Monday, June 20, 2016

Private Cons, The Antiquarian Gamer, The OSR, Wargaming Societies, & More

Over the years I've become somewhat disenchanted with certain aspects of the OSR, mostly the constant marketing of new titles, the retreading, and near constant politic of controversy that seems to dog certain avenues of the hobby.

There are other avenues that hardly anyone hears about on social media or even on the internet all I'm talking about the private war gaming and role playing clubs. These are men and women who for years have been using and enjoying the hobby of war games for years. Societies like these have for years kept the hobby of wargaming alive. This is where I cut my teeth and learned how to play games, we didn't need safe spaces or anything of the sort because there were rules and everyone respected everyone. We were there to play games, socialize, and talk about history. BTW when I was a kid this was where I was exposed to numerous LGBT players and DM's. I hate to tell folks but there are still numerous private clubs and sandbox groups out there that don't want a damn thing to do with the constant back biting and fighting that goes on in the hobby. If there isn't a private war gaming and role playing club in your area then start one! Growing the hobby is a face to face affair for many folks.

The concept of the private con is one that grew up in my area after many gamers couldn't afford to go to GenCon or even Gary Con. Sadly my dad took ill & despite numerous attempts I never have made it to Gary Con. Fortunately, I've had really wonderful friends who threw me a Private Con, a private Con is part party and mostly rpg events where different DM's & players ran stuff for a weekend. This was over several friends houses and the events were scheduled around people's work as well as family time. These worked out rather well and everyone pitched in for clean up. There are three things about private Cons; they take lots of preparations, even delegation for events, and everyone on the same page. These events also provide a solid and controlled environment for games. Everything went off without a hitch and everyone was there to run and play games.

I'm a gamer whose not really been that engaged in the 'must buy more' aspect of the role playing hobby. For me its always been the creation, the play, and the social aspect but there is also the thrill of the hunt for books. I'm what a friend has classified an 'Antiquarian Gamer', that is a person whose not interesting in collecting role playing systems but whose interested in playing with dead systems. For me its the chase of looking for a book either, science fiction or fantasy. But with the advent of the internet well that's become a bit easier which is fine. But I'm far more comfortable among the stacks of a private book shop, library, or barn then I'm dealing with the latest 'crisis' of the OSR's numerous factions. But the engine of creativity of the OSR is what keeps me coming back to the table so to speak. But let me say that at our table everyone is welcome to play as long as you use common sense, manners, and have a good time. Everyone is welcome to play and it seems as though everyone comes back to play again.

Between Connecticut and Massachusetts there are numerous games that have happened over the weekend that folks run. We seem to forget that just because a hobby is declared dead or dying according to others that it is. The hobby of war gaming continues on despite the naysayers and haters. This is going to happen to rpg's across the board. Regardless of there being an OSR I know of campaigns of OD&D that have gone on for over thirty years even spawning their own vanity press fanzines for players. We are a part of a dynamic hobby that continues despite itself as long as there is one person who is interested. Bring players into the hobby by playing. You have to be your own OSR and keep those fires burning as well as  those dice rolling.

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