Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day After Thanksgiving Gaming - Also, those role-players sucked

Friday, Lee and I took the girls over to her sister's house to hang out with Lynn, her husband Craig, and their daughters Abigail and Trinity. N.B. - Trinity is not named after that chick from The Matrix and assorted sequelae.

My cousin Beth brought some wine, Lee brought the turkey dinner, and Lynn/Craig/Abby/Trin-Trin provided the house. I fried up a lot of sweet potato chips and brought the gamers. R.J. arrived first, and he, Lee, Beth, and I played Blue Moon City. Kevin Nunn also made it, as his wife was out of town over the long weekend.

Anyway, I played Blue Moon, the card game, against R.J., destroyelating him, and then again against Kevin, who crushinated me. Kevin's a heck of a Blue Moon player.

Kevin got out Desert Bazaar and taught it to us, which was much appreciated. They headed out for Tri-Games for more gaming.

After we got home and got the kids to bed, etc., I also drove out to Tri-Games and discovered Kevin and R.J. once again dueling at Blue Moon.

I said I wanted to learn something new, so Kevin reached into his bag of stuff and got out a cute little game called Ice Cream. It's adorable - each player is trying to serve as much ice cream as possible over the course of four days. We talked about Scream Machine, which is another small-box card game about building roller-coasters, and compared the two.

Did we play something else after that? I forget*. There were tons of role-players doing some sort of good-vs.-evil showdown with D&D Miniatures, with much hootin' and hollerin'. Now, I've played some RPGs in my time, and here's my opinion:

1. RPGs are an inexpensive form of play-therapy, nobly circulated for little profit and much anguish among among the unwashed, the sad, the pathetic, the woeful, and the socially-inept. Role-playing games invite players to understand the motivations of fictionalized versions of themselves, and more importantly, allow an exploration of the consequences of actions in a larger framework that is less punitive than the real world.

2. RPGs inspire creativity, which is not entirely bad if the results of said creativity are never shown to anyone else, ever. The Penny Arcade guys have a great couple of essays up about their visits to 5th-grade classrooms and how giving the kids open license with their old comics and blanked-out word balloons produced word-for-word tracings, then substitutions of new words for the old ones, and gradually matured into awesome, unique creations. Are the products of most RPG-inspired creativity insipid? Perhaps... but they're steps that must be taken to progress toward the GOOD stuff. The PA guys have a saying elsewhere that haunts me more than I usually admit. It goes something like,"There are ten thousand bad drawings in your hands in front of the good drawings deeper in, so you'd better start drawing now to get rid of the bad ones as soon as you can."

3. RPGs are a highly-stylized art form, like shotgun paintings, interpretive dance, any film of feature length with no dialogue or text, and modern comic books. If you're an enthusiast, you should limit your conversations about your milieu to no more than 90 seconds with non-enthusiasts. Also, no one wants to hear about your D&D character. No one, ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. Ever. Not even people with other D&D characters of their own. Watch people's faces when you talk to them.

4. Often, the anger we express towards others is anger we feel at ourselves, for whatever reason. For instance, I'm mad at myself for not yelling at the dumb, pathetic teenager who was yelling "Awwwyeah DRACOLICH GONNA OWN YOU!" and related stuff, disrupting the enjoyment of the 20+ people in the store. I should have at least shouted what Randal says sideways at Jay in the original Clerks movie, as Jay was interjecting unwanted kibitzing. I should also add here that this is the same dumb, sad pathetic dork that I've been irritated by on two previous occasions. He's also a card-bender. Again, I'm expressing misdirected anger that I feel toward both of us for not living in Canada, where he could be given anti-outburst medication at the state's expense, eh?

5. The Little Red-Haired Girl might play Vampire with you, Chuck, you sly dog, you. Again, the highly-stylized framework of interaction allows the socially-inept gamer to communicate with the opposite sex. The framework limits most forms of extra-game chatting, making it possible for even the most troglodytic gamer to chat with the female womens. Again, it's talking about basically nothing - except instead of the weather or sports, gamers are talking about powers and spells and werebears.

Anyway, the forces of Good were beaten down by the forces of Not-Quite-As-Good, due to a dual-classed werebear or something; I was deliberately trying to hear as little as possible. I was also trying to decide which of the Blue Moon extra decks I was going to buy for a mere $7, well below MSRP. Yeah, my local FLGS stocks them all, and was running a sale on them.

I picked the Aqua deck. I'll let you know how it goes, Internet.

Gamecount: Individual game sessions played for the year = 184, New game titles played for the year = 38.

* Ohhh, yeah, internet! We also played Havoc, the Hundred Years War. It's really a 6-suited poker variant, sorta. Good stuff.


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