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WARGs and You!
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Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
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Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so the common themes that I'm getting at the moment are:

1) I used to come, but it no longer offers me what I initially came for (usually meeting cool people and playing in cool games)

2) The main old functions seem to have been overtaken by other groups and conventions around the area.

3) My family situation has changed so that I'm no longer able to come

Although there are a variety of other reasons stated as well.

I don't think we'll be able to do much about that third one.

How about if we invited GM's along to run one-offs of interesting games, one-offs and things like that?

So instead of pitching at the session, perhaps have a thread of requests for games here on NZRag. With luck people interested in a new game (like Eclipse Phase, Cold War) will say so, and other people will say they will run it, WARGs would then become more of a co-ordination effort?

Actually in that case a monthly meeting would still probably work, but you would see considerably different people month-to-month.

How would that sort of thing sound?

Cheers
Grant
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artemis



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main problem with getting stuff at WARGS is you need people to be willing to commit to running games or use it to hold the sort of discussions that we used to.

So as that doesnt happen any more I like Grants idea of people requesting games. The store is in fact open every Sunday and people do play boardgames here every Sunday as such if people wanted a venue for games on request we could work something out for any weekend that the people involved are free.

The store would need to know just in case something has come up (like stock take last week).

Good thoughts and suggestions.
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Dale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So instead of pitching at the session, perhaps have a thread of requests for games here on NZRag. With luck people interested in a new game (like Eclipse Phase, Cold War) will say so, and other people will say they will run it, WARGs would then become more of a co-ordination effort?


I find it hard to see that this would deliver a significantly different outcome than WARGS already experiences as there is no real shortage of opportunities to play and run new, interesting games both in the regular 'con schedule and through advertising here and other places. The only value that WARGS would seem to add in this scenario is the availability of the current venue, which some people have identified as detracting from - rather than adding to - their interest in attending. It does, however, have the benefit of not requiring a great deal of effort to set up and administer.
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Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, cool, thank you everyone for your thoughts. I (and the rest of the exec will chew them over for a bit and have a think.

I'll still be checking this thread if you have any more to say.

Cheers
Grant
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happyfunball



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I lived in Bristol, the local gaming community met once a month or so in a local pub. They didn't play games at these 'meet-ups', it was instead a social occasion with much discussion around gaming and interaction between the different groups that were otherwise isolated from each other.

I wonder if WARGS might benefit from a similar approach, of embracing the social/meeting aspect rather than trying to be a place where games are played.
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Luke
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a good suggestion and one that was raised when WARGS changed venue a few years back.

I think the same thing that undermines WARGS as a regular gaming venue i.e. Wellington RPGers can get regular gaming elsewhere, would also undermine the social aspect in that there is already quite a bit of socialising happening. With everyone's busy calender, people seem to be reluctant to gather without some gaming opportunity attached.
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Tetrajak



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

happyfunball wrote:
When I lived in Bristol, the local gaming community met once a month or so in a local pub. They didn't play games at these 'meet-ups', it was instead a social occasion with much discussion around gaming and interaction between the different groups that were otherwise isolated from each other.

I wonder if WARGS might benefit from a similar approach, of embracing the social/meeting aspect rather than trying to be a place where games are played.


That sounds like a really good idea, and I'd be very keen to attend such a get together once a month, even with transport costs.
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Scurvy_Platypus



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howdy. Since I’m someone that’s sorta whinged (Nick doesn’t pull his punches Smile ) about this in the past, it’s only fair I nut up and put myself out there publically too. Fair warning, I’m a bit verbose at the keyboard.

Summary: I’m not sure that just having 1 or 2 goals is the best approach currently. I think having a goal or 2 to appeal to the several different kinds of participants and restructuring things to be slightly more formal in terms of pursuing those goals is the way to go.

Long version:

I personally liked going to WARGS when I first arrived in the country. It was a chance to meet folks as well as play with people when I didn’t have an option. I’ve tried running a couple of one-offs since then. A while ago I took a step back from everything, but I’ve been thinking about coming back. And as part of it, I’ve been thinking about WARGS and trying to run stuff there again; while I’d likely have several people I’d explicitly invite along, I’d also have open spaces too (unlike when I tried my failure of a 4E game).

So in no particular order, here are my thoughts:

The whole “games club” thing is still a bit of an oddity to me; mostly a cultural thing, since I’m from the U.S. But maybe some of my experience being involved in clubs there (especially an Amateur Radio or “ham” club) might be helpful. The club had regular meetings, membership, all that. But it _was_ a meeting. It started at X time, it had a short agenda it sorted through and then we had club activities.

Club activities in this case meant having someone talk a bit about tuning your radio antennas, organising a club contest, kitbashing a keypad for doing morse code, and all that other sort of stuff. There were usually a couple or three activities, although sometimes it’d just be one if it was a more involved/technical presentation.

Going to WARGS wasn’t like that. Yes, it’s casual and very unintimidating. On the other hand, it seems to follow the format of everyone sort of drifting into a group and looking a bit nervous; a game or two might be offered and some folks sort of mumble and shuffle a bit and then there’s a sort of drift apart. The potential rpgs offered may or may not have takers and everyone else wanders over to the boardgames.

I dunno, maybe it’s better now but that was what I was experiencing. And it’s kinda hard for me to be particularly excited about putting forward effort to try and have everything ready for a game, knowing that there’s a fair chance that if I do have anyone willing to play, it’s going to be more because they didn’t feel like playing boardgames and the other game interested them even less. It kinda feels to me like the rpg equivalent of a pity fuck.

Because really, as a GM for WARGS, I’ve got to do just about all the work; it’s like being in a monthly convention. I’ve got an unknown number of players that are going to show up, a very limited time slot, and a dubious ability to plan for an on-going campaign. And I’ve got to have pre-gen characters, because most of the time there’s not really enough time to cover character generation and running a game.

Of course, some of this can be mitigated by the game system being used (PDQ can be quite quick to generate a character, same with 3:16) but that’s not always a particularly satisfying solution for either myself as a GM or the potential players.

A tangential but related issue to this is the bit about playing/running a game for strangers. It’s not as bad necessarily on the GM side as signing up to run a KapCon game, but still… you don’t know who you’re going to get and that can be intimidating. And for the players as well, although the fact that they’ve show up at WARGS in the first place would suggest that they’re open enough.

So maybe part of what would help is for at least some element of the WARGS people to approach it in a more… for lack of a better term, “professional”… fashion. I totally get that people get involved in WARGS for a variety of reasons, just like they get into rpgs for a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be an attempt by “regulars” to have a more focused and coordinated approach to the whole thing.

Which sorta leads to the “what should WARGS be about” thing. I think it’s actually got a couple of different purposes.

For regularly attending people willing to GM, it’s a chance to test/demo new games, refine bits that they’re planning on running at a convention, or even try and get some sort of semi-consistent game established with the potential for semi-regular players as well as “guest stars”.

For those that are willing to be mentors, there’s a chance for them to share specific advice, or for them to join games and give feedback to the GM afterwards.

And for the players (both casual and not) it’s a chance to have a potentially regular game that they can show up to (monthly being the only commitment they can make perhaps), as well as the chance to try out a game that they’ve heard of or something.

Plus it provides a place where newbies can show up and actually meet people in the community. Sure, there’s plenty of conventions and all, but again maybe it’s just because of a different culture, but showing up at something like WARGS is a lot more comfortable than trying to interact with everyone at KapCon, where you’re basically an outsider unless you’ve already been attending for some time.

I don’t see it as requiring 30 people to all be willing to sign up and run a game. But two or three folks, yeah. And like Games on Demand, they should either have a specific game they’re planning on running, or a couple of games they’re willing to run based on a consensus the day of WARGS.

And consistency. People willing to actually commit a month ahead. I get that life happens and all that. But right now it’s so ad-hoc. Yes, so and so was here this month. Who knows if they’ll feel like showing up next month and if they do, whether they’ll feel like running a game or not. What happens is, both players and GMs will shrug, since neither one can really expect or rely on anyone being around, and the cycle just keeps itself going.

So maybe a GM shows up and runs a session of something and says, “Yeah, I’ll run [whatever or continue the game] next WARGS meeting too.” Groovy. And maybe at that 2nd WARGS meeting they say, “Next meeting, I’m not really going to be able to make it, so I’m out of the rotation.” And another person can step up and go, “yeah, I can do something next month.” And so it goes. A few people here and there willing to commit to running _something_ and some others stepping in if someone doesn’t feel up for it.

“Mentors” don’t have to GM, although of course they could. They could even explicitly run a specific game or scenario; a sort of “game for GMs”, teaching them how to run a genre or system by having the GMs be on the other side of the screen. But having someone around that I as a GM know is a “mentor” would be groovy. If I happen to have a game to run that they’re interested in, chances are they’ll be a “known quantity” in terms of being a player and if they’re participating with the explicit purpose of mentoring for that session, I can expect to get some useful feedback as well.

We’re starting into that downturn of weather when people are going to be less interested in going outside and trying to get some Vitamin D; that sort of thing is always going to play havoc with the club in Wellington I think. So with folks being more inclined to commit to an indoor activity again, I think it’d be possible to slowly build it up. I do think that it’s kinda understood that when the holidays/summer rolls around, it’s going to sort of go into hibernation; that’s just the nature of the beast and not much different from some sort of school-based activity.

Oh and as an addendum... yeah, the overall social aspect shouldn't be discounted. In the ham radio club, there was a built-in chunk of time between covering club business (which included organising the _next_ club meeting activities) and the actual start of the activities, for people to mix around and chat and all that. With an explicit eye to keeping an eye out for faces you didn't recognise and introducing yourself.

And ummmm… yeah. That’s kinda what I’ve got right now.

Edit:
I apologise in advance if my post comes across as harsh or overly critical or something along those lines; my "jerk filter" isn't working so good these days. I'm genuinely not upset, just thinking aloud and sharing those thoughts.
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Anarchangel



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot of interesting stuff in that post, much of which I agree with, but I'm curious about the idea of "mentors" that you started discussing in the middle.

Is this something that you or people you've spoken to see as a niche that needs to be filled?
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Scurvy_Platypus



Joined: 02 Nov 2007
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Location: Newlands, Wellington

PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anarchangel wrote:
There's a lot of interesting stuff in that post, much of which I agree with, but I'm curious about the idea of "mentors" that you started discussing in the middle.

Is this something that you or people you've spoken to see as a niche that needs to be filled?


Potentially. The idea is more focused towards the specifics of KapCon and general con-style GMing and adventure creation. KapCon is intimidating as fuck to me from the prospective of GMing and I've zero clue how to assemble a con senario. After that is the issue of trying to tweak/tune it, so you don't look like a total chump with your junk swingin' in the wind at the con.

Broadly speaking though, there's probably folks that are curious/ interested in trying GMing but don't quite know how to make the leap from player to GM; in those cases, having a friendly and knowledgeable person to provide some feedback about non-system related bits might also be helpful.

I don't imagine it's the sort of thing where there'd be _huge_ demand for it. And honestly, if ther was huge demand for mentors, it'd probably make people less likely to be willing to help out on that front; seeming to be more of a job that a friendly and knowledgeable assist.
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Anarchangel



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me like this sort of request or comment pops up pretty regularly, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were a decent number of people around who would be interested in this.

In fact, it makes me wonder about the possibility of a little one-day house con ending with a discussion of the art of the one-off...
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Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anarchangel wrote:
It seems to me like this sort of request or comment pops up pretty regularly, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were a decent number of people around who would be interested in this.

In fact, it makes me wonder about the possibility of a little one-day house con ending with a discussion of the art of the one-off...


Or a 48 hour one-off competition.

EDIT: Thinking about it, wouldn't it make more sense to have the discussion of the art of a one-off at the start of the convention?

Cheers
Grant
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Last edited by Highwayman on Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Highwayman



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scurvy_Platypus wrote:

Summary: I’m not sure that just having 1 or 2 goals is the best approach currently. I think having a goal or 2 to appeal to the several different kinds of participants and restructuring things to be slightly more formal in terms of pursuing those goals is the way to go.


I nominate Scurvy_platypus for the general executive for WARGS.

Seconder?

Cheers
Grant
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Scurvy_Platypus



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highwayman wrote:
I nominate Scurvy_platypus for the general executive for WARGS.

Seconder?

Cheers
Grant

Heh. Operating on the principle that if he isn't around to contest it, the job's his?

Other than a couple of folks that might be amused at watching me squirm a bit, I doubt you're gonna get much support for a power-mad american with a fondness for platypuses, luchadors, and hairless cats to be guiding the games club.

Did I mention that I'm desperately intrigued with World of Synnibarr and the idea of flying grizzly bears that shoot lasers from their eyes? I'm pretty sure I'm unsuited to such an august role. Very Happy

On a more serious note though, I'd think it should be someone that's actually active; I took a step back and so far haven't had a compelling reason to become active again. Plus, I'm pretty sure there's folks with much better ties to the community than my rather limited ones. Smile
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Anarchangel



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highwayman wrote:
Or a 48 hour one-off competition.

EDIT: Thinking about it, wouldn't it make more sense to have the discussion of the art of a one-off at the start of the convention?


I was thinking of something like: 3 games, 6-7 people (the 3 GMs plus 3-4 interested parties) followed by a discussion using those three games as examples. I could then see a follow up event a few weeks later in which the same 6-7 people did the same thing in reverse, with the new GMs running the games.

I'm personally not interested in the 48 hour one off comp at this point as I can't justify dedicating that much time to a concentrated effort. But I do think it's an interesting idea generally, and I look forward to a future in which I would be able to participate!
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