Some gamers like to drink while they play, or while running a game — and some don’t.

So how about it: do you allow drinking at the table during your games?

Up until recently, I’ve always had the perception that gaming and drinking probably shouldn’t mix. I run games a lot more often than I play in them, so for me it comes down to the fact that I want to be at my sharpest when I’m at the helm. One beer isn’t going to change that, but with a couple of drinks in me I lose enough of my edge that I worry about missing things, making poor decisions and having trouble reacting to the unexpected.

Recently, I’ve gamed with folks who can have a couple of drinks during play without any problems. It’s part of the background — like having a cocktail at a party — and it doesn’t seem to have an impact on the game. I suspect that for many groups, this is part of the social experience of gaming, as well as a way to relax at the end of a long workweek.

I know there are plenty of factors at work here that have nothing to do with gaming — age, upbringing, venue of play (you’re not likely to crack open a beer at your local gaming store) and so forth. Let’s set those aside.

What I’m interested in are the gaming-specific factors that might influence whether or not your group has booze at the table during play — things like gaming primarily as a social outlet vs. hardcore roleplaying, systems with complex rules vs. rules-light games, or darker games (like Vampire or Werewolf) vs. lighter or even outright humorous games (Paranoia or Toon, let’s say).

Back to the question, then: how does your group handle this? As a GM, do you drink while running the game? Do you think there are gaming-related factors specific to your campaign, group or style that help to determine whether or not there’s alcohol at your sessions?