Friday, June 3, 2011

Post-Session Thoughts

Ran a game tonight. It's been a while. I was starting to feel bad about this whole blogging-but-not-gaming thing, so this makes me feel better.

Before we got down to gaming, two of my players were doing inventory and buying stuff. One of the PCs has a houseboat and they talked about storing another PC's oil in there when he wasn't tossing it at monsters. That got me thinking about what would happen if, say, pirates attacked Haldane and the PCs fired the houseboat and sent it at the pirate fleet, a la Spanish Armada.

So here's an un-tested thought: giving XP for copying historical situations. Now, this would probably appeal especially to those gamers who actually have a strong history in wargaming, because they actually have a lot of specific battles they can think of off the top of their heads that they can borrow tactics from. If I were playing with a bunch of wargamers, and if I had that kind of background myself, I probably would implement this rule. As it stands, I don't know if more than one of my players has enough historical knowledge to take advantage of this, and I don't really think I do either. Oh, well. Maybe when I'm a teacher I can add wargames to the list of things I want to do with my students to build rapport.

Speaking of which, I hope to be teaching in just over a year, and I want to start a roleplaying club for the kids at whatever school I'm teaching at. I suppose it might actually be a good idea to include wargaming in the club, as I don't think I've ever heard anyone call Diplomacy or Kriegspiel "Satan's Game." That might actually be the best way to start the club: with a game of Diplomacy with a turn a day.



  1. Diplomacy (or even Civilization, an Avalon Hill fave of mine) might be a good way to break in a group, and even to attract gamers who would find a full-blown RPG daunting.

    That said, would you then alternate between playing wargames and RPG's? On a regular, rotating basis? What if some group members only like one or the other? I ask these questions not to criticize your scheme but to suggest that these are the types of issues you will want to think through before setting things in stone. You may even want to hold an initial meeting / session which involves some brief, focused talk amongst the group members about these kinds of issues.

    I am getting ready to start my own public RPG'ing group at a local bookstore this fall, and am wrestling with similar issues. I have decided to leap right into RPG'ing, in fact to advertise the as an "Old-School D&D" group based on Labyrinth Lord. If I can attract enough players, my group will retain that specific focus, at least initially.

    Thanks for blogging about this!

  2. My thought right now has been that a middle school lunch break is too short for any roleplaying, but probably a good length for one turn of Diplomacy. I could have a box in my room where the players can put their orders at any time, but orders are due five minutes after lunch begins. We would then spend 10-15 minutes carrying out the orders and then it would be time for everyone to leave to make it to class.

    The way I'm seeing it right now, role-playing might be something I introduce to the club after they've got Diplomacy down, and, say, on a Friday afternoon, when they can stay a few hours afters school. Because of the time situation in the school setting, my guess is that wargaming and roleplaying don't have to compete if wargaming takes the shorter time slots because it can handle turns with pauses in between. I realize that other wargames probably don't benefit as much from day-long turns as Diplomacy would, but my guess is that it wouldn't hurt much either, while it would probably ruin the mood of most roleplaying.

    This is a different situation than the one you're in, where good-sized chunks of time won't be as much of an issue. My guess is that going straight to roleplaying is probably the best option in your case. You won't be on a campus with loads of kids that you can advertise to, so splitting your focus probably won't be something you can afford like I'll be able to, I don't think.

  3. I love the house boat idea. I am re-writing a portion of the description for the Market Square and Riverwalk to include docks - private and public - to accommodate river traffic.

  4. You may be unconsciously recreating the origin of Dungeons & Dragons itself.

    The game started with wargaming that evolved into players taking the roles of officers in a given army. You might want to have a chat with Sean Patrick Fannon about the history of D&D; it might help inform your initial school gaming club's plans.

  5. Well, it's not totally unconscious… I'm aware that D&D came out of wargaming. One of the things I appreciate about the OSR is that going back to the beginning of the hobby occasionally means that some blogs expose me to wargaming stuff as well. It will make me happy if kids leave my club at the end of the year with both a love of wargaming and roleplaying that I never got to have when I was a kid.