Jason Youngberg's Web Site :: Games

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Champions/Hero System
Dark Champions
City of Heroes/Villains

I love games. Not the kind where you play with people's emotions. Those are for jerks. I'm talking about card games, board games, computer games, and role-playing games. I don't usually go for the mainstream games. I don't play World of Warcraft (in fact fantasy games of any kind turn me off) but I do play Civilization and Settelers of Catan. I don't like it when the competition gets too rough. When I play online games, I avoid the PvP sections unless necessary. There always seem to be gankers, grievers, and other creatins who get their jollies by ganging up on other players. That's not fun. I'd rather work with other players online than against them.

My favorite are the role-playing games with friends. I get some face time with friends, we talk, and we have fun. One of the RPG groups I am part of eventually had to go entirely online. It's not quite the same now. I don't see the other players and since we're not using video I often use the time I'm not actively playing to do other things. Things like doing prep work for cooking, bagging my comics, do a little work online, that sort of thing (so get your mind out of the gutter). Any of those things would be considered rude if all the players were in the same place, but it's more acceptable online. Which is nice in a way, but it also lessens the experience.

As for card and board games, they may be more socially acceptable but I don't get to play them as often. I wouldn't mind if there was a local club that played board games once a week. An easy but fun card game is called Flux. What's fun is that you start off with one rule: draw a card, play a card. That's it. How you win hasn't been determined yet. The cards can change the rules. They can change how many cards you draw or play even change how you win. What I like about it is that it's easy to learn and nearly impossible to master since at any point your stragedy can collaspe if the right card is played. Plus the games can go quickly. I was in one that lasted 15 minutes. It also teaches good sportsmanship because you could be forced to make another player win. It's very easy going.

The main reason why I don't like fantasy RPGs (FRPG) is that 99% of the settings feely generic as if they looked over Tolkin's shoulder and copied all his ideas. We even have people describe their campaigns as being in the "standard fantasy setting". So we've found mundanity in something that cannot exist. You can do anything in fantasy and have a greater degree of freedom than in science fiction. Yet no one takes advantage of it. Fantasy can bring about the sense of wonder better than any other genre. So why aren't we seeing it? Probably because it's easy. If you want to start a FRPG campaign having it be "standard" gets everyone on the same page quickly. The more you deviate from the standard model the more you have to explain. It's the same thing that can drag down sci-fi. If you want to run a sci-fi game you have to decide if it takes on Earth or in space, the level of technology, changes in society, etc. It's very hard to say "standard sci-fi setting" without adding a lot of details.

But so what? Once you get the infodump down you can start playing and having fun. And if the setting is memorable then the players will have more emersion in your campaign and want to play more. Otherwise you run the risk of your campaign getting confused with a different one, even a computer game played 20 years ago.