Lately I have been having a ton of fun running and playing games. In a strange moment of clarity that is very unlike me I pondered, “WHY am I so happy gaming right now?” This quickly gelled into the article that you are reading now. Here are seven things that make me happy to be a gamer. Try some of these out and see if they work for you!
1. Play Instead Of Run OR Run Instead Of Play
Over the last two years I have started to play in a regular campaign. It is the first time is probably 20 years that I have played at a consistent basis. Typically I am the GM for my group. It has been really fun not only tuning my playing skills but also not have to worry about preparing too much. My gosh players have it easy!
2. Help Someone GM A Game But Don’t Take Responsibility
About a week before one of our sessions our current GM (i.e. the fabulous Derek Heimforth) had an issue come up and could make a planned session. I offered to step in and run a session in his campaign world. After I made the offer I realized that even though I have been gaming for 32 years I could not remember every running a game in someone elses campaign world! I converted an adventure I ran for another campaign that had a vaguely similar theme and ran it for that crew. Last minute Derek was able to make the session and played. At first I was a but wary but after some thought I realized that I really have a lot less pressure running a one shot like this in a different campaign world. There was no sustaining plot pressures of any type. It was a BLAST!
3. Buy An RPG Product That You Never Plan To Run Just Because It Looks Cool
Playing RPGs is a REALLY cheap hobby. Think about the amount of time you spend playing RPGs vs that cost of the books. It is practically nothing. It costs almost $15 to see a 2 hour movie in the Bay Area…jeez loueez! Instead of going to see a movie this weekend go to your FLGS and pic out something that looks really interesting that you are likely never to run or play. Read the book cover-to-cover and enjoy it. You never know…you might find something for your current game or decide to give it a try.
These days there are some cool products out there that are fun reads. Many of the newer story game products from Indie Press Revolution are great suggestions. Here are some crazy cool products to try. (Note that I will have extended reviews on these in the next few months.):
- Day After Ragnarok / Atomic Overmind Press – Ken Hite is just plain brilliant and when he write alternate history products he hits another level. Imagine the midgard serpent falling across the planet causing tidal waves and mass destruction. The setting is completely crazy and very very cool. It comes in Savage Worlds or Hero 6th Edition flavors.
- Don’t Rest Your Head / Evil Hat Productions – Fred Hicks did this little gem that involves lack of sleep and madness. Everything you need to play is in one book.
- Esoterrorists / Pelgrane Press – Robin Laws has a very unique approach on running investigative games. The culmination of that approach is the Gumshoe system. Esoterrorists is a modern horror setting that was the first published Gumshoe product. Awesome stuff. Everything you need to play is in one book.
4. Buy Some New Dice
We all know that gamers can never have enough dice! Go out to the store, weigh all your options, then buy a new set. Try a different color scheme that you can use to mix up your bag OR try square edge dice instead of rounded ones. You never know…you may change your mind on what works for you.
5. Try A New Game At Your FLGS With Strangers
There are several phenomenal game stores in the Bay Area that really foster a sense of community (see Endgame and Game Kastle). Often they host gaming session with new products to let you try them out. Not only is this a way to meet other gamers in your area but it is also a way to find a product that someone is passionate about running. The combination is winning.
6. Explain Gaming To A Non-Gamer
Next time that non-RPG geeks asks you what you do with your spare time don’t lie…say playing pen-and-paper role playing games! After a second or two of watching their blank stare explain our wonderful hobby. It can be very satisfying explaining something that you love.
7. Think About All The Lasting Friends You Have Met Over The Gaming Table
This last one is probably the easiest to do but is one of the most rewarding. After reading this article close your eyes and think about all the lasting friends you have met through gaming. I know to me the list is long and beautiful.