Archive for December 6th, 2005

December 6, 2005: 9:48 pm: Cons, GMing, Playing

Over on The Forge, Pôl Jackson posted about the games he played in and ran at this year’s Ambercon NW, and then came to this conclusion:

And it took writing all of that just to realize: I need to start playing on purpose. I can’t just show up to a game half-prepared and expect that fun will somehow happen to me, as if by magic. Over the last year, my tastes have changed, and my expectations have changed. I need to be proactive about the games I sign up for. Make sure I know the rules. Make sure I’m hooked into the story. Make sure I show up to the game in the right frame of mind to play. I am responsible for my own fun.

Specifically, here are some things I think that I should do for next year’s AmberCon NW.
* When signing up for a “variant” game, I’ll e-mail the GM first and get the skinny on what the game is really like.
* I’ll come to the hotel a day early. Better yet, two days early. Soak up the atmosphere and have my vacation before Amber Boot Camp begins.
* In traditional Amber games, I’ll be more aggressive about suggesting events that could involve my character. Both before the game (“how can my character hook into the action more?”) and during the game (“could I be in this scene?”). Write a kicker. GMs will like it!
* When running a non-Amber game, I need to find out which players have played that system before. If most haven’t, then this should be a “demo” game, with different expectations (with a goal of “learning the game” rather than “running a full session”).
* Playing a new game? I need to buy the book and read the rules beforehand! The less time spent struggling with the rules, the more time can be spent playing.

I think that’s all great advice for pretty much anyone who attends an Ambercon, and I plan on trying to keep it in mind myself the next time I go to one.

: 8:36 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

If you frequent The Forge (or read gaming weblogs), you know that on December 2nd the RPG Theory and GNS Model Discussion forums there were closed to posting. It was a move that had been planned for some time, but it’s still managed to cause a bit of an uproar.

Most of the opinions I’ve seen have, like Vincent Baker‘s, been positive to one degree or another, and that’s pretty much the camp I fall into too. Frankly, while they might have been the site of lots of useful talk once, I’ve never found much use for either theory forum during the few years I’ve been reading The Forge. Part of that is probably due to my lack of fascination with the give and take of theory discussion, and part of it is due to a change in the sorts of interaction that takes place there. Whatever the reason, the Forge-related theory I know I’ve learned from the Actual Play and Indie Game Design forums, plus several of Vincent’s posts on Anyway.

I guess the important question now is how The Forge will change without its theory forums, and what else the future might hold for worthwhile discussion of RPGs. However it goes, I bet it’ll be interesting.