Monday Musing: Stay on Target

Today’s Monday Muse is staying on target. One of the harder things to do these days as a gamer.I myself am not safe from the pull of distractions at the table. In the world we live in becoming distracted is not only simple, it is second nature. The irony of all of these distractions is that when most of us were kids or young adults. We played games to distract us from the real world. Now the real world far too often distracts  us from our games. Between gif’s, text’s or memes and messengers the assault comes from every angle.

No one is safe these days, with at least one mobile device attached to every human being on the planet. Each essentially with the power of  a personal computer. You are just not going to get away from the reach of the real world into your game it would seem. I am just as guilty as many others out there reading this. Add in laptops and Tablets and these days some RPG games look more like LAN parties of old than Gaming sessions in progress.

So take the time to know that the distractions are there and give yourself a leg up in the efforts to stay on target during your games. Here are a few tips.

1. Take short breaks. The irony of this is my table knows me as a guy that frowns at too many breaks during the game. But In the last few weeks, I have begun to flip on the topic. After a long combat or before one is about to start a quick breath of fresh air can help you get back into the game.

2. Turn off any unneeded electronics. Now again this one will make some of my players giggle. As I swear by my electronics. This is true, yet even as a DM I turn off my messenger and log of things like G+and Facebook before the game. In an effort to minimise the distraction potental. I also only have notifications set to on for my most important applications on my phone. That Pidgey can wait till break guys, he’ll still be there he’s a Pidgey they are everywhere.

3. Grab your snacks before the game or during breaks. This will keep your focus on the game once things start back up. There is no sense going outside to stretch your legs and then as everyone is settling back in to play the game you hop up to go get that one snack you forgot.

4. If you can bring yourself to do it.

Turn off all of your electronics.

Embrace the time in the tech free dead zone…

I can’t believe I said it. I imagine I will get called on this lol as all of these.. I am guilty of all of these things. But I am working on all of them so I thought it would be a good one to share ! Until next time gamers !

What are some tips or tricks that you have to keep on task at the game table ?




  1. In our last session I made it perfectly clear that every word said at the table during play would be taken as being said by the character, was describing their characters actions or would be a direct question to myself as GM. It took 5 minutes to get into the players heads but after that the distractions soon petered out as the game progressed much more quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have seen this tip in action at game tables and it works well with many groups.
      Sadly for my players who all seem to have the gift of gab.. It would make players feel more like they are being put on time out then being made to stay in character lol.
      But personally I love it!


  2. We only get two or three face to face sessions (weekends) a year when we can all get together to play. Sometimes it felt like 40% of the time was ‘wasted’ in retelling the same old stories of adventures we had 20 or more years ago. By cleanly delineating time for chilling out and chatting, time for getting the beer and snacks and time for playing made the game go much smoother and it was easier for the players to get into and stay in character.

    In our gaming weekends we go out for meals and a few beers where we can chat and go over old times and old games.

    I agree with you that the electronics at the games table is on of the biggest threats to the escapism of gaming. There is one moment I like in our sessions at about 11pm every player sends their wife or girlfriend an sms to say good night and then again at about 7am we all end up sending ‘good morning’ messages while we are often still sat at the gaming table.


  3. This is a great post!

    Turning things off and spending some time before the game to catch up on real-life events is important, but, I also like to be prepared. Having everything in front of me, writing down all the information that I think that I’ll need in a clear fashion so I can find it when I need it. I like a neat and organized space to work in, and have only the essentials right there. I have pertinent information in the handbooks which I use all the time marked with paperclips. I want to control the pace of the game, and I can’t do that if I don’t know exactly where everything is.

    The first few moments of the game are important, but so was the last few moments of the previous one. Giving the players something to think about at the end of a session can greatly improve the chances of a smooth transition, be it a cliff-hanger, a new clue, or a new mystery. On my end, I’ve had time to think too, and I always know what I am going to throw at them first. I want a very fast pace. This doesn’t always happen on its own, it goes right back to that last game, if it was left in a way that you have no idea where it is headed, then you can’t prep for it, and you are in deep trouble.


    • Thanks for the great input! your response has inspired me to do a game prep and what I use at the table blog post or two! Thank you sharing your thoughts! I myself and not a handbook guy but I have begun to use OneNote Extensively in my games.


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