Monday, 15 September 2014

Gamer DNA, Kickstarter, and the search for something new...

I’ve been thinking recently (I know, I know, Bad Idea...) regarding the huge collections of games that most of us have.  In the case of many of us, we’ll have things that we bought a long time ago that we thought looked excellent, and then left them in places where we would one day get around to looking at them and perhaps gaining some measure of merriment from them.

This was brought home to me today when I took a box of Dragon Dice off the shelf, intending on doing a review of them (Which I did anyway), and opened the box to find the dice were still in their original packaging, having been unopened since I picked them up.

I thought back then to when I’d picked them up, which had been more than a decade back, and then got to wondering why this happens to so many of us...?

It’s not that we don’t find these things interesting, indeed, the main problem that most of us have is that we do find these things interesting, and therein lies the other quandary.  When you’ve realised that you’re never going to play these games, or use those dice, or some combination therein, why do we hang on to them?

For me it’s the hope that one day I’ll get to play that game, or use those dice, and that they’ll fulfill the promise of awesome that was made when I picked them up all that time back.  I still hope that I’ll play those games and they’ll be brilliant.  I pick up new things because they offer the potential that there’ll be an interesting game in there that I can play with friends, get more people to play, and thus increase the hobby and the number of people I can play against.

As of today?

Not anymore...

I had a conversation last week with a good friend, who was looking for a copy of Kult because he wanted to get a game of it going, but he couldn’t find one anywhere for anything less than silly money.  My immediate line was “Sorry Dude, only got the one copy”, at which point he asked reasonably if I was willing to part with it.

And that’s when it struck me...

What was I going to do with it?  I’d picked it up years ago and read through it the once, didn’t find it massively interesting (or I’d have found a way to play it before now), and through the years had managed to find a copy of the Metropolis Sourcebook and the Rumours Sourcebook.  All of these neatly put aside on the shelf, waiting for the time when they’d be of use to me.

So I packaged them up and sent them away in a nice parcel to my friend, who even now is making use of them, far better than leaving them on my shelf to slowly gather dust, and that brought me to another realisation.  How many things have I got sitting on my shelf that I’m never going to use that other people might find interest in, that might motivate people into playing more if they had them and they weren’t just taking up space on a shelf somewhere.  I spend a lot of my time trying to get people to play games more often and enjoy them when they do, so here’s what I’m going to do.

Following this whole thing is a list of the games that I know I’ve got copies of, or in the case of some (Hello D&D 4th) games I’m never ever going to play.  I don’t want to sell them, I want to trade them for something else that might interest me.  I’m not bothered about trade value, if you’ve got something that’s interesting and it’s worth less than what you’re asking for, I honestly don’t care at this point, I’m just looking for something interesting, Board or RPG (Even CCG if it’s interesting), I don’t see any point in hoarding all this treasure when I could be doing something useful with it.  So I’m not going to put up a wants list, because I honestly don’t know what I want, if you see something on the list, let me know what you want and what you’ve got, if we can trade, excellent...

And that’s the other point about Gamer DNA...


Kickstarter is lethal to most gamers, it’s our Kryptonite, we look at things on there and (quite rightly in many cases) think “How awesome would that be...”, closely followed by “Huzzah, it must be mine”. 

The fact that by the time you get whatever it is you’re backing, you’ll likely have forgot that you backed it in the first place doesn’t enter into this, it’s the very definition of Gamer DNA taking over and worse, it’s spread to the rest of the world so that it’s no longer just us with that moment of “Shiny...” leading to broken wallets and genuine befuddlement at what we were doing...

I set a limit on myself now with regards to what I’m allowed to spend on there, because it would be all too easy to back the world and then two years from now have Tiny wife asking the inevitable question of “Where’s all this coming from...?”.

To be honest, that’s not fair, most of the time, Tiny Wife is with me on the “How cool is that...?” side of the equation, I’d said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve got the best girl in the world J

Back to the question of Gamer DNA though, Kickstarter is something else, it’s other people coming up with good ideas and trying to get them out there, which I will always support, but I tend to be more careful these days on what I back.  I haven’t had a kickstarter fail on me yet, and the one’s with the longest delays tend to be from companies that I already knew were going to be late (Hello Chaosium, good to see nothing changes J ), but that I knew would eventually deliver because it would be the end of them if they didn’t...

Now I look not at the huge kickstarters with the massive extravaganza’s and million stretch goals that will all be yours if you put in around a hundred bucks, but at the smaller ones, where there’s something interesting and it’s less than the cost of dinner to get it.  Those I can justify and following my recent epiphany, I honestly can’t see the difference between spending a hundred bucks on something massive, shiny and interesting and spending five bucks on something small and interesting...

If you’re never going to play it either way...

So here’s my stand against my own DNA and the beginning of the quest of interesting...

Blue Planet (All books)
Cyberpunk 2020
Shadowrun 1st edition
SLA Industries and Contract Directory
Kindred of the East
Vampire the Masquerde (ww2002)
Storytellers guide to the Sabbat (ww2253)
Traveller New Era
Star Wars D20
Palladium RPG
Conan RPG
D&D 3rd DMG and PHB
D&D 4th limited edition slipcase
Slayers D20 game
Everquest RPG and sourcebooks
Darwins world
World of Darkness Mummy, Outcasts, and blue World of Darkness handbook
Chill + Companion
MERP Red book
Infernum books one and three
Babylon 5
In Nomine Plus all books
Rod of Seven Parts box set
Dungeon Quest board game

Anything interesting considered.