Saturday 22 August 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 22, Perfect Gaming Environment

I've been really looking forward to this one. Reached it when I was preparing others and stopped there because I wanted to take time to do it justice... and then developed an icky chest infection which set off my asthma and left me sleeping excessivley. I'm feeling a lot better now, fortunately, but don't have much free time left to get this ready. So please bear with me.

There's two ways I want to take this. We'll start with my perfect cosy corner.

I like our gaming table. It's roughly 4ft by 2ft, but we have a hand-crafted cover that turns into a proper 6by4ft gaming table, complete with static grass coating for war games. We have a couple of 2by2ft inch-grid-marked boards that sit on that to hold the munchie goodies. The cover is very heavy - it takes two of us to set the table properly. It's a great size for playing Arkham Horror.

But for roleplay, I actually prefer not to have a table. I like curling up on the floor, on a pile of cushions or a bean bag or a low sofa. I can stretch out properly, that way, when I get stiff, and I like the informality of the situation. Each player needs a filing folder (mine has ferns all over it) or a large book as a hard surface to scribble notes or roll their dice. The room should be small enough to feel cosy but no one should feel cramped. And the kitchen should be nearby, so hot drinks can be free flowing. It's also important that the room doesn't get too hot or I won't be able to focus.

Mood music and lighting can be fun but not necessary, and what's really important is the relationship with the rest of the group: the game should not cross any boundaries anyone in the group is uncomfortable crossing with anyone else. Which isn't to say the best games are the ones where you have the fewest boundaries with other players: the best games are those where you accept and respect each other's boundaries without comment. The environment should be supportive, either encouraging each other in fun, or supporting each other in more intense emotions.

So that's my cosy corner ideal environment. I've also got a bit of a dream of a high-tech space, this one with a table. A smart-glass table that can have a map in the middle - hell, we're dreaming, that can become all 3-D in the middle like something out of The Avengers. Each player would have a section of table in front of them displaying their character sheet, with a digital scribblepad for doodling or note-taking or whatever other exploits, and another 'window' to send/receive messages to the GM or other players. The walls could also be screens of some sort, so images could be projected up - maps, portraits, background scenes.

That'd be pretty cool. 'Til someone spills a drink on your electric table...


  1. I was wondering where the similarities were, until the last paragraph!

    1. Yeah, I wanted to go into more on both but was still suffering the tail end of the chest infection that's left me wiped out so it got a bit rushed. I love the cosy-cosy version, but a proper high-tech set-up would be fantastic