Monday, June 5, 2017

My Favorite Opinion In The History Of Games

Ok, so you know what an X-Card is?

It's like for games where people might get freaked out. (For some people: all games.)

It's a card you hold up when the game is genuinely traumatically freaking you out and then everybody dials back whatever the offensive thing is.

The theory is: sometimes if you're freaked out, you're too freaked out to explain to your fellow gamers that you're freaked out, so you use this card to say it. X! And they all then know that means stop.



So recently this person (a storygame fan, naturally) suggested that the X-card should be mandatory for all games.

And I was like "Well then why not for all activities ever? I mean, you can be doing anything and then be triggered and then not be able to explain why?"

And they were like Yeah, the X-card should be mandatory for all activities.

So this is the cutest opinion in the history of games.

But then I was like--y'know what, I know lots of people who have triggers. Maybe it would actually be a good idea if there was just a trigger ap that actually called up a message saying "Hey this is difficult content for me" with translation options.

Mandatory though. Online RPG people, jesus.

That would make murder trials hella fun, right?


Eric Walker said...

What What​in the fuck is the problem with playing playing​ with people who know you and saying "Stop! I'm freaking out." What's this shit about playing with complete strangers with games with intimate. Content and freaking out? What is happening? Who fucking wants to do this?

Zak Sabbath said...

storygamers at cons.

I mean: I'm ok with that.

but mandatory for all activity--not that

Adam Dickstein said...

If I could hold up a card every time something was freaking me out, or was difficult for me, it would have completely changed my teen years.

Of course, I would then be just as weak and unable to adapt as most people these days.

Naw. No thanks.

3llense'g said...

Tape it to your forehead, done.

Oakes Spalding said...

Why not just say, "hey guys, this is freaking me out"? If you're so freaked out that you can't even talk, perhaps you should leave the table immediately. Or you should never have sat down at the table to begin with. I'm not assigning blame - the "freak out" could be anyone's fault or no one's. But still. I honestly don't understand.

Zak Sabbath said...

Oakes, if you've ever spent time with people with ptsd you'll know that sometimes even the social complexity of getting up and walking away is too much.

And that, much as we'd like to say "well don't play", this is often one of their few and therapeutic outlets.

Now: I don't have an x card at my table and don't feel I need one. But I know people w/ptsd and autism combined and can easily imagine situations where a card might solve a lot of social problems for them.

I definitely think there's a lot of overkill with the assumptions in the indie rpg crowd that every therapeutic solution needs to be applied to human being on earth and everyone needs the same kind of attention and kid-gloves, but I also think that we do need to recognize that people are _allowed_ to have specific problems, they're _allowed_ to play games and they're _allowe_ to devise solutions that work for them and we should respect them.

So if someone _wanted_ and x card and they were my friend, I'd assume they knew themselves enough to have reasons it was better than other options

Zak Sabbath said...

(yeah typos, whatever)

Oakes Spalding said...

No, I know. As I said, I'm not blaming them. And I'm not saying, "well don't play" as a put down against them or whatever. I guess I just question the therapeutic value (or any other value) to them of a game where the potential for such a "freak out" is there. I mean, I'd feel horrible if one of my players reacted in that way. I suppose I would immediately try to figure out how to take that thing (whatever it was) out of the game so it wouldn't happen again, or if it was integral to it, I'd STRONGLY encourage them to go elsewhere, not as a punishment but for their own, well, health or safety.

My only experience with this was playing with an old friend who clearly (it turned out) had difficulty separating fantasy from reality. Frankly, I don't think he would have been even able to use a card.

But obviously the solution, I would think, is trying to get any possible "trigger" things out in the open before anyone starts playing - this game will include explicit sex or violence, or whatever. Maybe that's an ideal but it sounds less risky than the alternative. I mean, what if they have a heart-attack? Is there a card for that?

Zak Sabbath said...

The rhetoric of "trigger warnings" can create a false impression that the circumstances that can bring on a ptsd episode are more simple or black and white than they really are.

Like it can be THIS idea at THIS time during THIS temperature after having gotten THAT phone call, etc.

So the choice is:

_Accept that there's no easy answer, but we do our best based on what works for that person


-Decide people with ptsd don't get to do any social stuff with other people ever.

I choose the first one.

As always: respect for individual circumstances > once-size-should-fit-all solutions

Oakes Spalding said...

Sure. That's obviously completely reasonable.

Zak Sabbath said...


DazzleEngine said...

Mandatory for all activities ... really helps the stress levels of soldiers and first responders, I mean if the battle gets too intense and potentially damaging they just hold up their app and the enemy backs off? Naturally I don't want my surgeon getting stressed out either so if he accidentally nicks an artery we can just hit the X-button and I'll stop bleeding out while he recovers his composure.

Unknown said...

This protocol isn't for the protection of the triggerees, but for the protection of the triggerers. Had a problem with what was going down? Tough beans. Your X-Card was RIGHT THERE staring you in the face and you didn't play it, so stop complaining. --Roger

Unknown said...

It was an interesting reddit conversation, but I was really interested by the OP saying they didnt understand "stripping the roleplaying out of roleplaying games" when responding to the osr only player. I think a lot of people suffer from "dwarf fortress syndrom", where they cant see the emergent storytelling that comes out of a seeming random series of events. Its like how people cant tell whats happening on the screen when DF has ascii graphics. Sometimes it clicks for people quickly, and sometimes it never clicks.

Adamantyr said...

A card is definitely a great way to handle things in a game for individuals who need it. A game is a fun social gathering, a break from real life, and having a tool like that hurts no one.

For myself, I was thinking "I'd never need something like that..." but then I remembered how completely squeamish I get about medical stuff. I nearly threw up during a film in health class in high school, just from listening to someone describe bodily functions. That could DEFINITELY happen in a horror game...

Zak Sabbath said...

The X card itself as originally intended is not the topic here.

Though thanks for weighing in

Nisse said...

Is an ap the same as an app? Like the ones you get in the App Store.

Konsumterra said...

my first 20 years of gaming never an issue

plauers have walked from game in recent years in sydney alot including:

once for toilet humour and gay sexualhumour

once for i dont want to be in a game with sensitive ppl

anger over rules several times

anger over catholic player in LOTFP being bullied by other players into burning witches he though his religion was compassionate and nice - looking back on this wanting to play a nice non intolerant priest not so bad

one bully player wasted time and drove three players away in a session and sabotaged adventure

one player offended that i criticised egypt for not being as advanced or powerful as other civilizations during a particular period

another player almost walked for feeling he rolled inappropriate character or took wrong load of equipment but several times was convinced to stay by other players begging

i think the scene there was much more fashionable in gender/mentalhealth issues which in some ways is great but has increasingly created weird conflicts between certain interests - one friend who is super inoffensive got a year ban for touching another player while roleplaying/overacting and other player threatened to call cops if not banned

back in adelaide ppl seem much calmer about these issues yet still aware of them rather than using in a arms race against each other.

I like to consider feelings of others but i like to run adult horror filled games with historical nastiness

though i now have chronic stress aggravated illness im seeking to document how sensitive i am for legal reasons....sigh

Unknown said...

I guess in that case also a small plank for activating it is necessary. Like the monks from the opening of Monty Python & Holy Grail had.

Verad Bellveil said...

Is there any circumstance in which you would turn down a player who wanted to use an X-card? My own evaluation of them has been that they're useful both for the player and myself as a DM - they let me evaluate if I am willing and prepared to be part of a player's therapeutic process by consenting to their use, and that's not always been the case for one personal reason or another. Are there situations, real or hypothetical, where you would similarly decline a player who wanted to use the card?

And what would the OP of that thread even consider to be an appropriate penalty for failing to enforce mandatory X-card usage anyway? How could that be enforced outside of social pressure?

Zak Sabbath said...

I've never met anyone who wanted to play a game I would actually be in AND use an x-card.

but since all things are possible: If someone wanted to use the card to decline all situations _except_ ones that triggered some other person that'd be a real pickle.

as for enforcement, the person who said that isn't smart enough to have thought on that