Jan 02 2017

Panda’s Talking Games – 43: The X Card

Show us how you handle the X Card at your table. We talk basic safety and lessons we’ve learned from personal experience.  We managed to keep it short and sweet despite many failed attempts at words.

Other good sources for X Card commentary include:

MMP 225: QCC Recap and Safety Redux

SASG 39: Royal Blood: The Chariot



  1. Chris Glew

    Hey Senda and Phil,
    Love the show. I’m a long time (Grognard-level) gamer so new ideas take some time to sink in with me. Thanks for going into this topic in some detail and offering some examples of the X Card working in play.

    Personally I’ve heard of the X Card being used and I’ve had, until now, some mixed feelings about the concept. I work as a mental health practitioner and have nursed people both professionally and in my private life with mental health concerns such as PTSD and so areas of discomfort (“triggers”) are something I’m acutely aware of. That said I’ve always been keen on allowing personal responsibility to take the lead when troubled by events, so if someone finds something unsettling then this is their issue to approach in the way they feel best suits them.

    I’m glad you noted that “editing out” bits of the narrative that are problematic can put a speed bump in the narrative, making things weird and putting everyone else in the space of “man I hope I don’t upset that person who hit the X Card, best not say anything” and therefore crippling everyone’s creativity. But now I can see that there is a place for this at times, provided it’s used sparingly. Initially it seemed to me that it was like a speed bump on the road to fun or could be used to negatively focus on someone’s needs rather than the shared game experience but my viewpoint was broadened as you discussed it.

    I’ve always felt that “a shared imaginative interaction” (roleplaying) is a space where we are NOT ourselves so its hard to be personally effected when we are supposed to be in Middle Earth or wherever. What happens in game is a fantasy, a dream, albeit a very immersive one.

    That said there are elements, probably more social ones at the table itself; such as a overly vocal (bullying) gamer, problematic table banter and other interpersonal issues that the X Card can give the table permission to address without being a dick about it “hey, that’s not how we want to have fun here fella.”

    Thanks for giving a good 3D look at the X Card in play. I am a little more happy with the idea now and can see more of the benefits of it. Keep up the good work.


    1. Senda

      Hi Chris! So glad you’re enjoying the show — we sure have fun recording it!
      The X Card is admittedly something I used to throw out on the table as an vague emergency stop, never thinking it would be used and mostly just doing it to make everyone happy. In the last episode of Royal Blood that I ran for She’s A Super Geek, I experienced what it’s like to have a real emotional safety fail at my table, and it was rough. Phil and I also talked about that particular incident after the end of the episode too, so this episode of PTG was very much thoughts on how we’d both like to use the card going forward from lessons we learned in that experience. Being more effective about it both in terms of making sure safety is in place and to gently uphold table etiquette/social contract has worked really really well so far.

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