Saturday, August 6, 2011

Of all the problems to have...

...I suppose I'm lucky to have the one I do.

I hear a lot about people having to deal with problem players, disruptive players, parties that don't get along and are constantly trying to not only kill one another in-game, but who don't seem to get along as people, either.

I've got the opposite problem, it seems.

Our group met again tonight, for the second session of the new Erseta campaign, and we easily spent 80% of the time chatting, joking, trading anecdotes, swapping movie and television news, and so forth. Unfortunately the end result is that very little actual gaming got done. This was also a problem in the first session, but not quite so marked as it was tonight.

So the problem is, essentially, that we get along too well. I am enormously fortunate that the group of essentially random people found through meetup.com instantly coalesced into a group of folks who are immediately at ease with one another, seem to get along great, and share many of the same interests, backgrounds, etc. outside of gaming. But the end result is that we find it difficult sometimes to actually get to the game itself.

It's not like it was a total loss, game-wise; they resolved some loose threads from the previous session and traveled another leg on the journey towards finding the lost dwarven city of Glitterdark, met a pretty significant NPC along the way, and got some information about their goal and the route they will most likely need to take. But honestly we could have gotten a lot more gaming in had we been more focused.

I am certainly not without my share of blame; as GM it ultimately falls to me to keep the game moving, but halting all the fun conversation seems almost rude with this particular group, because we're having such fun just hanging out with one another.

Next time I'm going to go out of my way to keep the group more focused on the game. I was wondering, though, if anyone else has had this sort of problem. It's not bad, per se, except for those who might get frustrated because they want to throw dice rather than swap stories, but it's not like I can say that the evening isn't fun, because it's tons of fun.

8 comments:

Unknown said...

Occasionally I have this problem but I just prefer to keep the stories and chat at least dnd or rpg focused.

JB said...

"I am certainly not without my share of blame; as GM it ultimately falls to me to keep the game moving, but halting all the fun conversation seems almost rude with this particular group, because we're having such fun just hanging out with one another."

My current gaming group consists mostly of a bunch of guys who grew up together and work together for the same company and who have been friends for many years (I am actually the outsider). We laugh and joke and have a good time a lot...and if I didn't join in, they'd do so without me.

But you know what? Part of running a game is Running the Game, so I am the guy in charge of shutting that shit down and getting on with the game. We get a lot of gaming accomplished but sometimes you have to be a bit of a hardass. And you know what? The players APPRECIATE it. Because when all is said and done, they came to your table looking for a GAME. They already have friends and social lives away from the weekly meet-up. Give 'em what they came for.

Quibish said...

The latest group that I've been gaming with handles this problem rather well I think.

We have a fixed gaming window. You can arrive quite early and chat, you can stay late and chat, but 7-10 is game time.

It's not like you have to lay down the law or read them the riot act. Just point to a clock and start describing the setting. You could also just tell someone to roll initiative, that usually cuts through the chatter pretty fast.

baronkohinar said...

Speaking for our group at least, though this does happen occasionally, it's really only an issue when we haven't seen each other for more than a week. That is when the idle chatter threatens to overwhelm the actual gaming. However, by the next week things are typically back to normal.

If it's a continuing problem, though, you should certainly bring it up or make it clear, if people want to talk, they should come a little early/stay a little later.

Northy said...

I'll be honest. I've never been disappointed with a single session we've had. Even the full of chatter ones.

Yeah, you can be a hardass, yeah we'd slay more foul denizens and (possibly) end up with more experience and loot, but I think if the game came down to being a four hour session of you "shutting that shit down" and us being told to shut the hell up and roll dice it wouldn't be half as much fun as it is now.

We have a great group of people, a great group of -friends-, I know the wife and I look forward to seeing everyone at the table as much as pulling out awesome game science and pewter cast dice and stabbing imaginary Elf/Demon/Orc/Thoul/Grimlock/Black Pudding monsters. I think the only real problem is that we don't actually get to hang out as often as we'd like to.

baronkohinar said...

"I think the only real problem is that we don't actually get to hang out as often as we'd like to" = exactly what I was saying about my group. If the point of hanging out is to have fun and everyone's having fun, I don't see that the problem is.

Adam Meyers said...

Best problem to have, if you've got to have one. Hope it's the one I've got when my next game gets started.

Riley said...

I have to agree with Northy that I certainly didn't see anyone complaining about the lack of progress. Part of the "issue" might be playing at Bill's house now instead of the gaming store because it gives it a more social atmosphere, but honestly, I wouldn't trade that lack of game "progress" if it came at the cost of the camaraderie we've developed.