In Which I Lament How Uninformed I Am
I know what I Like
And I like what I know
I need to play more games.
Look, I'm trying ok? We all know I've got too many hobbies, I'm self-centered, lazy, and I'm stuck in my own silo.
The Core Problem
A common adage is that to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. There are a lot of reasons to follow this advice.
- It provides a frame of reference.
- It shows you what others are doing.
- It lets you in on fads and memes.
- It helps you calibrate your work against the work of others.
- It helps you learn how to execute your ideas.
- It can show you new ideas you hadn't thought of.
- Competition & market research.
And here's the thing. Like just about everything I talk about here, it overlaps art, writing, and game design all at the same time.
But I don't do that. Not much. Not enough, at the very least. I don't read many new games, and I don't hear about many new games very often.
- Part of this is how Twitter has functioned for me, by providing me an endless tide of content I can't possibly keep up with that shines so brightly that I can't bring myself to focus on it. I should write a post about that too. I'm trying to change this in part by participating more in Tabletop.social, where the talk is a more focused, there's slightly less looming greatness, and politics and other anxiety-inducing subjects come up less and can be CWed.
- Part of it is also that we've got a tight budget because my work doesn't bring in a lot, and so I don't purchase games very often. I'm just starting to keep an eye out for sales and bundles.
- Part of it is my hesitation to purchase games purely as reference material for my own work. This is changing, though.
- Part of it is of course that I don't read much because I have so many other hobbies to pursue.
- Probably the biggest part is my comfort in my own space, I.E. the Genesis quote above. This is a hard one for me. I love new books, movies, and music, but I'm also pretty comfortable listening, watching, or reading the same thing over and over again.
- A small part of it is that I don't have the luxury of playing or running games as often as you'd imagine a #ttrpg game designer to. I don't technically have to play the games I read, so long as I can absorb some of the points and elements of them.
It really bothers me, too. I do sort of miss the days when I was young and naive and designing games was fun. People do say that you should never do what you love as your job. Which is exactly what I'm doing right now. And maybe that's part of the problem: I may be putting too much stress on myself to be better than I can be at the moment. But what's the point of not wanting to improve?
What I'm Trying To Do
- Read for work
- I'm starting to purchase things I think might be useful for me to know about for the business. For example, I've not done any major pre-designed adventure module style content for Voidspiral games, and I've already posted about Strahd, so I figured I'd pick up a modern module just to see how it's constructed and designed. I picked Out of the Abyss, because of course I did.
- I also nabbed a huge stockpile of Pathfinder stuff from the Humble Bundle sale, but stars know when I'll find the time to read through that. At least it's PDF, so I could load it onto my phone.
- Play & run more
- Now that I'm feeling better, I plan to kick my GMing back into gear, if only with my wife. We've got three games I'm GMing at the moment, and I can definitely spare some time to get some GM practice in, instead of us playing computer games or watching TV during our after-dinner R&R time.
- It may be time for me to start looking for groups either in town, on Roll20, or via forums or something to get more of my fix. If you've got a game and an open spot, let me know.
- Read more blogs
- I'm trying to replace my spare phone-time with carefully curated gaming-related stories via RSS from the blogosphere. I'm not making a lot of progress through the posts I've got to read, but I am slowly shifting what I'm doing when I'm wasting time. Manga's stronk tho.
- The other thing I'm experiencing here is that I'm being overwhelmed with the OSR content, so I don't see many articles or posts about indie games, new design, or non-D&D content. If you know of any good ones about design or reviews, let me know.
- Listen to Podcasts
- I just got a useful podcast app the other day, and I'm in the process of trying to curate a list of podcasts that are relevant to me. If you know of any good ones, again, let me know. My problem with podcasts & videos is that I can't pay attention to spoken word while writing or designing because it's too distracting.
Anyway, I'm sad that I don't know more stuff. I'm trying to listen though.