Friday, May 1, 2015

Gaming Ten Years Ago

Like so many others, I thought I'd take Lowell Francis' suggestion that we reminisce about what we were gaming ten years ago on our gaming blogs.

What's interesting for me is how ten years ago appears to be such a lull for so many gaming bloggers, and I am (or was) in the same boat.

Twelve years ago, I got a new position and a new assignment and was shipped out to a small, rural town in western Ohio.  I ended up staying there for eight years.

It would be impossible to try to sum up eight years of my life in a small frame of time.  Sublimely beautiful and deeply scarring might be a good try.  I'm still living with a lot of what happened in that time, not the least of which was the birth of my daughter (on the good side) and a lot of other stuff on the bad.  But let's stick to gaming.

I was in a very small town, and had little in the way of social outlets.  The internet put me in contact not with RPG enthusiasts, but GW-related wargamers, and so I shifted from running RPG's to wargaming around that period.  Eventually I tried doing RPG with wargamers, which didn't go well.

Finally I started recruiting friends that I had met in those first few years and introduced them to gaming.  Dungeons & Dragons was still really a standby for RPG's, and the OGL had made it a dominant force on game store bookshelves.  But I didn't care for Third Edition much, and when Castles & Crusades heralded the beginning of the Old School Renaissance, I was an early adopter.  I did a lot of reading on blogs and the like, re-discovering some of the core concepts of movement.  But even though I had been a really great GM of games like Champions, Star Wars, and Vampire, I was struggling with fantasy.  Partially it was because we were gaming with children and their parents.  Partially it was because I was unused to (and possibly ill-suited for) fantasy.  Partially it was all the other stuff.

Like I said, I was mostly wargaming then, with good friends and as a hobby it served me well.  When I finally left Ohio and came to Kansas, I realized I really wanted to do more RPG playing with people who really liked RPG's, and the larger college town had more people like that.  I've been gaming with this group now for almost five years, running mostly (but not exclusively) fantasy, and it has been going very well.

But ten years ago wasn't that place, not by a long shot.  And I don't mind saying I am glad to be gone from there.

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