Monday, March 24, 2008

Who Wants to Play?

I was talking with a friend over the weekend about all these controversies going on with geeks and gaming today and we came to a conclusion. Even though there is always something to wrangle over, geeks are some of the most friendly people in the world. Sure they are loyal to their favorite game and sure they get defensive when someone says their superhero is better then everyone else's, but you will never find a group of people more willing to invite you to play a game if you just ask.

Over the years I have noticed this is what makes geeks one of the most social groups of people. The key is that they have their preferences about what they enjoy doing just like everyone else has. So, not being a sports nut does not make them anti-social just as preferring to get a group of friends together to play games around a table doesn't make them anti-social either. Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to things they enjoy doing in their personal time.

Every year I go to a convention that's somewhat local to me. It's called Origins and it hosts games during a four-day weekend at the end of June for thousands of geeks, and has been running since 1975. There are people who show up in the costume of their favorite sci-fi or fantasy personality, but there are also those people who show up in t-shirts and jeans, people you would not be able to tell where just like everyone else you could run into in daily life. That's because they aren't any different. They are just average Joes who like to play games.

What kinds of games do they play? Anything.

That's the short answer, but the long answer isn't hard to understand. They play anything that catches their interest. What's more is they are more than willing to show new people how to play their favorite game at the drop of a hat. Every year I go to Origins and every year I have a blast. I intentionally pick out some games I have never played before and give them a try. Normally I end up in a group of people who where there are others like me who don't know the rules but there are always those who do and really take the extra steps to encourage everyone else to have a great time.

So, next time you see some people who prefer to play games in their free time, think of them as very social people and ask them to show you how to join in the fun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Find Your Own Path

I hopped into Paizo's web site last night not expecting much out of the ordinary and found this. They are intending on keeping their Pathfinder series of adventures under the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5E set of rules. They will be publishing, in August, no doubt for GenCon Indy, a little game they are calling Pathfinder RPG that uses the D&D 3.5E rules. Their articles on the topic seem to say they will tweak a couple things, but because many fans really want to stay with 3.5E, they plan on giving them what they want. Amazing concept, huh? Giving the customers what they want? Brilliant!

Anyway, here's the link to more info on the topic at Paizo's site.

Pathfinder RPG

Once I read through their news and download the Alpha demo to read I will post my impression of the whole thing. No doubt it will be positive as Paizo has done some amazing things for the 3.5E boom that both helped the industry and eventually flooded it with too many books for players to buy. They have consistently provided very high quality in their supplements and have listened to the fans to see what they really wanted in the game.

On another note, it seems White Wolf has decided to take a different tack with regard to the upcoming D&D 4E release looming and the fans wanting to stay with their current version of the game. They will be running a "graduation" promotion for players of the D&D 3.5E rules. All the players need to do is sacrifice their Player's Handbook to White Wolf and they will get a copy of Exalted for free, and thus "graduate" from the lowly Dungeons & Dragons game.

If you want some info on what they have planned check it out here.

Exalted Graduation

I'm not too convinced this is the best move they could have made but I am holding my breath to see what the fans do as June gets closer for the D&D 4E rules release. It just irked me a little bit that White Wolf had to come out with this deal as a means of moving up from D&D, when in all fairness, it is a lateral move for players from one game to another. One thing you won't catch me doing is making one game out to be better than another. A game is a game and if you don't like one then try another. Not everyone is going to like everything.

The plus side of this promotion comes for those people who are planning on moving away from their D&D 3.5E rules to the upcoming 4E release. If they don't plan on playing 3.5E again or if they have multiples of the Player's Handbook, which many gaming groups do, they have the opportunity to try out Exalted if they hadn't before.

If you have an opinion or spot any additional news on these two developments please make a comment. I would love to see what you have to say.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beginning Geekness

A couple weeks back, I'm sure you know about it if you are a roleplaying geek, news came out that on March 4th, 2008 E. Gary Gygax passed away. Most of you might know who he was and what impact he had on the world of gaming, but for those who don't here's a little background.

In the early 1970s Gary along with Dave Arneson came up with an idea for a game by the name of Dungeons & Dragons. It wasn't like any other game out at the time. It was one where the players didn't compete with one another to win, but one where players cooperated to attain a common goal. Usually that goal involved, at least in my gaming group, chasing down monsters, taking their treasure and helping hapless victims they had captured. It was a game that turned many shy geeks into heroes.

Since then their idea has gone on to spawn an entire gaming industry. It has changed ownership and has evolved in format, including the upcoming fourth edition. But during that time it affected the lives of many thousands of geeks in a positive way. I count myself as one of them.

I first came in contact with D&D at the beginning of the 1980s when my dad brought home from work a photocopied flier promoting it. One of his coworkers had passed it along since they knew he had kids. Soon after that he took me in town to a tiny hobby shop that carried everything from model trains and cars to rockets and the all new D&D game. At that time the game came in a basic set (the red box) and an expert set (the blue box). I no longer have those original sets but I do have fond memories of playing with my friends. It was something that we could get together and play that didn't accentuate those things we were not good at but gave us a way to exercise what we loved, our imaginations.

Soon after that initiation into roleplaying we found the company producing D&D also had other similar games. Our next was Star Frontiers, which was a science fiction based game with different species to encounter on many different worlds, and the third was Marvel Super Heroes, where we could play all those heroes we read about in the comic books. We used to get together anywhere we could find table space enough to play and we had the best time in the world.

Since then I have accumulated and played many different roleplaying games. I'm proud to be a gamer geek and have been greatly saddened to hear the news of Gary's passing. Even though I didn't know the man, I have heard how great he was from others who had, and in some small way, through playing the game he and Dave created, I feel I've gotten to meet him too.

So, even though this is a sad post, this news has spurred me to create a blog about my favorite hobby. Hopefully it will be around for a long time so I can share a bit of my enjoyment with others.