Managing My Expectations? (+)

Yora

Legend
The topic of player engagement is the topic of player expectations and player agency. And it's the topic that I think the vast majority of players and GMs for the last four decades have gotten completely wrong.

The thing is, RPGs are not a medium to tell stories. RPGs suck for telling stories. RPGs are not books, TV shows, movies, or narrative focused videogames. All these storytelling mediums are mediums of passively consuming fiction that has already been produced. Playing an RPG is nothing like that.

Unfortunately, the common mainstream assumption of what an RPG is and how a great campaign is being played is that the GM is telling a wonderful story, and at certain point the players have to figure out what the "protagonists" of the story are supposed to do next before the GM will continue telling the story.
If the GM is able to write and perform a great story, this can produce some degree of entertainment.

When we are talking about player engagement, we usually mean players thinking ahead and making proactive choices to steer the story in the directions they want. But to do that, the players must be able to to be proactive and chose the direction of the events in the campaign. And it must be communicated to the players that they have this ability. This is where most discussion about gamemastering and most published RPG material fails spectacularly.

How do people expect players to be engaged and excert their agency when there is nothing to engage with and no agency to exert?

A campaign that players can engage with does not have a story that is already written before the players even make their characters. It doesn't tell the players what they are supposed to do. A good campaign sets up an interesting world that has content that can be interacted with, and establishes boundaries for the kinds of personalities of characters in the party so that they have similar motivations and reasons to work together.

"There are treasures in this land and you play a group of people who wants to find treasures."
"There are many deady dangers in this land and you play a group of people who join forces to survive."
"This city is full of crime and you play a group of people who join forces to claw their way to the top of the pile."
"This land is plagues by bandits/monsters/invaders and you play as a group of people who have decided to no longer stand by idle and go out to do something about it."

Start the players in a small semi-confined corner of the world with just one or two groups of antagonists to oppose them and a couple of colorful NPCs, and let the players observe one of the antagonist cause some trouble. Light a small fire under their asses that will be a problem if they don't do anything about it, but not become a serious threat for the time being. Then let the players loose and let them do what they want. They will be the ones who decide who the big villains will be that they mostly fight against. They will be the ones who decide which locations they want to spend more time with, and who they might want to make alliances with.
Player engagement comes from players fighting against opponents that they have decided their characters despise, and fighting to gain control of places they have decided they want to take over, and help people they have decided they like. It doesn't come from telling the players they will have to fight these guys because the script says they have to, to attack the castles that the script says they have to, and to help NPCs that the script says are their friends, because otherwise there will be no game for them to play.
 

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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I spend a lot of time on the hobby: participating in forums, reading reviews, preparing adventures, learning new game systems or optional rules, setting up VTT games, painting miniatures, etc. While I can get by not doing all of these things (or by limiting the time I spend on each component), this is part of the fun for me. But that's the point - it's only part of the fun.

So an ongoing struggle I've had over the past year or so is that my players don't seem invested. I have to push them to make decisions - even when I try to make it as clear as possible. I have to do every session recap because no one takes notes or remembers any details. Between games I try to keep everyone updated via email - usually to no response. Last night at our Session Zero, a player fell asleep during character creation.

I don't want to turn this into a complaining on my players thread - that's not the point. I realize this hobby isn't the main thing in their lives, and I don't want it to be. In fact, I think it's probably been a little to the point of being an unhealthy obsession for me. Especially during COVID, I really leaned into running multiple games and prepping them a lot. But I'm at the point now where I'm not getting as much out of gaming and it's not as satisfying as it should be.

So what should I do? Limit what I put into the games? (And what should I cut out to save time?) Take a break from the hobby altogether (which I'm afraid would leave me with nothing to do)?
There are some aspects of your post that remind me of a performer who invests a lot of prep and effort, only to receive all the feedback of an oil painting. You're putting out energy, but not getting much feedback on it or energy coming back and it's sapping you.
Honestly, it's not easy to offer advice on how to fix this other than to accept that the level of engagement you feel you need to put in is never going to be matched - at least not from your group, as a group. So here are a few suggestions:

1) Put together a readable recap for the other players as part of your prep. Leave it out for them and accessible when the game isn't running. Then they can review it on their own time. Chances are they'll do so at least a little bit from time to time.

2) Instead of contacting the group, contact an individual. Nobody responds to group emails or messages if they can avoid it. They're going to leave it to the other members of the group. My kids are like this and there are only two of them. If I ask them to do something by sending a message to them both, nobody will do it. If I ask either of them individually, I get better results. If you want feedback or to talk about the game, do it one-on-one. Try them all to see who is worth talking to, then focus just one the one(s) who give you good conversation.

3) Probably the Hardest Find an alternative, more like-minded group or person to divert some of your energy to who will reflect more of it back. That will help bolster you for the energy-sucking group you've got.
 

Asking them what excites them in a game is definitely a good idea. I'd also look at them at the table (or on the screen, depending) and see what gets them motivated. When are they leaning forward, smiling, asking questions?

I would ask the players what would they find engaging, or what is it about the game they're playing that they don't seem to have much interested in.

I've had players fall asleep during gaming, very rarely. One guy had health issues, one guy was just a bad player, and one guy was just tired from his job at the end of the day (these days I never run sessions that go late at night; if I'm playing on a weeknight, it's only going to be for two hours).

Falling asleep during session zero seems strange. I would assume there were extenuating circumstances?

If you're enjoying a specific part of DMing, it's okay to do stuff just for you. If you like coming up with weird NPCs and the party only interacts with 1-2 of them in a session, but you had a blast designing the grizzled retired warrior with robot legs and an obsessive love of hummus, that's fine. Sometimes a DM's own joy and enthusiasm alone counts for a lot in a successful campaign.

The key, which is easier said than done, is to find things that you enjoy about the game that don't depend on other people. If you're writing a hugely detailed and complex campaign because you want your players to marvel at your genius, you're going to be disappointed. But if you're writing a hugely detailed and complex campaign because you enjoy it, then have at it!

So... which parts of the game do you enjoy for their own sake? Creating adventures? Monsters? Building a world?

Basically, imagine you didn't have any players at all, such that all these things never saw the light of day. Now, what would you still do, because you like it?

Focus on that.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
You mentioned a couple of months ago that you're also primarily running games online.


I have to say, online gaming is HARD. I've found you kind of have to limit the timeframe to be much shorter. 2-2.5 hour sessions versus 4, 5, or 6 hour sessions. They have to be TIGHT, they have to be FOCUSED, and the material has to be pretty well pre-defined. It's really, really hard to "wing it" online with a "trad" system.

My current group tried online gaming over the pandemic, and it was just never really satisfying, UNTIL we tried Ironsworn. Abandoning the need for battle maps, and highly tactical combat play, and using a system that let us do much more freeform narrative --- THAT made it feel much more like we were connecting on a creative level, and engagement was high. Ironsworn was the only system we've played online where the players said afterwards, "Man, that was almost as good as gaming in person."
This, a lot. Online play combined with traditional story arc/ battle mat play is really hard. I'm a pretty enthused, proactive player and DM, and I generally crash after about 2 hours into an online session.

The best sessions I've had online, by far, have been the ones with little combat and few die rolls, and everyone just discusses stuff in character.
 

Retreater

Legend
This, a lot. Online play combined with traditional story arc/ battle mat play is really hard. I'm a pretty enthused, proactive player and DM, and I generally crash after about 2 hours into an online session.

The best sessions I've had online, by far, have been the ones with little combat and few die rolls, and everyone just discusses stuff in character.
Right. My upper limit online is 3 hours. Usually this group does about 2:15 (and that's including about 20 minutes of breaks and settling in). And under those circumstances, it's difficult to run traditional games with a complete campaign arc, etc. But these guys tell me they want to do it, so I'm doing the best I can.
It might come to the point where I need to scale back my online games just to give myself a chance to get something in-person going on. Or if not that, there are other commitments I could be making: community theater or just playing video games - which I haven't done for about 18 months because I'm so drained from VTT RPG play. But it's hard to put aside time.
 

Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
It may not work for everybody, but I can attest that managing my expectations worked wonders for me. Finally coming around to the notion that D&D campaigns don't need to be save-the-world fantasy epics and players don't need to be "always on" improv actors staved off a crisis for me and kept me from quitting the hobby.

I discovered that exploratory treasure-hunts are (at least for me) more fun to DM than fantasy epics. I discovered that (at least for most players I've ever played with) ditching the expectation that everyone ought to be improvising in-character dialog all the time made my games less burdensome and more accessible. And most importantly of all, I discovered that what players say they want out of a game does not always (or even usually) align with what will actually make the game enjoyable and engaging.
 
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Yora

Legend
Better run a game that you can run and do that well, than an ideal game you wish you could run but can't pull off.
Even if that ideal game is possible, GMs still need a lot of practice to pull it off. And to get advanced skills, you first must master the basics. Repeatedly doing a hard thing poorly doesn't teach nearly as much as learning to do an easier thing well.
 

Retreater

Legend
Better run a game that you can run and do that well, than an ideal game you wish you could run but can't pull off.
I learned that when trying to run The Enemy Within (which is a bucket list campaign for me). It was better to admit defeat and save it for later than to make bad memories of it.
 

TheSword

Legend
The topic of player engagement is the topic of player expectations and player agency. And it's the topic that I think the vast majority of players and GMs for the last four decades have gotten completely wrong.

The thing is, RPGs are not a medium to tell stories. RPGs suck for telling stories. RPGs are not books, TV shows, movies, or narrative focused videogames. All these storytelling mediums are mediums of passively consuming fiction that has already been produced. Playing an RPG is nothing like that.

Unfortunately, the common mainstream assumption of what an RPG is and how a great campaign is being played is that the GM is telling a wonderful story, and at certain point the players have to figure out what the "protagonists" of the story are supposed to do next before the GM will continue telling the story.
If the GM is able to write and perform a great story, this can produce some degree of entertainment.

When we are talking about player engagement, we usually mean players thinking ahead and making proactive choices to steer the story in the directions they want. But to do that, the players must be able to to be proactive and chose the direction of the events in the campaign. And it must be communicated to the players that they have this ability. This is where most discussion about gamemastering and most published RPG material fails spectacularly.

How do people expect players to be engaged and excert their agency when there is nothing to engage with and no agency to exert?

A campaign that players can engage with does not have a story that is already written before the players even make their characters. It doesn't tell the players what they are supposed to do. A good campaign sets up an interesting world that has content that can be interacted with, and establishes boundaries for the kinds of personalities of characters in the party so that they have similar motivations and reasons to work together.

"There are treasures in this land and you play a group of people who wants to find treasures."
"There are many deady dangers in this land and you play a group of people who join forces to survive."
"This city is full of crime and you play a group of people who join forces to claw their way to the top of the pile."
"This land is plagues by bandits/monsters/invaders and you play as a group of people who have decided to no longer stand by idle and go out to do something about it."
That’s one point of view but it’s not the only one. It is perfectly acceptable to play a TTRPG the same as a suitably complex CRPG, like the Baldurs Gate series for example.

Every written module put out by Paizo and WOC in the last 20 years contains a story to be told. It’s just that the good ones have sufficient gaps to allow the party to interact with it in a satisfying way.

Agency is not binary. It doesn’t have to be total or completely absent. There can be plenty of choice about who, what when, where and why without have a choice about If. The direction isn’t as important as how the PCs handle the events along that trajectory.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I had very similar feelings to the OP in my real world game awhile ago. I NEEDED the player to get more proactively involved in the world and the story.

I tried to get my feeling across to them by explaining that my job shouldn't be to lay out a buffet they come and eat every week, but instead I'm bringing the main dish and they can all contribute something they want potluck style so we all can enjoy a meal we all helped create.

It helped in the short term, but as time marched on the table eventually returned to me laying out a buffet and at best a player bringing their own silverware.

I know this makes me sound old, but I lay the blame squarely on phones/tablets at the table. The number of times the flow of play is interrupted because someone starts doing something non game related (and also not important) on their phone is disheartening.

I can't imagine how hard it is to get people to focus from a different room where you can't avoid the computer front and center.
 

TheSword

Legend
I spend a lot of time on the hobby: participating in forums, reading reviews, preparing adventures, learning new game systems or optional rules, setting up VTT games, painting miniatures, etc. While I can get by not doing all of these things (or by limiting the time I spend on each component), this is part of the fun for me. But that's the point - it's only part of the fun.

So an ongoing struggle I've had over the past year or so is that my players don't seem invested. I have to push them to make decisions - even when I try to make it as clear as possible. I have to do every session recap because no one takes notes or remembers any details. Between games I try to keep everyone updated via email - usually to no response. Last night at our Session Zero, a player fell asleep during character creation.

I don't want to turn this into a complaining on my players thread - that's not the point. I realize this hobby isn't the main thing in their lives, and I don't want it to be. In fact, I think it's probably been a little to the point of being an unhealthy obsession for me. Especially during COVID, I really leaned into running multiple games and prepping them a lot. But I'm at the point now where I'm not getting as much out of gaming and it's not as satisfying as it should be.

So what should I do? Limit what I put into the games? (And what should I cut out to save time?) Take a break from the hobby altogether (which I'm afraid would leave me with nothing to do)?
I’m certainly finding a lack of satisfying encounters in the last three years of WOC products, and a growing boredom with the lack of jeopardy in 5e combat. It isn’t that the PCs can’t interact, it’s that quite often I see scenarios that don’t really require it. I actually find myself looking more and more to either older D&d products that can be repurposed, or particularly good quality third party products because they’re simple more engaging.

I think the strategic element of the game is very much reduced to the point where good plots, characters and stories have to be more engaging to make up the weight. Combat can no longer carry the bulk of the interest.

I have also found that simple is better when it comes to these stories. Recurring characters both villain and ally are better than brilliant but domino-like characters that are killed then forgotten.

I have found Odyssey of the Dragonlords a lot of fun to DM and easy to get the PCs engaged because the villains are clear and ubiquitous, the NPcs crop up over and over, and the goals of the party while pre-determined are grand and sweeping.

Don’t be disheartened about the not emailing in between sessions. I play with two brilliant groups of role players that heavily invest in characters but both I and @GuyBoy are lucky if we can get so much as a picture and back story out of some people before the first session starts (even though they are very engaged during the session). For some people they see the game time as a distinct slot and don’t bleed that into their other free time.

One final thought is that for me, good well written mysteries are the hardest adventures to write but also are the most engaging. I’m interested as to whether you got engagement from PCs in Shadows over Bogenhafen? I know you got part way through the Enemy Within but not sure how far. It’s sounds like from what you said in your recent post that you didn’t. That module to me, is the touchstone of good adventure design and writing. If you can’t get these players to engage with SOB you definitely need to get some new players! Or have a very honest conversation about them not wasting your time by being obtuse.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
I'll note that many of the players wanting to do collab world building through play have moved on to systems where that's mechanically encouraged... Fate, various PBTA, Wick's Houses of the Blooded; to a lesser extent, also any system where you buy opponents... either as disads or as advantages...

If you can gently coerce collab about the bad guys, pay it off by making those encounters more interesting... not of need harder, but also highlighting the player contributions.

Any narrative bits on the sheet? write them down and use in prep...
 

Retreater

Legend
I’m certainly finding a lack of satisfying encounters in the last three years of WOC products, and a growing boredom with the lack of jeopardy in 5e combat. It isn’t that the PCs can’t interact, it’s that quite often I see scenarios that don’t really require it. I actually find myself looking more and more to either older D&d products that can be repurposed, or particularly good quality third party products because they’re simple more engaging.

I think the strategic element of the game is very much reduced to the point where good plots, characters and stories have to be more engaging to make up the weight. Combat can no longer carry the bulk of the interest.
Yeah. Speaking at least for myself, I have been getting a little tired of 5e, so we went first to WFRP and then to PF2.
I have found Odyssey of the Dragonlords a lot of fun to DM and easy to get the PCs engaged because the villains are clear and ubiquitous, the NPcs crop up over and over, and the goals of the party while pre-determined are grand and sweeping.
I did offer to run this one for the group, but it didn't appeal to them.
One final thought is that for me, good well written mysteries are the hardest adventures to write but also are the most engaging. I’m interested as to whether you got engagement from PCs in Shadows over Bogenhafen? I know you got part way through the Enemy Within but not sure how far. It’s sounds like from what you said in your recent post that you didn’t. That module to me, is the touchstone of good adventure design and writing. If you can’t get these players to engage with SOB you definitely need to get some new players! Or have a very honest conversation about them not wasting your time by being obtuse.
We ended up completing the first book in the series, ending the mystery in Bogenhafen. It was largely hand-held to get them to the final showdown, but at least that one was well planned. Essentially, they failed the mystery but their planning and clever takedown of the enemies saved the day.
So they wouldn't interview any of the council members. I even got it down to "probably one of these two guys." Flat out told them. And they couldn't be bothered to remember the names of the two suspects from session to session. Or do anything to try to stop them. Even after they were given a very strict time table "the f'ing end of the world is coming in two days" they spent their time shopping and bickering over prices to stable their horses. Finally I had an NPC flat-out tell them "it's this guy. this is when and where he is going to do it. For the love of Sigmar, go there or everyone in the town will die. And then they barely went, almost as an after thought.
 

Yora

Legend
I know this makes me sound old, but I lay the blame squarely on phones/tablets at the table. The number of times the flow of play is interrupted because someone starts doing something non game related (and also not important) on their phone is disheartening..
Passive-agressively stop talking and say you'll wait for them to finish before you continue if they ask.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Passive-agressively stop talking and say you'll wait for them to finish before you continue if they ask.
Alternately, proactively come up with a table agreement before the game about screens. "Hey all, I notice folks getting pretty distracted by phones during the game. What do we think about a 'no screens during D&D' table rule?"
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
What is more important, the game or the group?

If you have a passion for running a certain type of game that requires a certain style of play or high level of engagement, you may have to find another group. If you have a strong group of friends who have been getting together for years and you cherish that, you may have to ditch the game. If you don't have time to run multiple campaigns, it may be an either/or scenario.

In my case, it started with the former but has come to be the later.

When I got back in to TTRPGs with 5e, after a long period of not gaming, I went all in. I spend time and money putting together my own world. I put out some posts seeking players who were interested, clearly stating the kind of campaign I wanted to run and what the setting was like.

After playing for about seven years, and on our third campaign (in a non-WOTC setting, the homebrew was getting to require too much time) the group is more important to me. I would happily scrap my current campaign if the group wasn't feeling it. I would run just about any campaign setting. About the only thing that I require is that is be D&D 5e, because I just don't have the time to invest in another system as DM.

So much of the magic of a good group evolves over time and it is difficult to give general advice. But I've also run one shots and my FLGS and for other friends and family who can't commit to long campaigns. In these situations, I found it best to be prepared to calibrate on the fly. Players may say they want a certain play style or setting but find they don't actually enjoy it or their willingness to commit to it may differ from your expectations based on your understanding what they asked for.

Mysteries and puzzles are a prime example. When people say they like these in their games, I find their expectations vary widely. Some really want a challenge and like trying to spend the time to work these things out. Other like the flavor but would rather resolve much of it with a dice roll and appreciate some hand holding, and get frustrated or bored if things get too challenging.

I try to find ways in my prep and in my improv to scale things. Reward those who really get into not taking and sussing things out, but be prepared to go into easy story mode for those who want more of story approach.
 

Retreater

Legend
Alternately, proactively come up with a table agreement before the game about screens. "Hey all, I notice folks getting pretty distracted by phones during the game. What do we think about a 'no screens during D&D' table rule?"
That's hard to do when you play D&D on a screen (on a VTT). haha.
In general, I know people who can multitask and handle things fine. I know people who need to look up rules information on tablets. I know people who need to check on work/family/etc. on their devices. The problem isn't the screen - it's the engagement. You could have someone not engaged who is equally distracted by daydreaming, doodling on their character sheet, sleeping at the table, obsessively worried about snacks, obsessively stacking or rolling dice for no reason, or breaking everyone's engagement with ill-timed jokes and movie quotes.
Bad habits have always been with us. Devices are just a tool.
 

Lot of good advice here, and I've had a somewhat similar experience to the OP, albeit longer ago and less severe, and what I worked out was:

1) Complicated and finickity rules really do not work well for some groups, but the individual players might not realize this or might even think they like those rules.

A good example for my main group is 3.XE/PF1. If, at the time, you'd asked the players if they "liked D&D" or "liked Pathfinder", they'd have said yes. It would have been a useless question. If you'd said "But is it too complicated?" they'd probably have denied it, albeit hemming and hawing slightly. It only became obvious when we switched to more straightforward RPGs, and suddenly people were more engaged at the table. Less time was spent looking stuff up or adjudicating things.

2) You can also have a rules/playstyle mismatch on another level, that of players who want an experience very different to what the game, as designed, offers, but again who might not be entirely conscious of this.

3.XE/PF1 works as an example here too. My group really likes flashy shenanigans, over the top stuff swashbuckling idiocy, and plans so crazy they just might work (which honestly, has succeeded before and not because of DM fiat, sometimes they blindside even me who is expecting to be blind-sided). 3.XE/PF1 does not like that kind of play. It is very detailed, very precise, and if you try to do something silly, RAW you're going to end up having to make a bunch of rolls just to get a similar result to what doing something with one or two safe rolls would have had. This cuts both ways of course - if you have groups who want earnest, precise, grounded stuff, maybe you don't want to run, say, Exalted?

Both of these are solved the same way - swapping to a rules-set that is going to work better for the players. This can be major in terms of engagement, and the wrong system - which is not necessarily a "bad" system in any way - can cause serious disengagement.

3) Give them what they want to engage with.

A lot of people have talked about asking them what they want, but again I'm saying not every player is good at articulating that, and a lot of players will say more like what they think RPGs are supposed to be about than what they, personally, want. And asking an entire group at once is doom as I think others have indicated. But assuming they did in fact engage with some parts of what you've run, you probably actually already know the answer to some degree. With my group, over the years, I came to realize that they really love to hate antagonistic NPCs. They need Heels to be up against their Faces, in wrestling parlance. Not necessarily outright adversaries, but "I hate that guy!".

Yet they also need some/most NPCs to not be "Heels". A lot of DMs, including some quite experienced ones, including ones who are published, and including some who have written extensively for videogames, get confused here*. They pick up that a lot of players like there to be "Heels", and perhaps unconsciously, or perhaps thinking there's "you can't have too much of a good thing!", they make basically every NPC into a heel. The blacksmith is a jerk. The shopkeepers are all trying to grift them. The town guard are out to get them. The mayor is a snob who sneers openly at them. The other patrons of the pub all scowl at them. And so on. If everyone is a Heel, no-one is a Heel, it's just a crapsack world, and that causes disengagement for a lot of players. Why care about anything if everyone treats you badly?

So what I've found is it's important to have Heel NPCs and plenty of genuinely friendly/helpful ones. You also have to keep the sudden-but-inevitable betrayals down to a limited pace, and try not to make too many come from non-Heel NPCs, because again, otherwise you're creating a "Why should I care?" situation.

And I know long dungeon crawls, which it's hard to integrate antagonistic NPCs into (i.e. ones who talk smack and cause problems for the PCs, rather than directly fighting them and then losing/dying) are thus not a good fit for this group. Much better investigations, small dungeons, heists, and so on.


* = Larian, who wrote DOS1/2, have this problem. People accepted it in DOS1/2 because they assumed it was intended to be a crapsack setting. But when they did BG3 and wrote it the same way, every NPC a jerk, even nominal allies, they were taken aback because the feedback was intense and negative. People knew the Forgotten Realms. They knew D&D. They didn't want every NPC to be a jerk, rude, unhelpful, dismissive, sneering (even supposed goodies). So they actually had to row back on that pretty hard, making NPCs, particularly companion ones be less jerk-ish (and yeah if you've played it some are still jerks, but this is tame compared to how it was), giving the player more options to interact positively or get positivity out of NPCs, and so on.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Alternately, proactively come up with a table agreement before the game about screens. "Hey all, I notice folks getting pretty distracted by phones during the game. What do we think about a 'no screens during D&D' table rule?"
Not bad, but if it's D&D, that's like saying, "hey all, try to look interested while Steve looks up all of his 3rd level spell options,  again, and your character stands around like a punching bag for ten minutes until your next turn starts."
. . . You could have someone not engaged who is equally distracted by daydreaming, doodling on their character sheet, sleeping at the table, obsessively worried about snacks, obsessively stacking or rolling dice for no reason, or breaking everyone's engagement with ill-timed jokes and movie quotes.
Bad habits have always been with us. Devices are just a tool.
Except many apps are intentionally designed to monopolize your attention. Devices are easily the worst offenders of all those examples.
 

Yora

Legend
Not bad, but if it's D&D, that's like saying, "hey all, try to look interested while Steve looks up all of his 3rd level spell options,  again, and your character stands around like a punching bag for ten minutes until your next turn starts."
Group initative!

Letting all players start their turn at the same time, and doing each players' actions in the order that they decide what they want to do can help a lot with that. Players who need more time to consider their options can do that while the other players are taking their turns.
And in addition, players have more reason to pay attention during the enemys' turn because the players' turn will come up right after that. No time to do other stuff because you know you won't be doing anything for the next 10 minutes anyway.
 

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