new video game. It has a 360 degree viewing radius so you just set it up on a table and sit around it so you are facing each other. "It is fully 3D and includes real tactile sensation. You can even touch the game icons and they will move where you want to put them." It took a few minutes before they realized that I was talking about a board game.


I'm frankly surprised they didn't throw you out of the house. I would have.

They *were* interacting. No, they weren't facing one another...neither do most boardgamers, who spend the majority of their time looking at their cards or the board. So you come along and play 'gotcha' again with them...

Wow. Just wow.

lighten up Francis
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stlkt wrote:


It always suprises me how one person thinks any more or any less of any other person based on comparing what activities they choose to do with their free time. Isn't the whole point of "free time" is that it's yours to do as you like?


But social mores push one towards spending otherwise free time with family. Should gamers get to pick what the activities in the free time are at least in proportion to their numbers?

I grew up playing games. Free time meant get the cards out for bridge, 500, pinochle, multiple solitare, etc. My wife did not grow up with the same emphasis on games, but we still play games sometimes when visiting with them. Mostly party games, but once in a while depending on who's playing we get some more complex ones in. The one thing that most of them insist on is that I've played any new (to them) game at least once before we try it.

And snobbery among hobbyists is nothing new. People that listen to "serious" music, read "literature" or appreciate "fine art" usually look down on anyone who doesn't. Oh wait, maybe it really is only a nerd thing!

Ah, no, hypothesis saved, sports people, NASCAR fans and shoppers also are baffled at anyone else's confusion about what to do during the big game, race or shopping event.
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Although I agree with many posts that it is not our place to judge how others choose to spend their free time, I would like to point out that a good case can be made (based on scientific evidence) that non-gamers are indeed literally sad. Please see Jane McGonigal's Reality is Broken (pg. 28) for a compelling argument to that end.
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qzhdad wrote:
stlkt wrote:


It always suprises me how one person thinks any more or any less of any other person based on comparing what activities they choose to do with their free time. Isn't the whole point of "free time" is that it's yours to do as you like?


But social mores push one towards spending otherwise free time with family. Should gamers get to pick what the activities in the free time are at least in proportion to their numbers?

I grew up playing games. Free time meant get the cards out for bridge, 500, pinochle, multiple solitare, etc. My wife did not grow up with the same emphasis on games, but we still play games sometimes when visiting with them. Mostly party games, but once in a while depending on who's playing we get some more complex ones in. The one thing that most of them insist on is that I've played any new (to them) game at least once before we try it.

And snobbery among hobbyists is nothing new. People that listen to "serious" music, read "literature" or appreciate "fine art" usually look down on anyone who doesn't. Oh wait, maybe it really is only a nerd thing!

Ah, no, hypothesis saved, sports people, NASCAR fans and shoppers also are baffled at anyone else's confusion about what to do during the big game, race or shopping event.


I definitely agree that, when you add in the component of wanting to spend free time with each other (kids, spouses, friends), you end up compromising on what to do, to a degree, and that game playing should have its place on the list. My comment was strictly about placing some sort of credibility to one past-time over another, as per your examples.
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Lockridge wrote:
She said no, she didn’t want to think on the weekend.
I've had this same experience and I'll bet many others here have as well. I've heard way too many intelligent people who are always thinking tell me that they "don't want to think." Maybe some people don't want to think on the weekend, maybe they don't want to learn rules for a game so that they have to enforce them instead of a machine doing it for them, maybe they just don't like boardgames. In my view, it doesn't really matter. I often bring out boardgames and encourage people to play them. If they really don't want to, that's okay. There are almost always enough people that are interested to get a game going.

I believe that many (if not most) people avoid games (board or otherwise) because they don't want to look or feel dumb. From some people's perspective, if they break a rule then they look/feel dumb, if they don't win then they look/feel dumb. They are mitigating the risk by saying "no thanks." I also usually find that most people let this go once they start playing. But, it is about getting over the initial hump of wanting to give it a try in the first place. It can be a big climb for many. And, we can help them with the climb by being friendly and helpful with teaching and learning games... don't do anything that might increase the chances that someone doesn't feel welcome.
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