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Play Everything

Play everything at least once.

Play card games, board games, video games, roleplaying games, live-action games, ARGs, social games, every game you can get your hands on. Play a platformer today and a first-person shooter today. Grab some friends and try a story game, then sit down for some dungeon crawling next week. Don’t just stick to games you know you’ll like — try everything, always with an open mind.

It might seem really simple, but the best way to be happy as a gamer isn’t to talk about games on the Internet, but to actually play them. And the best designers out there are the ones who try every game, even those that might not seem like much fun to them.

When you run across games you don’t like, walk away thinking about that game. Why didn’t you like it? Would you like it in the future, with different players? A different setup? Or maybe it’s not for you at all, and that’s cool, too — no game can be for everyone. As a player, knowing this will help you have more fun in the future. As a designer, you need these experiences to build strong games.

Play everything, and let other people play everything, too. Don’t harsh on those who like a game you hate. Don’t be snobs about your hobby. Don’t tell people they “aren’t really having fun.” Don’t be pushy about getting reluctant people to play games you like. We’re all different, but we want the same thing: to have a good time with friends. That’s what’s really important.

After all, we can’t play all these games if we don’t have friends to play them with.

Edit: the piece I workshopped this for is done! It’s a kick-ass poster. Click for more!

Play Everything Poster

 

– Ryan

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3 Responses to Play Everything

  1. Jared Nelson says:

    I signed up to play in a Magic pre-release recently. One of the judges of the event recognized me as a new player and asked what other games I played.

    “D&D, Pathfinder, all kinds of RPGs, 40k”, I said.

    “40K?! You don’t want to play with dolls,” he replied in the especially dickish paternal tone.

    “And here we are about to play a glorified game of UNO?” I shot back.

    I later regretted being retaliatory. We gamers can be way too tribal in our perceptions of other gamers and the games they play. That day, we were both stupid.

  2. Love this, Ryan. I immediately thought of a convention game that gave me a negative emotional context for a particular system. After careful analysis, I came to see it was the system didn’t quite match the tone/genre the GM was going for. My expectations going in also differed from the reality.

    I’d love to hear some personal examples of games/parts of games you thought you’d hate but enjoyed.

  3. Jesse Coombs says:

    I like this. It’s really cool how this advice applies to other mediums as well. An open mind is such a needed thing for someone creating stuff. I’ve even looked at sports with a different perspective. I may not have the resources or ability to play sports, but even sitting down with a baseball fan and watching a game with them really can be enlightening.

    And man, is it great for getting unstuck. If I’m having a problem with a game mechanic or bit of phrasing, playing a completely different type of game can really unclog things. And sometimes experiencing a completely different medium can do wonders. Walking around a museum, cooking, going to a rock show.