[generic] Gaming preferences

I asked this recently of a new gaming group who have kindly invited me to join in their fun.

1/ What draws you to gaming?

2/ What aspects do you enjoy?
The world
Social interaction
In-character intra-group discussion

3/ What settings or genres do you prefer?

So, how would you answer?

First Age

Staff member
1/ What draws you to gaming?

Mostly the way that I can escape to somewhere else and be someone or something else in situations I wouldn't experience otherwise, whilst enjoying the process as a sociable activity with good friends. As a convention organiser and goer I can also enjoy playing with new people and make new friends. Although I don't need to be playing a 'human', ultimately most things are, and if truly alien then I'd need to understand motivation to make it fun. I like images, music and props, and happy to achieve everything in my head. Although I used to do a lot of AmDram, I've never really got into LARPs.

I also like the way the game part supports the play part. I like/am comfortable with Meta and I like game mechanics that support play themes, genres and settings. There doesn't need to be lots of Yak's blood on the floor, but I'm happy to slide about in it if necessary. Meta stuff doesn't break the fourth wall for me any more than picking up percentile dice in a simple framework trad game ... ;-). Having said that, I'm actually very open to play most games and don't have any sharp edges. A good GM, or premise, or generous and supportive players make the game for me.

2/ What aspects do you enjoy?
The world
Social interaction
In-character intra-group discussion

Most of those, depending on the game. I'm less interested in 'puzzles' and, unless baked in and I'm ready for it, I'm not into PvP very much, either as the main point of the game or the style in which some players like to play their characters. I like player secrets on the table, but that's back to the Meta comment above. Character progression in the context of the game world is something that I greatly enjoy.

3/ What settings or genres do you prefer?

Many of the Fantasy and SF genres, as reflected in my gaming shelves. I'm probably a bit more into the 'darker' and 'grimmer' fantasy than high fantasy, but a bout of pulpy sword and sorcery or 5e always does me the world of good. I come from Tolkien, so running or playing the wonder that is The One Ring will always appeal. I like classic Cyberpunk, Space Operas and even a little of the Harder stuff.

Historical genres with a twist are also a big favourite. Nordics and China especially. Yggdrasil, Qin and Tianxia are favourites. I'm about to read some classic Wuxia fiction, so Tianxia is staring at me hopefully.

I don't do much modern day or superheroes. I fancy City of Mist though, and Terrinoth for Genesys looks to create big damn heroes. I have Gods of the Fall, which looks to be my superhero game, but I don't think Cypher is popular at my Thursday gourp. It is one I will con game.

Starting to warble, so will stop. Could keep going.

Thanks for the interesting questions @Kestra


Staff member
1/ What draws you to gaming?
People, it's the best way for introverts to have fun in a safe way.
Imagination, which I way I also like solo gaming, and I am less interested in winning.
The bits.. I like the dice and the minis, and the character sheets, and the pens, and the cards and the counters and the dice trays and the All Rolled Up bag..

2/ What aspects do you enjoy?
Combat: yes.. but not for too long, and it needs to resonate and create an image in my mind, so the slow slog of hit point attrition can be weary.
Puzzle: yes.. but not too hard, i'm not very good at that, and not if that becomes an obstacle that stops all progress.
Mystery: see above..
The world: very much so, love a nicely developed setting with places, people, bit of history and a culture.. but now I realise the group can develop that as they go on and that's more rewarding than the publisher or GM simply delivering it to the table as a brick of text.
Social interaction: yup, with that aforementioned culture
In-character intra-group discussion: of course mes amis
Power: mmm, it's one route, but I am cool with tragedy.. but what I don't like is utter disempowerment or futility
Getting better/different: a feeling of character development and change.

3/ What settings or genres do you prefer?
SF: hard SF in the Asimov/Clarke/Heinlein/Baxter tradition:
SF: space opera in the Piper/Vance/StarWars/Valerian tradition:
SF: modern transhumanist stuff, Banks and so on..
Fantasy: vanilla D&D type but more often slightly off the wall: as in:
SF/Fantasy: Tékumel, Talislanta, Jorune, Gwenthia, all are composites with fantasy lying on a SF base.
Mythical Fantasy: well.. it's Glorantha innit?
Historical Romance: Pendragon,Qin,Yggdrasil,Keltia,FlashingBlades any game kind of set in a romantic version of our history

Just haven't played enough modern rpgs, bored shitless by most Cthulhu games I have suffered [but love Mythos fiction].
(1) What draws you to gaming?

When I grew up in my country, the science fiction books were left unwanted on the display piles of the roaming book peddlers, so I used to buy many of them dirt cheap. Hence, I grew up with a lot of the classics like Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Poul Anderson, and even fantasy adventures of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs and many others.

One primary reason I got drawn into role playing was the structured team-building narrative around table top. The rules of which enabled groups of friends to delve deeper into the "what if" scenarios inspired by popular science fiction authors listed above. Thus, I enjoy role playing games that consist of very detailed and rich backgrounds that take players on adventures in far away places and invoke various philosophical dilemmas too.

(2) What aspects do you enjoy?
Worlds and philosophies
Strategies and tactics
Mysteries and puzzles
Conflicts and challenges

Hence, I love games that enable all the above to come up into play. The narrative dice system from Fantasy Flight Games is my favorite. I also prefer dice pools to single dice systems, since pools, unlike one die roll, offer better statistical chances to retain narrative control of the story while still offering the risk of chance through random dice rolls front and center of play.

(3) What settings or genres do you prefer?

Since most of my childhood authors wrote science fiction stories, and I enjoy science fiction movies and TV shows, I, thus, tend to favor those genres more than others. In fact, when I tallied my top games from my RPG collection, FFG Star Wars is still tops, then Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures, then Warhammer 40,000, and the new hotness of Fria Ligan's Coriolis The Third Horizon. This last one ticks all my boxes but most especially its inspirational artwork that is totally amazing with the rare arabesque space opera theme. And I must confess, I only started table top play about 2003/2004 with Keith Baker's Eberron, thus, I missed out on the original DnD, but most especially never played classic Traveller, so never experienced a character die during character generation.

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1/ What draws you to gaming?
Interacting with people. "It's a safe at for introverts to have fun." Is a great quote. The laughter. The shared creativity.

BUT I do like to be an active participant and at the centre of what is going on so I am massively drawn to being referee. I dislike waiting my turn as simply watching as a player.

2/ What aspects do you enjoy?
Combat - yes because it drives the story but needs to be kept short. I'd prefer a single die roll resolution with narration these days but can compromise to three rounds with every players having turn. I'm sure I'd enjoy a full SHRPG slugfest if I was in one again, but not sure I'd go for an hit points attrition high level D&D battle unless it was with a great refere and in an imaginative situation.
Puzzle - yes but nothing too abstruse
Mystery - yes but t had to be solved/revealed within the adventure. None of this "this is what you missed" debrief by the referee at the end
The world - I like the idea that there is one there. Actions should have consequences.
Social interaction - oh yes! I can hold forth on the theory of interaction at the gaming table for hours. Where people sit, empowering but reining in the over enthusiasts, brining on the "Father Paul Stone" types. My tables ARE a safe place for introverts. For a few hours I have a massive close faux friendship with people I barely know.
In-character intra-group discussion - yes. But even better to be the referee, sit back and watch it. (I may be a pain, though, and remind the group of the ticking clock if it starts looping back on itself.)
Power - characters need to be effective but my characters don't need to be legendary. However, I am addicted to Refereeing so I guess I like that kind of power.

..other? I like writing and playing my own rules. I crave validation and try to give it out myself.

3/ What settings or genres do you prefer? I enjoy Steampunk as long as it isn't a excuse to display outmoded attitudes. Love to try a SteamFunk game but don't think I'm suited to referee one. Broad space opera type settings but not Star Wars which I find too limiting. I'm less on the SHRPG kick now than I used to be. Fantasy that doesn't disappear up its own "Magic as Technology" backside. I'm not generally a fan of horror but do have a couple of nasty little scenarios which I enjoy torturing players with. Proper horror - not tentacles. Oh yes. Mad free form Dr Who "you can play anyone" throwaway crossovers.
1/ What draws you to gaming?
Storytelling, with people whose company I enjoy. I find gaming to be ephemeral; anything after the fact is gone. I’d say this is why I don’t enjoy after action reports or actual plays. It’s about being there in the moment that matters. If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re doing it right.

2/ What aspects do you enjoy?

My least favourite aspect of role playing. I can’t think of a game that portraits combat in any way that I’ve come to understand it. I’ve read a fair amount of first-hand accounts of firefights from WWI to Afghanistan. I’ve spoken to combat veterans from WWII, Iraq and Afghanistan. The chaos and randomness, or friction to use Clausewitz’s word, just isn’t really there.
NB I just remembered the intro to the combat section of second edition Unknown Armies sums up very well my feelings to combat.

I really enjoy this aspect of gaming, although it does highlight that I’m bear of little brain. Probably the sense of achievement when we, as a group, succeed is a big element. I’ve never been interested in the “GM as an opponent” style of gaming but I suppose that this is as close as I get.

Love this aspect and it’s reflected in CoC being one of my favourite games.

The world
I love exploration and again reflected in one of my favourite games Traveller. I could combine this aspect and the previous as understanding whether it’s the gameworld, universe or things that man was not meant to know.

Social interaction
I enjoy this, it’s the wanabe actor in me. I doubt I’m particularly good at it but it’s part of the pleasure of face-to-face gaming for me.

In-character intra-group discussion
The same as social interaction. This ties in with my feeling that role playing works best with people you get on with and have a similar attitude to gaming as. It’s more important than the game, the system and the scenario.

Not fussed, it just not what I game for. I do wonder if that’s the reason why I’ve never been a fan of D&D.

Being someone else, or at least trying to be. I really enjoyed the booklet Play Safe and the idea of gaming outside of your comfort zone. I try to do this everytime I role play these days.

3/ What settings or genres do you prefer?
Science Fiction of any stripe, from hard to fantasy. I usually drift back to Traveller as I’ve found the universe to be big enough that you can fit whatever type of science fiction you want somewhere. It was playing and running Traveller that I realised that the system is the lens that the game world is seen by the players. Change the system and the players will perceive the world differently. I know that this may be obvious, I do admit to being a bear of little brain, but it helped me realise that the flood of D20 games wasn’t to my liking. One size doesn’t fit all.
Historical, with preferably with some sort of mystery or occult element thrown in. I’d include modern world as historical.

So, how would you answer?
Right here, in The Tavern. No better place. Actually answering the questions has made me think more about my gaming than I’ve done for a long time. Thanks for that.
(1) I call RPGs my "happy pretendy fun times". I like pretending to be my character, talking in character, and making in-character decisions, all with mechanics giving an illusion of objectivity. I like the player characters to have a sense of character. I like doing this with friends; I want to be able to enjoy the company as well as the game. I can enjoy gaming with people I don't know as well as those I do know, and view them as future friends; I can't enjoy gaming with people I don't like.

I don't like player vs player unless that's the game set-up, and even then usually only for a one-shot.

In terms of mechanics, I love it when the mechanics support the setting and character (The One Ring is my gold standard for this, but plenty does it competently). I dislike "fiddly" mechanics which take lots of handling time at the table and player uncertainty, but this is subjective and varies from group to group. I dislike stopping play to look up rules.

I like a tiny bit of decision making in the mechanics so that there's more to it than settling for the result of a dice roll, but this isn't allowed be fiddly and might be as simple as choosing whether or not to spend a luck point.

I like being able to make an in-character decision on how to handle an obstacle rather than being faced for example with "Bam! There's a fight!"

Character generation is fine, but I don't like the model where it's complex character generation and we're all passing around a single book. I can't stand "gear porn" especially when the emphasis is big lists of weapons, whether guns (and it usually is guns) or pole-arms. I don't like it when character generation feels too restricted.

(2) I like mysteries as long as they're in terms of slow unfolding rather than puzzles, if that makes sense. Dungeon crawls get boring for me when that's all there is to a game.

I like player characters to be competent but not super-heroic, with moments both of fear and ass-kicking. Conversely, I dislike incompetent PCs.

In terms of combat, it's fun as long as something is at stake, and it doesn't take more than 20 to 30 minutes to resolve. The same goes for any other mechanically intense resolution scene, but in 90% of RPGs I've played, this means combat. Grid-based tactical combat in an RPG is one of my few red lines where I'd rather not play at all.

In-character discussions, both between player characters and with NPCs are the big centre of the RPG experience for me. I like player characters to be a part of the world rather than roving adventurers with no connection, and learning about the world through the lens of my character (rather than an info-dump) is a great thing.

(3) One great setting love is history, especially history along with another element (often thematically-appropriate magic and monsters, but other combinations are fine). I also love science fiction with a bit of a "hard" edge as long as the GM knows what they're doing with it, and it doesn't mean lots of calculations or big lists of tech. I don't like cyberpunk or very near future SF. I don't like present day games with no fantastical or other "weird" element. I've a great fondness for folklore, myth, and legend.

Outside of the "real world", I like human-centric fantasy, and a well-developed fantasy world or science fiction universe.

I don't like deliberately "wacky" games; I like humour to be a part of playing, but it should be emergent, if that makes sense.

And another red line where I wouldn't play- I don't like "fan fic" games, where the players play major existing characters in books, films, and TV shows.

[And nothing is ever absolute here, especially my dislikes.]
Yeah, I like Star Trek: Adventures quite a lot, but I don't want to play the crew from any of the TV series. Different strokes for different folks, even if I envy your Lego collection.
Chris of Modiphius seems to be a fan of the "fanfic" if we consider the evidence from the series of sourcebooks and miniatures planned for the latest John Carter of Mars game and even the already published ones from Robert E. Howard's Conan and even Star Trek Adventures RPGs.