Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Four Truths about My Gaming

Here are four things I find are true about, and define, my gaming.

Why four? I like the number four.

1) I don't play as much as I'd like.

A function of being an adult, playing with adults, plus having a split-shift career, means there isn't a lot of time to game. So I don't play half as much as I'd like to play.

I'd like to play my video games, war games, and RPG after RPG.

It just isn't going to happen.

I recognized this a while back and we've built gaming schedules around this fact. That allows me to play as much as I reasonably can, to maximize the enjoyment I get out of gaming.

2) I think about gaming too much.

Some of my best gaming ideas come to me when I really should be doing other things. Or while I'm doing other things. Names for NPCs, places the PCs should be able to visit, odd ways to use previous ideas, etc. They just pop into my head. I write them down on note paper I keep handy (because electronic notes won't get looked at).

I say too much because sometimes this happens when I need to concentrate on other things. Like how I'm blogging about gaming right now instead of doing extra Japanese or Spanish practice or reading this nice book on back injury rehabilitation. It's something I enjoy, but I do tend to let it get carried away a little bit.

3) I already own more gaming material than I need.

I don't need-need most of what I own. I could get by on a fraction. Given nothing except dice, I could re-create what I need. Lacking even dice, I could come up with a fair system of random adjudication in its place.

This affects what I buy. I often see something neat, sometimes by people I'd like to support. But I don't always jump in on it. Partly it's a function of concern with money, partly a function of my approach of keeping my hobby at an overall net zero or even a profit (I write for gaming for more money than I spend on gaming), and partly it's a realization of this truth. I don't really need most of what I have now. I've made decisions about what I find makes my life better by having, and gotten rid of that which did not make the cut.

I still support my hobby, but I give everything a hard look and think, "Will I actually use this, in play, in the short or medium term? Will this make my gaming better by owning it?" If the answer isn't "hell yes!" it's generally "no."

4) I like the ancillary parts of gaming as much as the main.

Gaming isn't painting minis, reading game books, or blogging about gaming. It's the game you're actually engaged in.

But I like those three elements as well. I like to paint minis - I get a lot of enjoyment out of knowing how it'll hit the table. If I'm not gaming, I'm not as excited about painting minis. They feed into each other in a virtuous circle. The better I paint, the better the reaction, and the more I look forward to the games. So I paint better and I game better.

Reading game books? The same. I get a kick out of reading things that might feed my gaming itself. The gaming itself pushes me to read those things that will feed my gaming. Again, virtuous circle.

Blogging is the same. My blog provides a useful resource for our games. It also provides an outlet that lets me develop ideas for my games publicly and therefore with comment. Again, they feed each other.

They cross-feed as well. I'll finish a painted figure so I can post a picture. I'll blog about something and then go try it in game. I'll read game books to review them, which makes me examine them more carefully than if I'd just read it. Like how I read books where I expect I'll have to pass the information to others (like that back rehab book), I read them more than just lightly and casually because I might have to discuss them.

I don't actually run games because of the blog, though - games are self-sustaining in their nature for me. It's fun I have with my friends. It's made me new friends, developed acquaintances into friends, and reinforced old friendships. That's first and foremost why I do it. But I like all the stuff I've attached to it. I like it as much, even if they don't really self-sustain without the core.

I think those are the four truths about my gaming.


  1. I don't play as much as I used to / want to either. But I figure I'll retire someday, and then I'll have all the free time I need.

  2. I also don't play as much as I want to. I was in three or four sessions of GURPS back in 2005 or 2006, played as much as I could get away with from my anti-D&D dad as a teenager (not strictly playing D&D, but still tabletop roleplaying), and sometimes play rules-free RP with other people I know on Skype or IRC.

    I play _around with_ GURPS a lot, but I don't play or run it even a thousandth as much as I'd like. And in other systems, I usually lose my place or give up during character creation.

  3. I tend to be more a "game collector" than a gamer. Sometimes a "gaming enthusiast" if you will. Regularly a "game hacker". Precious rare are the days I get to be a "gamer".

  4. I haven't GM'd GURPS since late 2014...and honestly I don't actually see myself running any of the material I have prepared as late.


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