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Dytrrnikl

Gaming Variety...

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When I first joined P&P, I was in the midst of gamer burn out looking for something - anything to reinvigorate my gaming passion. I'm the type of person, that probably over thinks things, and as is typical, have spent a good deal of time over the last year and half, trying to figure out why gaming just wasn't enjoyable for me. Recently, thanks to some insight from my wife - who happens to loathe the fact that I game, but figures if I enjoy it who is she to judge. She made mention that she's picked out some changes with gaming dynamic within the group compared to when she first met the guys. Her observation was that it went from casual fun, with the group sort of collectively taking abreak in the middle of a session to talk about the latest movie or some book or events in real-life; now, when something like that happens, the player who initiates it gets the thrid degree.

Another bit of insight I came to on my own, as she was gifting me with her observations, was that for the last 10 years, we've been playing d20 in some format - either with DnD, Star Wars, our own conversion of FASA Star Trek to a d20 skills only format, and our 'Freedom' system d20. Now, look at the 10 or years prior to that, we would switch between systems - Shadowrun to WEG Star Wars to FASA Star Trek to White Wolf to 2E DnD. Add in the fact that I've been hit with an almost irresistable urge to stop running d20 format games due to some very innovative and imaginative settings with hold of Alpha Omega and Eclipse Phase, and my recently acquired copies of the Dresden Files RPG.

It hit me that my burn out was brought on, not just from the no nonsense, business-like approach the group has to gaming, but also from the gaming staleness of playing the same system in various incarnations for a decade. Since I came to this little bit of insight - I came to the decision that once I'm through with my Star Wars Saga campaign I am stepping away from d20 systems. For me as a player, and a GM, I crave - NEED not just a different setting, I need a different system all together with new mechanics. Variety is the spice of life or at least variety is necessary for this Aquarian gamer.

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  1. jpatterson's Avatar
    First, I'd like to address this to this site and users itself, and I have to say I'm impressed with some of the thoughtfulness I've seen in the blog section. I never really paid much attention or did much blogging myself until this last couple years when I started my own on my own site, and I saw some here but they were pretty much the usual you would expect, but occasionally I would see something out of the ordinary like this, and I began to think, hmm, well, maybe... and I've put up a few myself, and got some good replies, and I've read back some, and there really are some intellectual, good observations on gaming itself, insight into some obscure dynamics in a number of directions.

    I've been pleasantly surprised, compared to what I had initially thought what popped up on here most of the time, and even a lot of the things I thought were "meh" and "same old same old", I've re-read and realized addressed issues differently or included more topics than I assumed, so kudos to everyone, and certainly the author of this entry as well.


    Disclaimer: this is *not* intended to be an anti-D20 comment, but since that was, for me, where my experience happened, that can easily be the appearance, so for those sensitive to this issue, you have been warned.

    I've posted elsewhere my experiences, but long and short, I've found D20 is not a good fit for me in any form and I've known that since 3.5 was replacing 3.0. As I was playing, I realized it was becoming a chore, it was a resented obligation to show up and play through the session, I was getting headaches and was depressed and stressed out, I hated the way the system worked, I could go into specifics, and most certainly have, but the bottom line is that it did not meet my criteria for what I enjoy in a game. I just quit and told the others they could game at the building but I wasn't going to continue. They quit too, as they were driving in 45 minutes, so while I felt bad and was why I had gone so long already, it wasn't worth it to me - if it wasn't fun, it wasn't a game.

    I've thought about it; I started with redbox or BECMI or whatever, and AD&D2E but had moved to other games, and only when we tried Stargate were we forced back into D&D because you needed the PHB to make characters, so we decided to try D&D to get used to the system and maybe everybody just decided to play D&D instead of Stargate or what. I don't know if I had an unconscious resentment that we didn't play Stargate or what, but it eventually wouldn't have mattered because I just don't like the way the system works and I don't understand how people are satisfied with it and play it religiously and especially do like the OP and translate other games to it.

    BUT - now off that track. I've had similar experiences, as burnout doesn't pick certain systems, and it does indeed depend on your obsessive adherence. We played Call of Cthulhu (BRP) super-regularly for about a year and it eventually started to wear me down; I don't know if it was the darkness of it, the gritty Lovecraftian antagonists, cannibals, etc., the liberal character death, the broad spread of percentile skill ratings and relative long time to raise them, the 1920's setting that I couldn't ever identify with very well... I don't know, but it became a similar chore, plus it was always so serious - we joked some but there was never any real levity for any amount of time - it's a depressing game, overall, and when you're someone who already has chronic depression... yeah. Same with Warhammer FRP 1 and 2E, besides it being like CoC in a lot of ways (to me anyway), it is just "thick" in a lot of ways, lot of careers to dig through, skills and talents kinda scattered, the setting is pretty "clingy", I don't know how to describe it, that's just the way it always felt to me, plus again, similar to CoC, the potential lethality of it keeps it tense in any sort of situation with physical danger. Runequest was bad because the GM was attempting a game for immersion where everyone kept track of their High Holy Days on their own calendar - I hated that immediately, as I don't like that kind of requirement. I don't like that sort of simulationism, tracking ammo and that sort of accounting and unnecessary piffle that completely does the opposite, removes any semblance of immersiveness by requiring you to do bookkeeping instead of roleplaying.

    I've now got a good variety of games I've looked at and like, though my group has dissolved - I still like WFRP2, CoC and then Feng Shui, but also I think I like Savage Worlds, D6 seems ok, etc. I'd recommend you try some "lite" games, even try Wushu, or look at it, by Daniel Bayn. I myself now lean toward rules-medium to lite games, action movie stuff, high cinematics, solid but simple rules, competent to awesome characters, low-detail-oriented stuff so the narration and gameplay itself is the primary focus.
  2. outrider's Avatar
    I have had burnout before. What we did was to play a different type of game, be it board games or miniatures for a period of time until I refreshed my batteries. I find for myself, when I get burned out I also write things for the systems that we are not playing at the time. This also brought me out of any funk I might have.

    Runequest was bad because the GM was attempting a game for immersion where everyone kept track of their High Holy Days on their own calendar - I hated that immediately, as I don't like that kind of requirement. I don't like that sort of simulationism, tracking ammo and that sort of accounting and unnecessary piffle that completely does the opposite, removes any semblance of immersiveness by requiring you to do bookkeeping instead of roleplaying.
    Jp, I will have to disagree with you on that. The tracking ammo and such I agree but if you are playing followers of a religion and are actively participating in the rp of such, knowing what your holy days are should be and what is required for participation. These activities also tend to promote new adventures for the characters and allow for interaction with NPC's of the world.
  3. Wiptag's Avatar
    I went through the same thing awhile back, and I think you are on the right track by mixing things up with a different setting and system. There are plenty out there, and I agree with you about Alpha Omega.
  4. Malachi57's Avatar
    Great article. I'm totally immersed in the game I'm running right now, but avoiding burnout is a big priority of mine. I'll definitely have to try and mix things up from time to time.