There are no two ways around it: I’m simply not as smart after I’ve had a drink as I am before. It’s more difficult for me to track details, to follow processes, remember small things and to be creative. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good beer and some bourbon as much (and maybe more) than the next guy. However, the facts are irrefutable at this point.
I noticed it most during a game of Robo Rally (a wonderful board game that you should play) last month. Normally, I’m pretty good at this game. My mind tends to compartmentalize information easily, and I can usually think pretty fast. Early in the game, I rushed out to an early, dominant appearing lead. Then I drank a beer. My little robot started rolling in random directions, and my lead dwindled to almost nothing.
Then the buzz wore off, my mind cleared and I won handily.
I am acutely aware of this limitation when running a Dungeons and Dragons game. Since I only DM about once a month, I don’t really have much experience, and there’s simply too much to track. I need to stay sharp. Normally, adding a drink makes almost every good thing a little better, but that isn’t true when I’m running a D&D game.
I usually ride my motorcycle to my weekly game, and I have a strict, self imposed, zero drinking and biking rule, so I don’t know if that applies as a D&D player. I do know that a cocktail or two goes just fine with most other board and card games. Flux and Munchkin are casual enough that a buzz doesn’t hurt game play, as is Ticket to Ride.
What do you think? When does alcohol add to your gaming experience, and when does it take something away?