Articles · General Gaming

Don’t Judge a Player at First Glance

“I’m not sure that this is going to be your kind of game”. It is a statement that I frequently run into at game stores and conventions. To be perfectly honest, I completely understand why. I am a young woman, who frequently goes to stores in my work attire. Not exactly the picture of a heavily competitive player. There are many times that this is said when I am looking at someone playing a heavily combat based game, or a complex time consuming game.

This is not to say that the board gaming community has not been welcome to me as a woman. In fact, the community has been more than welcoming, and I do feel comfortable being a young woman spending a lot of time by myself in game stores and sitting down with random people to play. However, sometimes predisposed opinions can put a person in a position that they don’t feel welcome to learn more about that game.

At first glance it would be impossible for someone to know I grew up with two brothers, played video games into the early hours the morning, and nerf battles were a daily occurrence. However, those things make it so that I am highly competitive and frequently do enjoy more direct combative player interaction.

I have also seen this happen to men as well at game nights.  Some of the more vagarious men were told that they probably wouldn’t like whatever euro game we were playing that night, despite it being their first time attending the game night.

The same thing goes for children. I know I am guilty of sometimes groaning internally when a child sits down at the table to play or comes over to ask questions. Most of the time I feel like young children may be too distracted to play, or if they’re asking questions they ask too many and it makes it difficult to focus. That being said, I have seen seven year olds focus more readily on Scythe than some adults.

It is human nature to make assumptions based on what people look like, but it is also important to consider that there may be more to them than meets the eye. Instead of saying I don’t think you’ll like this game, take a moment to see what games they do like.  It doesn’t make an immediate assumption, and won’t put that person in an awkward situation if they do want to learn more. That conversation could mean bringing someone new into the community or helping someone make that decision for themselves.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Player at First Glance

  1. Thank you for a great article. I must say, it’s always very easy to fall back onto prejudices and stereotypes – and I don’t necessarily mean gender or race based ones. It could be a simple matter of expecting someone not to like a game, just because of the other types of games they like or because of their experience in playing modern tabletop games. So it’s so important to just explain how a game works and what it’s about and then let the other person decide if it’s for them. Also, it goes in the other direction too. Don’t just turn down a game because you don’t think you’ll like it. Try it and see and then decide. That’s why games meetups or game cafes are so great. You get a chance to try many different games with different people. Anyway, thank you again for such a great article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really, I don’t think anyone should be turned away or even deterred from any game at a game store or convention. The mere fact they are there should mean they have more of an interest than the more traditional games, and if nothing else, the diversity of the board gaming community should be clear by now!

    If it’s a public place like a non-gaming café, then maybe I could understand, as people will sometimes just want to know what people could possibly be playing that isn’t chess/checkers/backgammon or using a standard deck of cards.


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