Roleplaying Games Should Be Fun

The fun of gaming

Getting Your Significant Other to Game

Posted by Brett on March 12, 2009

Its been a while since I’ve had a chance to update the old blog. I’ve been busy, work and sickness both suck. They really suck. So if you’ve been reading, and maybe waiting for an update I’ve got some ideas about that now that I have a better idea about how WordPress does things. This blog entry is going to be gaming with somebody that may only be have a passing interest, or tolerance of, our hobby. If you’re lucky enough that that person is your significant other, it might also be a friend that wonders what you get up to with all those weird dice, or perhaps a younger/older sibling, and for those gamer parent it might even be your children. I can’t touch on the child portion, but Phil the Chatty DM has quite an archive about his role-playing adventures with his youngsters. For the purposes of this blog entry I’ll assume that you’ll be gaming with your significant other.

In my case I’m fortunate enough that I get to live and work with my fiance. She is the love of my life, and she has an interest in gaming so she’ll play with me. For the most part my lack of regular gaming group usually means we play games like Zombies! or the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons mini games. I’ve even her helped to create a Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition character (an elf paladin named Isla if you must know), but have yet to use said character in game. So where does this leave us? Well it leaves us at the point that you need to know what it is you need to know whether your significant other is a gamer in hiding, or just somebody who will tolerate your hobby. It also helps to know what it is that they like, my fiance for example very much enjoys the competitive nature of the mini games, and board games that we play. I fairly certain she’d enjoy the competitive nature of Fourth Edition combat as well, role-playing functions and other ideas implicit to the game I’ll have to ask her about more, but I’m also sure that she’d enjoy those as well.

So how do you get your non-gamer to join the fun? I think the first thing to do is to determine what, if anything, they think of gaming. Do they think its a bunch of 40 year old losers, plus you, hanging around in someone’s mother’s basement? If that’s the case you’ll probably want to start out that your aren’t the stereotype of the D&D player, and neither are your friends. If you were you wouldn’t be having a conversation with your significant other. I’m not the stereotype of the hobby, and my sweet heart certainly sees that every day. I’m willing to bet you aren’t either, and your significant other sees that as well.

However, this still doesn’t really cover getting your significant other to play a game. I’d say start with a straight forward board game. I personally recommend Zombies! for the horror genre lover. Its a fun little game where you try to run the heck away from an advancing zombie horde to the escape helicopter. Its fun and pretty competitive, and its not a standard board game, at least not in the Monopoly style board game. From there you might want to look into any of a variety minis type games, the Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons games are pretty good on this front, although any mini game that offers some more complicated rules are probably a good next step. The idea here to gauge interest in how complicated the rules can get before interest wanes or becomes frustrating. There are lots of options for low rules systems, Risus for example, but for our purposes we’ll assume that you’d like your significant other to play with you in a variety of games including exception based rules systems like Dungeons and Dragons or GURPS. For the most part though what you’re really trying to do is show your significant other why you like games, and gauge what if anything they like about games. I think there is something fun in role-playing games for everybody, but there is no guarantee that your significant other is going to find anything they like. You may just have to accept they wont find any enjoyment in the hobby we all share. I’m fortunate that enough that my fiance is open to an interested in gaming, you may not be so lucky. That said as long as your significant other appreciates that you like role-playing games, even if they don’t, and everybody is still having fun than you’re definitely in a good place.

So what have you done, or are currently doing, to include your signficant other in your game?

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