6 Easy Ways to Ruin the Game
by Creighton Broadhurst
July 25, 2019
I’ve written before about how to be a good gamer. Sometimes it’s fun—and useful—to look at the other side of the coin. Sometimes it’s worthwhile thinking about how you could ruin a gaming session. Knowing what ruins a gaming session makes it easier to not ruin a gaming session.
The entries in the list below are as equally true for GMs as they are players.
- Turn Up Late and Don’t Apologise: Of course, sometimes life punches you in the face and you end up running late for a game. Perhaps your car breaks down, your partner is running late or a child is ill. No one with half a brain is going to have a problem with any of those things delaying your arrival. However, “I’m late because I was watching Netflix” or being generally disorganised isn’t ideal and shows a lack of respect for the other people at the table. Not apologising for being late is just bad show.
- Don’t be Ready for the Game: Perhaps you are the GM and haven’t had time to prepare or you are a player who has failed to level or equip your character. There’s nothing better I like than sitting around watching someone else doing their :game admin” when somehow everyone else found time between the sessions to do just that.
- Forget Something Critical: Gaming isn’t rocket science; there’s not that much you really need—dice, (probably) a rulebook and your character sheet and figure (if you are a player) or the module and so on (if you are a GM). Turning up without something critical such as your character sheet or the adventure is setting yourself (and the session) up for epic failure.
- Ignoring or Belittling Other Participants: Role-playing is a cooperative group experience. Ignoring, insulting or belittling other people at the table (for whatever reason) is the hallmark of a person who isn’t going to be in the group for long. Of course, disagreements happen at the table, but the wise gamer treats other people with respect not derision and realises they can’t always get their own way.
- Not Paying Attention: Perhaps your favourite sports team are playing at the same time as the session, you are checking out who is on Tinder (or some other dating app) or you really need to conquer the xth level of the new game on your phone. Don’t worry! You can simply bring the game to a screeching halt by asking questions that have already been asked and taking ages over your turn as you try to work out what has happened since your last action.
- Not Participating: Not every character can equally participate in every encounter (whether they be combat or social encounters). That said, not participating at all for some reason is going to irritate everyone else at the table (and possibly put other characters at risk). You might not agree with the quest or the direction the party has gone or you might be enamoured with something on your phone. It doesn’t really matter why you aren’t participating; you are ruining everyone else’s fun.
Your gaming time is precious; it’s an escape from the mundane real world and an excuse to spend time with friends (and if you are lucky family) righting wrongs, slaying dragons and looting vast piles of loot. By simply doing some or all of the point above you can quickly and easily ruin the game night for you and your friends.
Alternatively, you could avoid the pitfalls listed above and have an awesome gaming session. You decide.
What Did I Miss?
Got any other ways to easily ruin a gaming session? Let me know, in the comments below.