Friday, May 24, 2013

Discussion: What Makes You NOT Want To Play In A Game?

Second discussion for this week, but it's something that's been on my mind a lot today. We all have things we don't like. Maybe it is just a genre or some aspect of a genre that you don't like, or maybe it is something bigger and more personal. We all have something that makes us not want to be part of a game. Something that might even have us taking a step back from an established group because we didn't like it. So what is it for you?

Personally, I'm not sure. I enjoy gaming and what gaming does for me so much I think I'd be hard pressed to back out of a game. I might be more willing to play some things (giant robots, super heroes, etc) than others, but that is totally different. That said, one of my house mates doesn't like Giant Robots and has said that while there would be no ill will if we swap to a Giant Robot type game they'll likely sit that one out.

On the darker level, I know some people who have had to leave games because they weren't comfortable with the content the GM was bringing forward. They still liked the GM, and the group, but the subject matter of the game - it was a very dark game to be fair - just wasn't for them.

How about you?

As a disclaimer, I'm not asking for people to open up things that may make them uncomfortable. Share what you want. I'm just curious what it is you specifically want to avoid in a game.


  1. We've been discussing MechWarrior as a possible game in my weekly group for years and I know that I would bow out of that one because the system holds absolutely no interest for me. Neither do fantasy settings like DnD or the german DSA, at least not as they are usually played. The words dungeon crawl are enough to make me go look for another game.

    I played SR with a group of total Munchkins and that put me off the system for years. I bowed out of a Star Wars group where the GM was so fixated on the story he wanted to tell that he didn't see that the characters were absolutely out of place in it (a bunch of diplomats and a mission that would have called for fighters and pilots...I never understood why he didn't tell us what he wanted to do).

  2. My hard line I'm done list is relatively short.

    Lack of agency for the players is a flat out No for me, and will lead me to leave as fast as I possibly can. It doesn't even have to be my PC, when the GM is cutting agency for player characters I'm done.

    1. Coureton I'm not sure what 'agency' refers to - can you give an example?

    2. Agency is how much control the players have. Can they determine their own fate, or are they on rails? In a game where the PCs have lots of agency the GM tends to be a bit more reactive to things as you never know what the PCs will do. In a game where the PCs have very little agency, the game can kinda feel like it is on rails. Low agency is like a video game in a lot of ways. Sure, it may look like you have choices, but ultimately you get funneled down one of three paths no matter what.

      I talk about it more here:

  3. GMs who ignore any precautions players have taken and shove their encounter down your throat anyway.

    Campaigns with omniscient NPCs.

    Encounters with nothing to grab onto, use, or even avoid, besides the mobs.

    Sessions where more time is spent focused on the rulebook than the story.

  4. Any game where the mechanical build of your character is going to be far, far more important than roleplaying will usually get a pass from me.

  5. Badly balanced games that punish you hard for flavor choices.

    Players that make characters with disorders or other personality quirks that cause too much conflict or attention away from the story and everyone else.

  6. I most probably don't have the depth of gaming experience that most here have. However, the most severe gaming challenges I've run into were from other players rather than the GM. Certainly there've been things I haven't been crazy about on the GM side but they aren't the ones that rose to the level of driving me a little bananas.

    It's been the player that COMPLETELY does their own thing that has the tendency to utterly exhaust me. Now, don't get me wrong-a decent amount of initiative & independent thinking makes for a fun good player - but if you keep motoring along that continuum you get to a player that the rest of the players (and GM) find themselves reacting to the whole session rather than playing themselves.

    Just got done with 72 hours of gaming craziness at KublaCon, a gaming convention in my area. Ran into a more minor, but still notable, variation of this theme. I was a player in a Dark Heresy game & one of the players, in short, was absolutely committed to playing it like a Paranoia game, for those of you familiar with that game. Dark Heresy is dark, gothic, adult themes, deadly & grim - think Blade Runner. Paranoia is dark, uber-Kafka'esque...and replete with dark humor (a great recommendable system by the way). There's plenty of room for comic relief in ANY game, to be sure, but the ethos of Dark Heresy & Paranoia are very different. For six hours he insisted on having his character making bizarre decisions for dark laughs - perfect for Paranoia (turns out he runs Paranoia games at the convention) & disjointed in Dark Heresy.

    I liked the player & was laughing myself sometimes at his continual antics...but he made immersion in the rich complicated Dark Heresy world nigh impossible. That's definitely not the most extreme example I can think of to illustrate my point - but it's in the right direction.