Play & Let Play
A recent forum experience crystallized a few things for me.
I love talking about game systems. Ask me and I’ll tell you what I like about d100 systems, why I seldom play d20 systems, and what excites me about FATE. But arguing about game systems is another thing entirely. Life is short enough as it is, and I’m not about to waste my time trying to convince someone else why their favorite game sucks and my favorite game is awesome.
For me, tabletop roleplaying games have always been about the freedom to imagine and play. Passing judgment on how someone else exercises that freedom is childish, and it contributes to the stereotype that tabletop gamers are insular, tribal squabblers.
I had this happen to me once in university. We were starting a new World of Darkness campaign and reading books in the student lounge. Some random guy decided to walk up, ask what we were playing, and then launch into a tirade about how WoD sucks and D&D is the only “true” way to play.
I ended up looking at the guy and simply saying “Hey, I like D&D too. 3.5 is where I started and I love the game. But you’re not playing in our game and we’re busy making characters. If you don’t like World of Darkness, that’s cool, but that’s what we like right now and that’s what we’re playing.”
This has been my only experience of that sort of thing, thankfully.
I can fully admit there are systems that probably aren’t for me. There are books I will pick up, browse and simply say “this sucks, I’m not playing”. That isn’t to say that it is a universal judgment on the system though, just that it really doesn’t align with my play style or preference.
Knowing your own desires and preferences is 100% cool. Thinking something sucks and isn’t enjoyable is 100% cool. Heck, even if you enjoy a system being critical and thinking about it’s flaws is 100% cool (in fact that’s how we get new systems- always seeing how to improve or alter current ones! Thinking critically about them!).
But insulting others or making some kind of universal judgments based on your own play style and personal preferences… shaming other people for their choice of GAME just doesn’t reflect well.
Life indeed is too short to worry about other people playing the wrong system or the wrong kind of game. Play what you enjoy and don’t worry about the rest! :)