I think one of the reasons that the “Gamer Infidelity” excerpt from the Part-Time Sorceress book annoyed me so much was that Mister Geek Girl What Rules and I are all about playing as many games with as many people as we possibly can. For years, because of geographic isolation living in a small city in Eastern Washington, the Mister was somewhat limited in his options for people with whom to game. He did eventually find a few more people to game with outside of his original group, but the core group didn’t shift a lot.
Now, when I FIRST started gaming at 19 I did play with several different groups. Then when I moved to that same crappy town in Eastern Washington with the Mister, I found my gaming choices severely curtailed. While I was in Grad School they were curtailed further and I was only gaming on Sundays, over here in Seattle, with the same group of guys, for about three years. Don’t get me wrong, they were a great group of guys (and included the Mister), but I really missed the opportunity to play different sorts of games that they just weren’t into.
Ever since moving to Seattle, the Mister has had multiple gaming groups, and so have I. In fact about a month before I actually moved back, I had GMs recruiting me to join games. It was awesome. And it still is. I’ve settled into a steady set of four gaming groups that meet pretty much all my gaming needs. I have the Sunday Group, which the Mister usually GMs which alternates between GURPS and various Indy Games. There’s the bi-weekly Saturday Group, which is currently playing Amber Diceless. There’s the once monthly Girl Game, currently playing Unhallowed Metropolis. And the once monthly Hippie-Pinko-Commie-Black-Leotard-Indy Friday Game, currently playing Don’t Rest Your Head. So, yeah, I average four gaming groups. And I’m generally good for a pick-up game of just about anything… Except D-20. Ok, that’s not true. I’ll even play D-20 with the right group of people.
The thing is, each of these groups does something for me that the others don’t. The Sunday Group tends to be a little more traditional, dice-rolling style gaming. The Saturday Group lets me play a super-political, social interaction-heavy game with a group of people who are REALLY into that. The Girl Game has a tendency to be more Victorian gaming than I really thought possible, and very ROLE-play heavy. And the Hippie-Pinko group is several people who have not gamed in ages, plus three or four of us who game a LOT, which is an entirely different dynamic, and as the name suggests, focuses on the more “solve conflict with interpretive dance” type of indy games.
I really do not know that I could get all of my political-gaming, gribbly combat monster gaming and froo-froo black leotard gaming needs met with just one group. And I think limiting yourself to one group/one game is just that, limiting. There are SO MANY GAMES out there. The Indy Gaming Explosion is a beautiful thing. Really it is. Check out Indy Press Revolution.
Now, not everything is everyone’s cup of tea. I do not like D&D. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I don’t care for the system one bit. I’ll read the source material like crazy, love the Monster Manual, but I can’t take the system. And there are going to be hardcore D&D people who think I’m insane when I gush over In A Wicked Age or Don’t Rest Your Head.
The thing is, unless you experiment with different types of gaming, you’ll never know if maybe there’s something out there you might like a little more. I think a lot of Gamer Ennui stems from going with what you’ve always done, gaming with the same people you’ve always gamed with, and getting tired of it. Gaming with all these groups makes me appreciate all of my gaming buddies, and the different types of games. Sometimes I just want to huck dice, kill shit and take its stuff. Sometimes I want to explore the complexities of social interaction. And sometimes I want to be a superhero.
Seriously, give it a shot. Find another group, create another group. If you never thought you could GM, check out some GM-less games like the Shab-al-Hiri Roach or In A Wicked Age. Or throw caution to the winds and GM something. The worst that can happen is your gamers say, “Aah, I’m not really into this.” Or, go to a gaming convention and play demos. There are quite a few more gaming conventions than I was originally aware of, all over the country. Not to mention, most sci-fi conventions have a gaming track and gaming rooms.
Really, there is more to life than just D&D or just GURPS or just Indy Games. I can enjoy the merits of all of them. And yes, I’ve even promised to give D&D 4th ed. a try when it comes out. I’m being lured in with the promise of a Spelljammer-type game with space-going Drow as British Navy. Sigh. Can’t you just see the lovely black skin and white hair with the brocaded naval officer’s jackets?
ETA: I will still be at Conquest Northwest this weekend, but will probably not run anything. I had to cancel the Girl Game this week because I still have no voice. In case you were wondering, the official diagnosis is Whooping Cough. The vaccinations wear off. Just saying. However, I am no longer contagious. I promise.