Day 100: The Bitter End.

November 4, 2009

Well, here we are, 100 days. This is a bitter pill for me; I had goals and hopes for a new project, and frankly, most of them didn’t work out, and while most of that wasn’t within my control, I know I made several crucial mistakes. Tag’s Folly was supposed to be a way for me to game more frequently and meet new people, provide gamers in Toronto with something they wanted, and prove that I could take on a big project on top of everything else that I do.

What follows is my postmortem.

What worked:

  1. The daily blogging schedule.
  2. Meeting new gamers.
  3. Getting more games in.

What didn’t work:

  1. I had the impression that there was a big pent-up demand for D&D 4e GMing; as it turned out there was … a little, and with a bunch of work you could get a group together.  But it wasn’t easy, as I’d hoped it would be, and that meant it took a long time for any of the organizers that did step up to schedule a session.
  2. I  didn’t get the rush of enthusiasm I was hoping for; everyone who organized sessions – and I appreciate their work – expressed that wasn’t really that much fun compared to how hard it was to get people together.  In some cases that meant straight drop-offs, leaving me with the task of “selling” the game to people to find organizers.
  3. The 4e ruleset, played by the book and prepped in advance is not conducive to a low-key campaign, and thus the 4e game would never be a self-sustaining organism.
  4. GTA transit kind of sucks; people just can’t get around, and when I run a game and have to spend 2 hours getting home, it hurts pretty bad.
  5. Real life threw me a few curveballs, particularly on the family and work side, and that derailed me pretty seriously.  Of course I set out on this trajectory when things were looking up, and when things got turbulent, and then outright sucktacular, I had to rein something in.  Unfortunately by the time that happened, the 4e campaign was the only thing in my life that I could really rein in.

What I learned:

  1. D&D is a game for people with basements, cars, and a lot more spare time than I have.
  2. When you get your name out there for running a game like this, all your old gamer friends remember you and start inviting you to their games.  You can quickly become a victim of your own success.
  3. A general appraisal of risks is a good idea even for personal projects.
  4. I hate prep that doesn’t get into a session right away.
  5. 4th edition is a better drill and a worse omnitool than previous editions.   It’s much harder to get it to do something different without hacking the rules, and the rules are much harder to hack.
  6. West Marches games are social monsters; there are a lot of uncharted social waters that you wade into and unless you’re a real extrovert, it will be stressful to run them.  This goes doubly for strangers.
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3 Responses to “Day 100: The Bitter End.”

  1. Josh Armstrong Says:

    Jerk – I just find this site and you’re quitting… 😉

    Seriously though I’m impressed that you made a go of it. I was quite surprised when reading through the ars ludi posts that you showed up in the comments.

    I would love to tackle something like this but I fear that the same issues that plaugued you would plague me as well – A wife and 2 kids have a nasty way of getting in the way of good quality dungeon crawling.

    I should have read the fine print I guess 😉

    Anyways good to see you’re still in it. Hope you can figure out a way to get this of of the ground in the future.

    Oh and congrats on the Kid.

  2. Consell Says:

    So boss… this ends, what’s next?

  3. Ryan Stou'n Says:

    Hey Josh! Good to see you.

    As to Consell’s question, there is something on the horizon but I need to investigate it more before I publicly commit to it.


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