Friday, September 14, 2012

Discussion: The Best Game Sessions Are When....

There's a saying that the FLGS that got me started on playing AD&D as a regular hobby had. It's probably fairly common, but the saying was that "the best game sessions are when no one ever picks up a die." The idea being that the best sessions were the sessions full of Role Play and non-die related conflict resolution. Maybe the DM just hand waived certain tasks as not needing rolls, or maybe the players just got really inventive and took care of things in a way that it wasn't worth rolling for.

My question for you today though is this: with your personal experience what makes for the best gaming sessions?

My answer would probably be that the best game sessions are when everyone clicks, stays in character, and the plot gets meaningful movement forward. Now, the "plot" in this situation could be a personal plot, the meta-arc the game is running off of, or just some small side ways thing. The point is though that stuff happens and people keep that atmosphere going. It's a rare thing to see, life is fully of distractions afterall, but when it happens you get something truly special.

What about you?


  1. For me, the best sessions are those when the characters really take over and the players and just along for the ride, shouting wheee! (or maybe: oh shiiit!). When everybody plays their character without any outside agenda, without a thought to what they can do with all those XPs or with that little loophole in the rules they discovered. Those sessions tend to have little dice action, but not neccessarily. It's in those sessions that character can surprise their players because they suddenly do something you'd never thought they'd do and that one of my favourite things about roleplaying.

    I once played Call of Cthulhu at a con, in a room with three other groups who played much more lighthearted games with a lot of laughter and noise. The CoC group became so involved so quickly that we just zoned out and might as well have played in some dark dungeon. That was awesome.

  2. As a GM, the best games for me are when I can go an hour plus without saying any more than answering a quick question or two for a player. Dice may get occasionally rolled, but the thrill comes from the fact that everything that's happening is in character and the players are so invested in the world that they stop wondering about what's going on outside of it.

  3. total immersion is awesome when it happens. Can make for some very powerful scenes.

  4. When the PCs direct the action.

    Total immersion is cool, but I think dice get a raw deal in a lot of these discussions. There's nothing wrong with using a random number generator to determine the outcome of uncertainty -- and I usually enjoy it more than when the GM just asserts "you succeed/you fail," which is what happens if no dice are hitting the table.

  5. The dice do get a raw deal in this. I think the reason for the preference for "no dice" is because die rolling takes people out of the game and can kill some of the tension as people try to figure out what goes into the roll and all that. Dice do make for some amazing moments though, and you have to love them for that.

  6. I am in agreement with most of the folks here. The best adventures are when everyone is playing their character- talking, acting, thinking like them- and not worried about die rolls.

    In fact, in one of my recent gaming sessions with my long-standing Star Wars crew, we had a 6+ hour long session that was practically ALL roleplay- with very little dice rolling until the climax. It was also an adventure played mostly for comedy- and actually worked thanks to the fact my players are a bunch of cornballs. Good times.