Thursday, May 19, 2011

Being Picky About Gamer Friends

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I forgot all about my account at Pen & Paper Games until I happened to see an email notice that a new gamer just signed up on the site in my area. As soon as I remembered, I went online to see if anyone had left me more messages about my biography, which some folks viewing my profile seemed to find amusing when I first signed up. This is part of my profile:
I love the strategic element of gaming and the creative outlet that RPGs provide. I am a Christian. I enjoy sports (especially basketball) more than the average Joe. I bathe daily, brush my teeth daily, and wear deodorant. I enjoy having conversations that don't revolve around games.
I don't necessarily require all of these things from people I game with, but sharing some commonalities other than a love for gaming is essential, in my opinion, to good friendships. By the way, good friendships start with good first impressions, and if I can smell you coming, that isn't a good start.
All of this might sound harsh... but I'm just a fairly normal (albeit nerdy) guy looking for fairly normal folks to game with.
Needless to say, I am quite picky about the people with whom I game. Most of the people I've gamed with have been either family or friends I've known long enough to consider family. The times I've made exceptions have usually been disastrous events. I remember the time my brother (while he was still in high school) met a kid on the bus who wanted to play D&D with us. "He's cool!" my brother said. "We talk on the bus every day about D&D, and he wants to join our group." That should have been the first red flag. My thoughts? "You're on the bus... with chicks... and you talk about D&D every day? Really? If there isn't a girl on that bus who wants to see what it's like to be a paladin, you need to get your priorities straight." I had my reservations, but I let him play... and he lasted one session. Even my brother, who had previously proclaimed this kid's coolness, agreed that he shouldn't be invited back. To this day, years later, I still bring up that guy from time to time... and my brother still apologizes.

A few handy things that I always consider before I invite someone to join my gaming group:
  • Does this person irritate me at all outside of the game? If so, inside the game it will probably be worse. I do make exceptions to this rule for family members.
  • Does this person have other friends? If not, I might become this person's only source of socialization. I deal with very needy people every day in my line of work... I prefer that my personal life be filled with people with whom I can have a relationship of relative equality.
  • Would this person's personal hygiene be acceptable in my house? If not, it's a definite no. No questions asked. No exceptions made.
  • Does this person trash my belief system on a regular basis? For me, this means I don't game with people who are anti-Christian. Have I gamed with people who aren't Christian? Absolutely... but I refuse to put up with people who aren't accepting of my beliefs. (Honestly, this could be a series of articles in and of itself. I might start working on that...)
The only notable exception to these rules applies when I'm gaming competitively, as I really don't even mind the stench of an unclean opponent as long as I'm winning. I guess my point is this: If there are prizes involved and it's a public place, I'll play anyone. But when the game is going to take place in my home... well... let's just say I don't want people who are socially inept knowing where I live.

Alright, fair readers, I've given my little spill about how picky I can be when it comes to my gamer friends. Now give me your opinions... anything you're picky about when you're choosing who you game with? Anything in this post that sounds unfair or too harsh?
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