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  • #42346
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    How do you set the tone of a game, if indeed you do? I try to make my games serious in terms of the scenario and names. I don’t have comedy names or acronyms.

    You won’t for example find the First Allied Regiment of Troopers in any of my games.
    They won’t be led by Major A. Hole.

    That is not to say comedy won’t be absent, but it won’t be contrived.

    I recall a game I was at where the guy running it had done a serious feel game. One of the players decided to name all his commanders after his favourite football players.
    The guy running it was obviously a bit upset at this, presumably because he felt all his hard work was being ignored and taken for granted.
    And the player in question kept making gags about when he failed a roll, the commander with name of a goalkeeper had dropped the ball.

    Do you worry about this?
    Do you stick with the tone that has been set?

    #42360
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    That is not to say comedy won’t be absent, but it won’t be contrived.  

    That for one.

    Games are like dinner parties – picking the guests/players is half the battle, and remembering their dietary/gaming preferences/restrictions is another big chunk of it. Most players will put up with a lot if you have factored those things into the situation already.

    Some people like ‘broad’ comedy, but mixing them with those who are either very serious  or who like humour to emerge from the interplay of people and ideas is usually going to lead to problems. On the other hand as long as no-one is too extreme and you engage them with the game rather than giving them lots of down time to get bored and come up with off colour humour, you can make it work.

    How do you set a tone? – good scenario, good briefing, good friends.

     

     

    #42378
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Do you worry about this?

    I do not worry about this. What is important to me is that players enjoy the game, whether that be serious or otherwise. If I take issue with how you enjoy the game, then I’d be doing what you mentioned experiencing in another thread. The point at which I take issue is if one person’s enjoyment method is obviously preventing someone else from having any fun.

    Do you stick with the tone that has been set?

    I generally do yes. That isn’t difficult for me because I enjoy both silly and serious wargames so I find it fairly easy to “go with the flow” as to whatever tone is set.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #42386
    Patrice
    Patrice
    Participant

    In one of his novels, Rudyard Kipling imagined a name: “The Fore and Fit Princess Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen-Anspach’s Merther-Tydfilshire Own Royal Loyal Light Infantry, Regimental District 329A”, it was voluntarily ridiculous too… but it fits in the context.

    In pirate games, my (often NPC, sometimes PC) Governor character is named “Monsieur de Toulvarère”, this actually means “hole (of) my ass” in Breton language, but it sounds like swashbuckling names of this period; and his (NPC) beloved niece, that all player captains want to meet in private, is “Mademoiselle Clotirisse”. Nobody ever objected (and nobody thought it was sexist), it’s included in the overall period feeling that we try to have in the game. But a few times we had to be VERY discouraging towards suggestions of modern jokes or nicknames, etc. Anachronisms can be funny sometimes, but are very difficult to do well, and some people believe that anachronisms are funny just because they are anachronistic – which is rarely true.

    I recall a game I was at where the guy running it had done a serious feel game. One of the players decided to name all his commanders after his favourite football players (…) And the player in question kept making gags about when he failed a roll, the commander with name of a goalkeeper had dropped the ball.

    I wouldn’t accept it. In that case the problem is not the name itself, it’s that the name is a Trojan horse to get rid of the period context and to talk about football all along the game. It would probably not be a problem, say, in a Blood Bowl game or similar, to use a modern football player name modified to sound a bit Orc-ish or Elv-ish; but in other contexts the guy running the game should be persuasive to avoid it.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
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    #42391
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    I’m in with Guy Farrish on this topic in general. The most effective tool I’ve found is by setting the stage, and that includes the guests you invite to help set the dynamic of the gathering. This can be furthered by how you brief and coach the group.

    I wouldn’t accept it.

    OK, and you’re entitled to that in your games, so please understand I am not telling you that you must feel otherwise or do otherwise.

    With that premise in mind, I’d like to discuss this a bit – How is that different from me telling you that your way of gaming isn’t right, acceptable, valid, [fill-in-the-blank]?

    We’ve all played games with people who told us we weren’t real wargamers or weren’t wargaming “correctly” because of a variety of reasons:

    • The Prussians in our 1806 game wore late war uniforms.
    • Our Sherman tanks were the wrong shade of green to be US armor.
    • Elves and orcs aren’t real so our game isn’t real either.
    • An AC/20 should shoot farther than an AC/5 so our sci-fi game is ridiculous.

    What’s the difference between that and saying that someone is “doing it wrong” if they keep track of their Units by nicknaming them? Is there a difference?

    I should add that my perspective on this does vary based on the purpose of the game I am running. If I am running an introductory game to a bunch of people I don’t know and who don’t know each other, then I am very lax and side towards inclusion above all else. If I am running a regular game amongst people I know well and who know each other, I’ll be more overt in trying to steer the mood in a given direction, but that is easier to do without worry of exclusion when the audience is set and known.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #42393
    Patrice
    Patrice
    Participant

    Oh… I was only talking about the games I like to run and/or to play in.

    I have no objection to people doing what they like …on other tables; and actually I am always trying to invite WH (or whatever else) players to come to events I take part in near here – we don’t have so many gamers in the area who like to run tables in events, so everyone is welcome whatever they do (most often here it’s Zombicide or Infinity these days). And sometimes I accept to run demonstration games for young teenagers where they can do what they like.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
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    #42394
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Sorry Patrice, didn’t mean to take what you were saying farther than you intended it.

    Sounds like my questions don’t really apply. Thanks for clarifying.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #42403
    Angel Barracks
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Oh… I was only talking about the games I like to run and/or to play in.

    Weren’t we all?
    I am confused now..
    Do people try to change the tone/feel of games they are not in?

     

    #42405
    Bandit
    Bandit
    Participant

    Weren’t we all?
    I am confused now..

    He’d said he would not allow such.

    I thought he meant “in any game he participated in, in any way”. My concern about that is that it will necessarily exclude people and that is the exact problem you were discussing in your other thread.

    Following his response, I think he means he prefers it a certain way and when gaming with his pals or regular group, he has the ability enforce that without screwing up the group or excluding people.

    Those are different things.

    I play with a couple groups. One of them has a “no ‘stuff’ on the table rule”, they play without markers, etc… and they keep dice and rosters off-table. When they include other people in their games, they coach them on that point but they don’t enforce it to the point of excluding the new guy. When they play with other groups that don’t have that rule, they accept the other group plays differently. What I understood from Patrice was that his preference about “tone” follows a similar model to this group I speak of.

    I also know people who spend a lot of time declaring how your a must be run, no matter if they are the host or the guest. It drives away a lot of people.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #42406
    irishserb
    irishserb
    Participant

    I try to approach the game in its own context and try to respect the intent of the GM.  So my approach varies.

    I do tend to gravitate toward more skirmish-like games that allow me to immerse myself in the experience of the game.  It can produce a very passionate sort of role playing experience.  This doesn’t really fit some games, so I scale it appropriately.  I’m also good with light-hearted or even silly games, again it comes back to context.

    Sometimes I struggle with guys who I think maybe take it too seriously, but I try to respect their approach and not detract from their experience.  Those encounters are really rare though.

    It is an interesting question.

    #42418
    Patrice
    Patrice
    Participant

    I thought he meant “in any game he participated in, in any way”. My concern about that is that it will necessarily exclude people

    Yes, it’s excluding me; because I avoid taking part in games where the context and tone do not appeal to me.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    http://www.anargader.net/

    #42419
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I don’t worry about this at all. Naming characters in the game and using puns, or movie themes, or whatever, is part of wargaming tradition 😉

    If it really gets silly, and one player is milking it such that it becomes annoying, someone usually says “Ok, we all get the joke already.”Among friends, that solves “the problem” if there is one.

    It’s a variant of names for characters in roleplaying campaigns. As a GM, you have created a fantastic world. Then, a player insists on calling his character “Mickey Mouse” …

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #42425
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Our tone is simple and historical in historical games. Any humour is purely situational. However, in our science fiction and fantasy games, including imagi-nations, anything goes, although neither myself nor my regular opponent go the Lardy route in naming our characters, and more often than not the bulk of the humour is in the writing up rather than at the table; the true humourless, obliviousness of Brother Cedric Knight of the Brethren is only properly made manifest in the Talomir Tales blog posts.

    If playing in someone else’s game, I would respect the tone they set in the scenario briefing, and I would hope that others would return the favour if playing in a game I have put together.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    #114557
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    If playing in someone else’s game, I would respect the tone they set in the scenario briefing, and I would hope that others would return the favour if playing in a game I have put together.

    This.
    I am reminded of an occurrence many many years ago where a historical player who never uses comedy names/puns in his historical games (As it did not happen in the historical games he played in) made up comedy/silly/rude names for fantasy games he was in.
    The person running the game was not happy that the background created and the mission written was being treated as a joke just because it was not based on real life and this somehow meant it was not to be taken seriously.

    I know fantasy players that use silly names as their campaigns are light hearted, I also know some of these people transfer this to historical games and it upsets the historical players there too.
    No group of people is exempt from this, it just makes me a bit sad that what seems a common courtesy or respect sometimes is missing.
    But that is life eh!

    #114561
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    I play with the same group of friends, so there’s no scope for inviting or not inviting those that may make the gaming experience better or worse.  But we’ve known each other for a very large number of years so we pretty much know what to expect.

    Currently we play a mix of ‘serious’ and ‘not so serious’ games.  Amongst the latter is ‘Zombicide’, which is enormous fun and provides plenty of scope for ridiculing each other’s stupid (and usually fatal) choices.

    WWII is the basis for the more ‘serious’ games.  We don’t play strictly historical scenarios and so everything is hypothetical, though based historical unit organisations and equipment correct for the chosen date of the conflict.  Preparing such games takes me a lot of time, time I enjoy spending.  It’s when this time and effort is not respected that I can get somewhat annoyed.

    An example will illustrate this.  I wanted to play a Kursk type scenario with a German armoured spearhead encountering line after line of Soviet defences and battering (or not) their way through.  I’m generally not too prescriptive in my scenarios, so the Soviets had freedom of set up for their a/t guns, a/t rifle nests and tank reserves.  So the Germans set off down the 8’x6’ board, cresting rise after rise and finding precisely nothing.  Scores of spotting attempts later, and with the evening drawing to a close with not a shot fired, I gave up.  Where are the Russians?  Thinking that this was a good wheeze the Soviets had put everything into a roughly 12”x12” square in one of the rear corners of the board.  Cue much merriment on the part of the Russian players.  Cue some anger and name calling by myself.  For me this wasn’t the game to employ some bogus deployment in order to have a laugh.

     

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    #114566
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I can understand your frustration!

    I’m not a big fan of ‘artificial’ victory points – 10 points for being last person occupying hill A, 5 points for each other crest, 10 points for the town etc but here – easy solution – the German orders are to break through the Soviet line – roll a tank/armoured car off the open Soviet end of the table – Sovs lose everything. Buy the drinks, food, have scorn thrown upon them, forfeit their army – I don’t know – something suitable.

    #114570
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I’ll probably behave standoffish in games that channel a vulgar/juvenile sense of humour, but other than that I’ll adjust to, and find enjoyment in, whatever tone has been set or implied by the organiser. If nothing has been implied, I’ll assume a fairly serious tone by default.

    I particularly dislike the notion that anything fantastical is to be treated as silly buggers by definition. I watched a TV programme many years ago where Dara O’Briain had to immerse himself in the fantasy LARP community. First thing, he was clearly told: Don’t take the piss. Whatever else you do, the cardinal rule is don’t take the piss! Then he named his alter-ego character Morgan Fairchild. I like Dara O’Briain, and I’m not a LARPer myself, but that struck me as disrespectful of people who had gone to great lengths to enjoy an organised day of a high-effort, high-maintenance leisure activity out in the woods. (Still, I’m sure meeting Dara was fun.)

    Of course, when running a game with a serious tone, one shouldn’t interpret it as disrespectful of its seriousness when a player simply doesn’t know enough about the history or the established fiction. Some handholding might be necessary, to keep the player from “zoning out” and treating the game as a joke because they feel they’re in a laughable situation anyway, being expected by serious-looking people to know the nitty-gritty (or even the basic outline) of an unfamiliar niche subject. When a player is being a clown despite such behaviour not being encouraged, it might just be a cry for help, or a social cue that they haven’t been provided with sufficient means to immerse themselves in the game and are feeling left behind while the other players are nerding out over the War of the Fourth Coalition / the Mosul Offensive / the First Battle of Beleriand / the Mandalorian-Jedi War / whatever.

    #114586
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Generally, use historic situations even if the individual scenario is made up.  Therefore unit designations and commanders will normally be on a historic basis.  I dislike quasi jokes: Battlegroup Stalin’s Organ/Loins/Thrust and prefer to keep to genuine nomenclature; even if it amuses others it does nothing for me!

    #114587
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Dude, I notoriously have a company from the sex workers’ union in my sci-fi Peoples’ Revolutionary Army. They run a Titan named “The Dual-Speed Reciprocal Fucksaw of the Proletariat”. And my Catholic defender-of-the-faith Seven Years War Army is lead by Kaiserin Heliene D’Taxis.

    So that’s where I stand on tone.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #114592
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    And my favorite Russian leader is General E. Pstov.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #114594

    Stephen Madjanovich
    Participant

    I am with you guys on tone. At a con where you are teaching easier rules to first timers then be open to a looser style of play. But also keep an eye on the other players at your table. If one guy or side is irritating them take a break and talk with the “offenders”. At an event and playing a deadly serious game with well versed players or experts (playtesters) I think things should be more toned down. When at home or your local club you should have a feel for the regular gamers and adjust to them. A regular joker in a game with stuffed shirts may be OK rarely but may not pass muster every session.

    As an aside I have been planning a scenario for our club to run at a yearly event. We hope to get one table dedicated for us to run things during each time slot. So with that in mind I thought of a potential post apocalyptic scenario based on an old game system but being presented to the players as a straight forward take/save the town. Since the original system postulates teotwawki (look it up) around ’89 I was thinking of using the names of characters from a mid ’90s movie as game characters. My son and myself are big fans of the movie, and its spin offs, and the movie character’s names would indicate to the players “in the know” the general approach the various game characters would have wrt personal characteristics, or abilities. The scenario would have nothing to do with the movie though. Thoughts? Thank you.

    #114596

    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    Do you worry about this?

    Good Gord, I’m an old fat man who plays with toy soldiers. What, me worry?

    To tell the truth, when I go out in public among strangers, I try to keep it bland and PC, because you never know who’s going to pop up and take issue, and I just don’t need that, uh, stuff when I’m playing toy soldiers. When I’m in a private game room among friends, I yam what I yam, warped sense of humor and all.

    Do you stick with the tone that has been set?

    Meh, I’m here to play a game, not to be a Richard and challenge the GM.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #114619

    jeffers
    Participant

    Zippy nailed it. It’s all about appropriate behaviour and respect for whoever is taking time to give you entertainment. If it’s not your scene, just say ‘thank you’ and get your coat because it makes nobody happy.

    But, unless you are Callan, there really is no such thing as a ‘deadly serious game’ with toy soldiers.

     

    #114621
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    unless you are Callan, there really is no such thing as a ‘deadly serious game’ with toy soldiers.

    I wish that one of the 87,000 satellite channels I pay for would repeat those programmes.  The trouble is that they are usually better in the memory than they are when compared to some current TV fare.

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    #114622
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    there really is no such thing as a ‘deadly serious game’ with toy soldiers.

    I think “deadly serious” falls outside of the mundane range of seriousness that’s relevant to this context anyway. Rather, there are games that are “serious” in the relatively mild, but nevertheless worthy, sense of “immersive”, and then there are games that aren’t even that (though they may have alternative value as pure giggles).

    #114623
    Mike Headden
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    As both “class clown” and “history nerd” of all three of my gaming groups I suspect I can irritate people by being both overly jokey and overly nerdy … simultaneously in some cases no doubt.

    However, I would do my best to fit in with the vibe round the table.

    Our tabletop historical stuff is all hypothetical formations based on the historical counterparts and tends to be fairly serious. Fantasy and SciFi games are equally hotly contested but are rather more relaxed in atmosphere.

    There is still a reasonable amount of banter whatever the game.

    Silly names tend to be kept for the RPG games I run.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #114624
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    We tend to run serious games but have fun playing them, if that makes sense.

    But a word on the theory of comedy. A joke has only so much mileage.

    Calling a unit the Third Foot & Mouth (or something more scatological) may raise a laugh or two the first time it’s heard but becomes tedious after that.

    Far be it from me to criticise your witty nomenclature but it simply ain’t funny with repetition.

     

    donald

    #114645
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    We tend to run serious games but have fun playing them, if that makes sense.

    Yup, same here.
    Though solo play does tend to ensure that all players are on board with the mood!

    Meh, I’m here to play a game

    Now this got me thinking.
    I don’t think I am.
    I think, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I am here to take part in world building and making a story.
    I used to want to play games and to win.
    Now I am more interested in the story aspect of the game and seeing where it goes and then reflecting on what the ramifications of the games events have on the game world.

    #114648

    jeffers
    Participant

    Not pretentious at all, Mike. In fact I’d rather game with someone who wants to build narrative than uses it to prove what a brilliant general they are, or as some exercise in intellectual superiority. Best games I used to have were in the garden with 1/32 figures before I started ‘proper’ wargaming. Then I used simple skirmish rules (Recon with tweaks)  to do commando raids akin to Guns of Navarone etc. I’d have a rough idea where it would go but the rules would give it an element of chance to take events in a surprising direction. More fun than competing any day.

    #114652
    Rhoderic
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Meh, I’m here to play a game

    Now this got me thinking. I don’t think I am. I think, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I am here to take part in world building and making a story. I used to want to play games and to win. Now I am more interested in the story aspect of the game and seeing where it goes and then reflecting on what the ramifications of the games events have on the game world.

    Hear, hear. I always feel slightly alienated by the recurring topic of whether this hobby is about playing games or running simulations. It’s neither of those to me. It’s about excercises in the art of fiction. Hence I think it’s bad manners to run roughshod over a fellow hobbyist’s fiction-crafting by not taking it seriously when participating (again, this is using a mild, mundane definition of “serious”, not hardcore life-or-death nerddom).

    I’ll make an exception for some occasions that are more like the wargaming equivalent of Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros: just crazy fun that doesn’t take the fiction very seriously.

    #114684
    Thuseld
    Thuseld
    Participant

    I play mostly solo so the tone of my game is my own. However, the few times I have played with a human opponent, I will respect their way of doing things.

    #114685
    Thuseld
    Thuseld
    Participant

    Now this got me thinking. I don’t think I am. I think, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I am here to take part in world building and making a story. I used to want to play games and to win. Now I am more interested in the story aspect of the game and seeing where it goes and then reflecting on what the ramifications of the games events have on the game world.

    This is also where I stand. If I want a game about points and winning I will seek out some board gamers, which I do on occasion. But when it comes to my miniatures, I want to tell a story. I want one game to flow into the next. I want that figure I painted to have a name, a history, and then to die gloriously saving some colonists.

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