Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gaming for Sake of Gaming

I would like to thank Lord Blacksteel at the Tower of Zenopus for his post, inspired in a way by my post, that got me thinking about creating another post in the near future extrapolating on why I feel Superhero gaming is just the bee's knees and what you can do to convince your players to give it a try.

But first...

The possibility/opportunity to run a game once again at my FLGS has arisen. I sent an email to our Yahoo Group announcing my interest in taking the available time slot and asking if anyone had any ideas or opinions on what they wanted to see. One response. There are over a dozen members of this group and only one person has yet to get back to me.

This particular person is, shall we say, quite vocal when it comes to his interests and general likes and dislikes regarding a campaign so it makes sense that if anyone were to respond it would be this fellow. I actually like that a lot. Unfortunately, sometimes our ideas, styles and opinions don't jive completely.

In a recent post he noted that he wouldn't commit to playing in my campaign until he knew exactly what it was about. He didn't 'Game for the Hell of Gaming' he said (wrote). Granted. That is totally fair. I don't either.

Well...that's not exactly true. Actually, it isn't true at all. If someone said, "Adam, I've got free, behind the dugout tickets* to the World Series for tomorrow and I am inviting you. Or we can game together."

My response would be, "So I'll bring extra dice. Am I running or are you?"

I'd pretty much rather run or play a RPG than do anything else that doesn't involve getting naked and playing havoc on my bed springs. But that's just me. Maybe...maybe it really is just me.

I mean, maybe the reason I can't seem to make this larger group work the way I can my smaller group, my NJ group and my old groups is because these guys just aren't as into it as I am. That's not a criticism or a fault, it's merely an observation. Gaming is my thing. It's my favorite past time. It's been that way for almost 35 years. It exists, as least for me, as the creative outlet for my need to write, draw, act and tell stories. Without it I'd probably be a mess of pent up artistic frustration.

But what if you don't have that problem? What if you don't feel that need or desire to be that creative on a regular basis? What if you are lucky enough to have some other means of getting that artistic energy out of your head?

I am rare among gamers it seems in that my love of gaming supersedes, at least initially, my preference for genre or mechanics. If someone suggests playing a Pathfinder game, I'll give it a try, even though I am well known for my dislike of D&D based games and medieval fantasy. My dear friend Erin Palette is running an L5R game and I am familiar enough with the universe to know that it will be a Samurai/Medieval Japan game. I don't need to know more than that. I'm good to go. I think I mentioned once before how my friend Keith said he was going to run Deadlands and I was all gung ho for it. Our mutual friend Jason pulls me aside and says, "Adam...I thought you don't really like horror...or westerns for that matter." He was right but this was a game run by a good friend. I had to give it a shot.

Meanwhile, over the last few years I've encountered the bizarre (to me) dynamic of...

Me: "Hey guys I want to run a new campaign. A Sci-Fi/Space Opera game."

Players: "Well what's it about?"

Me: "It's Space Opera. You know, it's the future, we travel to different planets and fight evil aliens and discover peaceful ones. Think of all the old novels by E. E. Smith, H. Beam Piper, Niven,'s gonna rock."

Players: "Hmm. Maybe. Explain the socio-political structure of the galaxy's major powers, what the majority of the alien species are like, who's the enemy culture, what do they eat for breakfast and exactly what megacorporation does what, what their finaces are and how their stock is doing on the intergalactic market."

Me: "Yeah...changed my mind..."

I guess I do game for the hell of gaming. Sometimes I have a plot or story I want to explore and sometimes I don't. I'll run my favorites like Star Trek and Superheroes or I'll grab a Wild West game and figure out how to make it interesting to me. I don't need to know everything going in, or even later or at all. I want to learn these things and develop them as my players and I (or I as a player) explore the game environment and mechanics.

I just want to game.

Barking Alien

* Behind the dugout would be good seats right? It's been eons since I knew the first thing about baseball (or any other sport for that matter.)


  1. And this is where you and I fall back in sync and Bizzaro Adam goes back in his hole - while I am a little picky about what I will run, I'm pretty easy when it comes to what I will play: damn near anything.

    Most of my friends like it and like it a lot, but I'm the only one writing about it online. It is my main hobby - it's not as dominant as it was years ago but it's still the preferred way to spend that free time. It also takes up more space than any other hobby, even the car thing. Note: I'm not counting the wife and kids as "hobbies"

    So I think I have a pretty similar view - I may very well play for the sake of playing. I don't need it to be art, nor do I need it to be science or to have some deeper meaning - I just enjoy it, both in the moment and as a story to be told later, whether as player or master. I've been at it for a long long time and that's never worn off for me.

  2. Interesting. I think I'd play just about any RPG with the right people, although I definitely like rules light stuff more. Risus Monkey sounds a bit like you, he's a self-described rpg slut. ;)

    Re: turning down free World Series tickets That's just crazy talk.

  3. @Ze - As I understand it, this 'World Series' involves some kind of activity within a sphere shaped headquarters or 'Base Ball'. I guess like the Death Star.

    To my understanding only a single world actually participates.

  4. Good points; I do have some things I prefer to others, but I would never enforce those on other players. If the genre wasn't as appealing to me I would politely decline- but I have the luxury of having a number of campaigns going on right now. The splendor of riches means that I can do that and not feel like I've lost out. If it were leaner, then I would hungrily play almost anything, almost any system.

  5. I've got a pretty full plate myself right now but I could make the time if all the stars aligned so to speak.

    That is if a) I put aside one of my Saturday's a month from my ongoing Champions game, b) could get a game/genre that interested me as well as my players and c) they were willing to put at least half the effort and enthusiasm into it that I do.

    I only ask for half because, as I noted, not everyone is as driven to game as I am. :)

    I tend not to decline from any game but I will alert the GM ahead of time if I know for a fact I am not normally a fan of the game he or she is running. I usually wait at least four sessions before deciding whether or not the campaign is right for me.