Role Playing Games





Group Style

Quality over Quantity
Transparency
Support for Dungeon Masters and Game Masters
Age and Maturity, not just for Wine
English as Spoken Language in all Events
Focus, Casualness, Alcohol & Marijuana in Mark's Games
Naked Bike Mentality: Less is More
Cost Mentality

 
Quality over Quantity

Every role playing game meetup group usually has a bit of an own style that is based on its leader and his or her preferences and goals. My impressions are, the two big role playing game meetup groups that started in Switzerland / Zurich in 2018 care mostly about size. It seems they both want domination (of the "market") and are competing with each other to be the biggest (or eventually even the only) group, with the most amount of members and games offered. I think that leaves a little niche for a small, third group that focused primarily on quality instead! :-)

With my Role Playing Games meetup group I don't care about size. I don't want to be the biggest group, nor do I want to compete with other groups. What I'd like, is to offer quality role playing games and opportunities for the serious and perhaps somewhat older or more mature role playing gamer. This will probably cater more to the older or more mature players, the "gourmets" so to say, and less to people who consume mass-products for ages 10 and up, that are designed, even if very professionally advertised and promoted, to "sell" as many editions, err., copies..., no, err., sorry, I mean memberships and events as possible. While I certainly won't exclude anyone, - every Dungeon- or Game Master has and needs to have his or her own style and preferences -, just like them, I also have my own style and preferences when I'm Dungeon- or Game Master. And since that might have an effect not just on my own games, but perhaps even on my meetup group as a whole, I am happy to share that and make it publicly known and transparent here.

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Transparency

Speaking of which, transparency: I think role playing game groups should be fully transparent and that's something I disagree with strongly in both existing groups in Switzerland / Zurich. Everyone should know who's behind a group, who calls the shots, who pays for it and how much and why. Other groups are not transparent about who is behind them, who calls the shots, who pays for them, about how decisions are made, what the actual costs are, etc.

Unlike some other groups, I don't hide behind a fancy name, nor do I pretend that decisions were made democratically by some kind of group (who's members are a secret that only I know), when in reality, it is really just me pulling the strings behind the scenes.

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Support for Dungeon Masters and Game Masters

Another one of my big concerns are Dungeon- and Game Masters. I have a huge heart for Dungeon- and Game Masters and I feel they should be promoted, compensated and helped in any way possible in their sometimes hard and not always fun work of creating and running games! I mean yes, DMing and GMing can be fun, but its' much more time-consuming and often also more plain work to create and run games than to just consume them as a player. Having been a Dungeon Master myself, I realize that quality in role playing games comes primarily from good, dedicated Dungeon- and Game Masters! They are the true heroes of every group and it is they who keep a group alive and vibrant! In this sense I will try to support and be supportive to Dungeon- and Game Masters with everything they need!

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Age and Maturity, not just for Wine

I was born in the early 70's, and I enjoy gaming with mature players. I mean sure, sometimes immature jokes or fantasies can be fun, to a limit, but some younger players seem to revel in immature fantasies and take tremendous pleasures from them. This to the point where in my view it can affect or even hold up game-flow. While I certainly was young myself once, nothing wrong with that, I just don't enjoy that all as much myself anymore. To each his own, let young people play with young people and indulge in immature fantasies all they like, as long as I don't have to sit that out at the game table, that's fine by me. Since age-matching is something which other, more mature players might care about as well, I will ask Dungeon- and Game Masters to specify an age preference for their events. There they can specify which age group is preferred (if they can find the players), such as "Any", "30+", "40+", or whatever.

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English as Spoken Language in all Events

As said before, quality is my priority in connection with role playing games and I want to enforce that. This applies not only to me when I am Dungeon- or Game Master, or when I am a player and wish for serious and dedicated, adult (mature) players. It also applies to my group, Mark's Role Playing Games. I this sense, I seek "professionalism", or, since role playing games a game and not a "job", perhaps one would better just speak of dedication and seriousness.

English is the international standard language for pen & paper role playing games, with by far the most games published and played. And many games came from the US or Great Britain, and thus, in their original form are meant to be played in English. Playing games in their original form, the way they were meant to be played is one of many factors in regards to quality when playing role playing games. It's a bit like with movies. Dubbed movies can be good sometimes, sometimes not, but they are never the original. That's why, as a general rule, I wish to establish English as the spoken and used language in all events in this group. At least certainly for all games which were originally first published in English.

Another important reason to maintain English as the standard language in all events is, even if this might sound a bit unusual at first sight, the quality of people, players and Dungeon- or Game Masters: Role playing games are just much more common and wide-spread in English-speaking countries, and that, since a much longer time than here in Europe. That's why in general, there are much more good and dedicated mature and adult role playing game players from English speaking countries than other countries, such as Switzerland. And that's relevant for quality games with adult and mature players. Some of these English-speaking RPG players come to Switzerland for job opportunities, to work in Swiss businesses, and they are just as huge an enrichment, support and improvement for quality in role playing games, as they are for the companies which they work for here in Switzerland. So to set and enforce a quality standard, English is the standard language for all events in Mark's Role Playing Games. This includes not only games, but also social events and the Dungeon- or Game Master's Roundtable.

The only exception to English as the standard language might be role playing games originally published in another language than English. Such as Germany's "The Dark Eye", or rather "Das Schwarze Auge" for instance. Because original game play is an important aspect of quality, I feel such games should be played in their original language as well, at least certainly if everyone involved is capable of understanding and playing in that language.

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Focus, Casualness, Alcohol & Marijuana in Mark's Games

I am a somewhat serious guy and I enjoy serious gaming. There's enough "make-believe" in fantasy RPG's by definition. No need to add BS. That doesn't mean I don't like to crack a little joke when something funny happens, or could happen, or I can scare players with it. But I noticed that some players seem to enjoy a much more casual and leisure type of gaming than I do. For them, playing a role playing game seems a bit like listening to music or watching a movie while just spending an evening with friends. It's good entertainment on the side, while you're eating dinner, or drinking s beer with your buddies after work. It's just a reason to meet and do something together. They're not overly concerned with correct application of rules, nor realism, and they perceive people who want to take the game seriously as spoilers of a casual and leisure evening. They just want to have fun and a few laughs, even at the expense of realism or attention to the game. They will frequently not only eat dinner while playing, but also drink alcohol, or smoke joints, and those occupations will usually have a higher priority than the game.
Well, I am a bit more ambitious than that. I want a fantasy world to be believable and as realistic as possible. And I want everyone at the table to pay attention to the game and nothing else. In-game jokes are fine, off-topic subjects and other distractions are not. Therefore I frown heavily on smoking joints while or before gaming, I'm not a fan of drinking alcohol at the table and won't allow it during my games, and besides snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, I think eating dinner should be done during a break.

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Naked Bike Mentality: Less is More

Sometimes less is more and I think that applies to role playing games. A "naked bike" is a motorcycle with just the bare necessities, much like they were in the old days. No aerodynamic plastics, no stereo sound system, no cup holder or rack for the iPad, etc. More or less the opposite of a "Goldwing" if you know what that is.

Growing up when pen & paper role playing games first started coming up in the 70s and 80s, I'm a big fan of real books and of actual pens & paper, and not so much of electronic devices and digital gadgets. Nor am I a big fan of background music. As a result, I will not offer any modern electronic gadgets or digital applications in my group that weren't necessary to play role playing games originally. That also keeps costs down for everyone. I don't intend to ever use D&D Beyond myself, nor offer it to my members at my cost, and I have no plans of adding or administering an online forum such as Discord (it's just too time-consuming). I will also never require members to have or use smart phones. If people want all that, it's up to them to get and pay for it themselves. The only exception to this is online event management such as offered by Meetup.com. While I strongly disagree with the pricing scheme and eat-what-you-get mentality of Meetup.com, I know from experience that such online event management is required to keep a role playing game group going and games running. Before Meetup, a lot of personal webpages, even with online forums, etc. simply didn't work. Not like Meetup.com is working today. So I will support that, and if nothing acceptable can be worked out, grudgingly pay for it myself (currently $14.99 per month with monthly payments, or $9.99 if you pay 6 months in advance). I feel if you don't need it, leave it away.

Personally, I'm also not a big fan of miniatures, except maybe just primitive markers or place-holder in complex battle scenes. I much prefer "Theatre of the Mind". It's just like the monster hinted at in a movie, but never really seen, which is much more scary and believable. For me, that's the most basic premise of pen & paper role playing games. The fantasy world is created in the player's heads by the vivid, good and scary descriptions of the Dungeon- or Game Master, at crucial (and final) confrontations aided perhaps by showing a good black & white sketch or drawing, not by toys on the table or by cheap special effects. But of course that's the jurisdiction of every Dungeon- or Game Master him or herself, and I won't interfere with what they do in their games.

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Cost Mentality

I don't want to be paid for my work as a group leader, although... ugh, no, never mind, the dark side is strong! (;-), and I will gladly pay the costs for hosting this webpage here and its domain name out of my own private pocket - no strings attached. I can afford that. But if players could chip in 1.- CHF or 2.- at every event (depending how many games there are per month) to help pay for Meetup.com and getting people and thus games together, that would be very helpful for me and my motivation. Just so I don't have *all* the work and must pay *all* the costs for everyone else. So I might put up a little "tip can" on game tables, at last at my own games.

Because I was born in the early 70s I am somewhat an old-school role playing gamer (not quite "ancient" like those from the 60s, but therefore all the more aspiring to be! ;-). Because of this, I believe the brunt of the work for good, hi-quality and thus fun role playing game sessions, with a certain amount of depth, realism and gravity, still lays mostly in the hands and responsibility of the Dungeon- or Game Masters. In other words, the "event creators" in event-management terms. And players enjoying and "consuming" their games are like moviegoers enjoying a good movie. Therefore I see it only as fair if the players, and only the players pay the costs of bringing the "movie" to them, not the "film-maker" or "director", in other words the Dungeon- or Game Masters. That's why I will never charge or ask Dungeon- or Game Masters of a game for a single penny.

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