Win, Lose, or Rage!

It's the last round of the game. Steve was knocked out an hour ago, and now he is playing on his phone on the couch. Mike is barely hanging on. Jaime is dominating but can't quite finish it out. Sarah is waiting for the perfect moment to take over.

Finally Sarah makes her move and achieves victory! Jaime gets angry about the loss and wants a new game. Mike starts cleaning up for another round. Sarah is bragging about her strategic play. Finally everything calms down and they look to start a new game, but Steve has already left.

Sound familiar? Many gaming groups struggle with this, and it's not uncommon to miss that it's happening until it's too late.

Whether you're a competitor, a strategist, or an experimenter, a gaming group is supposed to be fun… for EVERYONE! Something we should all ask ourselves is why we're playing in the first place. The idea is to get together with friends to enjoy your time together, and use the game as a focus.

Next time you're gaming with friends, try starting a conversation, work together as a team, or surprise each other with different solutions to the same problem. The key is empathy, understanding that you aren't there to win, but you're there to share an experience with each other. Consider varying up the games you play.

Use some "mini" games to warm up, short duration games that take 10 - 15 minutes to play. Try cooperative games if things really start to get heated between players.

Try some house rules about turns and what kind of help can be given verbally (try only non-verbal hints for an interesting night). Get creative to make sure everyone can enjoy a friendly game night.

So before you're next session, think to yourself "What parts of game nights do i like?" and try to let the friends you've chosen to spend your night with have a chance at that same great feeling.