Ends and Beginnings: What to Do After Killing a Gaming Group

Since you’re used to my straight-shootin’ ways, today I’m gonna talk about the demise of my gaming group and why I killed it.

Today, while I’ve been working on layout, I’ve been running this through my head, giving it the old analytical post-mortem.

There were numerous causes. Did we have a solid group? Certainly, in the beginning, but things have always been a bit off since one of our foursome moved out of state to pursue his career. We had another guy in our group. A younger guy in our group who was unfamiliar with Savage Worlds. It was a great opportunity to teach him the system. It was a great opportunity for us to explore a multitude of systems.

After we lost a guy, the weight fell more on the remaining three and, let’s face it, everyone needs to pull their own weight.  The thing is, as some of their work schedules shifted and the young guy got a job, these guys showed up later than scheduled or had to cancel or were extremely exhausted making the game mediocre at best. To be honest, it was a crying shame, because when these guys were in the zone, the gaming was pretty good.

I’ve long taken my game commitments seriously and view my time as a precious commodity. I tried all the stuff I’ve suggested to you all and it worked for the most part. Two things happened which, ultimately, derailed our gaming streak. The first was my illnesses last fall and, again, in late winter. When these happened, we could never regain our momentum. Again, a crying shame. We had one game in a handful of months. I agreed to send out emails on Monday to get commitments. The straws which broke the camel’s back was when I didn’t receive emails until yesterday (which was I should know tomorrow afternoon) and this morning (which, ironically, was a yes).  I like to consider myself generally flexible when it comes to recreation, however, the disservice of canceling at the last moment (which happened on more than one occasion) went, for me, into the realm of discourtesy. Sure, you’re busy. I dig you’ve got work responsibilities, but this is recreation. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation. You should let people know so they can decide what else they want to do.

Me? I’ve blown off other recreational opportunities only to have the game canceled. I never told the guys this. Or maybe I did and they didn’t listen. In the end, it didn’t matter. I liked these guys. I’d like to game with them again. But something’s gotta give.

Until  then, I’ve got plenty to occupy my time and my mind. I can get my game on in other ways. I’m considering starting up some online gaming. I think that’d be pretty cool, in fact. I’m turning over precisely how I want to do it.  Let me know if you’re interested in giving it a spin. Let me know how you remote game. Tips. Tricks. All welcome. If that doesn’t come together, I’ll play video games and write. I can always write. Right?

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!








6 Notes on, Ends and Beginnings: What to Do After Killing a Gaming Group

  1. Have you looked at Google+ hangouts? Seems like a pretty easy video chat tool (that’s free and you can record and post sessions… a thought).

  2. Wow, funny you should mention this. I’m going through the exact same thing right now. I’ve been gaming with the same group for years, and their recent lack of commitment has been driving me nuts. I’ve practically bent over backwards to get a game going, providing an alternate means to get together (Tabletop Forge is free and very good, BTW!). I spent time coming up with a premise (AoO FTW), missions, and so on. I asked for them to send me their characters, so I could have a good idea of what they wanted to play, and maybe give some direction.
    That was two weeks ago.
    So I’m in the same boat as you, deciding that I need to broaden my horizons and game with people that actually want to put in the time and effort. If you’re starting something up, I would very much like to jump in. I was thinking about starting an AoO game online too, but either way is fine by me. Depending on your playstyle, I would go with at least voice chat for gaming; not a big fan of PBP, plus I like real time. Video is cool too, since I like to see player reaction, but you have to make sure whatever app you’re using can stream audio/video well enough. As I’ve mentioned, Tabletop Forge is a cool app and doesn’t require any installation; it’s all browser based. Roll D20 is another good looking app, but it’s hasn’t been released to open beta yet.

  3. This is indeed a shame, sad to hear. I had the same issues with one player of mine, who had the tendency to cancel at least the day before though. Never had anyone cancel on game day. My players might not be the greatest roleplayers or tacticians, but we have been gaming together since 93. I just slowly realize how damn lucky I am to have them around! We have been gamin once every 2-3 month for the past 4 years and had one year of no game at all in between. But since February we started to try for a monthly play-day. When all can make it we play the main Campaign and if not something else. So far it works and my players generally respect the commitment of time enough to show up or cancel in time. I sure let them know how much time I put into preparation lest they forget! ;-)

    On the Topic of onlinegames I had great experiences with Fantasygrounds. However that is not cheap and does not contain any voice or video functionality. But the Savage Worlds Ruleset is feature rich and it is really polished. I played a Deadlands campaign with it last year. It is very miniature/token play focused though. So if battle-maps and grids are not your thing then it might not be a good choice.

    Then there is Maptool which is similar but free! I have no practical experience with it though but there is a Savage Worlds framework available.

    Roll20 actually has a kickstarter atm http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rileydutton/roll20-virtual-tabletop-gaming-that-tells-a-story?ref=live

    Especially with savage worlds I prefer a premade rules system on the tech end to cover Card Draw which is something not readily available because many tools are DnD centric. But on a basic level Google hangout seems to work great.

    Personally I was always happy to use voicechat only for the GM and to clear up rules questions and keep character play in chat. It made it a bit more structured I felt. And my mike has an incurable humming sound that annoys everyone else. But experiences vary and I am open to try almost anything! Timezone might be an issue but I would try to make it happen.

  4. I’ve recently given Google+ Hangouts a try for a game session, and it worked out pretty darn well. We had a hiccup once or twice, but the dropped person came back on within a handful of minutes each time. I was never dropped, so not sure what was causing the issue. But, I’ve had worse interruptions from children at friends’ houses.

    I’d be up for giving this virtual tabletop a try with you, señor. Just let me know the time and place, as it were.

    As for your the remainder of your post here, I can understand completely. The gaming group I’ve been involved with locally tries to meet every other week. And usually, the host (always the same host) sends out an email on the day before whether the game is on or off. While I appreciate that much of a heads up, I tend to really look forward to getting together, only to be told the day before that my fun is not to be had. I’ve come to plan on attending less and less simply because so many other things derail the night from happening.

    So, yes, feel your pain. And the ability/option to game without having to leave the house, thus spending more time on the game and less time in traveling, raises my interest greatly. I think it could be a lot of fun.

    And hell, game with Sean Preson?! Hell yeah! … I mean, sure! I could do that.

  5. I’m currently running a SW fantasy game via MapTool and Teamspeak, and once I got my macros set up right, it’s been great. I will admit that online gaming has its hurdles (technology problems, not seeing visual cues for when you can start talking, players moving tokens around the map willy-nilly, etc.), but these have been a great resource for me. If you’re interested in using MapTool, I could send you the macros I have. They’re not as polished as RPTroll’s framework that Chaosmeister mentioned, but I like the way they work. :)

    Also, I’d definitely be interested in gaming with you, Sean. If you’re willing to put up with a relative SW noob (who plans on buying all of your company’s books ;)).

  6. We used to game about once a month but our group ended with people moving away. So what we do now is every 2-3 months we hire a cottage in the middle of nowhere, and spend a Friday to suday night gaming. Works for us!

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