Posted tagged ‘New Players’

Tuesday, September 27, 2011-Being Badgered by Kids

September 28, 2011

My youngest son has been badgering me to play Dresden files; he is nine years old and in 4th grade.  My older brother, his grandson, and my youngest have played a watered down version of Mouse Guard; successfully.  My son sees me playing Dresden Files with my brother and instinctively wants to be included; after all, he has played RPGs before, he can handle any game.  Obviously, he cannot play Dresden Files; he cannot even read the Dresden Files Books. Despite this apparent flaw, his request has placed me in a bit of a dilemma; I do not want him in a Dresden Files RPG and I do not want to squash his interest in playing role-playing games.   Ironically, my son gave me an out.  He does not want to play a wizard but rather a gun toting hard man; asking me in detail on how to make his guns special for the game. 

I am ignoring the munchkin factor here, he is only nine.

What he is telling me, is that he does not want to play Dresden Files, he wants to shoot big cool guns, and wants my attention.  I want to be a good father.  Is there a role-playing game out there that not only meets our expectation; but also, satisfies our relationship needs between father and son?


I am going with “Dogs In The Vineyard.”

Sure I can go with D&D or Savage Worlds, but fuck that; even Savage Worlds is too much work.  I do not want to invest all that wasted detail and work to create a tactical encounter.  Kids “make-believe” under a social contract all the time; it is called playing.  Doubt me?  Put two kids in a room with two GI. Joe figures, two Star War figures, and two My Pretty Pony figures—wow, the physiological papers would fly.  My point being: they will still figure out a way to play through compromise (with a lot of “no ways”.)  Only an adult would question the physics of a Fireball fanatically; kids just want something cool and fun.  They don’t want to measure movement values or the jamming chances of a Mosin-Nagant M1938 (you are making my point if you knew that was a Russian Rifle during WW II.) Kids want to make stuff up and see how everybody responses to it.  They don’t ask WHY this is fun. 

That is why I am moving away from tactical RPGs to a more narrative game.  I am going with “Dogs In the Vineyard” because it combines game mechanics with make believe, to the degree that is a little higher than kids playing with Legos, but not so far as Squad Patrol (Or any Avalon Hill War Game before the 90’s.)


May 6, 2011- Twelve Hours later

May 7, 2011

I guess I am leaving a gaming group.

But I had fun in those twelve hours.  My only regret is that I spent $55 for Pathfinder; maybe I will return it and get my money back.  I have D&D 3.5 so why buy the same book twice.

Having gamed for over 20 years, I have seen plenty of good games go bad and good games go great.  One great aspect of online social networks is that you can get a good feel of the groups based on post and messaging.  That does save on footwork.  It took only 12 hours of online interaction to see that this upcoming gaming group was going to have some problems and I never had to talk face to face to anyone. 

This last gaming group has four things working against it.

1)      The GM was in love and married with his own world.  This is a good thing, unless he is so married to it that he makes judgments about “what fits his vision.”   If you require players to meet certain aspects within their character concepts and they do, you shouldn’t tell them “no, that does not work in what my world is about.”  Especially when combined with the next issue.

2)      If you have background write ups & player aids of the world, keep it consistent and specific.  Don’t say the world is like “this” and then have rules preventing “this.”   Don’t say “rarely” if you mean “not available.” 

3)      One bad player.  I am always amazed how people simply don’t see what their comments and actions reveal.  There was one player, who had several red flags, just from his post and character concept that pointed to “manipulator” and conveniently started coe-GMimg me.  This guy has never met the GM or the group and yet he felt comfortable enough to tell me how to run my character before I even started writing it up.

4)      Favoritism.  Don’t favor one player over another, if you are going to have a character creation session for the players; then do not let another player make their character at home before the game session.  Especially if you never played with the guy or he is acting like a manipulator. 

Obviously, this manipulating bad player has already jumped into the game and sucked up to a GM who puts his story/world on the highest pedestal.  The GM has already granted him exceptions from other players.  All before we even start gaming, how will the actual play go? 


May 5, 2011-Willy Lowman of Gaming

May 5, 2011

Having just written about, I have been keeping an eye on it more than usual.  This allowed me to catch a little blip that just came up this week; a game in my hometown.  Interesting. 

Normally, I would just blow off something like this; however, I have a new goal for myself, after realizing that online social networks cannot replace the normal footwork.  The goal is; to do the footwork to expand my gaming social network.  This is like being a salesman, going out and fishing for contacts which most end up being dead ends.  Most people don’t have the constitution to put up with a social situation where there are more misses than hits.  Feeling that there should be some sort of return equaling the effort put into the situation.  I still feel the same way.  I have been a salesman, it’s not my forte.  I usually over analyze the risk and conclude a miss before even trying.  Naturally, I started accessing if this game would meet my goal and if the energy put into would pay out. 

Do you know what makes a good salesman?  A good salesman finds the reward in making a pitch, not just in making the sale.  That is why they don’t mind the misses, because they still got something out of it. 

Here is an opportunity for myself.  True, chances are, I will not get what I want completely from this game.  Chances are this will be a miss.  If I go into this with an agenda, with baggage, and only an end goal being the reward; then it will be a complete waste of time.  However, if I go into it just wanting to enjoy the game, I will get more out of it.  Sure, it would be a miss, but I had fun failing the whole time.

I guess I am joining a gaming group.


1-27-2011 Mission Stakes

January 27, 2011

I started using “Mission Stakes” to introduce aspects of the game system and plot device to the players of my Star Wars Campaign, Faults within a Temple. I had my 14 year old son playing who really had not played many RPGs and my younger brother who played 2nd edition D&D as one-shots. Neither wanted to master the rules, but rather be cool Jedi and kick ass with me telling them what to roll to do that. “Mission Stakes” was an attempt to teach them additional rules of the game or, at least, focus on those rules that might matter for a particular adventure. Basically, I type up around four things for each player to consider about their hero that involves the adventure-what is at stake within this mission and hand them out at the start of an adventure. So far they have been semi-successful. My biggest mistake has been with the one experience gamer who regularly plays many RPGs games.

A regular gamer does not really need to be pointed out game and/or plot features; they usually get the hooks and look things up on their own. Yet, in the spirit of fairness, I created Mission Stakes for the one experience player, which was hap hazard. I did not invest much in his little write up because he did not need to be manipulated by them; I went for fun not plot. The result was that he prepared to invest in the game based on the write-up only to have me not bother with any real follow through. I felt so bad at the end of the game session when he said, “Hey, are we going cover this? I thought of a great thing I would do…”