Sunday, June 6, 2010

Group Dynamics

Rusty had a blog that discussed the importance of players' compatibility. There are so many ways to answer this, but for me it boils down to 'can I have fun with this group'? If the answer is yes than any system you play will be a good time. If the answer is no I consider why I don't like the group dynamic. It is one person? A few of them? Maybe it's the GM. I've met some GMs in my time that I couldn't stand to game with them because it always became this personal competition. And lastly I always consider the idea it just might be me. The group may be perfectly fine, but I might not fit in for some reason. Who knows. People are weird. Gamers are the weirdest.

When Rusty came into our group a few months ago I knew he was nervous because our group had been gaming for 25 years or more together. It didn't take him long to fit in. We have a casual group. Dwayne is more the rules guy who likes to grow a power base for his character. I like to find an organic path for my character to follow and hopefully help Rob discover a part of his campaign he'd never flashed out. In our current game we are letting Ken take the lead as to where we are going, but the tactics and approach we use are being dictated by Dwayne. I try to play support for both roles and also develop my own storyline when possible.

This kind of cooperation is necessary when you have a party. One member will usually have the spotlight for part of the session or more and the others need to affect this as they see fit, but without talking over everyone to hog the spotlight. I haven't run into this for a long time, but I think that's more of the gaming people I run into are older and just looking for a break from everyday life. We just want to spend a few hours hacking away at some orcs.

If the players are fighting about real life situations and having it affect the actions they take in game then the game will go nowhere and no one has a good time. I've seen people come to blows after one player killed the other's because he went out with a girl he'd been seeing started seeing the other player (those damn women are always the biggest trouble makers). I never went back to game with that group. No reason to. Even though I was never involved in the arguments, I never had fun.

But I'm glad to say the group we have right now is a ton of fun. We laugh a lot and roll like crap. And that's why I play the game.


  1. I agree, group compatibility is important, at least for long-term games. Groups shouldn't be afraid of new members, but neither should they be added lightly.

  2. I was excited about joining your group (now "our group") but a bit nervous because my gaming experience is not as deep or diverse and also because I didn't want to be "that guy" that caused everything to grind to a halt. However, generally "that guy" or "that girl" never worry about being "that guy" or "that girl" because it is always someone else's fault or they don't even see the conflict and unhappiness they bring. Not that I don't bring unhappiness, I am just have a very high self-awareness about it.

    I knew we were golden as soon as you and Dwayne started ragging on me, which was about three minutes into the first session.