Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gamer vs Gamer

I see all sorts of "problem gamers" threads on message boards, from talking about catpissmen to munchkins and rules lawyers to anti-social types at game stores and awful people obsessed with realism or the military or dual katana wielding ninjas. If there's an excuse to crack on fellow gamers, people will take it.

Now that's different than edition wars or playstyle talk on the internet. When we're posting, whether on message boards or blogs, we're not gaming, we're talking about gaming. So theory and philosophy talk and argument should be expected. Frankly, I think that's what all this is for, really. When I'm not trying to sell you something, anyway.

And I'd sit down and game in real life with any of the people I've had dust ups with. It's just the friggin internet, you know? But I see a lot of bitching and moaning that sounds really personal. Like the person writing it is the only normal person and it's everyone else in the hobby that's just awful.

Anyway, I just had my first gaming session today in almost two months (business got in the way...). Between that break of the routine and the fact that much of my group is out of the country on summer holiday, only two regulars could make it.

Instead of playing a board game or canceling, one of the players got on the phone and in 15 minutes found three other people to come play. I didn't know any of them. I'd seen one of them working at a local game store, but that's it. Didn't even know any of their names. Certainly didn't know what games they liked or had experience with, or what playstyle they preferred, or anything. And they were coming to my house to game.

If I believed the gamer vs gamer horseshit on the internet, I'd think I needed to lock up the valuables and coat the place with plastic before they showed up and be ready to throw people out at a moment's notice.

So anyway, I whipped up an adventure in an hour's time (obviously continuing the campaign's previous events with 1/3rd the old crew and mostly new players wouldn't be appropriate here), the wife baked the pie and prepared the ice cream before she ran off to work, and then the people came over and we gamed.

Had a fine time. Not my best work, but not my worst. I do believe all three of the new guys will be returning if their reactions are any indication.

So you know, we all have our soapboxes here on the internet and we might become ideologues and we state our opinions and what have you, but I really hope at the end of the day when it's time to game that people really aren't paranoid about their fellow gamers as internet babble would indicate. I hope away from the keyboard people just get together and play the friggin game.

(My game hopefully, but ya know...)


  1. Well said James. Damn lucky you can scape a full party of fill INS in under an hour ;)

  2. Message boards and their constituents thankfully aren't reflective of the gaming world at large.

  3. Hear, hear Scott. It ought to be the first thing anybody learns about ANY hobby, and the internet.

  4. Jim, just got confirmation that the two guys you hadn't met before both enjoyed the session and had a good time. Hard to say, however, if it was the novelty value, or if they'll be returning for more.

  5. +1, as long as they shower before coming over :)

  6. I have no problem gaming with new people and even strangers. But catpissmen and other varieties of jerks do exist. Them I ask to leave when I'm GMing or if another person is GMing and is okay with them, then I take my leave. Life is too short to game with people you wouldn't hang with normally.

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  9. Im impressed you can game with randomers. There are omly about a dozen people Ive met online in forums and blogs I would sit down with for a game, not because the rest are wankers but most are dumb, conventional, btb, TSR fanboys.

    [third time lucky]

  10. I like seeing how other people approach the game. My own playstyle can handle quite a bit, especially if it's a one shot.

  11. I was one of the new guys and really enjoyed the experience (I was playing the Drunken Dwarf). My friend (Sergei's player) is furiously googling OSR atm :).

    Will I be playing again ? That really depends on how much I have spare time and same goes to my friend. Yesterday was quite special occasion because we were planning to play boardgames by ourselves but we did not manage to gather players in short notice. Luckily Navdi approached me with this opportunity.

    PS. The Village Elder is one of my favorite npc ever, you really should use him again.

  12. Others have alluded to it, but this is a reflection again of poster representation versus what Nixon called the "Silent Majority", which are generally good players if also surrounded y good players and a good DM.

    Everyone is in bad habits otherwise - there is a negative feedback loop the ore bad apples you have, and vice versa.

    For example, an otherwise great DM can become adversarial when the rules lawyer shows up, or the "I played this kind of adventure before metagaming guy".

  13. There are problematic players out there, no doubt about it, but in my opinion, they are definitely a (loud and obnoxious) minority. I've game mastered a lot at conventions, and elsewhere with (previously) total strangers, and for the most part I find gamers to be friendly, outgoing, and able to adapt to the group's playing style as a whole.