For the most part, everyone is at game night with the same goal: to have fun.
Like any group, there will come a day when someone joins your group that just does not mesh with anyone. Maybe they’re jerks, maybe they’re unintentionally insufferable.
Either way, these people are disruptive, and make the goal of having fun nearly impossible.
How do you deal with these “problem gamers.”
Problem Gamer 1: The Jerk (aka Choatic Evil)
Maybe they focus on ruining another player’s game after some imagined slight. They might be voted “Most Likely To Flip A Table.” These people are only at game night for one reason: to win, or to ruin everyone else’s night for their own amusement.
Maybe that’s hyperbole, but we’ve all encountered these people. Some have a higher threshold for this type of behavior, but other people are going to get sick of it quick.
Problem Gamer 1: How To Approach Them
This is when a set of ground rules comes in handy. Make sure everyone is clear on what the rules are–when this person breaks the rules, it will be a clear-cut case.
Be direct and be firm. They may say they were only joking. They might claim that they got caught up in the game, and that they regret how they acted.
Ultimately, you know your group dynamic than anyone, and you’re the only one who can gauge when to drop the ban hammer.
Just keep in mind – the longer you let this type of negativity persist, the less likely that everyone else will want to attend game night.
Problem Gamer 2: Unintentionally Obnoxious
They interrupt other players, forget the rules, take too long to make their move, whine, and have other “quirks” that make them…difficult, to play with.
Unlike the first gamer type, this person doesn’t have bad intentions. They want to have a good time, they like to game . It’s not clear whether this person is oblivious to their behavior, or if they are too self-centered to care.
Some people are just quirky–others might have a social disability. Either way, their behavior causes issues, and other group members are actively avoiding playing with them, and it’s becoming a growing problem.
Problem Gamer 2: How To Approach Them
The best way to deal with this situation is to be direct, honest, and construction. You know that they enjoy game night, and if at all possible, it might be worth trying to fix the situation.
Be direct – Explain exactly what the issue is, but in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental manner, and calm manner:
“Game night is all about having fun, but behaviors X, Y, and Z are really causing some friction in the group. I know that you like enjoy coming to game night, and I’d be happy to help you work on behaviors X, Y, and Z over the next month so that we can all have a good time. We can reassess then. What do you think?”
You’ve identified the problem without being critical. Offered a solution. Presented a time frame. And let them choose their own fate.
Of course, a month might go by and you see no progress. It’s difficult, banning someone who truly loves gaming and is not outright trying to cause problems.
If you’re group is about to lose their collective shit, then you may have to uninvited this person from game night. It’s not an easy conversion, but it doesn’t have to be entirely negative:
“It’s been a month, and unfortunately the problems we previously discussed are still causing issues with the group. Maybe it’s us, but I’m going to have to ask you to stop coming to game night. I bet there’s another group where you can meet some great people; in fact, here’s a list of other game stores in the area.“