Monday, January 9, 2012

Prodigal Son: Back on the Horse

Part Thirteen

     With the holidays starting to fade in my rearview mirror, this boy’s fancy once again turns to the missed hobby of roleplaying.  Lots of craziness happened last year, with scheduling difficulties and weddings, and all sorts of things getting in the way.  But, I did manage to get together with my co-Dork Brad and have a couple evenings playing Call of Cthulhu.  Sadly, I was not able to get the follow-up session with his wife before everything went mad.  So, with the new year, I figure it’s time to get back on the horse and see what I can do. 

    I still have some of the same eventual goals.  The dream is still to run an ongoing Ars Magica game.  And I’d love to take on Fading Suns, Star Trek, Middle Earth, and/or a couple other old favorites again.  I still have this idea that combines a couple concepts from the awful anime Gantz with some ideas from Lost, all wrapped up in Over the Edge.  That one is crazy, and may never happen.  And, heck, I wouldn’t mind doing a long term (though finite) Doctor Who based game.  I put together some pretty good ideas for that a while back.  So many games.  So little time.

    As I mentioned in the last installment, I discovered a new game, the first I’ve purchased in a LONG time.  Diaspora from VSCA Publishing plays to a lot of my interests.  It’s on the harder side of science fiction (more Traveller or Foundation than Star Wars or Fading Suns) and has a simple system that not only encourages, but demands heavy input from players as well as game masters.  One of the many aspects of the game I find especially interesting is setting creation, where the whole group takes on making the region of space you’ll all be playing in.  I imagine this gives players a real sense of investment, as they’ve actually helped create the places their characters act within.  I’m severely tempted to make this my next major focus, but I’m not sure yet. 

    The problem remains one of scheduling and personalities.  Can I find enough people who get along enough, and can match up schedules enough to play an ongoing game.  While one-shots are fine here and there, I don’t think the satisfaction of roleplaying is ever as strong as in the ongoing game, when you can see events and characters change and develop.  A one-shot tends to feel a bit like a pilot episode for a show, or perhaps a segment of an anthology film.  But, with an ongoing game, you get something more akin to a full fledged series.  Like watching the pilot episode for Babylon 5, where a lot of the kinks hadn’t been worked out, the characters not well defined, and the general theme of the show only hinted at.  It took half a season before things really got going, before the viewer could start to get a handle on the setting and the characters.  An ongoing game tends to work something like that. 

    As I write this, I’m beginning to lean toward an option I discussed previously.  Perhaps, I will simply start hosting a Sunday night game night, where we’ll try various things for a while, and I’ll invite various people.  From that, perhaps I can build a small team of players willing to try something a little more serious.  I have several non-roleplaying games I’ve been itching to play for a while, from Settlers (I picked up the Seafarers of Catan supplement too, but haven’t even cracked it open yet) to Once Upon a Time.  And some sick part of me really wants to drop the titanic 80 something bucks on the Lovecraft based Mansions of Madness game.  Yikes.  Plus, I know at least one possible player has been wanting to play Twilight Imperium for some time. 

    Taking stock of the games I have on hand, I find that I have a pretty good variety for a range of 2 to as many as 10 players.  2 and 4 players seeming to be the most common ideal.  I like that what I have varies greatly in both subject and complexity.  Nothing could be simpler than Mancala, while Crimson Skies is fairly involved and rules heavy.  Lunch Money is fairly perverse, while Chess is as wholesome apple pie (even 4-Way Chess).  And while I’m not into gambling at all, I do have plenty of playing cards and a copy of Hoyle’s. 

    So, as we begin 2012, I am once again on the path of my Return to Gaming.  I made some baby steps in 2011, but now it’s time to get serious about having some fun.


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