Putting Board Games Down

Live board gaming is back. As the weather warms up and the COVID-19 wave subsides, board game enthusiasts are grabbing boxes off the shelves and feverishly shuffling cards in anticipation. But eagerness for a return to robust gaming does not mean all games will be created equal: You may find yourself stuck in an endless round, a grindy match or a never ending tiebreaker—and there is simply no time for such madness. Take note of these subtle and effective ways to end games in their tracks to either start new ones, snag new opponents or take a break before venturing back to the boards:

Set an alarm that sounds like a ringtone

Phone alarms are nothing new, and having heard enough of them to last a lifetime, most of us are generally unfazed by them at this point, either tuning them out instinctually or assuming they were falsely triggered—especially if they come in the middle of a board game. But nobody expects a phone call because, well, who even makes calls anymore? When your alarm goes off and the ringtone starts blaring, make a big deal out of the moment. Who could it be? Why are they calling? What’s the emergency? Force them to sit still as you take the fake call. Perhaps they will begin to ponder the fragile existence we all live each day, and come to the conclusion that their time could be better spent helping those in need. When you return to the board game, at least half the other players, if not more, will be off trying to soothe this existential woe. You win! Time to start a new game or go off and brag to non-gaming friends that, in fact, you are a liar.

Adopt a catchphrase

Now that’s a spicy meatball! A catchphrase practically screams to the world, “I am special and witty,” and will do wonders in establishing your gaming persona and, thankfully, driving those away who don’t share your love of the cheesiest cheeseball lines. That’s gotta hurt (them)! The best opportunities to introduce this catchphrase occur at the beginning of your turns, at the end of your turns, before the game starts, after your opponent’s turns, when the game is dragging on too long or when it is about to conclude—among many other appropriate times. How rude? More like how CRUDE of you not to have done this earlier! The best part of this revulsion technique is that your friends will absolutely refuse to play against you next time, further expanding your well of opponents beyond what you thought possible. Dreams do come true! And…scene!

Lament that you’re not playing a different board game

Now is your chance for unrelenting lamentation, particularly if you want to escape a toxic situation: Loudly and repeatedly proclaim that there are more fun board games to play, plus you’ve got one in mind you want to start right now. If your friends are completists, they may push back, but the others might be willing to appease your grievances and bring the current board game to a close. You may have to make some assurances, like that you won’t interrupt the next board game or find yourself with player’s remorse once you begin, but it’s a small price to pay for ripping the Band-Aid off the current board game so the healing can begin.

Simply change the scenery

You might be feeling antsy for a board game to end, but there could be a lot more at play than simply what’s on the board. Instead, gather the pieces and make a break for the great outdoors. Take a few photos of the board state before doing so, but no need to stress too much about recreating it entirely. New settings lead to new discoveries, and there may be a piece of this board game you haven’t quite explored—and might not have if not given the opportunity. Sometimes you have to stop the game to begin anew (possible catchphrase!), yes?

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