The holidays are approaching, and this time of year serves as a harbinger of awkward conversations to come — Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime times to interact with relatives you either rarely see or suffer through. Don’t let different political beliefs or levels of social awkwardness get in the way of a happy evening! Here are some gaming-related topics of conversation to introduce, guaranteed to make you the great uniter.
“What’s your favorite game?”
Regardless of topic, people love talking about themselves. It’s the subject they’re guaranteed to be an expert on. Steer conversation toward everyone’s favorite topic by bringing up your favorite topic. There’s no guarantee your family has played many games in their lifetime, but at the very least they gave Monopoly a spin, even if it was only via a McDonald’s promotion. Better yet: Flatter their fine choice of game and hang on their every word as they describe what it was like to play for their first time.
“Did I tell you about the game I’m developing?”
Enthusiasm is infectious, so put your family in a good mood by outlining your excitement for your next creative project — which, as a game aficionado, just might be a game. Regale your family with the nitty-gritty of the development process, including the surprises you’ve encountered along the way and early sketches of the artwork. You might even consider bringing out a prototype and soliciting feedback from those at the dinner table. Demonstrate that you want to talk about all the wonderful ideas swirling around in your brain, and your family should applaud you, even out of obligation. At the very least, they’ll crack a smile to lighten the mood.
“Roll these dice.”
Everyone’s game for a mystery! Present a new twist on the typical dinner party by introducing some elements from Dungeons & Dragons or your other favorite RPG. After all, you’ve just dubbed yourself the dinner’s dungeon master! It may take a bit of time for your family to understand exactly why you’re suddenly talking about orcs and perception checks, but hopefully the more they roll your 20-sided dice, the further into the story they’ll fall. Once everyone’s paying attention, pass out character sheets to further the customization.
“Speaking of politics…”
Yikes! Despite your best efforts, the family has waged a war of words against each other about red states and blue states, Republicans and Democrats, the informed and the uninitiated. Flawlessly steer the conversation to sunnier skies with the ultimate in forced transitions. Politics are a key part of all games, albeit more focused on individual negotiations than grand social movements. Get your family talking about how they might work alongside other players to conquer a hypothetical co-op gaming situation, or against each other in a rousing round of your favorite cutthroat card game. Before long, your family might be at each other’s throats, but at least they won’t alienate the third-party voters at the table.
What are some of your favorite board game discussions at the dinner table during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!