Response to Cheating

12 April, 2010

A few posts ago, I mentioned I had a cheating problem at the table. Here’s what I did.

I opted not to talk about it at the beginning of the Saturday game. I didn’t want to put a damper on everything, before what should be the fun part of the week.

So first, I talked to all the players I could, one-on-one. I told them that cheating wasn’t okay, and if they saw it, they should say something, out of respect for the game.

Second, I changed my position at the table. We sit at a rectangular dinner table, and I, as the DM, usually sit at the head, behind a DM screen. I changed my position to the middle of the table, where I could see everything. I got rid of the DM screen. I took a piano chair (lucky I had a piano, sitting around), and it fit underneath the table. That’s where I now keep my notes. An upside down lid of a cardboard office box keeps my dice from falling onto the floor.

Third, during player turns, I would try to clear the table, so players couldn’t hide. Books go on the carpeted floor. Empty soda cans, cups, and plates are cleared. Giant bags of chips and boxes of grain bars are juggled on players’ heads and passed around like a delicious American football.

As a result, I’m in the players’ faces. They all know that cheating’s not okay. The table’s much clearer, and I and everyone else can give more feedback on high and low rolls. Best of all I can now reach the board without needing to stand up. After the game, even without prompting, two of the players noted that there was no cheating at that table, that night. Turns even seemed to go by faster, because there were more misses and less damage calculation.

I found that humorous.

It feels like recovering from a bad cold. After medicine and recuperation, I feel better than ever, even though I know that I’m more-or-less normal. Now, time to plan some dragon hunting…



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