Why do we game?

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Why do we game?

Postby James » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:24 am

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. With my impending move to a new city with prohibitive distance from seeing the people I know and love easily, I have been mentally inventorying the things I will be leaving and the things that I can continue to do. Obviously, gaming is my biggest hobby and while there are many things I will miss more with this geographic change, I have a place here to talk about my hobby.

Why do I game?
Time with my friends and family
Cheap outlet for creativity
Its fun

I think for me it goes in that order. Without my family and friends in the game, I wouldn't really enjoy it. Strangers just don't interest me. Without a connection (intellectual, emotional, historical, etc), there is no joy. For this reason, I doubt I will be gaming in Texas, at least not for a long time. D&D and Mayhem have allowed me to have nearly weekly contact with both my brothers and some of my best friends since high school. I know only a couple people who are able to keep so close to siblings so long after leaving home. A common interest was important to cultivate, even if motivation has been different for each of us (Mar doesn't like gaming much, but loves playing games with us). It also gave me the opportunity to get to know Wolfram well and keep him folded with the family even while Mar was in NY. Dylan has always made me enjoy gaming in a greater way than anyone else. He is enthusiastic and constantly thinks of new things for his characters to do that makes me push the boundaries of game rules and world concept. He makes me feel good about myself by allowing me to produce something always appreciated. Besides, rarely have I played with someone as funny as him and no one as consistently enjoyable.

I love writing. I think about characters, setting, plots, etc. as I walk, which is a lot. I also write to stay awake when I am otherwise sitting still (bus, trax, watching movies at home, etc.). I have no discipline, however, so cannot finish a long story or even more than a couple short stories. What that leaves are dozens of fragments, which are perfect for adventures for gaming. I love considering the physics of magic and possible limits, the cultures that may arise from very different beings, how "normal" people may be different in these worlds, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. When I am not in classes, this was always what I filled my head with (and I thank my wife for dealing with me when it spills out of the head and out of my mouth for clumps of time). I also like to make things. I draw and I wish I were skilled at carving. Mayhem lets me do that by giving me the opportunity to customize miniatures for friends and make unique monsters (you should see the dragon I made for the last adventure, huge, flexible, scary). One of the best parts is that I am not writing for critics, I am writing for people pre-disposed to appreciate it on the small scale it is presented. Besides, I cannot make stories alone, but the collaborative nature of gaming fills in the gaps, gives depth, and provides dialog I cannot come up with on my own.

Thirdly, I listed fun. This is because I have fun doing a lot of things. I will not stop having fun when I stop gaming. True, it is one of the most fun things to do in my free time, but that is because of what I listed above rather than something intrinsic, I think. I love playing board games with Joelle, Dylan, Marlin, Chris, Rob, Aubrey, Reed, Britt, Matt, Jared, Bug, Amy, Cara, Shannon, and a dozen others. (P.S. Pirate's Cove ROCKS).

That is why I game. Anyone else? I feel I am overlooking something...
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Re: Why do we game?

Postby Matt' » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:04 pm

Gaming in a new state is less strange than you suspect. Although I wound up teaching friends to play, rather than using it as a mechanism to find friends. But it tends to spiral, as like minded people know like-minded people. You may find yourself becoming more involved in the development, rather than in the playing, as well.

I appreciate what you say when you talk about fragments of stories. Roleplay is so much kinder to ad-hoc narrative. And to doing a little bit of X, a little bit of Y. So many bits of things are required to make the game run.

One thing you may be missing is the the need for 'crunch'. What is 'crunch'? It's the opposite of 'squishy'. When things are not the result of GM or player fiat, but the fall of the dice. When there is no room for interpretation off the outcome. Not just things that are numeric, but things that are rule-based. 'Can do X, cannot do Y'. Because those things are fixed, it is possible to make tactical calculations about possible outcomes and makes decisions on that basis. Miniatures combat, MTG creature combat, and Mayhem combat all satisfy this need for me.
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Re: Why do we game?

Postby Maugh » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:04 pm

Crunchy games, with a little squishy interior.

Tasty, tasty, tasty.
"Use the best: Linux for servers, Mac for graphics, Windows for Solitaire."
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