Friday, January 18, 2013

Listening

2. I appreciate it when a player gives the game most of his attention. Since I use an iPad for quick access to core books and HackJournals, I think it is hypocritical to ban all technology.

Hypocritical and probably impossible... Smartphones, for example. My phone goes everywhere with me. I even think kids should have phones. Why? Safety. It makes sense to me to use the technology we have available. Kids are capable of learning how to take responsibility for a phone if given the opportunity and a clear set of rules. What does not make sense to me is having this great thing and not using it. The point is to learn to use it in a considerate way.

Someone at my table always has a phone out. It has yet to become a problem. The player that just left the group usually had his laptop open. In all this time, I only had to say something to a player once. Face got a little carried away with Angry Birds while his PC was out of the action. ;) And I took back a point or two of Honor. I can't remember how much. Not more than two points. It was probably the meanest thing I've done as a GM. (Don't answer that.) As bad as I felt, no one has done the same thing since and I know everyone is looking at Facebook or a game or something else in between actions.

And I get it. I guess in a perfect world no one would be looking at their devices all the time. I hate it when phones come out at dinner. I'm just torn on what to do about it. How big of a bitch do I want to be over how much is too much when I don't even know? I'd happily put the phone away except when everyone around me is enthralled with their phones...I get bored. Why isn't anyone TALKING to ME??

The only answer I come up with is, look, it's a game. It is supposed to be fun so do what you want. It does increase the pressure a little bit to come up with something more entertaining than the cat pictures on Facebook, but it is equally stressful trying to convince everyone to give up something they like to do something else they like. The two things do not have to be at odds to be okay.

To set the example, if I hear something I want to post on Twitter or Facebook, I usually write it down and put it up after the game. I'll take a picture to share later. It doesn't have to unfold in real time. There are groups out there that consider it super rude to send a tweet during the game. I don't. To each their own.

As much as I'd like to make everyone put the phones away, I know it is impossible to enforce. And that's another thing...who wants to have to "enforce" a bunch of extra demands on their friends? I don't. Having fun and hanging out together is the point. If that is working, the phones, tablets, and laptops will go away on their own.

Put the phone away unless it is needed. I use the calculator, camera, and PDF books, but I don't have to open Facebook or Angry Birds Star Wars. They will be there when the dice are put away.