Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gaming as an Ex-Pat Part 1

A friend of a few friends (she used to live in Busan and play board games, but I never met her) was asking on Facebook about RPG gaming in Korea. She's now in Cambodia and has a gaming group there, and was curious as she only ever played board games while here in Busan. One of my friends tagged me in the post, and since I'm the sort of guy who will ramble on about this sort of stuff, I did. And I figure I might as well re-post it here on the blog, because it might be interesting and also because I'm curious about your experiences, if you have any, as a gamer living outside of countries with big gaming communities.

Glaiza's question that set this off:
Out of curiosity, are any of my friends in Korea playing or have played in tabletop roleplaying games (like D&D or games like it) while living in Korea?
Like is their a dedicated group that you know of that meet on a regular basis? What was your experience in that? Did you DM or where you a dedicated player?

 I decided to break my responses into three parts:
1) my gaming experiences in the U.S. which also had some issues with gaming not so different from those I've experienced overseas
2) my experiences gaming in Japan (which actually I ended up writing two posts, because I forgot to write about how great living in Japan was for collecting gaming minis, but I'll combine them here on the blog)
3) my experiences gaming in Korea (which at the time of writing this blog post, I still need to write...)

Here's my gaming background in the U.S. I know I've covered a lot of this before on the blog, but it's been years since I did so, and I don't expect all of you to have kept notes, so I don't mind reposting.

Gaming in the U.S. in the 80's/90's
I'm from rural Illinois, so growing up, access to RPG stuff was sort of limited. Our local bookstores stocked mostly D&D and other TSR stuff, but I remember seeing Palladium and some other RPG stuff as a kid. Toy stores and big box stores like Sears or JC Penny (this was before Wal-Mart came to the area) also had the D&D box sets. For extra dice, minis, etc. we were out of luck. We had our rule books and the dice that came in the box sets, plus extra six-siders scrounged from old board games.

We mostly played Classic (box set) D&D. Some friends had AD&D, and we'd mix stuff in from there if the books were available. When we weren't playing D&D, we mostly played Star Frontiers (also a box set with its own dice). My best friend got the TMNT game (not sure where), so we played that a bit, too. And WEG Star Wars a few times. But mostly D&D.

When I got to college, I had access to a great comics shop that had plenty of RPG stuff (and Magic: The Gathering), and I ended up getting involved with a group of AD&D (mixed 1E and 2E) players through my part-time job. I picked up the 2E books at a discount because I worked at Waldenbooks. Also, back home, a hobby shop had opened up, and I could get dice cheap there. Cheaper than the comics shop in my uni town, anyway. I started playing Gamma World and tried a few other games in those years. At home or at school, though, my groups were limited to friends of members already in the group. Not a lot of cross-pollination of gamers going on then.