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Contact! Contact!

May 22, 2012

There used to be a time when gaming was easy. I’m not talking about the rules, but about actually getting a game together – actually getting people in the same place at the same time for a game. Well, I say easier – there were always those who would get the day or time wrong and turn up late or not at all; there was even one schoolfriend who would say he was just going to drop off his coat and bag and, then, never turn up for the game he had claimed he was looking forward to a quarter of an hour earlier (if the object was to avoid confrontation over not wanting to play, it backfired as we had confrontations about leaving us sitting around waiting for a no-show despite repeated promises; personally, I believe it was a salutary lesson in why taking drugs is a bad idea, but I digress…) – but, in general, it was easy enough to get a game going, even if it sometimes started a bit late or someone didn’t show, and we didn’t seem to have much trouble attracting new players.

These days, it seems next to impossible to get a game going. It doesn’t help that half the old group now live somewhere other than locally and we can only get together with them every few months, if at all. Nor does it help that, having grown-up, most of us have responsibilities such as jobs and families that must be juggled. Nor, indeed, does it help that, despite aforementioned jobs and families, almost all the gamers I know live in tiny little places that cannot host a game (especially if said family is in residence). But, those are only part of the problem. If all it required was the juggling of a multitude of disparate schedules, life wouldn’t be too bad – stressful, perhaps, but not bad. The problem is that there isn’t a multitude of schedules waiting to be juggled, especially if one discounts all those no longer in the area. It’s the lack of players that is the problem – if we had a large pool to pick from, we ought to be able to find enough people free at the same time…. but, we have trouble mustering enough players on paper, let alone in the flesh.

Which leads to the question of finding new players. As I mentioned, once, we didn’t have trouble attracting new players. In one sense that hasn’t changed – I know of a number of potential players who might join us for a game. So, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is what’s hinted at in the so-far unexplained title of this piece. We have contact, e-contact, but translating that into an actual physical presence just doesn’t seem to happen. In most cases, it is people who have contacted me and indicated an interest in gaming, so it’s not even a case of me contacting someone who, perhaps, has a full schedule or is too far away and getting nowhere because of that. No, people get in contact, tentative discussion about what they would be interested in playing occurs, some consensus on what days would be best for gaming takes place and, then, they lose interest. In some cases, this is understandable, when their schedule and those of other potential players don’t mesh, but often there is no clear reason, and even those with a reason seldom respond to later attempts to get a group together when other players become available.

It’s the sort of situation that can leave you wondering if it’s something personal. But, unless they are all sock-puppet personalities for some unknown enemy of mine out to cause mild annoyance, the cursory level of contact seems to rule that out – especially when I haven’t had problems with gamers in other contexts. I think the real problem is that people lead such hectic lives that, if they cannot make solid plans at right that moment, they just aren’t interested in putting the effort in. Whether it is rudeness or just extremely busy lives, they don’t bother to give a reason for their lack of interest. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us in a sort of limbo about how to handle them. It probably also makes us a bit of a nuisance if we keep contacting them, although that could easily be avoided by just dropping a quick email of explanation.

No wonder I feel nostalgic for ‘the good old days’!

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From → Real World

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