Perverse Access Memory: WISH 44: Picking Games
I’ve been reading PAM (and its predecessor) Since about WISH 27. This week’s question prompted me to finally answer one. At some point I’ll go back and fill in other interesting ones.
How do you choose games to join or to run? What factors influence you: timing, people, system, genre, etc.? Do you weigh different factors for different kinds of games, e.g., online vs. tabletop vs. LARP? Is it a group decision or a decision you make on your own?
The overwhelming factor in my life is time, althought this manifests in several ways.
I’ve been gaming for about 17 years now. I’ve only played in a few ongoing games, because I can barely find the time for one campaign at a time; I’m forced to be selective. They’ve always been tabletop games; I’d love to try a PBeM game sometime, but I haven’t found one I think I’d like enough to commit regular (weekly or better) time to. LARP isn’t for me; I’m a technician, not an actor.
My current Rolemaster campaign has been running for 5 years, and the 2300AD campaign before that was longer. I like long running campaigns. If I’m going to commit the time to develop a character and explore a world, I want it to be a going concern, not a simple dungeon crawl or two (those are fun, but I prefer single day, tournament style for those). It takes a long time for me to develop and then flesh out a character, and I do that best inside a campaign, interacting with the world and my fellow characters.
I like games that meet regularly, but not too often. Both of my campaigns tried meeting weekly, but ended up with longer monthly sessions instead. My fellow gamers (and our spouses) are willing to commit one day per month to gaming, and schedule other things around Game Day. With a weekly meeting, we’d always have someone away, making continuity difficult.
I don’t have a strong preference for any particular system. I’ve played AD&D, Champions, Traveller, 2300, GuRPS, and now Rolemaster. There are two exceptions though; I like the magic system in Rolemaster much better than in any other system I’ve tried, and I love the simple task resolution system in MegaTraveller and 2300AD.
What this really means is that I’ll play whatever game system (and genre/setting) that the GM wants to play. That’s how I got into all of the games listed above; the GM wanted to run a particular game, and asked for players…
I’ve played several genres, but I like classic low-tech, fantasy realms with magic the best. When I play SF or superheros, I tend to play myself in a spacesuit (or in a cape) In fantasy worlds I can dtop into a character more easily.
People are the second most important factor for me. I strongly prefer gaming with people I know, and preferably people I know well. That limits my options, even though about half of the Gang are roleplayers. There are just too many opportunities for strife and discord in gaming environments; getting to know a new group of people is risky given my time restrictions.
In short, roleplaying done right is a large time commitment, and as I don’t have a lot of free time, I’m forced to be selective. A good GM and a good bunch of players (usually my friends) are the biggest consideration for me. After that, whatever the GM wants to run is fine by me!