Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Miss Manners on Abusing Guests With Card Games

From the May 9, 2007 column:
Dear Miss Manners:

While I was a houseguest, my hostess's fiance asked if I would like to play cards with them (rummy, I think). I tried to beg off, saying that I hadn't played cards since I was a child, and I really didn't know enough about it for anyone to enjoy playing with me.

He insisted, saying he'd teach me. He explained the rules, but I was slow to pick up the procedures, and he became impatient as he corrected my all-too-frequent errors. Several times he barked, "Think!" or "You know better than that, I told you!" Of course, I became more flustered, made even more mistakes, and it went on and on -- I felt like I was being scolded for being a dunce, and it was anything but a pleasant pastime.

Finally I said, "I'm afraid I'm not doing very well at this game, and I need to get up early tomorrow, so please excuse me." But "George" and my hostess both pressed me to play to the end of the game, saying "Oh, you have to play out the game or it will spoil it for everyone." ("Everyone" was just the three of us.)

I held my tongue, continued to play ineptly to the end, and eventually made my escape, though my own evening had certainly been spoiled.

I don't think I will be playing cards with that couple again, but was it rude of me to excuse myself before finishing the game, under the circumstances? What should one do when one is a tyro, especially when one is not able to play a game well enough for everyone to enjoy it?

Gentle Reader,

Let us hope that this gentleman does not decide to insert himself into the educational system. Gang-pressing people into a new activity and then insulting them for not understanding it immediately is not a good pedagogical technique.

Your attempt to escape was legitimate and your hosts were wrong to block it. But considering that you were their guest, Miss Manners commends you for submitting.
Sound familiar to anyone? Don't turn game time into a torture session.

The Yorkshire Post wrote an article about Reiver Games and my upcoming game, It's Alive.

Findit Games has a series of gimmick toys that require you to shake them around until you find the hidden objects. Frustrated readers claim to not be able to find some of the objects.

Further indications that video gamers are turning on to Eurogames from Weekly Geek.



Chris Furniss said...

It's always an awkward situation when someone springs a brand new game like that on an unsuspecting guest. Most new card or board games take hours to learn, and that means you are stuck in the same spot trying to think hard for the next agonizing couple of hours. The host should have informed their guest that they were going to play games beforehand, so the guest could come up with some sort of excuse to get out of it.

Thanks for the link!

Yehuda said...

And that's true for gamers; doubly true for non-gamers.