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Why I play pen and paper games

I had some narrative plan in mind yesterday but today i’m just going to blurt out why I enjoy and play pen and paper games. Why? I lost interest in writing a treatise on my history with pen and paper games.

Why I play pen and paper games:

1. I get to experiment with and experience the themes from the classics, as well as examine ethical theories through the laboratory of character.

2. I love to immerse myself in the material, especially in regards to conducting extensive research, developing vocabularies, etymology and ethnographic sketching. It can be catnip for historians and scholarly types.

3. Socializing in a creative, clean, mentally stimulating environment.

4. Creating compelling stories and especially seeing my literary concepts be improved and matured by the actions of my players. I have always been greatly compelled by the epic hero, indo-european mythology and symbolism, the great keystone texts of humanity;  running pen and paper games is a way of authoring a story in a way that I am most familiar with. I simply enjoy writing, and although I keep my pen and paper writings to high standards, I still need a vacation from my scholarly duties, an opportunity to do “fun stuff.”

5. The process of preparing materials for games is itself motivating and can be quite fun: trying your hand at cartography and publishing is always interesting. I feel most happy when I am actively using my mind, either at play (tabletop games) or in my professional life (studying and philosophizing). The process can help you keep sharp mentally if you hold your work at extremely high standards.

6. Its gratifying to entertain your friends for a night, and to see your imaginative creations be well received.

7. As a player (and not perhaps a referee), it’s simply fun to roleplay a persona other than yourself. This is especially true if you strictly divide your personality from the character in play, and hold that character to a rigid code of conduct in appreciation of the game setting and laws. This is to say nothing of the perpetual joy of discovery and adventure within a well crafted game world.

2 replies on “Why I play pen and paper games”

[…] First, a problem exists in defining gaming. For me gaming only meant playing something like a Nintendo or Playstation for a few years of my childhood. Chronologically speaking what gaming meant, and what it means today as an adult is a deliberate activity in which I build a computer, configure it with software, engage and contribute actively in online communities and play and modify computer games. I have a contempt I respectfully hold near to my chest for the gaming experiences on “consoles” such as the Xbox, Playstation and Wii. The experiences these platforms offer is formulaic and requires little effort to acclimate to or excel at. They rarely offer opportunities for learning or self-exploration and the products often pander to the lowest common denominator. If you want to demonize gaming for being a waste of time, one could make a compelling but caveated argument against console gaming, but that’s not my quarry and herein I hope to distinguish the difference between these two categories. As a point of order I also engage in and recommend gaming of a non-electronic type in the form of tabletop and “pen and paper” games, as I have covered previously here and here. […]

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