Complicated ThoughtsOctober 14, 2009
Prepare for rambling musings.
Tabletop rpgs are like chess- the fun is in participation, and while nearly anyone can do it, the appeal for hobby play is actually much more narrow. More importantly, exposure is the primary means of building a stable network for players, which makes public play an ideal means of expanding the network.
On the other hand, public play also opens up your game for potential disruption (and loses the feeling of intimate space). Though, I think the bigger disruption is not non-gamers, as much as other gamers, if only because historically the culture has been about tying play preferences to self esteem and worth- and dismissing others through it.
(Also, since intimate and safe space is generally more conducive to roleplaying, does this mean it naturally must work against itself being shared? …hmm.)
Not only that, because play preference is a big deal to enjoyment, the push for one-way-ism and discouraging experimentation also tends to vastly diminish the potential pool of new players as well- if they try out your “one way” and don’t like it, and you’re telling them it’s the BEST the hobby has to offer? It makes more sense to do like local boardgame nights, where people can try out many things and get a taste of different options.
Slightly related thought- rpg theory was born out of a desire for common language of play preference. Focused design is a rather late newcomer to this, which is completely backwards to every other type of game type.
Unrelated: Creative activity can be frustrating, especially when it’s unstructured and lacking tools for negotiation. What happens when frustration > friendship & fun? I suspect you either give up the activity or burn them both.
Kinda tied to both- wanting more gamers, and yet the unwillingness to meet people half-way in terms of building a social contract for a safe and respectful space for everyone.