Board Game Group Dilemma

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Board Game Group Dilemma

Post by jcorozza on Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:11 pm

So, I'm a co-organizer for a board game group. We've been around for over a year, and while we have a decent amount of regulars, new people continue to join regularly. In January, a woman joined and has been coming most weeks - she's much older than most of the older members (who are mostly 20s and 30s - I would guess she's in her 60s) and not particularly social. I wouldn't have a problem with any of this, but she isn't very good at learning rules to games, and does not seem interested in trying to get better. She consistently joins in hidden role games, cooperative games, traitor games, and other games where no one can really help her out if she does not understand the rules. She does not ask any questions, and when others offer to answer any questions she has, she does not ask any. She often gets up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the game at awkward times. It's gotten to the point where many members will avoid games with her, or specifically set up games with only a few players early on (she tends to wander in late) so that she will be forced to join another game. I don't want to be mean, since she has not been mean, but it has become a bit of a problem, and I worry that new members will be forced into groups with her and thus scared away. I asked folks on Facebook, and the general feedback was:

-try to teach her some simpler games (tried, she had the same problems)
-try steering her towards games where it's less crucial that she understands the rules (tried this, she came back to the other games)
-talk to her about it (what would I even say in this scenario?)
-maybe she is lonely and you could be nice and help her be social (which...sounds nice, but this is where I go to relax and enjoy myself. I don't really feel it's my job or place to be helping this adult who is my parents' age learn to socialize - this is the kind of thing I do at work, where I get paid, and if she was mainly interested in the social aspect, there are plenty of strictly social groups - some even geared toward her age group if that would make her more comfortable, or groups for taking walks/that do not require being quick or good at games)

Any other ideas, or ways to tweak any of the above advice to make it more workable? I like that it's an inclusive group, though I do think if someone was behaving like an asshole to others, they would get a talking-to or be kicked out, but she hasn't done much besides be bad at games and not really try to learn them. If it were strictly social, she would be harmless, but I don't think that's the case anymore.
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Re: Board Game Group Dilemma

Post by Enail on Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:34 pm

Urgh, that is an awkward problem to have. It kind of sounds like someone might need to speak to her about it, though that sounds like it would feel pretty uncomfortable. Or, since it sounds like a pretty big group, maybe you could even do a general announcement to everyone rather than speaking to her directly?

Maybe something like "we want everyone to get the chance to have fun and try new games, but some games are more rule-intensive than others, and for it to be fun for everyone, we really need the players to be full participants and step up and learn the rules for the games they're playing. So we'd ask that if you're not in the mood to pick up a bunch of rules on a given day, or if you come here to relax with something lower key in general, please steer away from the more strategic games with detailed rules and choose to play simpler games, and save the complicated ones for when you're feeling up for paying attention and learning all the rules from the start."

And if that doesn't work and you do need to speak to her directly, sometimes it's easier to have that kind of conversation if the ground rule has been laid out in advance, at least.
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