Today's post is a bit more of a personal anecdote than actual advice, but it does contain within it some of the mental processes I use to evaluate games and my satisfaction with them, so I thought it may still be helpful here. The game in question that this is about is a Halo RPG that is being run by a friend of ours. I've mentioned the game and the friend a few times, he's a new GM but is doing very well and it is a fun game. I know it is fun, because I am regularly looking forward to this game. So why, in the middle of the session, was I so unhappy with the game?Realizing There Is a Problem
I didn't realize I had a problem until partway through the session. Now, a number of factors contributed to this. I was completely exhausted for one, and had just spent the last day chauffering around - and being interrogated by - my parents for another. So, I could've just been out of it. Except for the fact that this was more than just being out of it. That realization more or less needs to come on its own, but whenever you aren't feeling it in a game ask yourself honestly why that is. Are you tired? Are you bored? Or is there something else? If you can be completely honest with yourself, you may be surprised with the answer.
Where Is The Problem?
So, now that you know you have a problem, next you need to figure out where it is. This, for me at least, generally takes a bit of replaying the game in your head. For me, the sharpest spike of emotion I'd felt had been during an IC argument earlier in the game. There had been a major miscommunication between 3 people, which ended up with one character thinking another was a liar and acting like a child. I had a strong negative reaction to this treatment, but managed to keep it under control. Eventually, we sorted the issue out and moved on, but I was still bitter about it, and the bitterness just wouldn't let me go.
Now, looking at it closer, that reaction hadn't just been towards the person who called the other character a liar. Yes, that was the strongest part, but it wasn't the only thing. Looking at it, this tide of unhappiness was actually attached to pretty much every other character in the game. As a rule, when you're mad at everyone, the problem probably isn't with them at all btw. At least, not in my experience.
So What Was It?
Honestly, I wasn't sure what it was during that part of the game, so I just kept my head in character and played while watching what was happening. I didn't realize what was going on with it until we finally made it into combat. The problem? Silly as it is, I was envious of the other character's performance. The game has only been going for about 3 sessions so far, but in every session I've consistently been rolling average while everyone else has been rolling amazingly. This isn't their fault, it's not like they can control how well they're rolling, but it does happen and it was effecting things. A fight would happen, and I'd graze one person while they'd all drop multiple people a round, and then finish my person off. Frustrating to say the least, right?
Well, except for a few things that made it weird. One thing? I specifically built this character to not be a combat monster. I was specifically choosing combat options in character that would keep me from being the super huge presence on the battlefield. Why would I do that, when I clearly so like combat? Well, because most of my characters lately have been awesome on the battlefield and I wanted a change. Part of the idea with this character was to be happy, combat capable but not super massive, and effective through creativity more than other things. Just, in being tired lately, I'd lost sight of that.
The results is that I now know the problem. There are some things I want to talk to the GM about for future games when we come back to the Halo Game. However, most of this is with me. I need to go back to the roots of the character, and re-find it. I like the character, a whole lot, so I need to find a way to play them that captures what I like about them. One of the things is simply the character's confidence and supporting nature, and another is their ability to have fun. The point is, having recognized the problem, I can face it and fix it. Which is awesome, because it really is a fun game.
Oh, and if you're in that game and reading this. Sorry if I seemed angry at you specifically during the game, I was trying to figure out why I was angry in general and trying not to disrupt things.
As usual, if you have advice for pursuing this sort of thing, or other tricks that help you find where problems are, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.