Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thoughts on derailing a role playing game

Something I find missing as a gaming adult is the pain in the ass of it all.  My game nights have becomes some sort of well timed machine of Swiss design.  All the parties involved arrive and disappear to their component lives.  This is all great and terrible, with odd effects on the playing of the game.

As a youth nothing happened without great trial and effort.  Someone always needed a ride or someone needed to be tracked down.  Some poor soul living in a tent in a back yard had to make his way to a mall to find Brian who would charge him gas money for the drive. One of them had to finish talking up a girl at the local taco bell.  Then there was food or some sort of food run to interrupt the session.

But for all that the games went off pretty well.  Two things were at work here.  Everyone was putting in some effort to make this thing happen, so it was a focus once there. Also the pain in the butt of it added to the length of play.  We were holding six or seven hour games rather than four hours on a work night.  To be fair the computer wasn't linked up and micronized back then so there were no hand held interruptions.  There were no pdf's just books.  Very little distracted from the table except perhaps the music and most metal served as a soundtrack.

These days we arrive from work and fit it in with families.  There is no time for the long game.  There is no time to even be of the game we are always of many minds around a table that is held quiet.  Don't get me wrong this is the gaming I can get so I take it.  But we often joke around the table or burst with information that could be of use to each other in our normal lives.  This results in an experience not as strong days of old.  Even the relations around the table differ.  My fellow adventures seldom change my life anymore.  This wasn't so many years ago. There was a secret language of music and film spoken around the table.  It took much effort to learn and was slowly rationed.  Back in the days of VHS watching a movie wasn't a download it was a cross town search.  Now I find myself watching a few minutes of a suggested movie and then clicking Netflix over to something good.  These interactions that start and stop with the game table seem to want to be more but every joke or story cheats an already short game night.

The theory I am suggesting in this piece is that gaming is like sleep.  There is a certain duration of tossing and turning before you hit REM.  This is very much analogous to gaming chatter and goofing off before one hits the meat of playing.  As a solution to this problem I posit we start with dinner.  Something simple at a pizza parlor or taco bell but some place to get out the talking that seems to derail every game I play in.  If you don't have time make it as paramount importance.  Find time to forget the day and say the stupid things at one table then get down to playing at the game table.

No comments: