Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Do You Do When the Game Turns Dull?

It happens.  Every once in a while you get into a game and it just doesn't work.  The vibe is off.  The mojo is bad.  Or the GM is just not having a good night.  (And before I go any further, no Rob this blog is not about you.)  I know there are some night when I am distracted for one reason or another and its difficult for me to concentrate.  So what do you do when the game is not working.

An obvious solution is to call it an early night.  Just wrap it up so everyone can may get themselves back into sorts.  I know one of the more difficult times to play is right after a holiday or vacation. 

When the GM is having a rough night I try to ask questions or just go with the storyline that is being offered without too much resistance.  Sometimes players just need to go with it.  Some nights you need to take it easy on those fellows behind the screen, but not often.  It may get the GM rolling (a push start if you will).

Maybe take some extra time to just BS about whatever.  Sometimes its just good to have your friends around to talk about the latest movie they saw or what's going on in RL.  After some socializing focusing on the game becomes easier.

Play something else.  Game night are a precious commodity and shouldn't be wasted.  If everyone is not into the game maybe just download some weird ass game off of RPG now and go at it.  Sometimes those nights end up being hilarious.

Switch it up with someone else GM.  DO a one-shot adventure where everyone in the group is a 0-level follower and the entire adventuring party they were assisting just fell into a pit and consumed by a gelatinous cube.  Now these poor bastards need to make there way out.

This is sounding too much like some point by point article on how to something and something.  I'll stop now.

What do you do when the game turns dull?


  1. Good thoughts here -- I think my group often uses the "BS factor" to get ourselves through "off" or low-energy nights. Take it down a notch, let the fun flow -- don't force it. Good suggestions.

  2. Good suggestions, I agree. My group tends to digress into other topics when the energies not there. Sometimes, "fake it til you make it" can come into play though. As GM, or as player, I find sometimes others can stoke the fires of my enthusiasm.

  3. My solution is simple: break out the Zombies!! (the board game, always great for laugh long night).

  4. With us wargamers this is a bigger problem sometimes because its hard to walk away from large games and maybe it's because the umpire is testing his rules and tweaking and the tweaking is shit and you try to convince him to change without him getting the hump but everything you say is good and helps but wargamers are less forgiving.
    Our group played a game 8 years ago that was so bad we still talk about it amongst other disasters.

  5. You are not talking about Rob, you are talking about me. Ha ha ha.

    Great post, Tim. I agree that, as we get older, the time spent gaming becomes more precious. None-the-less, I don't think it is a big deal if a group has an off night. And, sometimes doing something different is the key to getting things back on track. If it becomes a pattern or there is some sort of group dysfunction, then I think the group has some self-assessment to do.