Your Obedient Serpent (athelind) wrote,
Your Obedient Serpent

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Sturgeon, applied to Gaming

Sturgeon's Revelation: 90% of everything is crud.

This applies to role-playing games, as well -- not merely the systems, but the actual campaigns, the gaming experience.

Unfortunately, since RPGs are a particiapatory art form, it's harder to simply avoid The Crud.

This whole bitchfest was triggered when normanrafferty brought up "co-op" games, such as Arkham Horror or Shadows over Camelot. Those games sound like fun, and if I had a stable gaming group, they'd be a great way to take a break from a long campaign.

If I'm playing them instead of playing a full-fledged RPG, though, it's like a can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee when you really want the multi-course banquet at Maggiano's.

But how often do I actually get Maggiano's?

Other than my early years in high school and at Texas A&M*, this hobby has always been a series of long, long dry spells, punctuated by the occasional bout of frustrating mediocrity. Every few years -- maybe twice a decade, at most -- I'll stumble into a Really Brilliant, Excellent Game that lasts for a good while -- and then pfft.

I hear about people who've had stable gaming groups for years and years. They run different games, they have multiple campaigns, they can rotate game Hosts within a campaign; some of them have long, sustained campaigns set in the same game world that have been running for years.

The longest I was ever in a sustained campaign was a year and a half.

My game groups tend to be erratic and unreliable, and single-campaign-specific: when that game ends, it's time to go hunt down a whole new group.

My own GM Mojo was never that exceptional, and, frankly, I'm tappin' a dry well these days. I'd volunteer to run a game, but I'm the worst offender when it comes to "frustrating mediocrity that can't sustain itself". I have a long string of campaigns that collapse after three sessions. There's only one genre that I feel confident in running consistently, and I've yet to find a system for that genre that isn't fatally flawed.

Gaaaaah. I just Wanna Game.

*Note that I flunked out of A&M because I spent far more time gaming than on classwork. Maybe my dilemma lies in my resultant hesitation to blow so much time and energy on game prep; it's certainly had an impact on my GMing.

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