Hello Gentle Entities and Aspic Encased Enemies! Today many of our denizens are celebrating World Water Day. A perfectly appropriate thing to be celebrated on a planetary structure that is seventy one percent water! It’s a lovely day to work on legislating for clean water, putting pressure on capitalistic societies that won’t clean water and playing a merfolk deck with your known associates.

It also happens to be National Bavarian Crepes Day. Of course Barvarians do not call their dish “Bavarian Crepes” the actual term of art in its native language is “palatschinken”, It does seem to be shared across several european countries but as I do love a locality based food theme I will be serving the following recipe for tea: https://www.marga.org/food/int/bavaria/crepes.html.

I’m sure my guests will appreciate the ingestible interpretation.

Read more at: https://blog.thenibble.com/2022/03/22/what-are-bavarian-crepes-for-national-bavarian-crepes-day/

While this holiday is slightly less universal It is perhaps a bit closer to today’s food related question.

As this is our fifteenth column, we at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms would like to remind you that we answer between 1-3 letters from our interrogative entities across the multiverse each week. If you missed our initial column, you may peruse it at your leisure at this location.

Content Warnings

Mizz Mizzet’s Guide to Magical Manners is pleased to provide Content Warnings, given that solving bad behavior often means describing bad behavior.

Dear Mizz Mizzet;

When is the best time to order dinner if you are ordering in on Game Night? Before the game, if people mention it during the game or after the game? 

–       Hungry

Dear Hungry,

There is a great deal of etiquette around food, the sharing of food and the payment of food. Therefore, to answer your question we will have to make a series of assumptions clear before answering:

Assumption 1- you are ordering food with the full group intending to participate. This assumption is based on your second description of “if people mention it”

Assumption 2: You will be using the table involved in playing the game to also eat the food.  I will happily mention where that isn’t a concern if your gaming space and your eating space are separate spaces.

Now, to “what is the etiquette” specifically around games – if the game requires time and set up proper etiquette models the rules of “that which is most efficient” and “that which causes the least disruption”.

Mizz Mizzet’s school for Complicated Lifeforms generally teaches that forewarned is forearmed and suggests that all attendees are solicited for dining preferences prior to assembling, and confirmation that dining will be engaged with over the evening on arrival. This does not have to be formal – indeed it can be either announced by the host or asked about by the guest with equally Good Manners:

“Hey, we’re going to try out the New Oathbreaker format at my house next Thursday. We’ll probably be ordering some pizza, You in?”

or if you were asked but no food was mentioned

“Thanks I’d love to – will we be able to do something about dinner since I’ll be coming in straight from work?”

Then the food preferences discussion I have mentioned in an earlier conversation can happen.

When arriving on Thursday “Great we’re all here – everyone still up for ordering pizza?” as a check in to make sure everyone has a voice in the order is appropriate.

Now, there are indeed times when you will suddenly be adding food to an evening’s entertainment, but this is not going to be addressed today. We will stay within our assumptions. All has been agreed, all have confirmed, the game is afoot and you, dear Hungry, would like to know when it is the proper time to order/and or set up and eat.

If your host hasn’t prepared the meal and thus set the timing, (efficiency == appropriate etiquette here) then your next category involving etiquette will be determined by the game you are there to play. If it is a complex board game with a lot of set up time, a role playing game where everyone is anxious to begin shared play or a card game where you provide or use individual decks should determine the “best time” to handle comestibles.

If the food is an add on and not the co-star to the event, etiquette would put the focus on the games first. For the tabletop game with complex pieces – meals should be served after the event, snacks should be engaged with as needed at safe distance from the board state and pieces. Many entities NEED snacks for homeostasis so the host should figure out the best way to encourage that. If you intend as a group to play more than one game the meal should be acquired and ingested between the first and second game. Or at least ordered if that’s how sustenance is provided.

For role playing games immersion is one of the key elements and therefore it is my recommendation to do all the “decision making” about a meal before starting the game. Choose what food, what order, take up the collection if that is happening and put it to the side “ready to go” when either your games master or the group decide that it’s a good time for a break or the gamers get hungry. One caveat is to make sure that your chosen supplier will still deliver to you at a certain time. If that is a constraint your “pre-game” preparation should include a pre-set time to call in the order.

The condition of the table for a roleplaying game may vary greatly game to game and group to group. If there are many miniatures involved – apply the same good manners you would need for playing a board game. If it’s mostly paper shuffling and computers it is polite to put those away until after food is cleared.

If food can be eaten in a room other than the room where games are being conducted, and you are eating together everyone involved should adjourn to the room where food is served together as a matter of manners rather than etiquette.

For card games there is a great deal of flexibility. However the value and collectability of the cards, plus generalized good manners require that you do not play cards at the same time you are eating so following the same process as we have described for roleplaying games is advised.

A note for party planning. If you have the luxury of time, arranging snacks during play and then ending with a shared dinner is a lovely way to reflect and converse about the evening’s games together and so can be a very pleasing way to spend an afternoon or evening. I am a personal fan of the “meal after gaming” as a social event.

May your cup never runneth over onto anything cardboard.


Thank you to Adrienne Reynolds, for her interplanar transcription services.
Mizz Mizzet Portrait by Andres Garcia

Delightful Readers, Please Submit Your Questions to Mizz Mizzet.

You may submit your questions to Mizz Mizzet using this form.

New Mizz Mizzet columns are posted every Wednesday right here as well as in Hipsters of the Coast‘s weekly email newsletter. You are also encouraged to follow her at @MizzMizzet on Twitter.

Any questions answered publicly will be made anonymous, and noms de plume will be created to represent any parties mentioned.

Born a perfect dragon in an imperfect multiverse, Mizz Mizzet (she/her) is the pioneer broodmother of today’s multiplanar civility movement.  She is now working to persuade Planeswalkers to participate in it.

Her tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette beyond the stereotypical terror of too many pieces of silverware, and whether to use poisons or explosives at celebratory conquest dinners, have not escaped official notice.

She specializes as a consultant in seating arrangements for inter and intra planar political events as long as contracts include the option to eat the rude.

Out of respect for her relative’s delicate sensibilities regarding draconic rank, she does not reside on the plane of Ravnica.

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