Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why Should I Even Bother Playing?

Welcome Back Blogger,

That is the question isn't it- why would one even want to play a Paper Game? Paper Games have been around as long as paper itself and the act of to be someone else has been a common trait in everyone since the dawn of man's time on earth. Even these days you can see it plain as day in children; they bark like dogs and meow like cats, wear their parents clothing, or pretend to be their favorite super hero. Whoosh! They fly by and in their world the sheet is a cape and the box is a fantastic futuristic helmet with the power to shoot laser beams. You tell them to sit down and eat dinner, but they don’t have time for dinner yet, they still have to save the world!

Playing a paper game is one way to release your inner creativity. You’re simply giving that inner creativity a subtle form, a molded shape you feel free to use however suits you. Playing a game is a lot simpler in many ways than creating one because the boundaries are already set up, but those boundaries can be SO very different from the boundaries you know in your everyday life that you, as a player, can feel so free. Free to ignore annoying people, drink too much, spend all your money, travel the world, belch, sing, dance, and narrowly escape death time and time again.

The simple things in life suddenly become the little treasures of your Paper Game experience. For instance, when you're a pirate on the high seas, all you're thinking about is crew politics and the next port of harbor where you might be stealing, pillaging, and plundering., you might rest and get your wits before spending your earnings on useful items for the next big adventure. What you're not thinking about is the wind on your face, or the taste of salt in your mouth, or that apple you'll eat before falling asleep in your swaying hammock below deck. So you see, it’s the mundane things that make the game the most interesting, and that make for some great life lessons.

Truly though, I've always found that being the Game Master is just as thrilling as being a player. Sure, there's more work involved, and you don't get a break as often as the players do, but that's kinda the fun part. Sometimes my players end up just sitting around listening to each other’s turns (if they aren't in one big group), but I'm always playing. Always imagining and describing, always setting up those boundaries for them to play in, and describing the mundane things they might otherwise not notice about the world we're creating together. A Paper Game is comparable to a work of art, and the Game Master isn't the only artist. The Game master paints the background and molds the base of the sculpture, but the players fill in the action packed foreground. Together they write a story worth remembering and in doing so create bonds between everyone in the room. A great game isn’t just a story that can be recounted days later, but years later. The kind of story you never completely forget. And that is why you might want to play: for the freedom of imagination, the fun of the social activity, and the memories you'll be able to look back on with a smile.

Or if all that memoir crap isn't your cup of tea, maybe you just want to play to break down boundaries. There are a surprising number of players in the world that love to destroy, ruin, disrupt, and generally antagonize my games. I don't mind so much because it strengthens me as a Game Master. I mean, just as long as all their disruption goes on "in game", then I could hardly care less. It creates a challenge for my ability to adapt to the player’s wants and makes for a fun session for everyone in the room to see just how far they might be able to make it before getting locked up or killed. But even then the story doesn't have to end with them being chained in a dungeon or beaten in battle. I have witnessed players escape the most inescapable situations and overcome the most impossible challenges. Some people are just downright unstoppable, and if that's what feeds you, what inspires you to play; then do it. It’s totally worth the extra effort on the Game Masters part, and after all, it’s all just fun and games.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Everyone's a critic...