Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Not all Gamers are Happy People All the Time.

Not all Gamers are Happy People All the Time.

Looking at my other blogs, I have tried to add a sense of humour to proceedings.  Well I thought I would write something that I have had to try and live with for the last twenty years.  I’m a 41-year-old male that suffers with bouts of depression and low mood.  The question that I want to answer in this blog is, does the gaming hobby help with mental illness or hinder mental illness?  Those of you reading this will have their own opinions on this subject and if it’s how you feel then you can’t be wrong.

Looking at my friends across the hobby, some of them have suffered with anxiety, depression, stress or a mixture of any of the three.  I tend to have a mixed bag which ultimately leads to low mood.  So I asked some of these people if the gaming hobby helped them with their issues and pretty much, all round the answer is yes.

I asked a lady friend who is a mainly into board and card games.  She told me that her anxiety and depression makes her feel like she doesn’t want to do anything, but she does push herself to try and play a game.  She told me that if her anxiety and depression is quite bad, she can’t play a game with lots of concentration, so she tends to head towards easy dice rolling games or card games.  When she’s not that low, she tries to throw herself into quite complicated board games.  Looking at this its depression in a nutshell.  When I’m really low, I don’t want to do hardly any activity, where I can pretty much throw myself into something when I’m feeling a bit better.

A male friend of mine went through a messy breakup.  Low mood, paranoia, frustration and feeling quite angry were all in the mix.  He explained to me that going to his local gaming club helped him as he could have a talk with friends to get things off his chest.  Then he’d get stuck into a RPG to escape reality for a few hours.  Escapism is a good way of forgetting whatever problems you have for a period of time, and we all know that roleplaying is one of the best forms of escapism out there.

My last little story is about a buddy of mine that I used to RPG with some fifteen years ago.  To me he always seemed a strong minded, jovial confident person.  I hadn’t seen him in a while then we got in contact around two years ago, he told me that when his depression hit, it hit hard.  It was as though he wasn’t the person I knew he was.  I asked him recently if gaming helped him?  Myself and my buddy used to go to a club and the committee used to squabble and argue with themselves and other members.  It could be quite a stressful place to be.  My friend told me that he got a few good friends together and just gamed.  No committee, no politics and no bullshit.  This helped him a great deal.  He was in touch with old trusted friends and he had a good time.

Now please don’t think that I’m trying to say that gaming is a cure for mental illness.  If you take a look at the three stories then you will see messages of escapism, friendship, distraction and just trying to have fun.  These messages are clear when researching metal illness and self-help.  I myself game and do other things (exercise, reading etc), to help me cope with my depression when it strikes.

I’ll end this blog with a friend's analogy of depression.  He calls it the black dog. So from this.

“If the black dog comes out, get the black dog back in his kennel.”

Thank you for reading.

Monday, 13 June 2016

A Gamers Guide to Beverages at the Gaming Table.

A Gamers Guide to Beverages at the Gaming Table.

Refreshments at the gaming table are an essential part of the hobby.  No adventurer should ever have a dry throat whilst partaking in the hack or slash or shoot of a campaign.  A person can always be judged by the refreshments he offers to his players.  A good club should always have a tuck shop with some sort of fizzy drink, crammed with E numbers or sweeteners (or both).  Parents be warned!  Any children attending a club with fizzy drinks (or sweet snacks), have to be handled with care due to hyperactivity or Tasmanian Devil type behaviour.
So what do we serve?  Well, that’s up to you really, no doubt there will be some ridiculing about brands of beer (Freedom Lager causes a cascade of piss take in my group).  You could always have a “bring your own bottle (or bottles)” policy.  This way the ridicule is turned away from the host. 

Here is a guide to beverages serve:

Water-  Not a lot to be said really.  It’s wet and keeps you hydrated.  The urine colour test is always a good indicator.

Tea- A True British Staple.  My players have to have their tea of a certain colour or I get ridiculed.  The only colour chart available is the colour of He-Man’s skin.  Any paler, and the piss take commences.  Tepidophobia (the fear of the badly made cup of tea) is very common amongst table top gamers, so be cautious.

Tea should be served.

- Hot (just after boiling)

- Colour (of He-Man’s skin, any paler and your classed as a pussy).

- Sugar.  Required amount as requested by drinker.

- Biscuits. Optional, all dependant on how healthy the individual gamer is (commonly then, a pack per person).

Tea from a tea pot (with teabags or leaves), is always well received.  There are various varieties of tea so if anyone is different (and the host doesn’t have it), please suggest the person brings their brand along.  Everyone is happy and catered for.

Coffee-  I have a friend of mine named Tom, always serves a good cup of coffee.  This is better sampled on the morning after a night of ale and Cards Against Humanity.  Coffee is a good beverage to serve, but always be cautious if having an evening games session.  The host should never be insulted if the coffee drinker can’t get any sleep once gaming finishes.

Beer-  Cheer for Beer!  I hear you shout and with good cause.  Beer comes in all shapes, sizes and varieties.  Most gamers like to sink a pint or two weather this is Satan’s unholy Piss Water (Carling) or Stuff that could knock out a rampaging elephant (strong ale).  Again whatever anyone drinks there will be some ridicule, so tread carefully with the group you choose, because there are some unforgiving wankers out there, that won’t let anything go.

I am quite lucky in my circle of gaming friends, we all drink real ale; this also brings a good talking point as we constantly compare tastes, plus there’s always a few bottles heading into different directions with the quote of:

“Fucking hell lads you need to try this.  It’s the bollocks.”

Nine times out of ten the opinion above is correct.  However, there is always a chance that a bottle of ale is opened that tastes like it should be some sort of cleaning product, rather than fit for human consumption.  In this case etiquette is needed as you don’t wish to offend the fellow gamer.

Wrong response.

“For fucks sake, what’s this cow piss you’ve given me?”

Right response.
“Here you go my friend, this isn’t my cup of tea.”

There is always someone out there than will drink a beer that you won’t, so hopefully nothing gets wasted.

Cider- There are a few cider drinkers out there, and there are plenty of products out there to satisfy these people.  So again cater for different tastes or get the fellow gamer to bring his own.

Wine-  Now for the sophisticated bunch.  Men and women alike love the odd glass of vino, and why not?  There are some lovely wines out there, just avoid the stale vinegar vino and you should be alright.

Now as a final thought, whatever beverage is on the table the has to be a certain etiquette from both the GM and players.  Guys try not to spill drinks on the gaming area.  I have seen many board game pieces, rule books, and character sheets ruined due to clumsy fuckers.  It’s horrible when rule books and board games become forever sticky due to a person with a limp wrist.  So all should be mindful, especially when alcohol is flowing.  Spillage becomes too frequent the more someone is under the influence.

Weird Warrior out.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

A Survival Guide to RPG and gaming forum Boards.

A Survival Guide to RPG and gaming forum Boards.

In this wonderful installment I’m going to give you some tips about how to play the wonderful game of Forum Boards.  I have been involved in forums across different hobbies and they are pretty much the same whatever the subject.  You will find the same type of people on these boards, the same sort of information (good or absolute dog shit) and the same sort of set up.  If I could give one bit of advice then it would be don’t waste your time going on them, but that would mean me being unfair and people have to find out for themselves.
Now, I am not talking about every single RPG and Gaming forum.  I happen to be on a lovely site that is worldwide; the people are polite, friendly and informative, there is lots of information about the hobby and there doesn’t seem to be any nonsense.  But beware there are forums out there that are full of people that you don’t want to be associating with.  You should find this out quickly and tell these individuals that they are a bunch of limp dicks and you don’t want anything else to do with them (please use your own wording as it will probably be more diplomatic).

1   The Administration- These are the people you don’t wish to upset.  They will tell you if you are being a pain in the arse or even kick you off the forum.  I have had a mixed bag of admins in my time.  Some can be lovely people that laugh with you and say
“Ok, that was good but keep to the rules of the forum please.”  They are not down your throat at the slightest indiscretion and they are friendly.  But beware!  There are those that think they are some higher power that are backed up by slimy little shits, who love to publically agree with everything that the administration say.  Everyone creeps with each other and everyone has a good dick shaking session.  The thing is if your comments are out of order, being told by the admin should be enough, not having a mob of people with the “I agree” and “well said” attitude.  It makes you feel like you’re being ganged up on and it makes these people MORE self-important.  So even if you think the administration is/ are twats, don’t upset them, you will lose.

    The knowledgeable ones-  These guys and gals tend to be worth their weight in gold for information.  If you have a question that you wish to send via private message, they tend to be happy to help.  In most cases these type of people are friendly and approachable with a wealth of knowledge to spare.  There is the odd few with the “I know things and I have the big head to prove it” attitude. That’s fine let them be that way, you always have various hand gestures in your arsenal that are fitting for these dick heads.

    The Argumentative Types- Yes we come to the people that all forum boards love to hate.  No matter what opinion is out there these people have to disagree.   They are like the old Monty Python sketch “I’ve come for an argument.”  These are a true breed of keyboard warriors that would never argue with anyone in public, but brave enough to do it online.

Mental quote:

“Ha Ha, I have a plus 10 computer of bravery.  I fear no man, and I want to argue.” 

In extreme cases you may even get a bombardment of private messages from these people if you’ve offended them.  Be very wary of argumentative types, they can suck you in when you’re not expecting it.  You may really want to tell these wankers where to go, but just remember my first point especially if these people are admin dick shakers.

I could go on (and quite often do, I hear my friend holla) but I feel that I have covered a decent amount of information.  I may post a part 2 at a later date.  So when it comes to forum boards make sure you are well prepared. Hopefully these tips should help.

-     Try not to get into arguments.
-     Use the forum board for all the information you need.
-     Spot the wankers early and have as little to do with them as possible.
-     Don’t upset the admin.  Read the rules and stick to them, that way the admin can’t say shit to you.
-      If you’re not happy you can always leave the forum.
-     Share a joke have a laugh.  This can do two things. 1. Show you who has a sense of humour. 2. This can draw out all those with a charisma bypass.

I hope this helps guys and gals.  Weird Warrior out.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. A Grim World of Perilous Adventure? Or a Discworld Novel Series Waiting to Happen?

I run 2nd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for my gaming group on a Wednesday night.  I have a good mixed group of experience and not so experienced players, which have bonded well.  The bold adventurers are part way through a campaign and after a few sessions its becoming clear that a question needs answering.  Why do all Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay sessions I am involved in turn out like a Discworld Novel?  This also goes for past games I have played in. 

In my current game, the apprentice wizard is a sarcastic twat who takes the piss out of other characters, who he thinks have a lesser intelligence.  I have a Tilean Barber Surgeon who is always looking for teeth to pull (I don’t think he cares whether the victims are dead or alive). A female Hunter that so far, just wants to cause trouble.  For example, “We can hire a cart to take us to the next village.” The Hunter “Sod that, we’ll steal one.”  We also have an Initiate of Sigmar, who is also very violent.  The other members of the party have nicknamed him Nobby for some strange and bizarre reason.  Finally, we have a dwarf miner that couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. I mean come on, the guy is armed with a two handed pickaxe, what’s hard about sticking it through a bad guy’s skull? 

Before I took my break from RPG’s I spent many an hour playing Warhammer.  Sorry I’m going to change that.  I spent many an hour either laughing too much or having my face in my palm at the shenanigans of Warhammer.  Yep, that’s better.  Now I hear a voice in yonder distance, a question comes to my ears.
“Don’t you think it’s the West Midlands sense of humour?”

I wish I could say yes, but in the mix of players and games-masters, the origins have been from Exeter, Cornwall, Staffordshire and Shropshire.  So I think I need to widen the borders considerably to find an answer.

I have to say the quality of role-playing in the party is excellent, so awarding experience is easy for me.  But The Empire is a dark place where danger lurks around every corner.  It’s not supposed to be a Monty Python Film.  I suppose the main thing I can say is that we all have fun with this game and as long as players keep enjoying I’ll keep running.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ramblings of The Weird Warrior

You could say that I’m a pretty normal guy.  I have a job that I love, a car, a good family, awesome friends, a wonderful girlfriend and reasonable intelligence.  I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall, 41 years young and I try to keep in shape when time permits.  With all this in mind I have hobbies.  Now it is a worldwide fact that men need a hobby and I say this without being sexist.   Men or the majority of men worldwide NEED a hobby; it’s as though that the run of the mill daily life isn’t enough for us, we need something more, like an itch to scratch.  This is probably the point where I need to make my point.  My hobby is gaming.

Now I’m not talking games consoles, I’m talking role-playing games and board games.  Both of which involves dice rolling, using cards, using an imagination and maybe throwing some miniatures into the mix.  In most cases you play the roles of someone or something else, you could call it escapism.  Geek I hear people shout.  Nerd! If a small minded person wants to holla. Geek? Well yes.  Nerd?  Go and take your head for a shit.  Sorry I swear from time to time so readers best get used to it.  The fact is I enjoy it.  People watch football and maybe support a team, that’s fine.  Some guys and gals like to “Pimp Their Ride,” I’m cool with that. I sit around a table and have a good laugh with like-minded people adventuring in the lands of make believe.  In my opinion its cool.  Now, going back to the geek and nerd thing, to some extent I can understand the labeling.  There is the stereotypical gamer out there; I’ve seen these guys and in some cases smelled them in all their glory (as in lacking in the personal hygiene department).  But there are a few of us out there that do this wonderful hobby who aren’t stereotypical.  We play, but we don’t live it. 

For me, this hobby has been a bit of a rock and roll lifestyle in some situations.  The conventions I’ve attended have been eventful and somewhat humorous, most of which involved too much alcohol. But looking back the gaming was good and the laughs even better.
Now at this point honesty is the best policy.  I like a laugh, I do take the piss and I try not to take life to seriously.  These are just my sundered thoughts about a hobby I love.  These are only my opinions (so what do I know?).  If my words offend well don’t read them. The comedian Steve Hughes once said “nothing happens to you if your offended.” He’s right, just move on and never let your eyes look at the ramblings of this gamer.  For everyone else I hope you enjoy them.  Hopefully they will be informative, funny and stupid all in one.