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This is part of a series of bloody matches to the death. Show support for your favorite game so it will do better in the fight. You can support it by writing why you think its the better game and more importantly by betting (i.e. voting for) it. Please make it clear for when I check the bets later. You have until Friday when I tally the bets and declare the winner. I will reserve my bet for any tie-breakers.
Although you should be familiar with both games, there is no rule that says you have to have played both of them. The only rule in Trashdome is this;
Two games enter! One game leaves!
Board vs Role Play Gaming
Hex Sinister wrote: I've been working on my new D&D campaign for at least 8 months now. It's all still "pre-production" phase which boils down to procrastination and writer's block. I'm no damn fantasy author y'know. But there's a lot to consider. Finding a "new" and interesting place in Greyhawk that I like, making up a whole borderlands village, what the local economy is based on as well as the history of the place and it's relationship within the kingdom it borders. New monsters to stat out. Maps to make. Locals to flesh out. What are the local diseases and common threats. Then I have to tie it all in to an interesting narrative that's not awful.
Not everybody has to do all of this. They can use a simpler system and get a pre-made adventure but that's just not how I want to roll. Thus it takes a lot of time and focus, the latter I don't have much of these days. Maybe it'll never see the light of day, I don't know. But it gets me to sleep at night lately. In the end I can't pick a winner here. There's always something to play or do and they have their own merits and drawbacks.
I respect the hell out of this level of dedication, but it exhausts me just reading it.
I will point out that there is a third way between the two poles of "detailed world building" and "run a published adventure." See:
This is the only way I roll these days.
Vote: Board Games
Mr. White wrote: I did not expect RPGs to be leading board games at this site.
For me, boardgames are what I do when I can't play RPGs or am not in the mood for it. There was a time when I played mostly board games out of frustration with what I was getting out of rpgs at the time. Then I figured out that the problem wasn't RPGs generally, just the specific one I was playing. So I switched it up and all is right with the world.
Boardgames on the other hand are typically more stable. With less liquid-y rules the experience is more consistently reliable. If you have a fun group to play with, even the driest of Euros can be a fun time. If you have a good group and you play fun games then it's a total blast. I've gone to meetups to play with random ass people and if the game is good we've had a good time. Sure you can't always do the imaginative crazy awesome stuff that happens in a RPG, but depending on the game, you still get to do awesome shit. Go look at any session report of Wiz-War and tell me it doesn't sound like a utterly joyful riot!
I love both, but I'll give the slight edge to the more reliable BOARDGAMES.
dysjunct wrote: forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?517294-The-...ide-to-Gamemastering
This is the only way I roll these days.
Thanks, dysjunct, great article. I am in this camp, too. If you have strong NPCs with fleshed-out motivations, the rest usually falls into place. I mean, PK Dick wrote some of his best books that way: no plot, no goal, just some characters and copious amounts of speed.
I love how RPGs can surprise you with the repercussions of a decision you made three months ago, probably not even noticing how big of a deal this was going to be (because neither did the DM). But it would have to be a story-telling RPG like Call of Cthulhu. If I want skirmish, I'd rather play a skirmish game. The two points mentioned above that are most important to me are
a) it's the group. You do need smart people that you trust for an RPG to levitate. And be on the same page about what you want from the game.
b) Boardgames are a much safer option. And they are finite, which is a huge plus for everyone with a life who needs to get up the next morning.
Voting for potential and memories here: Roleplaying
Mr. White wrote:
. Theoretically, one could only buy one board game (catan, CE, Talisman, whatever) and play forever. Much like one person can buy a single RPG and run adventures forever. Theoretically, but we know the reality.
ha Jeff! Walk the walk my friend, you're almost there.
I only have one board game now, and thats all I play, and dont see that changing.only 6 months in but as time goes on it feels MORE not LESS likely that it will stay a "reality".
My kid just started getting into the Pokemon TCG as well so have started to look at that with him. I bought a load of cards that were cool but was left with the nagging feeling that its just a retarded form of gaming/parenting/living. So now I found some blank cards and we are currently drawing our own pokemon and making our own game. They look like shit, and the numbers and Powers are all made up and shit. But its already way better than getting sucked into that mouth breathing cesspit that is "collectable" anything. If I was 25 years younger I might consider making some kind of pre EX era cube for casual messing about but who has time for that shit.
Nope, drawing spazzy pokemon with your 6.5 year old is where its at!
One board game?
Played Combat Commander 90 something times since October, during the first couple of months causing me to sell all my other games. Not for everyone but it works for us and just gets better the more we play it (after playing through to the end of battle pack 2 though we've dropped scenarios and play purely Random Scenario Generated, which is in itself a mini game Before the game and well Worth "playing").
but really this is just a culmination of something thats naturally resulted in bingeing on finding out about the gazillion games I didnt realise existed (prior to 2010). Its a minimalist idea that just represents "value added" for me, representing the time I have available (in reality), the opponents I have (mainly the wife, and a once a week gaming pal), and the satisfaction from finding a game that you really dig, that offers unlimited variability and replayability, is amazingly entertaining and narrative rich while providing an awesome gaming skeleton to "try shit" and learn (avoiding the sophist Word "explore"), and avoiding fannying about Learning new rules, or pretending that this or that game isnt just Another twist on this or that other game that already existed. Obviously doesnt work for everyone, but I have a strong feeling that denial leads many to Believe they need a lot more games (owned or played) than they really want. I'm happy to have seen my own personal light, the weird thing is once you make that Connection its frightening how much you look at the continuing development of the hobby and industry and Think what is the fucking Point of any of that (for a vast majority of the stuff). Am I missing out on some cool game ideas, no doubt I am, but I'm not likely to listen to every piece of great Music or read every great book, and I'm not just going to chew through the vast swathes of shit just to find the good stuff (ironically at least digging through sources for new Music and books - REAL art - is generally a positive, whereas boardgaming is just predominantly regurgitating the same tropes over and over with a different lick of paint. YOu dont need to try them all to experience the quintessential things happening in them.
dysjunct wrote: I will point out that there is a third way between the two poles of "detailed world building" and "run a published adventure." See:
This is the only way I roll these days.
Love it, Dysjunct!
Back in high school, I was a PC in a 7-PC 3rd edition D&D campaign. We played for probably a couple years and only made it to level 7, but our DM had a grand world and plot, and a number of NPCs that he intended to be recurring, but we were so bloodthirsty and would hunt them all down as they tried to escape. And we were a party of 7, so it was tough for him to make encounters. But we all had an excuse to eat pizza and hang out on Saturdays, so we were good.
I called my DM from high school this week because I was freaking out about DMing for my fiancée and a bunch of her work friends, many of whom have never role-played before. We spent last friday making characters, and I plan to roll out one of the 5e modules (the one that starts in the Underdark) where they all start as prisoners. She had sold them on the idea. Originally it was just going to be her, a friend of mine, and then two of her work friends. I thought that our 6 year old would be going to sleep, but he really wants to play again... and each of the work friends decided to bring their SOs, and one more work friend. So we're looking at 8 PCs! Aaaah. We basically got characters made, and making them all prisoners means that we don't need to deal with gear at the start, which will speed things up. A few of the players have come from MMOs or PC RPGs, so are vaguely familiar with the concept, and some are already talkative and excited about their characters. I let them pick races from Volo's Guide to Monsters, which has some really weird stuff in it. So when you toss in all the insane NPCs in the first area, I hope that they'll have some fun stories to tell afterwards.
With the way people's schedules are these days, I think it might be fun to eventually just get this group to Neverwinter or some other big city, and try to come up with easy story-of-the week type CSI or X-Files episodes that can be knocked out in 3-4 hours with whoever can come that week, and then every couple months have some big Ocean's Eleven style heist where everyone tries to break in somewhere and get a powerful artifact.
I think the overall advice of relying on your players to craft their own story is very good, and antithetical to what I tried to do when I first started DMing years ago. In my most recent campaign, which only got to level 3 because some key PCs had to move, I created a broad setting, which was basically cribbed from Rob Daviau's explanation of Seafall "Indiana Jones in the Age of Discovery." And then I'd hand them maps and describe what the locals said was nearby, and see where they'd like to go next at the end of every session. One time I drew a volcano on an island just to flesh it out. Since the 6-year-old loves minecraft and the lava in it, he became obsessed with the volcano and totally wanted to go there, so what was never supposed to be a visitable location became a fun spot with explosive monsters and a magical sword that he cherished.
Since moving back to my original hometown last June, I was removed from my group of friends that I made in dental school. The camaraderie established in a 4 year, high stress, program is similar to the friendships you develop in high school. It was great introducing them to one of my hobbies, "nerdy board games" and seeing them really enthusiastically buy into the hobby themselves. Those that followed along in the threads here know played a shit ton of Spartacus with a smattering of other stuff before moving on to Dune and other heavy hitters. Since leaving they've bought some games and I know they have gotten big into Cosmic without me etc. Without that group and everyone being on the same schedule I knew my board gaming would decline. Despite having a lot of friends from high school growing up living near me now, everyone has different schedules and work so its tougher to get together.
Enter Dungeon Crawl Classics. Since a lot of old friends from growing up are still around, getting together is a blast and always a very social experience. I've always wanted to try an RPG, and still would love to as a player, but for this to happen I had to organize a game. With zero previous role playing a diceless system was less of a draw, I wanted to roll dice its one of my favorite parts about games. DCC seemed to be a pretty great fit. We meet every few weeks to role play, have run two funnels, completed one adventure module and will complete the 2nd at next session. Players have ranged from 4 at the table to I think 7 at the busiest time. I've really enjoyed it more than all but the most epic board game sessions. I would agree that a lot more down time between the great moments, but those great moments have so much weight. I also don't think I'd play in a group where I didn't know most of the players, sure an add on here or there is fine, there are too many inside jokes, bringing up old times, etc.
Right now my vote is Role Playing Games, but its just based on my current situation. If I was still in Detroit with that crew the answer would undoubtedly be board games. Both take a back seat to fly fishing while that is new and exciting and if I get into painting some models that will be the top spot. The constant shift in interest is strong and that is likely how it will always be for me.
One of the things that kept that hobby going for so long was having a dedicated group who showed up every time we played, whether it was once a week or multiple times a week. They wanted to be there and so they made it a commitment. If you don't have that, then things tend to suffer because people drift away from being drawn into the story in the same way that you can stop reading a book and never get back to it because you've broken the bubble that it put you in while reading. There's also the practical side: the story can't proceed if Frodo only shows up every third time. Yes, you can focus on other parts of the story, but at some point, your characters are going to get together and you have to have everyone there to participate. But even worse than that on my end is that, even when we're not playing, I'm still writing. I've mapped out the next three months in my head and am filling in all the gaps with plenty of detail. If the group can't get together regularly, you end up with a situation where I'm on chapter 7 in my head and the group is still back in chapter 2 and I get impatient and bored. That's when I gave up DMing for just writing.
I'd like to play boardgames more often than I do now, but the same factors that inhibit a prospective RPG group inhibit that (adults, sometimes kids, lives.) We're getting in our 6th or 7th game of The Others tonight which is the most regularly I've played a game in many, many years (all of those sessions came in the last three months, I think.) and that kind of event became a far more regular thing for me from the mid-90s on. You can sit down for a few hours and explore the limits of a game or multiple games (whether its a Euro like Samurai, an epic like TI3, or minis like 40K) and then go away and not have the obligation of keeping something together. (Despite this, I've still wanted to play Descent 2nd Ed. or something equally campaign-like and my favorite times playing 40K or any GW thing was when we were doing campaigns. It never goes away.)
So, I guess I'd have to say boardgaming right now. If someone rolled up to me and said: "Guaranteed group of six people will be coming to your place to play out that Gamma World campaign that you've been sitting on for 20+ years.", I'd probably do it, though.