My last panel of Convergence. This one also went pretty well.
We started by discussing how different types of gaming are socially sanctioned. Are social games more acceptable somehow? What about games that are easier to interrupt with other activities? Which games seem to get the most respect, and why? Interesting questions.
The we discussed a lot of ways to organize our gaming time & space better, allowing us to get down to gaming faster:
- Computer tools like Obsidian Portal or MediaWiki can allow us to keep detailed notes and make sure everyone is up to speed, even between sessions.
- Special furniture can allow games to stay set up during time off.
- Organizer trays to organize chits, minis, etc.
- Various online gaming solutions such as Vassal, Google hangouts, Skype + MapTool, IRC, OpenRPG, play-by-email, etc.
- Shifting our focus to games that just take less time to play, such as games that can easily be played in a single session.
- Boardgames that are available as apps, such as Settlers or Agricola.
- Boardgames that can scratch the RPG itch (though in my experience, if they do a good job, they take as long or longer to set up than an actual RPG does).
We spent some time (perhaps too much time) discussing how to find players, then we dived into a major part of the problem with gaming today: namely, that we’re under immense pressure from other areas of our lives, and that we’re under a great deal of pressure to only do things that can be construed as Productive. We finished with an interesting point: that it’d be good if society allowed more leisure time, and made less requirement that we be Productive every moment of our lives. “Tune in next year,” one of my fellow panelists said, “for ‘I’m getting too broke to find time to game’.”
As with other Convergence panels, this one suffered from having to cover all of gaming: consoles, MMORPGs, tabletop RPGs, boardgames, everything. I hope that Convergence starts breaking down gaming-related programming at some point, because while it makes the audience huge, it also means we’re only serving a small portion of that audience’s interests at a time. And as I mentioned above, I think this panel probably spent too much time discussing how to find gamers, which is an important issue, but not totally related.
Other than that, it was good: highly practical, with a nice bit of theory on the side.