Saturday, February 25, 2017

Breaking of the Fellowship: When Fun becomes Stressful

So, I disbanded my local tabletop group today.

After writing that, I immediately though "What gives me the authority to do so?" But I can answer that pretty easily. In two years of regular, weekly games, and almost five years of periods where there was a regular game I was always the GM. Not only that, I was the logistic coordinator, the diplomat, and even the financier.

I ran every game. When I asked others to take up the mantle because I was burnt out (a few months ago), I was given the rebuff.

I coordinated where and when the game was run based on everyone's schedule, though another gamer was kind enough to always provide a location. I re-scheduled when things came up or life intervened. But "life" seemed to intervene too often - sometimes legitimately and sometimes under suspect circumstances and what felt like weak excuses.

I purchased books, dice, and materials for my players. Regularly. Hundreds of dollars over the past two years. My hope was this would motivate them to read the game books and learn the game - or perhaps even decide to run a game themselves. Nope. All it served as was a reference book they pulled out at the table during game time only. Purchases included copies of DCC, Star Wars (Fantasy Flight) core books, Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, Labyrinth Lord, often along with dice and even dice bags. I also purchased or made custom tokens for many games.

Yet, it only got more stressful. Certain games with mildly political elements (Shadowrun Anarchy) couldn't be run because there would inevitably be real world political arguments between players. People grew uncomfortable around one another talking about anything other than the game specifically. Then everyone involved would put me in the middle because they didn't want to confront the situation like adults. People even left the group over things like this, or over gamer ego rearing its head regularly at the table.

 In spite of playing campaigns over the long term I heard again and again "What do I roll again?" or "What's the rule for that?" - often while they held the very book containing that information in their hand that I had purchased for them.

Absences often came up at the last minute with little notice. I get that, to an extent, but sometimes it felt ridiculous. How long before you're allowed to call bullshit?

And yet, I kept trying.

I think I finally disbanded things because I felt like the others at the table didn't recognize the amount of effort it takes to organize, plan, learn, and run these things. Or worse, if they did, they didn't care. Maybe I take my hobby too seriously - but I feel like  I wasn't asking too much. It reached the people where the frustrations outweighed the enjoyment. But in my area, there are very few gamers so I kept sticking with it. Also, when shit did finally come together, it came together very, very well. All of the players, when everything else was set aside, are FANTASTIC roleplayers and genuinely enjoy gaming.

But, I guess sometimes that just isn't enough.

(Sorry if this sounds egocentric or bitchy, but I needed to vent.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

State of the Halfling

So, I've been quiet for the past ten weeks or so. The reasons are many and varied, and don't really matter. I'm still around, still gaming, and still plugging away on projects for Barrel Rider Games.

I won't give any specifics away, but I'm working on something big for BRG. Really big. It's the biggest project to date for my little one-man show. It's so big, that I can't do it as a one man show. I've put together a crack team to help me bring this super secret project to life. +Jason Paul McCartan is bringing his keen eye to the Layout and Editing. +Art Braune is serving as a Proof Editor and Adviser. +James Shields (of +JEStockArt) is serving as both Art Director and Lead Artist. I haven't been this excited about a project in a long time and it's been almost a year in the making. I really hope those who are kind enough to purchase it enjoy it.

What is it? Well, that's a secret. I'll make the public reveal in a few weeks, and I've put a few teases in the Google Plus. My Patreon supporters will get the announcement a bit earlier than the rest, but all will be revealed soon enough.

I'll tell you this: It's looking at around 250-275 pages. It'll be available as both PDF and later in print (both hardcover and softcover). And, just to frustrate +Jason Paul McCartan, squirrels will be involved in some capacity.

Soon, my friends. Soon.