Sunday, July 24, 2011

Be A Better Player 8 - Stop multitasking

GM – Okay you have the front guard taken out. All that is left are the two inside, what are you going to do?

Player 1 – Well first off I'm dragging the one we took out off to the side. Don't need anybody seeing him laying out there in the open.

Player 2 – Trying to find an area near the door where I can see inside. We need to get a good idea of where they are.

GM – Hey Adam what about you? Adam!

Player 3 – Huh? Oh sorry I was answering an email real quick it was kinda important.

Player 1 – Aren't they all.....

GM – Guard outside is down, two left inside are left.

Player 3 – Ah okay, I guess I back up the others on whatever they decide.

GM – Look can you just put the phone down for a bit. It's really breaking up the flow here.

Player 3 – I don't understand.

Player 2 – Get your head in the game damn it!

Player 3 – Yeah... okay... just let me check on a couple of auctions real quick. Need to see how much they are up to.

GM – What...

Player 3 – I'll start paying more attention, really. Just got some stuff going on you know?

When you aren't chatting with people over IM's or downloading the 'perfect' song to play in case the group goes to a club you are playing the game. Well sort of, sometimes you get distracted and have to be reminded of what's going on at the moment. But that auction ends in two hours and you are sure somebody is going to try and snipe it. Oh and there is always a good argument going on over at the forums you frequent.

Yeah... you aren't a computer so keep the multitasking down. This all rolls around to breaking the flow and mood of the game rather easily. By not paying enough attention play has to stop and the GM has to repeat what he has just said. The GM is most likely getting aggravated by it and the other players are starting to line up right beside him with the same feelings. Thus turning an otherwise enjoyable time into an irritating one.

Let's also not mention the distraction. Ring-tone going off every time somebody send you a text. Alert sounds when that download is done. Even vibration mode still makes noise. All this adds up into a long continues string of interruptions and breaks down the flow at the table.

Now I'm not fool enough to suggest that you should turn off your phone when you sit down at the table to play. Emergencies happen, spouses call and sometimes you need to answer the calls. But put it on vibrate and stick it in your pocket. Don't flip it out and start cruising the net just when the attention on you drops a little bit.

Oh and on a related note, sending text messages back and forth among yourself and the other players isn't a good idea also. Not only does it cause many of the same problems but usually it's done in some effort to 'undermine' the GM. I mean, after all, trying to do this is basically saying that you don't want them running a game. Some will get that message and you'll be a bunch of players sitting around a table with their phones in their hands and nobody running the game.

So please, unplug for a bit, be social without a social network and get in the game.


  1. DM: Your character is now located in the Circle of the Oblivious. Seems he was so busy with his email he wandered into a pit where ochre jelly live, and they digested him. Now shut off the phone and create a new PC.

  2. I'm pretty bad for distractions, though not of the electronic kind. I find it really hard to sit still so when the game starts to slow down or get repetitive (and let's face it all games with more than one player slows down occasionally), I find it a real big effort to sit it out while paying attention. Its one of the reasons I always ST as I'm a pretty bleh player for a number of reasons. This is one of them.