Friday 11 April 2014

Board Game Etiquette: From Candy Land to Catan

by Sandi Moser

In this day and age of the electronic gadget, playing board games is a great way to get together and reconnect with friends. 

Since our first gaming experiences with Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders, we have ,hopefully, been learning the basic rules of etiquette. Play with grace, don’t be a sore loser or winner. and play fair. Winning by cheating is not really winning. However, if you’re new to board games, or haven’t had the opportunity to play very often, you may not be aware of some other unspoken etiquette rules. 

Next time your hostess pulls out a cool new game she’d like to try, here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind as you play:


Credit: Evan-Amos
If you’re new to gaming, you may not yet know just how expensive some of these games are, or how much effort the host has spent to assemble the various expansions. Sticky fingers can gum up pieces and spilled drinks can warp the playing board or cards. Wait for the host’s cue for food or drink on the table or politely ask. And if you know you’ll be playing a game, perhaps avoid bringing the bag of cheeses.

Credit: Júlio Reis

We all have things we do while we’re thinking of our next move or waiting for our turn. Try not damage the game components while you’re thinking by bending cards or tapping game pieces on your lips (I’ve seen it done). Remember that others will be playing the game after you and would prefer to use undamaged, clean pieces. 


It’s not quite the right term, but I can’t think of another way to word it. Take your cue from others for the appropriate amount of time to plan your next move. If it’s a new game, you might understandably take longer at the beginning while you understand the rules and gameplay. But, if everyone is taking an average 30 second turn, no one wants to consistently wait while you make your 5 minute plan to dominate each turn (although it does provide others with a bathroom break). 

Credit: Matěj Baťha

Don’t take yourself too seriously – Enjoy the game for what it is – a chance to socialize and have fun. If the game isn’t to your liking, play through and suggest something else that you rock at (Charades? Wii Sports? Euchre? Drinking wine?). And remember you’re not really building your own rail line, you don’t really own Boardwalk and you’re not really a magician (but if you are, we should talk!). 

There’s no official etiquette play book that I know of and I’m sure there are some rules that I haven’t thought of. You may have additional rules based on your own board game experiences – feel free to add them in the comment box below. Happy gaming!

Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.

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