“Never game with someone you wouldn’t count as a friend.”
We’ve all seen and heard variations of the above comment, but experience is starting to tell me that it’s just not true. I have good friends who are gamers, but I don’t enjoy gaming with them. On the other hand, I enjoy gaming with some excellent players whom I consider mere acquaintances.
(This is only my experience; your mileage may vary, please do not take internally, this advice is only as valid as you consider it, yadda yadda.)
If a player shows up prepared, has a good time gaming, and contributes to the game, then he or she is in. Friendship is entirely optional; you don’t need to have the same outlook on life, interests (outside of gaming), or personality types to game together. These things can allow gamers to be friends outside of gaming, but aren’t necessary to the game itself.
On the other hand, any friend can bring baggage to a table. How many times have you heard of a gamer who doesn’t like what someone else at the table is doing, but doesn’t want to lose a friendship over it? There’s nothing wrong with gaming with your friends, but friendship is not a prerequisite for gaming.
We nerdy types often assume that someone with one shared interest must share other interests, but it’s not true. I don’t like anime, but I game with people who do. I have at least one firearm, but one player has an strong aversion to them. I have certain social and political views that are definitely not shared with all of my players or GMs. But we all get along at the table.
Please don’t consider this an invitation to allow the kinds of people you wouldn’t associate with into your game. There are some definite personality types who should be neither friends nor gamers. A short and very incomplete list would include the abusive, selfish, anti-social, self-destructive, and those sorely lacking in personal hygiene.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments and let us know!