Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another take on Gamer ADD (and my 100th post)

Reading about Gamer ADD makes me rethink my own games for the past 15 years or so.

Of course I suffer from Gamer ADD. Back in the day, we had D&D and Star Frontiers, and we just played either when someone had a dungeon or adventure ready. We had two long campaigns that lasted from late elementary school into the early years of university summer vacations. 10 years for D&D, 8 for Star Frontiers. We'd try out the occasional other RPG, usually during the summers when we had lots and lots of free time. But the only ones we stuck with were the above.

Then, after I graduated, with the Evansville group and every group I've had since, the big problem with Gamer ADD was NOT that the DM wanted to switch systems or campaigns.

The problem has been (and still is) that EVERYONE WANTS TO BE THE DM.

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Especially in my current board game group, there are always one or two of us dissatisfied with whatever is being played, so the usual response seems to be to offer to DM a game the way you like it as a player (which of course then makes someone else want to DM their way).

On another note, I've got the Character Creation rules for the Flying Swordsmen (Dragon Fist retro-simu-something) RPG finished. Character creation basics, classes and kits are done. Next is the martial arts maneuvers and combat section.

And this is my 100th post. Huzzah!


  1. Congrats on hanging around for #100.

    As for gamer ADD as that I h ave Rob Conley who has been running the same campaign over thrity years its never a problem. There is always something new to discover and expand on.

  2. Good job on 100th!

    I rarely have any of my players want to throw their hat in the GM ring. And I always for the most part run just three things - AD&D, Champions, and Call of Cthulhu. But there are a handful of others I'd like to do that I probably never will.

  3. It's a bit more than that, Dennis. There are a variety of factors contributing to this malaise.

    1) Each of us has radically different playing-styles. One guy is a power-gamer who hates 3d6 per stat, I'm a Simulationist/Immersionist with Narrativist tendencies, and you are extremely Old School, for example. If there were two different styles, it might be easier to work out.

    2) Location and time. We only get one Saturday night a week. I wouldn't mind playing for a few hours every Wednesday or something, but where? Your place is horrifically inconvenient to your wife, and that's not fair to her. The one coffee shop I mentioned might be a bust if there are a ton of kids studying inside when we show up. The other problem is getting everyone to the location at the same time, on time, and ending with time to spare before the subway closes down.

    3) I want to DM, but I don't really have the time. So I'm happy to play. I like your campaign idea, but it isn't panning out quite like I had imagined. Part of this is because of the other players, part of it is because I'm running four characters so I really don't get to immerse myself in one. Rather than saying, "I buy 20 barrels of fresh water," I want to roleplay going down to the docks, smelling the sea air, talking to the harbormaster, haggle over docking fare, hearing the creak of the ropes and wood as the wind gently caresses the furled sails on their masts, etc. For all his talk of "roleplaying" and stuff, Power Gamer Dude is really not about that sort of thing. I am. Drastically disparate styles. I had a great time playing my elf in your one game (the guy who got eaten by the bear), so it isn't so much your DMing style--that's perfectly fine. If we could play more of that, it'd be cool.

    The problem is we've too few people, too many different styles. Cliques based on style can't form naturally. We're all forced into one big pile. I think that contributes to the malaise.

    When I was in grad school, we had similar problems. The gaming scene in Newark, DE was huge, and very status-driven. Everything was about connections and who-you-know. If you didn't want to be part of all the politics, you were kind of out. So, I was out. I made a few friends who also didn't care for the politics, but it always felt like we were too few to keep a game going for long, and it would eventually sputter out.

    College, middle and high school were when I played in (and ran) long, drawn out campaigns that lasted for years. That was loooong ago.

  4. Dave, you're right about our current group. I was being general because it's not just this group here in Busan (although you nail the problems spot on--and I'm not opposed to getting into character and roleplaying out the little stuff, but as you mentioned certain other members aren't).

    I've had this problem in Evansville with my group after university, and with all three of the groups I was in when I was in Japan. A problem pops up, and the first response was often, "Well, I've got an idea for a game..." rather than, "How can we fix this?"

  5. Oh, and I'm just as guilty of this as all the others. Not trying to absolve myself, I'm definitely selfish when it comes to RPGs.