zondag 11 december 2011

Far Side Newsletter issue #4: I`m Throwing the Towel

And so 2011 comes to a close... What I hear you say, it`s only the 11th of december, do you use some obscure alien calendar system? No I don`t, but I won`t be attending my club anymore this year, so my year is, frankly put, over.

And what a crap year it was! 2012 will be my 15th anniversary as a member of the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp, but even though I will pay membership fees out of support for a club close to my heart, they wont be seeing me much at all.

Do you like to know more?

The problem is, the so-called `Far Side` and some things that have been bugging me, no, make that even downright irritate me, over the last year. As most can probably confirm, and I am with my own flaws, I`m a number cruncher, a gaming idealist and a campaign control freak.
I try to link every game system together, melt them into a campaign or competition format or the likes, and reward some points for people to `stay involved`, and this has worked great for years, creating a spirit a friendly competition.

It all blew up in my face big time this year.

Of the previous two campaigns played this year, not one got finished. People wanted during campaign one to move onwards to campaign two... only to not finish that because they rather wanted to play campaign one.

Hundreds of things have gotten started, yet none at all have even reached the first mile in the journey to get finished.

Examples? Pulp never got restarted. Uncharted Seas never set sail (pun intended), Babylon 5 was a disaster, the utterings of a Mordheim game where burried faster then roadkill ran over by an Abrams tank... the list goes on. I`m still waiting for a Round Top orbat...

In short, I created a monster by letting some people take the competition feel to far.

But that is not by far all that went on...

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Another thing that frustrates me to no end is the, well, downright cheating in games that is going on by a minority. And even though it is a minority, in a group of about 8 regulars that does effect the atmosphere no end.

An example? Selective line of sight comes to mind. Units firing happily through each other even though that is rulewise not allowed (I`m talking Future War Commander here for example, but I have seen it in other games by other people as well), scenery that is generally only lovingly bought and painted even though one could just as well imagine houses made of thin air, as they don`t seem to have any effect on the game as is. Units doing acrobatics to literally `hang to the side` of a house in order to claim it`s cover bonus is one of those things...

But believe it or not, it does not end there...

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Rules... why are they written? We have some people openly stating that they just `want to play a game` and don`t bother at all to read, let alone learn, any given ruleset of the game at hand being played.

They could just as well go sit across each other and roll 5 dice each, and high score wins. Though I wouldn`t be suprised if someone tried to sneak in a 6th dice...

Now don`t get me wrong, I understand COMPLETELY that people don`t have the level of commitment I have displayed over the years, as I`m a poor lonely geek who dedicates far to much time to his hobby. Yes, this even has costed me relationships, but hey, they knew the full package from the start.

But if you can`t even be arsed to read a ruleset, and just `do things` as you go along wether it is allowed or not by any given set... those people don`t necessarily break the rules, but they do bend them three times over...

So that`s it for your rant then? Unfortunatly... no

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Because it is easy to be shooting me after this blogpost. I`m rabbling on about the things that went wrong, or are still going wrong, and I know there are more people agreeing on these points. Heck, check my Facebook page, it is all in the open there if you like as I don`t like the Cloak and Dagger game of doing it all behind backs and stuff.

But in the end, it all comes down to one or two people. You have a lot of people giving comments on the sidelines about whatever game your trying to think up, but the fact is, this year for example, only two people catered for `something to play` amongst the whole group. As recent ago as yesterday, and I admit that was THE drop that spilled my bucket and is the direct reason of this post, I came up with a handicap system for giving `low rankers` a chance in campaigns and such, or at least don`t loose each one with a huge margin.
One person send me a PM about how unfair that system was. That must have been about the first and only `contribution` of person x in the whole year to the groups efforts.

Needless to say, that drained every last point of Willpower from myself, and that is why I throw in the towel as 'guru' of the FAR SIDE. This journey has taken about 7 years, so now either someone else takes it all over and `tirez sa plan` with it, or the whole thing dies screaming like the Beast of Betlehem, to quote Bob Geldoff, I don`t care at all (The Great Song of Indifference you musical barbarians).

*The End*

or not quite exactly...

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OF COURSE YOU DO, because you`ve stuck with me this far, you know that there is always some good news in my brabbling and bubbling!

And I`m not talking of the clean out of almost all my miniatures because of my cruel mistress called

I will still be gaming in 2012! It will only be... well... different. No paperwork for others, no stress, just going to do my own thing. Well, not my own own of course, but with people more aiming at the sort of game I look for, even though if that should limit my options of opponents. There will be the whole GW shaboodle, though my painting progress is nowhere near the amount I had planned to have completed by now. But it will be done, no doubt about that because I `feel like it` to paint them all up, all the thousands of points of rank and file troops.

But my main focus will be on two projects for 2012. Gundanium still is on the planned track, the rules are being polished out and I planned on one point to make the rules more `all situation coverable`, but in the end decided that since it`s a demo game, it needed a simple framework and a well mouthed gamesmaster to solve the occassional special situation.

The second thing I`m going to be doing, and that is about the only thing I tend to go organising, is the Zombie Nation serial, a set of 5 linked battles involving heroes and villains from the Marvelverse.
I have the rough outlines of the scenarios already on my computer, as well as the specific heroes and / or villains that can be `selected` by the players to try and solve the game with. Kind of like in a videogame where you pick a character, but I can already tell this, certain skills will be needed each time for a game, so it will help if you know roughly what said Marvel inhabitant has in his powerscheme.... `cause players won`t get to see the playsheet before they have selected a character. You can end up with the right guy in the totally wrong place as such

And that is about it for my planning for the new year. Like I said, the Far Side is essentially a foregone conclusion, and it is time for me to move on towards new horizons and explore new frontiers. I`ll take my dose of stress in my, well, highly stressed work environment, so I`m going to try and relax some in 2012, and who knows, even try that strange thing people keep talking about, that `social life` business. If I can just figure out on which console that game comes...

4 opmerkingen:

  1. My advice?
    Make the plunge to a social life less deep by starting off with social gaming. Play some MtG or a skirmish at, for example, my place. You can meet and interact with non geek human lifeforms that way in a controlled enviroment ;-)

  2. Doesn't take many people to bring a good thing down. I had similar issues with a club I was in many years ago in another city: a few uber-competitive types spoiled the mood, and it is no fun having to be on the look out for rules bending & breaking and the battle that would arise if you tried to argue against it.

    I will never forget the time one tried to move his armored transport vehicle between two buildings, a narrow alley, and did so by 'pulling a side wheelie' like the General Lee in Dukes of Hazard, driving only on it's left tread, other side in the air, to squeeze through the gap. And he was adamant that he could do it.

  3. Dude, I feel your pain.

    Years ago, I was the leading organizer of many gaming sessions, campaigns, etc. in the local gaming shop (TLM in Leuven). I dropped huge amounts of money in buying supplements, making models, searching the proto-internet for new info etc. I didn't have a social life outside of work and the gaming shop.

    Then I moved to the US for a couple of years (an offer do to research at an elite university is not turned down easily ;-). I expected someone to take as gang leader, but instead, most of it collapsed. No-one wanted to invest the efforts in creating and MAINTAINING a gaming community.

    Now, many moons later, I'm totally happy playing with a few close-knit friends, who have the same attitude towards gaming as I have. I am not chasing all the latest rules/supplements/game-of-the week anymore, but I now view gaming as a real social passtime rather than a geeky interest. That creates an easy-going and relaxed atmosphere around our living-room tables. No more gaming-shop community building or club-life for me. I've my little gaming niche, and I'm happy to be there :-)

  4. Tomsche, I know the feeling, believe me. But, I'm sure something good will come next soon: once a gamer, always a gamer!

    Rudi G.