Saturday, April 8, 2017


After my last D&D game I vomited explosively for several hours. The snacks were poorly managed.

So, on this Retropost Saturday, I give you an old but necessary overview:

Let us not ignore the white elephant at the gaming table: snacks.

All Games Considered knows it.

The default is: many snacks. Excessive snacks. More snacks than can reasonably be eaten.

It's game day, your free time will be taken up by the game, no reason not to just spend the pregame hours at the 7-11.

Fresh mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella cheese is good and goes well with anything, but: you have to slice it and it's moist to the touch. If you're handling paper it gets the paper wet. Plus there never seems to be enough. The amount that would be enough to last the whole game is also too much cheese to eat all at once. Plus you'll want tomatoes--which have all the same problems all over again.

Although perhaps less "mature", a simple cheddar is versatile--and can be sliced thinner without losing coherency.

Salami is a delicious snack, but has the oiliness of mozzarella, and thus many of the same drawbacks. Ham will be eaten if it is there, but is preferred by few. Better to avoid snacking than to snack by necessity on undesirable meat. Sliced coins of deli sausage would appear to be optimal, if money is not a consideration.

Popcorn is excellent, but may encourage simulationism.

Chips: chips are fine and good. The only problem with chips is they cannot be combined into a multi-classed snack. They crumble and fail when stacked into a small sandwich with other foodstuffs. Better a cracker.

A cracker? What kind? The triscuit is undervalued, I find. As is the wheat thin. Less exciting than the Ruffle or tortilla chip--to be sure--yet infinitely more versatile.

The Ritz? Perhaps. A compromise between the baked saltiness of a chip and the stoic healthiness of the wheat thin. The Ritz is the half-elf of grain-based snacks.

The Cheeto is to be avoided at all costs: it is hollow, less tasty than true cheese, and stains exposed surfaces with despicable orange dust.

The Frito is by far a nobler snack, and surprisingly filling.

Gummi Bears are toothsome, do not crumble or quickly melt, and, when properly bitten across the lower extremities to create a smooth surface, can be placed on the tabletop and used as goblins or henchmen. And the related Gummi Worm is truly an imposing beast at 28 mm scale.

Some pine for immersive foods: trail mix, suckling pig on a spit, ratmeat and orcflesh. These people are hippies.

The cheap wafer is an intriguing snack--in strawberry or vanilla flavors. I would not disdain it.

A baguette--a fine long loaf of crusty bread. This is a superior snack! And the French, wisely, eat them with chocolate.

Chocolate should be present in some form, or female players may turn sour and cruel. M&M's, though initially tempting, are difficult to combine, and frequently scatter to the floor, like small dice.

Chips Ahoy or Oreos are good, but the urge to dunk them may be overwhelming, and this leads to twin evils: wet spots on the maps and open-topped glasses of drinks rather than bottles. Should you enlist them, guard your table well.

If, like, mine, your gaming table includes those professionally obliged to remain fit and healthy, you may provide Healthy Snacks. Of Healthy Snacks I know little, and will say less--only this: I have yet to find a healthy snack that is not either too tasteless or too small to distract the players from hunger.

On the other end, the temptations of both the donut and the pastry are well known, and deceptive. A man may eat a single donut, or a man may eat ninety donuts, but either way the donuts will not last throughout the session. Place not your faith in them. Also: donuts cause discord--for who gets the jelly? And who the creme?

Of utmost importance is the heartiness of the snack. If the snack be too hearty, then players may tire of it, and want to stop for a genuine meal. If the snack be not filling enough, players may get hungry, and want to stop for a genuine meal.

The integration of a true meal is the mark of an experienced DM. However, timing is key: a meal at the beginning and the players will be hungry by the end, a meal at the end and players will decide to end the game when they get hungry.

By far the best arrangement is a planned delivery of lunch or dinner in the middle of the session. A mysterious door, the precipice of a terrifying encounter, and then--Thai? Chinese? Pizza? A brief take-out menu interlude, and then back into the fray.

Pizza is traditional, and not unwise. Beware the complexities of half-pies, particularly when ordering by phone, however, and of the lactose intolerant.

The various deliverable foods of the Far East are likewise desirable--but soups at the gaming table are treacherous, and cold noodles are to be despised. Therefore, those who would eat noodles while gaming would do well to eat them fast. Also, gamers are a superstitious, cowardly lot--they may be unduly influenced by fortune cookies.

Deli sandwiches are simple, inexpensive, unsloppy, and can be eaten cold.

Of the dangers of mexican food, enough has been written.



acep hale said...

For a cheese recommendation, Cabot Garlic & Herb Cheddar Cheese. I did not realize it was lactose free until I went to find the link, so there you go, double plus good. No oily residue.

WithintheDungeon said...

With Cheetos.
Reveals Fingerpints.
Just say no.

Adamantyr said...

At my last game session, I had set up a coffee maker near the gaming table and brewed a pot.

Surprisingly, it was very popular with nearly every gamer getting a cup. (I have several gaming themed mugs available as well.) They even liked the coffee, which was just canned MJB. (Then again, French Vanilla creamer makes anything taste good...)

G. B. Veras said...

Here in southern Brazil, we usually stick with cookies, biscuits and wafer for snacks (specially sandwich cookies like Oreo).
For drinks we go for soft drinks, juices or beer, wine (if you are in VtM or some other goth thing) or cocktails (if you more party than play).
For the real meal, we get pizza, hot dog or a kind of pressed cheeseburger.

shanepatrickward said...

I agree wholeheartedly about the under appreciation for triscuits (specifically cracked black pepper and olive oil flavour... Oh my) and wheat thins. There is a wonderful dip that can be made in the home with cheese and artichoke. As well with the crackers the use of the "good cheese" aka boursin.

Another frequent recipe is that of the good sandwich. In our house that is a very long piece of cibata bread, with cream cheese and garlic spread. Covered in black Forest ham and Genoa salami. Also pepperchinis

Oakes Spalding said...

That was a very funny post.

Random question: do you ever allow (have you ever allowed) smoking? Or at least in certain groups?

Unknown said...

We always have a dinner ready at the beginning of the game - I like things like pasta or soup that can be served up in a bowl to minimize space used at the table, and also because it is easy to grab a little at the beginning of the game and then some more in the middle. Once we started doing dinners we never went back to snacks

Zak Sabbath said...

i don't care if people smoke as long as nobody has asthma

Jojiro said...

You are a ridiculous human being.

Also, I hope your turbulent stomach has calmed itself after unleashing its payload that last game. Humans were not meant to play around with breath weapons.

David Larkins said...

This post needs to be made available in audio format with a really good Vincent Price impersonator doing the reading.

Sean McCoy said...

Feel better!

DazzleEngine said...

Peshaw and indeed, gadzooks, I scoff at your Vincent Price, worthy as that would be for a tale of gothic horror, this is not such a one. A subject matter of such gravitas calls out for a James Earl Jones, or, for preference, a Morgan Freeman.