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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - Battle Plans and Campaign Strategies by Dalkiel]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/16934-Battle-Plans-and-Campaign-Strategies Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:57:17 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - Battle Plans and Campaign Strategies by Dalkiel]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/16934-Battle-Plans-and-Campaign-Strategies New Games and Old http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1777-New-Games-and-Old Tue, 25 Dec 2012 19:38:22 GMT I've played a fair number of RPGs. I've got the books for dozens of different games, and tend to be a completest when I decide to add a game to the group repertoire. But with the huge number of games on the shelf, and the wide range of genres they represent, it's becoming rarer that I stumble on a game (new or old) that I feel brings anything new to the table. For example, I don't feel there's much that would be offered by the myriad of fantasy RPGs that seem to come out every year. I have Pathfinder for general fantasy, OpenD6 Fantasy if i want to do "rules lite", and Fantasy HERO if I want to get into deep and finegrained control of a character build.

So it's a great pleasure when I discover a game that I feel does bring something new and different to the table. In the past year I've discovered (and added to the "to play" list) FIVE new games (well, new to me) that my players and I are excited about. We've added Star Trek: The Next Generation RPG (by the late Last Unicorn Games), Nobilis (currently in print by EOS Games) Diaspora (currently in print by VSCA Publishing), Eclipse Phase (Currently in print by Posthuman Studios) and Blue Planet (Revised edition now being published by the recently resurrected FASA Games). It's a wonderful feeling to find new games that can add to the fun of roleplaying.

So, what new games have you discovered in the last year? Discuss. :-) ]]>
Dalkiel http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1777-New-Games-and-Old
The Loss of a Good Friend and Fellow Gamer... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1773-The-Loss-of-a-Good-Friend-and-Fellow-Gamer Sat, 27 Oct 2012 19:41:34 GMT We got quite the shock this past Friday. We had assembled for the weekly game, getting ready to play, and were waiting on one player, a fellow named... We got quite the shock this past Friday. We had assembled for the weekly game, getting ready to play, and were waiting on one player, a fellow named Dave. We didn't think much about it at the time. The player was always at least on time, usually early. We also were aware of a large deployment of power company vehicles along his route, and expected he might have hit traffic and/or turned around to use an alternate route. But after an hour passed we started to worry, and I called his house number to see if everything was OK.


...and discovered that a relative of Dave's had put an announcement on his answering machine, telling whoever called that she regretted to inform us that he had passed away rather suddenly on October 24, and providing information for the funeral and several phone numbers.


We sat there staring at each other around the table, not knowing what to say or think. The guy was a gem of a human being, and easily one of the best players we'd ever known. We couldn't imagine what had happened, or why. We tried talking about it a bit, then called it a night early. Well, we said we were calling it a night, but we were still around the table for a bit, not really knowing what to do with ourselves. Dave had been such a part of everything since we first contacted him in July 2011 through P&PG (where he was known as Corax) that he was almost family.


After everyone went home, my wife called one of the numbers on the answering machine message. She got Dave's sister, who told us he'd collapsed at work. They tried reviving him, but were unsuccessful. Cause of death: heart failure, at age 49.


The conversation then took an unexpected turn. She suddenly asked my wife, “Are you one of his gaming friends?”


Usually, when a question like that is asked, the first reaction is, “Oh, boy. We're going to get disapproved of.” But my wife told her directly that yes, we were his gaming friends, and he would come over for both the Friday and Sunday group every week.


The reaction was immediate – and completely unexpected. She told us how glad she was that we'd reached out to her, that they (the whole family) were trying to reach us, but didn't have names or numbers to go by. And she wanted to tell all of us how important we had been to Dave in this past year.


She went on to tell us how he had been a reclusive man, not interacting much with people beyond going to work. When the internet had first come along, he became even more reclusive, and apparently family worried for him. Then July of last year came around, and a radical shift in his behavior became apparent to them. He was more outgoing, laughed and smiled more, and was obviously much, much happier. And he would talk – a LOT – about this group of gamers he'd met and joined. They didn't understand the games, and didn't have much interest in learning about them, but they could see the positive change in Dave, and could only be grateful.


We told her that the whole roster of both groups would attend the funeral, and that's when she said something else that floored us. She asked me to come up the house after the funeral. It seems that Dave had amassed quite the library of game books, which they had no personal use for. BUT...it was important to Dave, so very important, and it had been responsible for such joy in the time we knew him, that they wanted us to go through them, and take what we wanted. They wanted the books to go to a good home, and for us to have something to remember Dave by.


Personally, I felt honored to think I was involved in bringing someone such happiness, especially in what turned out to be the last fifteen months of his life. It's just really hard to learn about it in this way. Dave will be sorely missed by everyone here. ]]>
Dalkiel http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1773-The-Loss-of-a-Good-Friend-and-Fellow-Gamer
The Reluctant Gamer http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1694-The-Reluctant-Gamer Tue, 21 Feb 2012 03:08:46 GMT I've been noticing more and more that gamers tend to focus on one game, and one game only. They may be a fan of literature or movies that span several genres (Fantasy, SciFi, Cyberpunk, Post Apocalypse, etc) but will only play one genre. And sometimes these players will go so far as to dismiss, or express disgust over, the other genres in context of gaming. Players and GMs alike find themselves frustrated when confronted with a gamer like this, and find themselves equally at a loss in finding a way to engage this player in games outside the restriction they place on themselves. In some cases you'll find yourself fighting a losing battle, but in others you may have a chance if you can determine exactly what circumstances cause the issue in the first place.

There appears to be several reasons for this narrowing of focus in gaming. Of course, it may simply be just a case where the player truly doesn't feel motivated to play the other genres or games. In this case, trying to talk them into it isn't going to get very far, and pressuring them will just annoy. After all, it's a preference thing, and everyone is entitled to have a favorite game or genre. It's not unheard of for someone who would otherwise not be a gamer make an exception for one game or genre.

But other reasons for this narrow focus in gaming are not so understandable when scrutinized. Every GM has run across the player (and sometimes, players run across the GM) that will only play one game because “That's what (s)he knows how to play)” and the individual doesn't want to spend the time learning a new system, or even play a different genre using the same system as the one they're familiar with. (For instance, a player familiar with Hero: Champions not wanting to play Star Hero). This may tie into the aforementioned “I only want to play this” mindset, or it may be due to a lack of confidence in being able to do well in the new game. (“I won't know what I'm doing, and I'll look stupid.”) If it's a case of the latter, the best one can hope for is an eventual change of mind brought about by patient explanations, maybe telling the player a few stories from adventures in a particular game. You might try taking the time to sit with the player in a non-game setting and flip through some books, letting him/her see some of the ideas, concepts, and artwork to be found in the game. Maybe even try a character generation, not with the pressure to play, but “just so you can see how it works”. After a few times like this, the reluctant player may decide on their own to give it a try after all. They'll have had the time to ease into learning the system, and character generation, and the setting, without the pressure to hurry up in order to join an impending game. And sometimes removing that pressure, that sense of urgency, is enough to help them relax enough to realize that it could be fun after all.

Another cause that I have seen all too often is the "bad experience" syndrome. The player (or even the GM) had an experience with the game that was less than stellar, and for whatever reason, can't separate the experience from the game, or even the genre. I have seen this scenario play out more often than I'd care to believe possible. My wife (who started gaming with me even before we started dating) is a prime example. She'd been in games where the GM was best described as "broken" or "dysfunctional", and because of that experience she didn't want to play the games she associated with the bad experience. (Star Wars, HERO: Champions, Werewolf, etc). It wasn't till she listened in on the preparation for these games with my group that she decided - reluctantly - to give these games a second chance. Upon playing the game with different people, she was actually surprised at how much fun she had - a profound revelation, indicating how much the bad experience had affected her opinion of the game itself. A bad GM can also give the impression that the game system is “broken”, when in reality the game system works fine – provided it's being run by a competent GM. If the GM is trying to run a system (s)he's not familiar with, or if the GM failed to do basic preparation, even the simplest system can become unplayable. GMs, only you can prevent this one. Learn the game you're trying to run, prepare adequately for the game, and at the very least have a notepad with page numbers to appropriate rules/conventions used in the game.

More and more frequently, another cause for the problem has reared it's head in gaming circles. Related to “edition bias”, there are gamers who decide that they have found the “one true system” for games, and that “all other systems suck” because it isn't their favorite system (despite, in some cases, a more than passing similarity between the favored system and the despised one, e.g., AD&D 2e vs D&D 3.x vs Palladium Fantasy). Sometimes this brought about by understandable circumstances, but sometimes it's an unreasoning prejudice normally only seen among fans of sports (“I'm a Mets fan. I hate the Yankees” - actual quote from a sports fan). As excessive as it may seem to use the word “hate” over a game, sports – and gaming, it would seem – has fans that would go to that unnecessary extreme. Sometimes the player will have reasons to offer, like “That game is too complicated”, or “That game is poorly designed” (Variant: “Broken by design”). The best thing in the case of rules-medium to -heavy games is, once again, for the GM to do the necessary preparations. There are a lot of ways for a GM to streamline the flow of game play. A well-prepared GM can reduce (if not eliminate) the perception of complexity – without going through the trouble of “modding” the game, “house-ruling” it to the point of making an entirely different game. And if this sounds like too much work...well, that's a topic for a future post. ]]>
Dalkiel http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1694-The-Reluctant-Gamer