Tag Archives: social contract

AmberCon 2012 After Action Report

Once again the wife and I travelled out to beautiful and scenic Livonia, Michigan, for the 23rd annual AmberCon. For those not familiar, this is a small four-day convention dedicated primarily to playing Amber Diceless and (mostly) similar games. No dealer room, no panels. Just four days of roleplaying in scheduled slots of games. It’s held at Embassy Suites Livonia. There have been other Ambercons spawned over the years, and I am most fond of AmberCon Northwest, but this is the convention originally started by Amber Diceless creator Erick Wujcik.

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Gaming Ennui

I’ve been feeling kinda blah about gaming again lately. A big chunk of this is likely due to the fact that we haven’t been able to game much. Our attendance at games (or our ability to run our games) have been kaiboshed by our other social activities and travel. It’s really hard to maintain enthusiasm for a game you don’t play in for a month or two. Or three. It’s why I prefer “every other week” for a gaming cycle, as opposed to “monthly when we can manage it.” But when you are gone most weekends in a given month… well, that just screws everything up. =P

Beyond that, I’ve been pondering what it is I want out of a game. Part of this came from my renewed desire to play in a Star Wars game, but realizing I don’t have anyone I’d want to ask to run said game. And, really, I want to play. I’ve tried to think about what it was that was missing from my current gaming experience that I had in the past. Which came up with a more bizarre realization: More often than not, my favorite gaming experiences as a player have come from games where I thought the GM was awful. This isn’t to say there haven’t been exceptions. I’ve had great games with GMs I love. I’ve had soul killing gaming experiences with GMs I hated. But I’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun with games where the GM just wasn’t doing it for me.

The things that were fun was that everyone loved their characters and people were really engaged. It’s what I loved about “Dragon Lines,” which I hadn’t really had a lot of in other games I’ve run. I have a delicate ego that feeds off of other people’s enthusiasm. Part of me wonders if the players developed such rich interactions with each other because they had nowhere else to turn to. Not having a plot they could (or wanted to) interact with, they turned all their energy into having fun with the other players. Not all the players did that, but enough so that it was fun and rewarding.

Now I just need to figure out how to pull that off with a GM who is good… ;)

“Don’t kill my stalker… I think he’s my husband!”

Exalted didn’t happen this last weekend due to a last minute cancellation. Werewolf isn’t for another week. But I did have the first session of the new “kids’ game”. I’m not sure that it should still be called the “kids’game” now that most of them are 18, but there’s still a 15+ year age gap between us, so perhaps the term still applies for now.

Overall it was overwhelming. We had 8 kids show up. I really only thought we’d have 6, but 8 actually showed up. It was loud and a little overwhelming, especially when I had two players who were new and two players who were anything but new but were not prepared to play when they showed up. I tried some new stuff this game, so here’s my thoughts on how it went behind the cut.

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A vaguely amusing follow-up to my last post.

I should be polishing up my notes for the kids game today, but thought I’d post this really quick.

After spending all that time talking about the Aspect system I sloppily poached from Spirit of the Century, I finally actually played Spirit of the Century yesterday. I thought I’d share some of my experiences of it. There’s a bit of explanation as to how I ended up running Spirit of the Century on the fly yesterday, too, so please bear with me.
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Oh, it burns.

I have a post I’m working on, but in the meantime, I offer you this:

I get the impression that it (and most of the rest of the blog) is meant to be tongue in cheek. Honestly, my immediate reaction was to have PTSD flashbacks and foam a bit.

Then it occured to me that I’ve similarly tried to impose my own gaming ideals on others, especially in games I’ve run. In my defense, most people at least find me entertaining.


Meritocracy vs. Equality for All

I’ve been poking through Spirit of the Century again. johnpaul613 has been talking about using FATE-style Aspects in Amber and it’s made me want to give them a second look. I was hesitant to just toss them in with out much experience with FATE, but now I’m feeling jazzed about the idea. (I’ve managed to temporarily get my gag reflex regarding FUDGE under control.)

While looking at the book I wondered, “How do they handle advancement with this?” So I flip to the back and read through it a bit, and noticed this chunk:

Player characters should always receive the same amount of on-sheet rewards, in order to make sure that everyone remains a peer of one another. Giving out advancement only to those who manage to attend one or more sessions means you’re penalizing those players who may have busier schedules. It’s impolite; don’t do it. The game will benefit when the characters are mutual peers. No one should come back from a playing hiatus to discover he’s become the sidekick.

This is something I’ve struggled with over several campaigns, and something I was planning on dealing with a bit more strictly in future games. So this paragraph gave me pause.

My thoughts behind the cut.
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