Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Like a Cat Drawn to a Heating Pad

The other day, the wife bought a heating pad for her back. We have two cats, and it took us until today to realize that the heating pad is probably the single greatest pleasure a neutered cat can derive from this world. Now, our cats love them some blankets and couch cushions. They'll lay, dead to the world, for hours at a time on the back of the couch, preferably atop a pile of freshly-folded blankets. I'm confident that blankets + cats = infinite heat generating machine. I'm pretty sure the cats are confident about this as well. But then something strange (and to my cat, wonderful) happened this afternoon. Our young'un 20 pound cat was laying on the heating pad (after all - it's practically a blanket on its own), and we decided to turn that bad boy on. Cue instant pur generating machine as Barney squeezed his eyes tightly in pure kitty bliss.

This got me thinking about myself and you, my fellow gamer. You see, I believe that we all have our blankets and our heating pads when it comes to games. Blankets are the every - day kind of good that we all crave. In other terms, blankets are the entry level drug. It's that first good high that's familiar, reliable, and largely self-sufficient once you plop yourself down on and/or in it. You enjoy your blanket. You get a lot out of it, and it's satisfying in ways few other things can even get close to. Then one day you come across this new exciting thing. It hits all the buttons the blanket hits, but it's so much more pure and concentrated, and it just seems to work better than any blanket you've found at pleasing your gaming needs. This is your heat pad. It's the thing that maybe needs a little outside juice, or maybe it's something that you can only really get to when you're around friends or a helping hand.

Ok, so this is actually a gaming blog, not a blog about how great cats are and how to make your cat great. So where am I going with this? I think there's a blanket and a heating pad out there for everyone when it comes to role-playing games. I think for the vast majority of tabletop gamers, their blanket is likely to be Dungeons & Dragons. It's the game that seems just right and exciting, and can run itself pretty much on autopilot once it gets going. Well I enjoy the random game of D&D, it's not exactly my blanket. I'm instead going to go with Savage Worlds. It's a simple generic system that is easy for me to figure out how to run lots of different games, and it inspires me to come up with new settings. It's my entry drug, but it's not quite spot-on enough for me to be my heating pad.

And here lies the problem - I've found easily a half dozen games that could potentially be my heating pad. My latest two obsessions are the Fate system and the PDQ system. They both seem to work so well, and given that I really do prefer rules-liter games over crunchier systems. The problem for me is that I haven't gotten an opportunity to really try anything to make sure it's my heating pad. I'm really leaning heavily toward PDQ at this point as I recently picked up Jaws of the Six Serpents and began reading it quite quickly. I love this book, and it's very much in line with how I feel a good story can be told with both experienced role-players and people sitting down at the table for the first time.

But here's the rub - I really need to temper my excitement for yet another new game with another cool setting and another really exciting set of rules. I know that one of my greatest weaknesses is my excitement for the new thing, even if it isn't actually very new to the rest of the world. I can't help it. I want to make the thing work for me because it inspires me with new ideas. But then eventually I move on to the next new thing when my attention wanes, and I don't learn anything for it. Well, maybe I learn a little bit more about what I actually like about a game book, but beyond that, I lose the possibility for any great insight. Every new game that grabs my attention like this is another person flipping the switch on a potential heating pad, but each heating pad, just like the last, just doesn't quite feel right to make me go from zero to 60 purring power. I'm just going to close my eyes and keep moving forward, hoping that this heating pad is the right one for me.

1 comment:

  1. My wife calls that OSS the "Ooooh, Shiiiiny Syndrome" and then she tells me to get back to running the current game.


Noble Knight Games

Wanna support The Hopeless Gamer? Shop at Noble Knight Games via the banner below!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...