Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Gameless in Hawaii

It's a sad, sad state of affairs. I've been in Honolulu for a year and a bit now (that's not the sad part, not by a long shot). But, I have yet to find a local game.

I've done a bit of video iChat gaming with some friends back on the mainland. That was fun, but it's not quite the same.

Now, I'm sure I could find a D&D game. Easy. Heck, I've spotted players hanging out at Coffee Talk. I've talked to gaming groups at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. But, I'm picky.

As you can probably tell by my other posts, I have fairly specific tastes in games. I don't mind games that have a tactical element--but the tactical play must be secondary to the plot. The game must have a strong story.

I also know that I'm much more particular when I'm a player. I can GM for a pack of rabid dogs and still have a good time. As a player, however...lets just say I have very high standards. I've had the pleasure of playing with some outstanding groups in the past. If my current gaming experience don't match those glory days (or my memory of those glory days), I become disappointed.

So, I don't want to just jump into any group. I don't want to put myself through the frustration. More importantly, I don't want to become a burden on the other players. The game may be perfectly fine for them, they don't need me showing up and trying to change things.

For example, a few years ago I joined a military Shadowrun game. Now, I've always liked the idea of Shadowrun, but I've rarely enjoyed actually playing it. This game was no exception. After what was probably the longest, most-tedious gaming session in my memory (it was basically a miniature war game masquerading as an RPG. There was no story--no surprises or twists. Just tactical play stripped to the bone). Suddenly one of the players wiped out a large group of enemy combatants--not really a surprise, he had monstrously min-maxed his character. The player in question jiggled with excitement, no longer able to stay in his seat, and he said, "That's the coolest thing I've ever done in a game." The other players concurred.

I never went back. There was no point.

So, here's the problem. How do you find story-focused players?

I'm going to try the proactive approach. I'll develop a game idea, then scout around for players, see if I can scrounge up anything. Sitting on my couch and whining isn't helping.

But what game should I run? I need something that people will be interested in playing--that probably means avoiding the more-obscure games in my library. But I also want something that will attract the more-story-focused gamers out there (while subtly discouraging the more-tactically-oriented players).

White Wolf's Mage seems like a good fit. You can actually buy it in most game stores, but it doesn't have the same combat monster appeal of Vampire or Werewolf. But, I'm having trouble getting into the new setting. I'd much rather run a Burning Wheel, Sorcery or Dreaming Cities game. Yeah, games most players have never heard of.

Regardless, I don't want to wait another year before gaming.

If you have any suggestions (or any stories about compatible or incompatible players) drop a note in the comments.