The Beautiful Rage Of Friends Who Play Board Games Against Each Other

Canadian filmmaker Jay Cheel once worked for video game developer Silicon Knights, but in his 10-minute documentary The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends, he focuses instead on tabletop gaming, casting his camera on his own friends while they play The Settlers of Catan. It's a beautiful, funny, and poignant look at how competition and friendship intersect when gaming dominance is on the line.

The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends [Vimeo]


    That Catan board makes mine look like a cheap toy :(

      It is a cheap toy...

    Nice. I play D&D with a group of friends and after several years we pretty much know how far we can push each other. Occasionally there will be arguments about rules or the way the scenario is run or something random, and the arguments sometimes go beyond being good-natured. In the end you just need to think, 'we are here to have fun in each other's company'. The game is just a conduit to having fun.

    For more info on Board games, check out James Rolfes' (Angry Video Game Nerd), "Board James" videos at
    Also his Youtube channels,

    By the way, this is just an shameless plug, as he really makes some good stuff to do with games and film and whatnot.

    Being a Dungeon Master myself i know for a fact that any group can be pushed a little to far from time to time. I have experienced enough on the scene to understand how to resolve such issues as well.

    As a DM you are part story-teller, part adjudicator, part psychologist and part fortune teller.

    All of those and none at all in the same instant.

    If you are 1 more than another for any period of time, people realize and will call you on it - they might not know what it is you are doing and you might not either, but they will know - and the game won't work.

    Being a good DM is, to me, an exceptionally high expression of self.

    Aw, this doesn't describe the politics players generate as they make decisions during the game at all; it merely looks at the way the group interacts and behaves, with a focus on one incident of harassment. I wanted to hear about the way that picking on one another with gameplay actions affects a group dynamic, how players can resolve aggressive, adversarial gameplay choices with benevolent, friendly group dynamics. Ah well.

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