Digital Changeling

November 7, 2015

Gaming Stuff on 1000d4

Filed under: Games — Eva @ 10:45 pm

I just want to leave a note here to let folks know that some of my gaming related content has moved over to 1000d4.com. My personal blog and site is getting a bit of an overhaul, but it will hopefully be better organized and linked soon. :)

August 23, 2014

Gamers, You Disappoint Me

Filed under: Feminism,Games,Racial Equality,Sad — Eva @ 11:44 am

Right before GenCon this article was published on Tor. I know the person who wrote it and he spends a lot of time doing outreach to the gaming community on race.

I was deeply disappointed to see that several people have taken this article as some sort of personal affront… including at least one person who I had a lot of respect for because of her work on advancing feminism in gaming circles.

Folks, I appreciate the knee jerk reaction that many of you feel. There aren’t a huge number of people of color attending GenCon (this isn’t up for debate, we white people currently far outnumber them), but the number has been growing. I understand why as a white person it is easy to see that and think “well the problem is slowly solving itself, I’m sure it’s fine.” And then get upset when someone calls gamer culture out about the topic.

I think the important things to remember are: 1) We do not live in a magical post racial society. Sorry, we just don’t (this also isn’t up for debate). I wish we did, but no. (I mean come on, this is not a subtle problem!) And 2) If you are not a person of color it’s harder to see the problem. The smaller signs that show up for white people are easy to forget as “unimportant” because we’ve been trained to see the status quo as ok.

When people bring up race in gaming, the first thing that comes to my mind is the many marginal experiences I’ve had as a white woman in gaming. Like the year when my husband came back from a WWII supers game and told me how extremely uncomfortable he was with one of the other players playing an Asian-American hero as a blatant Asian stereotype. Or how I’ve only been offered an African-American character at a con once, for a demo of Steal Away Jordan… and how acutely uncomfortable I was playing that demo and watching one of my white male friends try to behave as if his white-male privilege still existed in a setting where it did not. Or how this year at GenCon I was asked to play an overtly racist character in a historical setting… at a table with a player of color. Or when I wrote a LARP with an Indian immigrant character (who was a highly educated doctor and prided himself in his correct English) and I got to watch a player play him with an Indian accent consisting of mangled, broken English. Or how every con I wince when I see white people dressed up as Drow in full black-face makeup.

I could go on… this stuff happens and it’s awkward and uncomfortable even for white people.

I’m not asking anyone to jump up and become a crusader for people of color in gaming. I’m asking that we give people like A.A. George the benefit of the doubt when they come to us and tell us that there’s a problem. I’m asking that we pay attention to things happening at future cons and remember the marginal and creepy stuff that we see.

I’m also asking that people recognize that “racist behavior” and “behavior that makes people of color uncomfortable” are not the same as saying “gamers are racist.” Most gamers are not overtly racist nor are they trying to be horrible to people of other races. It’s easy to do something that hurts others because it’s a common thing in the mainstream (and as previously stated, the mainstream is not post racial!), without realizing that what you’re doing is hurtful.

It feels super easy to write a con-game with all white characters (I’m white, I know what that life experience is like and no one will yell at me for messing it up!), but when the vast majority of games do that it means that there are few minority characters available. Their stories aren’t told (some of which are quite interesting!) and we don’t have the opportunity to develop empathy for people who are different than ourselves by playing them. This mirrors an unfortunate trend in media, where we have few to no darker skinned actors to watch, even though non-white people make up a very sizable portion of the population in the US.

I’m not saying that people who write all white PCs for a con game are being racist. I don’t think they are. I’m saying that it’s easy to go with the way things have always been and it’s hard to include people who aren’t like you. It takes work and forethought. It requires us to care about an issue that probably hasn’t been important in our lives.

Again, I’m not asking people to leap up and start doing this work. All I want is for us to be more open minded to understanding there is a problem. To take time to see the problem and be patient with people who are complaining about it. I am especially asking that feminists in gaming try to be understanding as we’ve suffered similar ills because of gender, and have every reason to empathize.

Gaming is not a utopia. None of us live in a utopia. We can make gaming a better and more accepting place for everyone by working on the problems that the culture has. If we ignore the problems they aren’t going to magically get better on their own.

If you don’t see the problems, that’s ok. You don’t need to become a Super Justice Warrior to be a good person, just be nice to people who do.

January 4, 2014

Contest Entry: The Raven Queen’s Woods

Filed under: Games — Eva @ 1:24 pm

I designed a game this week for the Will Design a Game for Art contest. It’s called the Raven Queen’s Woods and it’s a game about human needs, altruism, and regrets in a dark fairy tale setting.

You can find a copy of the first draft of the game here. Any feedback is welcome as the game isn’t finished by a long shot.

June 12, 2013

Can We Stop Talking About “Strong” Female Characters Please?

Filed under: Angry,Games,Video Games — Eva @ 1:51 pm

Edit: I figured I’d need to revisit this at some point, but I think Sophia McDougall has covered the core of why “Strong” female characters drive me mad in other media far better than I ever could in an article very appropriately titled I hate Strong Female Characters

Can we stop talking about “strong” female characters please?

I hear a lot of appeals for strong female characters and I think we’re asking for the wrong thing. The gaming world is full of strong characters: they can fire hundreds of rounds without so much as putting the gun down, run for miles without sleeping, kill thousands of monsters with their bare hands, and climb tall buildings without pausing for breath. These physical strengths are ubiquitous because of the kinds of stories we tell and the sorts of mechanics we have in modern games.

Most of these characters also happen to be male.

There’s a separate phenomenon where many female characters in games are rewards, goals, background motivations, or set dressing. A lot of these women are not strong because it’s not narratively necessary. Often they’re overly used as “damsels in distress” for male characters to protect and save. Male protagonists have to do everything for them because otherwise the game makers don’t have anything to make the player do as the male protagonist.

There are two problems here: women don’t get to be competent in games and women don’t get to have agency in games. They physically can’t do things and they aren’t allowed to do things or make decisions.

When you say “strong” maybe you’re saying you want physically competent characters who could do things. That doesn’t mean they’re interesting. It doesn’t mean they have the agency to make their own choices. It doesn’t mean they’re well rounded or developed as people with motivations and stories. It doesn’t mean they’re main characters or playable.

I don’t want “strong” female characters who are physical super-people. I want competent female characters who are three dimensional and who are allowed to control their destiny. I want some of them to be playable.

When it comes down to it, that’s what I want for male characters as well. I want competent, believable male characters who are three dimensional. I’m sick to death of super-people. Men aren’t super-people in reality any more than women are and presenting them as such is increasingly boring with every similarly unrealistic game I see.

Can we change the dialog? Can we ask for competent female characters who are allowed to do things and make choices? Can we ask that characters be three dimensional, with interesting backstory and believable motivations (hint: because I’m evil isn’t a motivation for villains)? Can we say that we’re tired of fridging and damseling and otherwise using secondary characters of any gender as sacrificial narrative gimmicks?

“Strong” doesn’t mean those things. It means able to lift things. It means physically powerful. In gaming it often means “super-person with no basis in physical reality.”

Let’s be specific instead of using a word that doesn’t mean what we want.

March 31, 2013

The Phantom of the Fake Geek Girl: Why do Geek Women Believe in Her?

Filed under: Comics,Costuming,Feminism,Games,Mythos,Programming,Steampunk — Eva @ 11:01 am

The storm of “fake geek girl” articles seems to have abated but in the heat of that I got into an interesting conversation with @koboldstyle I want to write about.

 Why do geek women attack other geek women?

To answer that question, I have to back way up to when you joined a geeky hobby for the first time (sorry, this does presuppose geeks are reading this).

What makes you identify as a geek? Do you love a particular subject like anime, comics, or tabletop RPGs? Have you spent weekends at conventions or reading fan sites? How about long evenings glued to your computer learning the intricacies of a programming language or discovering the possibilities of open source projects for the first time? When did you first realize that particular part of geekdom was a part of you?

When you started out learning about and loving the geeky things you love, did anyone tease you because you were new? Maybe because you didn’t quite know everything yet or got something wrong? Did anyone assume that you weren’t a geek because of how you looked or talked or the username you wore?

Not everyone experiences this kind of hazing when they join a geek community, but a lot of people do. Many parts of the geek community are defined by knowledge and when you’re perceived as not knowing, people can be vicious.

Now imagine the knowledge tests and teasing didn’t stop when you proved your knowledge the first time. Imagine that every time you met new geeks they assumed you were an outsider. So you prove yourself and prove yourself… and prove yourself… and there’s just no end to it. Your old friends understand you, but every time you meet someone new you have to start all over again.

Gentlemen, this feeling is familiar for a lot of geek women. It happens to them, over and over and over. I know you’re thinking, “I would never do that to a fellow geek,” but what if you didn’t see them as a geek to start with? What if they’re “just a girlfriend that tagged along” or “just hanging around because they want to date that one guy”? Are you sure your internal geek-identifier isn’t ignoring people it should give the benefit of the doubt to?

Back to the ladies. You’ve spent your time proving again and again that no, you aren’t “a pretty face trying to snag a boyfriend” and no, you aren’t “a girlfriend who tags along.” Where do these stereotypes come from and why do you have to deal with them? You start to think, are there women out there who are “a girlfriend who tags along”? Did they create that stereotype?

And then you get mad. “What the f**k!,” you think, “Why do I have to deal with the fallout from what those stupid posers do?” “Why can’t they get the hell out of geekdom so I don’t have to deal with this stereotype anymore?!?”

 You’ve walked into a trap. Are there any posers out there? Probably a few. Are there enough of them to justify the stereotypes? Not a chance in hell. But you’ve accepted that the stereotype must be true. If so many people assume it’s true about you, how can it not have a basis in fact, right?

Not all geek women go down that route of logic, but a few do and that’s how we end up in a place where women write articles about how fake-geek-women are ruining geekdom and how the posers should all get out. That’s is how we end up with women devaluing other women based on how they entered hobbies (so what if you’re the girlfriend of a geek? how does that make your interest in something geeky invalid?).

I’m not blaming anyone for believing what they’ve been told over and over. If you’re told anything often enough you’ll believe it. But right now women are accepting second class citizenship in many parts of geekdom. That’s not where I want to be.

Men, don’t do this to geek women in your life. Assume we’re inside the club instead of constantly making us prove ourselves. Women, don’t do this to other women either. Question the things that geekdom tells you about yourself and your gender.

 


 

If you’re wondering what the whole “fake geek girl” kerfuffle is, here’s some reading material.

 

Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away

The Girlfriend and The Geek

 Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be

Confession: I’ve been a girlfriend

“Oh, You Sexy Geek!”: “Geek Girls” and the Problem of Self-Objectification

The Girl Geek Community is Hidden, Ever Wondered Why?

May 16, 2012

Why WotC’s Sexism in Gaming Art Article Made Me Happy

Filed under: D&D,Feminism,Games — Eva @ 12:47 am

WotC recently published a post titled Sexism in Fantasy that’s caused a lot of mixed reactions. I want to talk about why the article, if not it’s content, made me happy.

I see myself as a feminist. I know by putting that out there at the beginning I’m raising a lot of expectations about what I care about, how I react to things, and what I’m likely to defend. I’m also a relatively laid back person, despite some of my blog rants, and I’ve been through a long journey trying to understand sexism and feminism. For me this journey was many small cycles of “not getting it” punctuated by bursts of insight as I incorporated new ideas into my worldview. I grew up in the gaming world and for a long time I was so used to how things are that the roots and implications of the many traditions were invisible to me.

I’ve also watched many of my friends go through various cycles of getting and not getting aspects of sexism, racism, and other -isms. I’m not going to claim to be super enlightened… I mess up on ableism issues all the time… but I’ve reached a point where that cycle is familiar to me.

When I read WotC’s article what I saw was Jon Schindehette going through one of the early cycles of trying to understand sexism. He was “not quite getting it” and honestly if he’s just starting to struggle with these issues, I can’t blame him for not understanding them all at once. I’ve been there and I’ve fallen in the same pitfalls. I wish he had gotten further along before he wrote a public article… but he has my empathy as to why getting there takes time.

Jon tried to approach the problem logically and understand what sexism is and what it’s doing to gaming. He fell short on three fronts. One is that he didn’t do enough research on discussion that’s already taking place in the online community. Blogs like Go Make Me a Sandwich contain lots of resources that include frank discussion of the sort he’s trying to elicit. Tumblrs like Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor include loads of beautiful examples of art that’s attractive and pretty while presenting characters who look like people rather than toys. The fact that Jon didn’t bring up any of these resources makes me suspicious that he didn’t do this kind of research. He tried to start from square one by himself and he suffered for it. It’s a lot easier if you build on the work others have already done. ;)

The second problem Jon ran into was that he got into his logical investigation and backed off when he was starting to get somewhere. The definition of sexism he found, which seems quite reasonable to me, was, “Sexism is defined as having an attitude, condition, or behavior that promotes stereotyping of social roles based upon one’s gender.” That’s a good start. After talking about it for a bit he failed to take the next step and investigate gender roles.

To start understanding how sexism could promote stereotyping, you need to ask: “what gender roles might we be perpetuating?” Wikipedia has a good overview of historical gender roles. However, in the last 30 years, gender roles have changed. The “perfect submissive wife” ideal is not what our societal norms think women should be anymore. Unfortunately, there are still some very damaging gender roles out there for men and women.

One of the ones that hurts women the most is the idea that they must always be physically attractive and sexually available for men. This is sometimes called the Beauty Myth, and it’s the big problem one Jon missed. The Beauty Myth says a woman can be a brilliant rocket scientist, but if she isn’t also pretty, she’s not really worthwhile as a woman and no one will love her.

One of the roles that hurts men the most is the idea that they can only succeed financially and aren’t particularly physically attractive to women. This is also called the Success Myth. This is rather insidious because the Success Myth says that an average man needs to find a high paying job if he wants any hope of attracting a woman. If he suffers setbacks in his career or prefers to do something that is low paying, then he’s worthless and no one will love him.

Here’s a good summary of these two roles and how they hurt us from a male perspective.

The twin roles define a lot of our popular culture and they bleed into our fantasy as well. The Beauty Myth is why people fixate on making female characters beautiful even when “beautiful” crosses the line into impractical and unrealistic. The Success Myth is why we’re still unbelievably stuck on the “guy succeeds and then guy gets the girl” story plot.

Back to Jon… the third thing that I think went wrong for him is that he stumbled into some very basic fallacies talking about an -ism. This is a pretty common mistake and while embarrassing, isn’t all that surprising. Fallacy one is to assume that whatever went before is ok by virtue of being tradition. This was mostly justified by “market forces” in the article. If all tradition was free of -isms life would be sunshine and kittens and I wouldn’t have to write any blog posts in the ‘feminism’ category. :)

More seriously, a lot of people think “feminism happened, sexism is done now, right?” and sadly the answer is no. It takes a long time to change culture and there’s a lot of momentum. That’s not to say we need to flip out and throw all of our traditions out the window tomorrow. We can start by calmly taking a step back and making a few rational changes at a time towards a better, less -ism filled world.

The second fallacy Jon made was while talking about his three images. He got a bit muddy because he couldn’t see the modern roles affecting them and drifted into the “it’s really all opinion, anyway” argument. There is some opinion in everything, I agree. Sadly the existence of a systemic problem in media and in gaming media specifically isn’t really up for debate. It’s been discussed at length by a lot of people, especially authors. You can’t use the fact that some people can’t identify prejudice to justify prejudice not existing at all… that’s downright Paranoia levels of circular logic.

I want to be clear: being a bit blind to sexism doesn’t mean you’re some sort of horrible misogynistic asshole who’s running around saying terrible things all the time, it just means you haven’t quite figured out how to see sexism hidden in the world around you. All of us have been there, you don’t need to be ashamed of it, just do your best to keep an open mind and learn. :)

The final fallacy that Jon fell into was the “a few people complained, but lots of people like it, so everything must be great!” The argument “lots of people agree with me, therefore I’m right!” is not meaningful, especially when you’re talking about -isms. It’s an appeal to base social pressure and has no bearing on the correctness of your argument.

I suppose at this point you’re probably wondering how I’m going to justify the title of this post. Well, to be totally honest, as much as parts of the article irritated me, Jon redeemed himself in my eyes by taking the initiative to write about something as scary as sexism in the first place, making an honest (if flawed) attempt to learn, and asking for our input.

I can remember the first time that I tried to write up a post on a feminist topic. I think my hand was actually shaking when I pressed the “Publish” button. It’s scary putting yourself out there to talk about any issue of prejudice, because we all know our culture is so ready to throw a firestorm back in your face if you get anything “wrong.” I appreciate and respect that Jon was willing to try and that WotC was willing to let him.

When I reached the end of his article I was overjoyed that he openly solicited our feedback and I was presented with a comment box to put my thoughts into. Wow, was I happy. I didn’t even realize how happy I was until I’d spent an hour skimming and “liking” other people’s comments. I wanted a chance to speak to WotC directly and he gave that to me, which I’m deeply grateful for. The number of people who posted ernest, well thought out comments, some with great links to resources, made me feel better about the community. It made me feel like other people believe I belong here. :)

A lot of the commenters were talking to Jon too and most were very civil. Some offered him links to resources (like some of the ones I posted above) and encouragement. I’m hoping he’s taken some of those links and moved forward on his own path to understanding.

So, thank you, Jon, and thank you, WotC. It had some issues, but I appreciated the outreach and the effort that went into it. Please keep learning and write more about sexism and other -isms in gaming in the future. :)

January 15, 2012

GenCon (and Gaming) Belongs to Me Too

Filed under: Angry,D&D,Feminism,Games — Eva @ 11:28 pm

One of the most heartbreaking moments of my life was the GenCon the first year after my wedding. I was starting to truly grok feminism and for the first time I walked the exhibitor’s hall with my husband, Alan, and paid attention to how people treated each of us.

I made eye contact. I smiled. I asked vendors leading questions about their products like I always do. I found that in a minority of the time they treated me as if I knew nothing about gaming even when I said that I played RPGs. I’ve had people do this to me before. I look really young for my age, so I normally don’t mind letting them just assume whatever and go on with their job. The pitch is usually much the same, it just includes more intro and layman’s terms. This time it was different, because I realized that they weren’t making these kinds of assumptions about Alan.

There was one booth we stopped at where Alan was supremely uninterested and I thought the setting looked kind of cool. I picked up a book and skimmed the back, looked up at the nearest guy in the booth (there were three, all male, sitting around not doing anything), smiled, and asked some trivial question about the setting. The booth guy, instead of answering me, literally turned to Alan and answered my question. I was so shocked I just kind of stared at him. Alan was pretty startled as well.

There were other incidents, but that was the worst, the one that stood out above the others. I left that con feeling for the first time in my life like I did not belong. It hurt so much I couldn’t even express it.

When I was a kid GenCon was the one place outside my home where I felt totally accepted. I’ve attended almost every year of my life. I literally said my first words in a GenCon. Now it felt like the con had rejected me.

Soon I got angry. The man in that booth, he was probably half again as old as me. The chances are I’ve been to more GenCons than he has. I’ve been playing video and board games since before I started pre-school. The chances are I may have been gaming as long as or longer than he has. Fuck him. Fuck him and fuck his sexism.

GenCon doesn’t belong to just him. It belongs to all the gamers and geeks who attend. I attend and it belongs to me too. I sure as hell want the other people who attend to be less sexist, but even if they aren’t, I belong there and it’s also mine.

I’m not going to let prejudice drive me away from a hobby that I love.

October 27, 2011

What Do I Need to Know About Your LARP?

Filed under: Games,LARP,Reviews — Eva @ 12:02 am

I’m trying to pick games for Intercon L and I’ve read so many bad game descriptions I want to cry. If your description can be summarized as, “A bunch people are in a place! It will be wacky!”, you haven’t written a description.

Please try again. This time actually tell me about your game.

Don’t confuse “world back story” with “stuff I need to know about your game”. Back story is nice, but it doesn’t tell me anything about what my experience is likely to be when I play.

Things about your game that I care about include:

  • What I will be doing?
  • Who I will be playing?
  • Are there any interesting major themes I should know about?
  • What style is the game (theater, horde, jeepform, etc.)?
  • Is there any existing source material (books, tv shows, board games*, etc.) the game is based on?
  • Why will your game offer me a different experience than the other games (I could be playing)?

Keep in mind that if something is going to be a huge super secret surprise which you’re going to keep under your hat for 10 whole minutes in the game, you should just tell the players in the description. They can pretend they don’t know for 10 minutes and if it’s that vital to your game they need to know about it to figure out if they’re the right players for your game.

That’s the most important thing. You want the right players in your game, the players who are the best match to the game. The better they understand the essence of your game, the better they can self select for you. Casting will be easier, you’ll have fewer mysterious drops, and everyone involved will be happier! ;)

* Unless you’re Mike Young, please don’t try to write Jumanji: the LARP. Do write Clue: the LARP though. I want to play that!

September 27, 2011

Did You Notice?

Filed under: D&D,Games — Eva @ 6:18 pm

A lot of people seem to be shaken by Monte Cook’s suggestions for non-rolling perception systems in D&D. I find it kind of amusing, since my first reaction was: I’ve played that game, it’s called Trail of Cthulhu (aka the Gumshoe system).

Well, I haven’t played exactly that game. He’s actually suggesting something lighter than Gumshoe. The spirit is similar, since it encapsulates skills determining if you find stuff automatically based on whether you have them or not. It sounds like in Cook’s case, he’s trying to maximize immersion by limiting when the players pause to roll dice. This supports a very old school style of play that encourages players to interact heavily with their in-game environment. In the case of Gumshoe, I believe the design goals has more to do with successfully modeling PCs following the trail of a mystery. You may learn more or less about what’s going on based on how you attack the investigation, but the system guarantees that you won’t end up stuck because you missed all the clues (which is no fun for the players or GM).

The lack of rolling to find things in Gumshoe hasn’t hurt the achievement I felt when I found things or when we solved the mysteries, I promise. The thing I think folks might be missing is, it’s not like having a GM fudge rolls. You aren’t “just being given things,” you earned them by spending your character resources on those skills and not others. There’s still plenty of rolling to flee horrible monsters or to convince crazy people not to shoot you in Gumshoe. If you spend all your points being good at noticing stuff, it’s going to get rough when you need to run away!*

A system like the one Cook is recommending could easily be generalized with the existing skills in D&D to allow you to run more investigation focused plots. This wouldn’t require major rules re-balancing or new kinds of die rolls, just a change in how the GM interacts with their players. If you focus on giving PCs information based on the things they are good at (maybe which skills they have trained for example) you can give them a world with a lot of detail while making them each feel like they have different tools to use to understand it.

If you also follow the three clue rule you have a much better guarantee that your players get most of your clues. When they use those clues to their advantage they’ll feel great. When they can’t make heads or tails of them, you’ll have more avenues to feed them stuff that keeps them going in the right general direction. If you want to do mystery and tactical combat in a fantasy setting, it’s a win-win.

 

*This is a gross simplification. There are a lot of trade-offs when you build a Gumshoe character and it just isn’t possible to be good at everything. ;)

September 15, 2011

Buying In, It’s Worth a Try

Filed under: Games — Eva @ 7:51 pm

I’ve read a lot of articles on player buy-in and GM buy-in. Most of them focus on balancing people’s interest in game systems / settings / characters / disclosure of premises …. infinite variations of the idea that if people aren’t invested in the core of what they’re playing the game will suck. If people are into it the game it’ll be awesome. If there’s a major disparity in how much people in the group care, things will probably go poorly.

What bothers me is that people often assume buy-in is static. You either like the world or you don’t. You’re either hyped about the system or you’re not. Your character is either the best thing since sliced bagels or she’s more boring than a wet towel in a half filled hotel housekeeping cart.

This is silly and it sets you up for self-fulfilling prophecies.

Sometimes you’re going to love what’s going into a game, you’ve already bought in and that’s awesome. You have no problem! When buy-in is high your excitement forms a cycle. You’re really into this, so you spend time and effort on your part of the game (your character, plotting your next move, writing back story, etc.). You get more excited and chances are that other people will find what you’ve done cool too. They feel inspired and buy in further as well. The cycle repeats.

Sometimes a game / plot / system / character / party / etc. doesn’t inspire you. You’re feeling kind of blah about it. If you assume that buy-in is static, there’s no reason for you to spend time or effort on that game. You’ve decided that you’re never going to care about it any more than you do now. There’s no possibility for a cycle.

If other people are really into the game, maybe you’ll eventually get excited or maybe you’ll never buy in.

If you assume buy-in is non-static, when the game is at least ok and you’re feeling blah you should always make an initial push to spend effort and time on it. Write some extra back story, spend time learning about the game world, or conspiring with the other players about PCs’ plans. Things still might not click, but there’s a chance that you’ll kick start that cycle and you’ll find yourself really into a game you thought was hopeless. Your excitement will raise the general level of buy-in and the game will get better for everyone.

This is a no lose situation for you. You try to “get into the game” more and the game can only get better. You have all the same options you had before if the game doesn’t improve.

Even if I’m wrong and your personal buy-in model is static in some cases (for instance you will never be excited by some GMs or systems), it’s worth making that initial push if you think the game has any promise at all. At worst you spend a bit of time and effort to discover that a game’s really not for you. At best you turn a blah game into something great!

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