So an old friend of mine started a new game of ConspiracyX. Not overly excited abut the game choice but was excited about playing with the group. The first session seemed to go well, at least I enjoyed it and two others told me they enjoyed it. Sadly a few days after that session the GM emailed that he wasn't happy with things, that it was more than he could handle and he was giving up role playing - all role playing, so bye.
My first thought was that it might have been my fault, I am a vocal gamer and can be argumentative at times, but after thinking about it for a time couldnt agree with that view. I eventually spoke to two of the others and it turns out that it was partially their fault. THey were adjusting to the new game and experimenting with character changes and got into a discussion with the GM about some rules and I think that was a final straw.
So looking at it all, thinking how I have been feeling lately, etc etc here is my humble diagnosis: we are all getting old.
Very sad to say this but I am 55 years old and the others are (I think) within 5 years of that one way or the other (except one). Most of us have been role playing since we were 20, so fairly safe to say that we have been doing this for 35 years, or more. None stop. I cant recall a time when I have not been role playing/gaming since I bought my first copy of Squad Leader and my first copy of D&D (within a year of each other I think). Recently, as you may have read from previous blogs, I have been having a sort of forced hiatus running games, but I am still playing a regular fortnightly game. But the stress and challenges I have been facing recently have shown me that gaming requires real effort and committment, especially the later.
I think as we get older our time becomes quite valuable, and strangely less available. I'm not going to propose that time moves at a different pace as you get older (yes I am), but I sure as hell dont seem to have the time to do anything these days. Back when I was twenty I would stay awake till 3am paying a game, sleep till 12mid, wake up and do nothing for several hours, read two books, watch TV for hours, go to a movie, go to a party, play 6 hours of D&D... about 32 hours worth of effort in a 24 hour period.
These days, I crawl out of bed and wonder why my pillow is all wet (apparently I snore and dribble - personally I have no evidence of this). I stagger around getting dressed, have some breakfast, sit down and have a coffee... and BAM! Its goddamn 10am already... what the hell have I been doing for 3 hours. So I watch some TV, read the papers... BAM! its 1pm and somehow I missed lunch. So I do some house work, work in the garden, go shopping.. BAM is 5pm and aren't I supposed to be ready to go to the game. Travel to the game, which seems to take longer these days, sit around chewing the fat... BAM its 7pm and hadnt we better DO something about playing. Bam! its 11pm and I'm tired, go home and go to bed.
Obviously its not quite that bad (honestly... ummm), but you get the idea. And my point here is that not only is time against me, but we are way more cranky and temperamental than we use to be. I'm not going to go into how less flexible I am (physically). I find it difficult to spend the time that is required to absorb a new game system then play it. These days I rely on previous experience (most games have components that come from earlier games so after reading 100+ game systems I just about know it all), and group gestalt... which is to say that between all of us we have read all the rules and as a group we can stumble our way through the first few sessions. That actually works fairly well as all of us have different interestes in any one game so most of the time we have read all the rules well... as a composite.
But still, it requires effort these days. I'm too tired for effort, somebody sold me a story about growing old and retiring (haven't got there yet) and having all that free time was your reward. Yeah sure, by the time I get there I wont have the time to do bugger all.
Which is not to say that I dont enjoy it, because I still do. So I will persist.