Twitter Follow

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Magic of Exclusion

Last week I had a "Pre Table Interview"  Did ya ever have one of these?  It's like a job interview, except you're being questioned, reviewed, looked at under the gaming microscope before being allowed access to a particular game.

Wait, wait... wait just a damned minute!  You're off the blog for months, nary a word, hardly a tweet, barely a buzz and then you just SHOW BACK UP HERE and start in on some crap about a game interview?  Where the hell have you been?!?  You can't just drop off the face of the blogosphere and then casually show back up like nothing has happened!  

ok...I hear ya.  Let's go with the short version, ok?

Got pretty sick, had to have a series of procedures from Early September until about mid November.
Better now, thanks.

Looked for, and bought, a house during that same time period...packed and moved.
All moved in, mostly unpacked, still organizing shit.

Worked a TON trying to make extra bucks to deal with the household items that needed attention post-move (new dryer, new hot water heater etc) know, the shit that always goes wrong after you move and you're no longer renting, but you own now and you gotta deal with it on your own.

Did you play in any games? Yup, a few, but not heavily invested during that rough time.
Did you run any games? Nope.  Just too busy to deal, but I'm going to be running a new AD&D 1e game on Fantasy Grounds starting next week!  Super Excited for that.

What about your precious Photography?!?!?  Did you do any of that junk? A small bit, but not as much as I would have liked.  Hoping that the spring weather sparks some movement.  I wasn't 100% stagnant but I feel like my work in that arena has slowed significantly

Are we done with the recap?  You satisfied?  Can I blog now?

Yeah...go ahead.  Sorry I got a bit pissy there.

No problem.  I understand.  Hope we're cool.

Yup, we're good.  Roll on.


OK, so back to the original thought.  I was interviewed for a spot in a game. Lemme start the story by saying that I did NOT get into the game.

Back at the begining of this tale, I had reached out to a Meetup dot com group and posted that I had recently moved and was looking to join or run a game in my new area.  It was a casual post, and I got only a few responses...most of them not helpful.

A few months passed.

Out of the blue, a fellow contacts me about joining his game.  I'm interested so I reply, and then within the Meetup dot com app messaging system he begins to ask me a series of questions.  Most were harmless, it seemed like he was just getting a feel for my skill level, experience, etc. 

A few questions in and it started feeling like more of a deep dive.  I wasn't offended (and you know how easily I can get offended), but I was I answered the questions.

In the end, the fellow requested a meeting.

Not a 'come to a game session and see how it goes' type meeting, which at this point would have seemed the next, normal step...but instead he asked me to meet him a a local bar for a chat.

Okaaayyyyy.  I'm fine with a beer, and the place is close by, and I have the I agree.

I don't want to get to deep into our meeting.  Suffice it to say that it went fine, we had a number of things in common, and a few items where our ideas or ideologies may have not met, but it was all handled by both parties in a mature, adult manner and I had a pleasant evening sharing a few drinks with a new friend.  He ran down some info on his game, and on his group, and while many of his players were relative noobs it didn't deter me.  I knew that the real test was going to be time spent at the table.  Either I would fit in, or I wouldn't.  Playing since 1981 I have had my fair share (and then some) of gaming groups where I was NOT going to fit in.  Finding that out is an integral part of the gaming experience, IMHO.

I never got the chance.

A few days after our meeting, I received a text message via the app again, and in as pleasant a manner as is possible, the fellow informed me that he did not think I would fit in with the group.  He enjoyed the hang, maybe we could do something else gaming related, but this particular game was not going to be one for me.

Listen...I'm not mad.  Was I a bit shocked?  Sure.  I didn't expect to be spurned before I even got to the table.  Do I know WHY I was refused admittance?  Nope.  Yeah, I have some theories, but it doesn't really matter.  Am I going to yell and scream about it like a child being sidelined at a kickball game?  Fuck no.

Honestly, I can't think of too many folks who would have let that interview process go as far as I let it go.  I was curious.  I was bored.  I'd like to find a game table to play at IRL instead of every game being VTT, but i'm not a crybaby.  If anything, kudos to that dude for caring so much about his table to put up such an extensive series of hurdles and barriers.

I've let many folks just join right in only to find out in short order that they didn't fit in, and then I have to cut ties.  It's never pleasant, and for some folks it's damned near impossible to grow a pair and table-fire a player.  I get it.  I'm not judging, just relating.

There are many folks who would have gotten past the text message questions and then, once they found out the guy wanted to meet before a game to make double-dog sure about them, would have quietly fucked off.  Not me.  I enjoyed it.

Let's not harass folks for their preferences.  In that guy's mind, I was not going to fit in.  It was HIS table, HIS game, and ultimately HIS decision. I would want the same right of refusal, even if I wouldn't approach the 'interview' process in the same manner.

I hope he does reach out again.  He might be a cool guy to hang with, and to play with, even if it isn't in that game that he's running.  We had common ground.  Books, movies, and even some games.  We didn't see 100% eye to eye on everything but there was enough shared experience that we could be friends.  Will he wanna hang out again?  He indicated yes, but my guess is no. 

His perception of our meeting could have been very different from mine. 

Exclusion is often bandied about these days as a bad thing, a negative connotation hanging heavy in the air once spoken.  Sure, it can feel bad to have someone tell you that you aren't welcome to join in their fun, but as an adult I have learned to respect that right in others in much the same way I expect others to respect my right to exclude them when and if I deem it necessary.

That is life people.  Not everyone belongs everywhere.  Not everyone fits in.  Every game is not for every body.

Game on.


  1. Replies
    1. I often do this exact same thing. I have had more than a few players that I met with and extended an invite, only to have them be A) a terminal flake. B) a horrible person that disrupted the whole game or C) Somebody who is a show up but barely participate. Don't even get me started on the player who when asked what he wanted to play described his perfect character as (not EVEN joking here): "An intelligent blob of acid with spiky bits and probability control powers."

      So now, me and my longest running player often as questions over text/email and then meet them for drinks to get a good feel for them.

      Had one guy that I totally clicked with over text, and then when I met him in person I walked away thinking, "What happened to the cool guy I talked to over text?"

  2. I would say no thanks to hanging out. The dude politely insulted you. I don't take kindly to people sitting a top a self built high place, passing out divine judgement.

  3. Chris, I get what your saying but let me go with a possible scenario. I'm looking for a new player at my table let's say. (I nearly always DM). Here's the tone (normally): fairly serious, low-magic, very classic monsters, classes and races, almost no third party stuff unless I've vetted it. My players generally speak in third person and we don't get into heavy backgrounds and role-play.

    Now, here's come a guy or girl in for the interview: they tell me that has classic western european medieval (it's soooo been done before), they want high-fantasy, techno-magic and they found this awesome class on dndwiki they're dying to try and they want to be were-troll/vampire cross-breed race. They LOVE to speak in character and they tell me how their old group would spend the first hour of each session acting like they're in a tavern just talking in character.

    Me bringing this person in probably not going to end well. They are looking for the polar opposite game I'm running and we're looking for a totally different style role-player.

    Could it work? maybe. But just the same -deciding someone is a "bad fit" means we don't fit you or you don't fit us, and neither is badwrongfun. It just means we're probably gonna spend as much time trying to adapt to each other as we do gaming and that's not a blast for most people.

    Just my two coppers!

    1. sorry just saw a typo (that has) second paragraph replace with (they hate)

  4. I would do the exact same thing they did. Just because you’ve played D&D before doesn’t mean we’re automatically a good fit for each other.

  5. Another thing to consider is the players you didn’t meet. The DM/GM might have been (using simple political gargon) a bit left/right of you, but the rest of the table may have been much farther left/right, some very opinionated. So the DM/GM considers how the you would fit at the table, and although he would be cool hanging with you, he can see the game desolving into player drama (as opposed to character drama) and him stuck as a referee of ongoing squabbling. In his shoes, I might have did the same thing, although I would have likely given more explanation.

  6. Personal differences in a gaming group are more likely to revolve around play style than political opinions. I have some friends who are excellent gamers and good friends, but who I would never choose to seat at the same game table.

    One of the advantages of participating in organized play is that you can see how people interact before inviting them to join a campaign.

  7. Hey Howard! Hope all else is going well! Odd experience there.