December 30, 2010

Gamers nowadays or “Squabbins!”

Filed under: Games — Tags: , — bilbo @ 11:25 pm

So, reading a review of Roma Imperious (link) I was struck by something. First, I have NEVER had a reviewer, gamer or even historian describe Roma as “threadbare”. However, my second and much more profound realization had little to do with the review. It struck me, and I actually choked up a bit, that gamers have fundamentally changed. I have seen it for a while now. They seem more and more, unwilling and actually offended if they need to put the pieces together. What I mean is that not so long ago (I am talking as little as 2004-5, a high percentage of people I met (a mix of non, new and old time gamers) were EXCITED about the idea of a setting or game where you used your imagination. Where you could see the adventure ideas. It was not about a complete package, like some demonic CRPG where the world was mapped out and you never had to imagine any part that was not available (the game simply wont let you go there).

It just seems that the trend is more and more towards gamers who want every parsec mapped, every eventuality laid out, every horizon planned and awaiting their arrival. The nature of do it your self, or the very idea that a game would be arranged and written in a manner that intentional gaps lead you imagination to places where it flourishes seems to make a game “incomplete” to these folks. I does not even enter thier mind that the system has bits to stoke the setting imagination (eh, Clash). It is a dissection of page counts and a bemoaning that all the pieces have not been carefully planned out for them in a manner that leaves, as the saying goes, to the imagination.

I do not wish to leave you, assuming anyone still reads this, with the feeling I have given up or am wallowing in despair. Quite the contrary, I am mad as hell and know there is room for all types of players in this hobby. To me, the truth may be I just am encountering the wrong folks at this point. Maybe I need a regular group instead of a lot of con games. Still, It is my hope that the spirit of do it yourself is still alive and thriving. I hope folks look at my books a scoff, “Hah! I can do it better” and then precede to do it better!


  1. I feel you, man. Even from the GM’s perspective, the players seem to want to be led down a defined story arc.
    I have always run my games with a base plot in my mind, but no great detail. My plot usually has an end-game in mind, but is subject to the players twisting of the story. My belief has always been that the players should write the story. Their actions dictate the direction of the game, not my plot.
    I have lost players in the last few years, and I suspect it’s because of my open style of game. I wasn’t telling them a good enough story is the vague sentiment I felt. How can I convey to them that it is they who should be telling the story, not me?
    I think the reason I love your games so much is because they have the right mix of detail, and hooks, that do, indeed, stoke my imagination.
    I can tell you that my life is much happier with a regular game in it. I went for stretches without gaming, and my life seemed like it was missing something. I would urge you to find a regular group again. Get back in the game! Be happy! (Not that Linda and Theo don’t make you happy. You know what I mean. :))

    Comment by Scott — December 31, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  2. Yay! Hinterblog is back! I am dancing with joy! Hold on…

    Ok! Back! It’s all about the tyranny of the designer, Bill. Many gamers have no clue what to do if the designer doesn’t tell them. WTF? Dude, screw you! The more they act like this, the more I give them tools. I LOVE Roma, BECAUSE it doesn’t lay it all out for me. It gives some signpost to aid in navigation, and then lets me go where I feel like going. That utterly rocks!

    Keep on rockin’, Bilbo!


    Comment by clash bowley — December 31, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  3. Thanks guys. I mean, it just gets to me some times. You know me, I am a big proponent of include everyone. I am not saying these people should be ridden out on a rail but more a case that I really would like them to rise up to meet the challenge. And like I said, maybe it is just the people I have been around of late.

    Comment by bilbo — December 31, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

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