It all started Saturday when one of my Sunday players asked me if I wanted to ride over to the FLGS with him. He was going to pick up some over-priced Eurogame for a birthday present for his son. I was just along for the ride — and to look at their dice. Naturally, I ended up buying some dice. Not that I don’t have enough around the house, but these were crystal and swirly.
While at the store we ran into a gamer who is arguing that every RPG should use minis and battlemats. Naturally, I could not keep my mouth shut and explained to him why I don’t use them. He was gobsmacked. Not by the fact I argued with him, but by the fact that I did not consider combat, let alone detailed tactical combat, to be the main purpose of RPGs. He could not believe that I had 8 players most weeks who felt enough like I did to play in my campaign as it could not be any fun. Not a tactical combat fest apparently meant “boring” to him — and that’s okay because I consider a “tactical combat fest” to be boring. To each their own.
My friend told him it really was a lot of fun and if he had never tried it, perhaps he should sometime. As his Sunday 4e game had been canceled, he asked if he could come by and watch our game. He said he’d bring a book and if he was bored, he’d just read, not expect to be entertained. I sighed and eventually said sure. I gave him my business card and told him to call me if he couldn’t make it or needed directions.
I got a call from him that evening. He wanted to bring his girl friend, who he said “wasn’t that much of a gamer anymore.” I’m thinking how this is going further south by the minute, but agree when he says they’ll bring soft drinks. From previous experiences with barely gamer significant others, I was resigned to entertaining two bored people.
Our 4e player lived up to my expectations. He thought our game was boring as hell. It did not have enough combat and what combat it had was boring. No minis. No battlemats. Abstract Rules. He did admit that it was a lot faster than combat in any game he’d ever seen, however.
His girlfriend was another story, however. She read through some of the Microlite75 rules and watched us play. About an hour into the game, she asked if she could roll up a character and play. Her boyfriend thought she was nuts and said so. This did not go over well. I quickly asked a couple of players who were less involved at the moment to help her create a character, hoping this would prevent any bf/gf arguments. It did. She created a “amazon” warrior in less than 10 minutes and I worked her into the session almost immediately. She was every bit as good a player as anyone else in the group. Her boyfriend soon left in a huff — even more huffy when she said she was staying to play and would get someone to bring her home. It turned out she had already discovered one of my regulars lived only a few blocks from her so this wasn’t as thoughtless as it sounds.
With her boyfriend gone, we discovered that she had played a lot of 2E in high school and college in the 1990s. The reason she wasn’t much of a gamer in her boyfriend’s mind was that she had little interest in 3.x and no interest at all in 4e. She said those versions were too much into long, drawn out combats — especially in the groups her boyfriend liked — and bored her to tears. She had no idea that anyone still played like we did. She enjoyed the rest of the session and wants to come to future sessions. She left with copies of Microlite20, Microlite74, and Microlite75. Assuming her boyfriend doesn’t talk her out of playing, it looks like the Sunday group is up to nine regular players now.