Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

Blue Peg, Pink Peg» Forums » General

Subject: How important is it to finish a game? (Playing with children) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Brendan Riley
United States
La Grange
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi All,

My 9yo son is the non-gamer in the family. He will occasionally play a game with us, but it's often the case that my wife, daughter, and I will play a game and he'll go do his own thing.

That said, I'm trying to get a bit more time to game with him. Here's the thing -- he's taken to playing a game for a while and then declaring that it's "boring" and wanting to quit and go do something else.

I'm a bit torn. On one hand, I think that social contracts are important for kids to learn, and I think there's something to be said for the idea that if you're playing a game with someone, you should finish the game. On the other hand, I want to have fun with him, and demanding that he stay and play a game he isn't enjoying seems like a bad choice too.

For now, I'm thinking we'll lean toward shorter games, but I'm curious how you've dealt with this sort of thing.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Douglas Klipfel
United States
South Dakota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I understand we don't want to teach our kids to quit. However I play games with my kids to have fun while forming a bond and hopefully at the end a good memory for them to look back on. I would let him walk away from the game if he is not enjoying it.

The only regrets I have from board gaming is when I get upset during the game, and then reflect that frustration back to the other players.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Maltman
Canada
RICHMOND HILL
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I’ll encourage continuing, especially if another sibling or other players are playing. Sometimes deals will be made - trading finishing the game for doing something else they want afterward or in the future to engage them. Sometimes we pause the game and leave it out to finish later. Sometimes we play their turns for them temporarily while they take a break, or for the rest of the game. Sometimes we get them to bring something else to the table to work on between turns. It’s mainly my 9 year old son that this happens with lately, rather than my 6.5 year old son.

Decide what principles matter the most to you. For us, it’s having fun, respecting the fun of others, and wanting to game together in the future. Finish what you start is way down the list, and doing things to make the game not fun to drill some lesson isn’t what we choose.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Maltman
Canada
RICHMOND HILL
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You don’t know how long an experience will be for them, from their perspective, until you’re in it. So you don’t want to shut off those experiences without trying them, but you can debrief later on whether it was long the first time and would be faster in future, or it was how they were feeling that day (tired, hungry, thinking of something else that was shinier)?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I encourage finishing the game as well. Depending on how the "quiter" is acting I'll comment that I don't appreciate their behavior and I would like them to stop. This happens when my son or daughter are being jealous because they perceive that their sibling is doing better than them and reacting poorly. It is a delicate balance between wanting your kid to see things through and not pushing them away from the table and wanting to game in the future.

I think Jamie Maltman has 2 great suggestions in negotiating a deal and coming back to the game later. I can see successful outcomes for both of these suggestions. I have done a fair amount of negotiating with my kids.

As you said part of the issue are kid's shorter attention spans. That improves with age, so I part of it is just being patient as the adult and meeting our kids where they are at. It can be a struggle at times.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kristopher Hickman
United States
St. Joseph
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Gaming Unplugged since... 2016
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My gut reaction is a hard "you finish what you start," but upon some reflection, I've developed my thoughts a bit.

If its a game he has played before, then he needs to commit to playing out a full game. I would try to set out a clock or timer. I know you use BG Stats. Perhaps you can look to see how long a game normally takes for your family. Put that number on a timer and start it so that he can see how long it will take to finish this commitment.

If the game is a new experience, I reccomend playing a practice round to give him an idea of what the game will entail. Once the round is over, restart the game. If it was interesting enough to him, he will stick around. If not, he can leave at that point without disrupting the game or leaving one spot empty.

Lastly, it might be fair to say that while the rest of your family enjoys playing games together, your son might not fall into that category (yet, or ever). It's important to seek other ways to include him that are more to his liking. Perhaps if he feels/sees that his needs/wants are met by you, he might be more inclined to return the favor.

I also like the idea of an outing like Rob and Christina do with Harper. Take the family out to the donut shop to get a donut and play a game. The two become connected and it might help make playing games be a more positive experience.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Its a catch-22. If you force the games on him, you'll teach him to resent playing games. On the flip side, it is important to honor the social contract.

I am lucky that I have a HUGE table in my home library. I can leave 2 or 3 games set up on the table (and often do). When one of my kids is burned out, we leave the game set up and I'll play a two player game with my other kid. This has proven especially useful for particularly emotional gaming moments and somebody needs a hug/cuddle break.

This of course isn't going to work for most folks who can't simply leave a game sitting out for days at a time.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Titelbaum
United States
Issaquah
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great discussion topic. My son just turned 9 yesterday. He is obsessed with videogames, and it's often a point of contention to convince him to take a screen break and play a boardgame with the family.

One thing we do is to bring a better-than-average snack to the game table, something that lures our kids to play. Yeah, it's a bit of bribery, but it helps get a little extra patience out of them.

We also try to consider time-of-day when asking to play. I think we have an easier time before lunch than in afternoons.

What you don't want to do is make the situation stressful by forcing him to play beyond his patience, because it will likely make it even harder to get him to the table the next time.

For me, I'm still struggling with the hypocrisy of my kids complaining that the game is taking "too long" while they are also the ones goofing around playing with their bits and making the game take "too long". I'm also having a challenge finding a game that works for him and also works for his 6yo sister who is just starting to read. Drop It this weekend was a big hit, though.

Good luck. Let us know if you have any breakthroughs!

---Matt
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Maltman
Canada
RICHMOND HILL
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
An interesting angle with my son is that partway through a game he'll often say "I want to play my own version of this after we're done". What he often means is - "I want to play my own version of it right now, instead." But he's being nice.

He wants to try out various things and multiple hands all at once, experimenting in his own way. He's got a bit of a designer brain going on there that can make other people's turns seem longer.

Next time I think I'll get him to start making notes of his ideas while its someone else's turn.

Thankfully like Scott we have a multiple tables we can use, so he's usually got a game out in process himself, leaving another 2 places to play for the rest of us.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Simone [The Quasi Geek Dad]
United States
Redmond
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Depends on the game and situation.

But given a “normal” situation and if my daughter said she was bored and wanted to quit, I would say “that’s fine, but if you really think this game is boring and won’t commit to finishing it, then we will never play this game again.” She has a choice and the consequence of choice. If this is an excuse that happens more than once on different games honestly I would just tell her that we are going to take a year long break and won’t be playing games together for awhile. No need to keep playing something that is boring. Even if she had fun for the first 10 minutes of any game then started to quit, then obviously she doesn’t like playing games, just starting them. Then it’s time to find something else to do together.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Nye
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
I have a 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son and have run into just a couple problems when it comes to quitting early over the last few years.

First one is I ask them or talk them into playing a game with me and with in 30-40 minutes they grow tired of playing. I normally bring lighter or shorter games to table with them so many times I can show them that we only have a couple turns left and the game will end. They may not put much effort in the last turn but they at least do finish. Now when I show them a new game I will always let them chose to stop in the middle if they just don't like the game or are bored with it. To each there own right.

Now the more common one is when they ask to play a game and then they start to check out at the half way point. I have to put the old foot down here. I kindly remind them that they wanted to play and we need to finish the game out.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Sexton
United States
Silver Lake
66539
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MaltmanJ wrote:
An interesting angle with my son is that partway through a game he'll often say "I want to play my own version of this after we're done". What he often means is - "I want to play my own version of it right now, instead." But he's being nice.

lol

This is quite possibly the most adorably Canadian thing I've ever read.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Murphy
United States
norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
I think you should ask your son. Try to start a conversation about the social contract. Sometimes people don't realize how much something means to other people until they come out and say it. ( this includes all ages) Discussing the reasons why you'd like to finish a game once you start one might make the whole situation easier. Also like you said, respecting how he feels is also important as well.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Curto
United States
Sandpoint
Idaho
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have six kids and this varies greatly. By far the most important distinction is that if I'm only playing with one of them, I'll usually let them quit/take a break whenever they want; but if we're playing 3+ I try to hold them accountable to their commitment (with exceptions for odd cases).

Gabriel (14) doesn't like playing anything longer than an hour, then he loses interest and want to play Overwatch or Dota2. However....... He's the first one to jump at a "gameday", the last two of which were 13 hours (Heroes of Land, Air, and Sea) and 15 hours (Eclipse/Viticulture). So it's less about the board game and more about the mental commitment or expectations. I no longer let him bail early because of this, and I let him know that up front and hold him accountable, he's fine with this.

My youngest two (9/11) don't lost interest as much as they stop caring. Around 45-60 minutes they no longer make real decisions that reflect a desire to win and start goofing off (moving their own ships/survivors into a dragon in Survive!). I try to stick to games within their time span, and if we go too long I'll "pause" the game and just ask them if they want to finish or not.

My daughter (16) has as much patience as I have, in the rare circumstance she isn't having fun and wants to quit... it's usually to paint minis or/AND watch Dr Who, I'm okay with that. She's clever.

My wife's son's (13/16) rarely play, and if they do, we're lucky if they last 1 round of Codenames/Telestrations/Werewolf. I always ask if they want to play, never press them to, let them quit whenever, and thank them for playing. I'm /still/ hoping they come around, but seven years later they don't seem to enjoy it any more than their mother =D




1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
La Grange
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks so much, everybody. Lots of thoughtful comments here to mull over.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls