So I think I am about the age Olan was when he started the Inn a couple centuries ago. This means a couple things:
1. I no longer have to beg my parents to let me play mature games.
2. My siblings and cousins are having babies.
3. I find myself going "damn kids" far too often, and keeping a watchful eye on my lawn.
4. My childhood lied to me about almost everything in life - except that girls do have cooties.
5. It's really, *really* hard to keep a tabletop group together.
That last one is what I'm writing about today.
For the past 5 years my best friends have kept a tabletop game going weekly. 3.5, 4e, warhammer, star wars, WoD, and everything in between. Back in college we would game for 12 hours a day, often until 5 or 6 am when the cleaning ladies kicked us out of our reserved classroom. We lost one player after another, but the core group of 4 remained. Since it's tough to play a team of 3 we would use ringers, or keep a 5th for a year or so, but we would always end up moving on.
Now it's come to the point where we find ourselves adults. We are all working full time as professionals, on vastly different schedules. We now game every other week for about 4 hours, or 6 if we are lucky or someone agrees to be a zombie the next day (luckily I work nights so it's never me!) It's very hard to go from gaming 12 hour sessions once or even twice a week to 4 hour sessions every other week. Games slow down dramatically and we have less time to BS and just be geeks. We all live in 4 different cities and 3 of us always have a 30-60 minute commute to game. We try to rotate but often play at the same place because he has to get up the earliest.
If you are finding yourself in the same situation or likely to be there soon: stay flexible and remember that friendship is more important than the game. If we can't meet one week we just try again and the others can get toghether for drinks or something. We've added my wife as the ringer to try and add some stability to the group. So far it works, she came in with a huge star wars knowledge but it learning warhammer slowly. We often play in uniforms and suits because we come straight from work. We eat beforehand or have pizza delivered to save time. We do recaps over the phone on speaker while the last person is driving in so we can start right away.
Mostly we just make it happen. My wedding party consisted of my tabletop group, and we hit up some D&D before the bars on the night of my bachelors party. It made for some interesting times, including a picture of the 4 of us making the sign of the Aquila in tuxes.
Bottom line - make it work. Don't give up on your tabletop groups. The Inn is a great place and a great community, but as Bromern just pointed out there is something about a live table and the sound of dice and the deep breaths and groans of bad luck or rolls. Obviously if you move away from your group that is one thing, but we have spread out all over the greater metro and still make the (sometimes 75 minute) drives to meet at least every other week or every third week as needed for a couple hours.
posted by Admiral on 2/22/2020 at 04:35:05 AM
I just have to say, I have this image of you and your wedding party, in full LARPing gear, crashing into a bar for a bachelor party. I cannot fathom why but simply thought I would share.
posted by Grugg on 4/02/2010 at 09:05:45 PM
Good points. I've had many players say they'd love to game again, but can't find the time. The funny thing is, you can almost always make time for whatever you want to do: go to that big basketball or football game (hockey if your so inclined), watch a movie, dedicate an afternoon to sitting on the couch and drooling. Find the time! It is refreshing!
posted by Bromern Sal on 4/02/2010 at 11:41:14 PM
Welcome to adult life (sigh!). Alacrity has been gaming with the same group since high school, but with one 12-15 hours away and another 6 hours away, it's well nigh impossible to get them gaming anymore (but we do love to reminisce). One of the original group is nearby, has a daughter a few years older than MMV and a wife who is learning D&D, so were gaming once a mpnth or so until Incrediboy came along. It's too hard to manage now, so we get our tableeop fix with Munchkins, but we're pretty sure we'll get a game running again when Will's older.
You're right, it takes dedication, and it's worth it. So's making your way in the world and enjoying the changes that life brings you.
posted by Vanadia on 4/03/2010 at 07:55:39 AM
I sometimes wonder why I still play d&d tabletop. We play once a month, if that, and games tend to slow down, people tend to forget the details that matter, and roleplay suffers greatly.
But you know what? It is an excuse to see your friends again as well. I can honestly tell you that there isn't much in d&d that I haven't seen yet. I play now because I enjoy the company, and indeed, the laughter at hilariously lucky rolls and headache moments of crazy decisions.
posted by Almerin on 4/04/2010 at 04:55:57 AM
I run a WoD based game with nine players, with each session designed to be episodal. We get together every other Saturday from 5 to 10 like clockwork, and if a player or two can't make it. The game still goes one.
posted by crowe on 4/08/2010 at 06:50:23 PM
Wow. That's lucky. I moved away from my group three years ago. They're all still there, but me, the DM, is gone :P
Here now, its tough to find people who are into it. Everybody I know has a schedule virtually opposite to my own, so trying to run anything just isn't feasible :S
posted by Tek on 4/09/2010 at 03:19:27 PM
I've had this problem for a bit, only there were three of us. One of my friends is in Boston, the other was in Chicago (now he's in China), and I'm in Kentucky. About a year ago, though, interest in playing arose and we've since made it work. By getting my wife to play and one of my friends' younger sister, we have a full group. Though we only manage to play for about two hours a time, we shoot for weekly sessions. There's a program called gametable (it's free, just google it) that we use. It's not flashy, but if you're trying to play with folks over distances, it certainly helps. I'll admit it's not even close to the same as playing at a table with people, but it's better than nothing.
posted by Imiani on 10/02/2010 at 11:20:04 AM
Thank God for Gary Gygax, he spared me from a life of hell growing up. Through out a terribly abusive childhood, I found solace in this exellent gaming system.
For the first time in my life, I knew how to feel extraordinary, I actually acomplished goals. 2nd Edition reinforced all the atributes that made men good.
Right now I have a young friend that is experiencing the joy of the gaming system for the first time. I challenge him to never settle for less and in all aspects of life, and always be strong.
My suggestion, introduce as many people as possible to Dungeon's and Dragon's, later in life they will thank you for the service.
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