Bored in Las Vegas/Bored at the Game Table
I am bored in Las Vegas.
Don’t get me wrong. Las Vegas is not a boring city. I have visited the city before and have had a lot of fun. The difference this time is that I am here for a conference, my wife and kids are back home, and I am not hanging out with any of my buddies either. I am just a guy in Las Vegas at this moment who would rather be at home.
Luckily I have some very good reading material to keep my mind occupied. Plus I will be meeting Lenny Balsera for dinner tonight. But despite all of this other stuff around me (gambling, booze, night clubs, strip clubs, and just plain old Las Vegas charm) I am bored.
Why? Because I would rather be doing something else right now. It is not because what I have available to me is not exciting. I just do not have a desire to partake in it at this moment. I would rather be holding my wife as we watch a movie together, or playing with my kids teaching them how to climb trees and catch fish.
A decade ago I would have been interested in what I have in front of me here in Las Vegas. Last year when my wife and I came out here for our ten year anniversary we were both interested in the more romantic side of Las Vegas as we celebrated how much love we have for each other (in other words we had sex all of the time because someone else was watching our kids for us).
But today? Today I would rather be somewhere else, and it has nothing to do with Las Vegas.
Sometimes that is what it is like for the players in our games. We GMs have to be willing to admit that even if we do everything “right” that some players on some days will still feel like doing something else. They might want to try a different game system, or they wish that the session was less role playing and more combat. They may even want to see what it is like to GM a game themselves.
When you see that a player is bored do not be afraid to ask “Would you rather being doing something else right now?” Be polite and sincere when you ask. If the answer is yes do what you can to accommodate the player’s desires, but also be ready to suggest that the player “take the day off”. That player might just be having a bad day. Give them a way out, and let it be known in clear and precise terms that you want them to take a break so that they can come back to the next session of your game eager to play.
Because sometimes it does not matter that you are in Las Vegas with a million different options in front of you to choose from. Sometimes the one thing that you want is just not an option at that time. As a GM make sure that you understand how this sort of thing can happen even to the best of us with a player in one of your games.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below and share how you feel with everyone.