You are not better than anyone: the board game edition.
Video gaming’s had a lot of shit-flinging over the last year or so with G*merG*te stepping up to not only tell people they don’t belong in the industry/hobby, but also a whole lot of other just generally terrible, life-threatening things. Luckily, we haven’t reached such levels of awful in the tabletop gaming hobby – most likely because the numbers are smaller, and it’s not as mainstream a hobby.
Not to be down on the folks I share a hobby with at all – there’s fantastic, wonderful people there! But some attitudes and commentary of late – some specific, some just popping up vaguely here and there – have me thinking about how exclusivity, feelings of seniority and also sexism can play a part in pushing people away. I’m lucky to know some awesome folks who speak out about stuff like this and I am lucky to call them friends, and share the hobby with them.
As in life, remember in your hobby: you are not better than anyone. You are on the same level as people, and you should treat them accordingly. So, here’s some thoughts..
No matter how long you’ve been in the hobby, you have no more right to it than someone that started into it this past weekend.
Just because someone doesn’t like the same kinds of games as you doesn’t make them inferior to the hobby.
It’s hard to believe this needs to be said, but women are gamers too. With a variety of interests as far as theme and game-play go, and you should never assume any differently.
Related, don’t speak in terms of “I got beaten by a girl!” whether that’s a 7 year old girl, or a 50 year old woman. Just.. don’t.
Oh right, and also don’t go asking for recommendations for your significant in other in terms of “they’re my wife lol” – speak about that person in terms of their interest in gaming, their non-gaming hobbies, and the games they may have tried/liked already and you will not only get a better round of recommendations but you’re also not distilling your partner down to their relationship to you only.
When you wonder why there’s not enough women in the hobby, or taking the leap to design games – don’t put the onus on them to do it. Make the industry and hobby welcoming, encourage without belittling, and it’ll be good for all.
If you’re an industry-type, don’t let it go to your head. I feel like this hobby lends itself to a wonderful co-mingling of both, especially when it comes to playtesting and support. Don’t push people away because they’re “not at your level”.
Size doesn’t matter. So what if you’ve got 500 board games, and someone else only has 5? You shouldn’t believe that makes you a higher level gamer. Life circumstances are often behind the ability – or lack thereof – to build a collection, and nobody should be judged for that.
Opinions – and a variety of them – should be encouraged and welcomed in the hobby! Don’t shut someone down just because they have their own opinions that may differ from yours. Discuss it like adults, please! Or step away if you’ve nothing constructive to say.
Don’t diss out gateway games like Settlers of Catan, or Splendor (for example) for the sake of it just to sound superior! Just because you don’t play it or you might hate it doesn’t devalue the game as something that can introduce a person to tabletop gaming. And if you don’t like gateway games like that, find something else you think might work. Even something like For Sale, or Ghost Blitz, for example, can be an irresistible introduction to games.
Kickstarter: if people don’t want to, or can’t, back Kickstarter projects, so be it.
Never assume you are better than anyone. Be excited, be enthusiastic, and enjoy gaming. That excitement and enthusiasm will be welcoming and encouraging, and can only make the hobby better.