Gamers are a superstitious bunch – a fact that’s hardly surprising given how much of our hobby revolves around luck and chance. I haven’t met a gamer yet who didn’t have some recipe for success, be it only playing with the board facing them or never rolling the same die twice in a row (ok, that last one is mine).
Some superstitions, though, are more common than others. No matter what game group you join, you’re likely to run into one (or more) of the items below.
1. Play Your Color
I’m green. I’m always green, unless there’s purple. But there usually isn’t purple, so I’m always green. On those rare instances when I’m not green, I’m guaranteed to lose. I know that I’m not the only one. Choosing colors can be tricky business, and it’s something that established game groups usually work out early on.
Unfortunately, this superstition can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s nothing worse than spending an entire turn figuring out how to advance your little blue pawn, only to realize that your little pawn is actually green.
2. Deal The Next Card
You don’t deal out of order, you don’t deal from the middle or bottom of the deck, and you don’t split the deck. This isn’t one that gets to me, because if the deck is properly randomized none of these techniques should make any difference. You should have the same chance of drawing any given card no matter where you pull from. We tend to think that cards follow patterns, even though we know that they don’t.
Still, some people get upset if you draw or deal in the wrong order, or if you pull from a different part of the deck. They see that as drawing their card, or avoiding drawing the card that was fated to you. I see it more as being impatient and unable to wait your turn, but I understand their point.
3. Don’t Touch Another Player’s Dice
Forget about cooties, keep your bad luck to yourself. Touching another player’s dice is like scolding another parent’s child. In all normal circumstances, it should be avoided. Particularly if you’re not having a good night. I don’t want your bad karma spewing out all over my d20s, and I’ll offer you the same courtesy. The exception is if my dice roll off the table and land near you. Laziness trumps superstition every time. Can you get those for me?
4. Cut The Deck
This one is going out of favor fast, but it still persists in CCGs like Magic: The Gathering. For you strict board gamers and teens out there, cutting the deck refers to the act of shuffling your deck, then offering it to another player. That player takes roughly half the cards from the top of the deck and puts them on the bottom.
The practice was initially put into place to ensure that no one was cheating. You wouldn’t stack the deck, putting all of your most powerful or desirable cards on top, if you knew that another player would just move them to the bottom. Nowadays, though, offering to have another player cut your deck is more a sign of mutual good faith, and a little bow to tradition. In most deckbuilding games, and even many LCGs and traditional card games, it’s overlooked, but a few players stick by it.
These superstitions might not all make sense, but they’re definitely an ingrained aspect of gaming culture. Did your own personal quirks make the list? If not, let me know what I left out!
Erin Ryan is a regular contributor to the site, and she’s curious to hear about your gaming superstitions. Feel free to share them with us over on our forums!