Monday, January 3, 2011

Fellow Knights for the Dinner Table

Finding gamers to game with is no small feat later in life. Sure there are all sorts of networking possibilities: hobby shops, meetup.com, dndcontact, etc. etc. But let's face it just finding bodies isn't the key -- they have to be the right "kind". Which basically means we get along with them and enjoy gaming with them. And gamers seem to have no small challenges here.

The gaming crowd is a little less socially nuanced and confident than most other populations. So working and playing well with others isn't exactly our strong suit. This can create problems for us in finding new friends to game with. We can be a cantankerous and opinionated lot and this leads to arguments that can become personal at times. Now, I'm not talking about 100% of the gaming pop., just the majority of us.

A good example can be seen in the documentary film the Gamemasters -- I'll review that soon btw. One of the GMs ends up quitting gaming altogether because his players are arguing and yelling so much he feels under appreciated and dejected. Very classic problems faced by people who have struggled with acceptance most of their lives.

So I think we first need to lighten up, be a little more long suffering, and be willing to take constructive criticism and reflect on our own imperfections and idiosyncrasies. However, that implies we actually have people to do that with. Finding gamers can still be a problem.

I think another problem is the fact that as we grow we become much less childlike. Note I didn't say childish, I said childlike. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for kids to make friends? They simply waltz up introduce themselves and say, wanna play? Wanna come over to my house? Do you like to play cops and robbers? Sometimes they skip the intro altogether and just jump in with both feet. They can walk up to a playground alone and walk away with seven new friends. Adults aren't like that anymore. We're self conscious, embarrass easily, and much more awkward than kids. So rule number two goes hand in hand with rules number one--reclaim your inner child.

So with these two rules in hand we are now prepared to make use of all those gaming connection crossroads. Keep in mind that most of us have to go through a few players to find the right mix for us. Building a long term group that works well together, puts up with each other, looks forward to getting together each week or month to game and builds a synergy like the Knights of the Dinner Table themselves takes time. But it's well worth it. I haven't had a group like that since I was a teen.

I'm working at building one again though. Next time stay tuned for gamer roles -- just for kicks.

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