Monday, January 10, 2011

Food At The Game Table

I wanted to do something a bit lighter for today. No reason why, just did. Now, the idea of having food at the game table is nothing new. I mean, the stereotypical "D&D Group" is a bunch of geeks sitting around a table with a bowl of cheetos and some mountain dew. Not every group goes that way though. So, how does your group do it?

The group I play with right now goes along more of a 'lone wolf' route when it comes to food at the gaming table. Everyone gets, brings, or provides for themselves. Sharing can happen, and sometimes things are bought for the table, but for the most part everyone takes care of themselves. It's rarely junk food either. Well, junk food is a broad term now, so lets just say that it is usually 'dinner' or a 'meal' and not a bag of chips.

Other groups, and games, I've been in have done it differently. In a D&D game I was in before, everyone was responsible for bringing something for the table, or throwing some money in to the DM and his wife for food. The food would then be split between the table. The money went into paying for food that was cooked, like an actual meal, the chips, dip, and soda was used for everyone to drink. It was a good time, and with the amount of food that group could pound through, definitely a necessary division of labor for everyone's wallets.

I've also heard of groups where the GM has simply provided food for the table free of charge. Setting out either a few bags of chips, or in some cases, prepping entire meals for the group. I think that is a bit on the crazy side, but if the GM likes doing it then more power to them on it, and I'm sure the players enjoy the home cooked meal that comes with their game.

Finally, there is also the old favorite of in game bribery for food. You bring food for the table, you get XP, or a bonus die, a void point, something. Providing for the table doesn't get you compensated monetarily, but the GM will give you something in game for your kindness. This can also lead to some awesome amounts of food being present at the table when you get close to "leveling time" and everyone is desperate for those last few XP to get them their new shinies.

In all instances though, gaming is a social event. In some cases, it is the only non-work related socializing we can get with our busy lives. Food is a part of it. So, how do you do food at your gaming table?


  1. Haven't been in a real group for a while, but I'd like to try out idea, where everyone brings something of equal value (5$ grocery max for example) and that all is shared with eachother. For example in another table to pick up.

    Would be cool to see what people bring, and no need to ask around "can I taste your chips" etc.

    But I think everyone should take care of their own drinks.

    Still, is it roleplaying evening, social hang around or indoors picknick?

  2. We're all real close in our group so dinner isn't a big deal. We used to rotate who's house we would go to and that player would provide dinner. Now we mostly just go to one player's house that is big enough for all of us to fit in. Usually my wife and I will bring groceries and help cook. Another player brings chocolate and Monsters (the drink).

  3. As a person who is/was part of the different groups it is a matter of both the group and the setting and time. The current group plays at a gaming store, which survives not only off of selling gaming supplies but drinks and food. Also (at least the game I am in) the game takes place morning to mid afternoon making it easier to get a meal after the game was done. The earlier group was at the GM's home, and started right about supper time, so the provide the group with something makes a lot of sense.

  4. As my core group grew up and moved on with their lives we’ve become separated by greater geographic distance. My house is the most central so I host every week. As the host I always provide beverages and snacks – usually just pop and chips. I don’t ask the other to contribute. My feeling is that they drive between 30-60 minutes to get to my house. Since I don’t have to spend money on gas or give up 2 hours travelling the least I can do is make sure there are clod Cokes in the fridge and a few bags of chips on the table. The others do bring snacks on occasion but I never expect or request that they do so.

  5. @Thaumiel - in my opinion, gaming can be a bit of all of them. Ideally, primarily a game. But nothing wrong with some socialization and food to go with it. Different groups stress the priorities in different ways though.

    @Emmet - The idea of a gaming table with public monsters kind of terrifies me...

    @Luke - Timing of the game does matter, but even in the 10-2 game people provide their own food during and after.

    @Ameron - A good point on that. Drive time is a consideration to make. I know that I'm regularly impressed/touched that two of the people in my L5R game drive approximately 2-3 hours (round trip) for my game. In the game Luke is in, he drives an hour or so out for it. People traveling that far for your game can make a GM feel better :D

  6. @A.L. - The player that brings the Monsters is a powergamer and wants the game to move quickly. It's his way of chemically altering the pace of the game.

  7. My wife and I, with a donation from another player, provide pizza and fries most of the time. Others, especially when it's warmer out, I'll grill some burgers or hot dogs. Sometimes I'll make hot roast beef or meatball sandwiches. Another player brings the sodas.

  8. Most of my groups are based on everybody providing for themselves. But one group we have sit down meals. The host and his wife usually cook (and usually barbecue when it's nice out), another guy brings snacks every time and sometimes other treats. And when we go out for food or get takeout, I pay for everybody since I don't usually do anything. It's an arrangement that everybody is happy with. And how many people can say they've had steak and lobster as the dinner break for their game?