Tag Archives: wargaming

Wargaming Etiquette with Mr. Fancypants – The Peanut Gallery

Everyone has some pet peeves that pop up now and then. This is a common one. You and a buddy are playing a game at the local shop and everything’s going fine when someone comes up to watch. “Ok, that’s cool, we have someone else to talk to while we’re goofing off”, you think.

But at some point this other person starts giving advice on tactics, or pointing out rules errors without being asked. Needless to say, this gets annoying. Idle chit-chat is one thing, but when they start butting in you start getting the feeling of, “Hey man, this is our game, not yours. Shut up and wait your turn.” And they probably don’t mean to be rude, and often times don’t even realize what they’re doing. But it’s still frackin’ annoying.

At some point, many of us have been guilty of this to some degree. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve started playing peanut gallery before without even thinking. And it’s not meant to annoy or anything. In fact it typically starts as me wanting to understand all the rules better and looking stuff up while the others play. But eventually I find myself making comments like, “Dude, that’s not legal, you can only do X after Y.”

So, what do you do?

If it’s someone else making the comments, politely let them know what they’re doing and that it’s more fun for the people actually playing if advice and rulings are only offered when asked for. This is usually enough and keeps everyone friendly.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of coming to the realization that you are in fact the peanut gallery (often after an annoyed look or exasperated sigh from the players), kindly apologize and back off. Stay around if you’re still welcome (generally the case), but try to stay mindful of what you’re gabbing about. I find it helps to close any open rulebooks during a game to avoid the temptation, but your mileage may vary. 😛