I’m going to take a second here at the outset to sort of shamefacedly say that I intended to look this over a few times, revise it, etc. etc. before posting, but life‘s been rough the last few days and I think I just want to get it up here. So I apologize if there is anything dumb or if there are any glaring typos, and I will try to amend it if so. There may also be additional questions coming at some point when I have had more time to think. Please forgive my haste in this.
Basically I joined the Gauntlet relatively recently and have very much been enjoying participating, but having jumped in with both feet and possibly without any goggles, I have found certain things to be confusing or overwhelming, and I thought perhaps if typed them up and put them here other people who were new might find that some of the information would be useful to them as well. So here is what I have so far, and I would appreciate not just any answers people have to the questions, but any general feedback on what I have written up, as I am exhausted and sure it could use a bit of work. Thank you all!
Notes from a Newbie:
Narrative games. They are the best. At least that’s what I think so far, having had about a week of experience with them. There are a thousand things I could say about the goodness of the games and of thee Gauntlet specifically, but I’m assuming anyone who reads this either already knows or will soon be experiencing the joy of discovery, so I’m making this post about the stuff that I think would have/will help me (and hopefully other new people) experience those joys without some of the confusion that goes along with throwing oneself into something big and complicated without basically any preparation whatsoever (heh). So. Without further ado, here are some things I would love to get some wisdom on from veteran Gauntleteers:
PBtA games: popular, and, as far as I can tell, generally awesome. However, it does seem like even among the most mainstay game mechanics there are some variations among what things are called and how they work, and I’m not even 100% sure I’m right about which things are the mainstays. A concise general guide to PBtA games, ideally with some examples of the most common variations on the main gameplay features, would go a long way towards helping someone like me build confidence. I’m sure there are guides out there, but as a lot of what is on the internet is crap, I’d feel better reading things soecifically endorsed by Gauntleteers than just browsing and hoping I happen upon good ones.
Dungeon World, Masks, Monsterhearts… These seem like some of the most popular games, with variations/skins of them going on pretty much all the time. Quick guides to these, perhaps with links to or synopses of their most popular skins, wohkd be super helpful. If there are other games people think should be in this category, that would be great to know, too!
Lines and veils are such an excellent idea, as are all of the Script Change Tools. However, as I recently discovered, sometimes things come up in games that one might not expect, and while of course that’s exactly where the X-Card should come into play, sometimes people freeze up. I’m in the process of making a more comprehensive list for myself, and I’d love to hear from anyone (and especially anyone who has a fair amount that they use) whst they would consider best practices are for figuring out what should be a line and what should be a veil, how to word things to indicate that a game-world version of something might be okay while the real-world equivalent might not (i.e. suicide as a line but playing a race where winking oneself out of existence was considered a perfectly normal way to leave the world being okay - I just randomly made that up, so I apologize that it’s a clumsy example), and just any other advice people want to throw in.
Waitlisting best practices… oy. I have so much trouble deciding what to get on the waitlist for. I’m interested in so many games. Often there will be more than one in the same slot and I’d be interested in playing either, but they either both have short waitlists or one has a short one and one has a long one, but the one with the longer one is the game that I’d most like to play. How does one decide? Other dilemma: joining a waitlist for a month-long campaign, but noticing that there is a one-off that conflicts with a single session that you REALLY want to play and haven’t seen listen any other times. Waitlist both? If you get the longer campaign, just give up on the so-desired one-off?
Gamebooks: for the Big Famous Games (Night Witches, for example), often most of the players have played it before and have the playbooks, so the folders of game materials tend to be limited to playbooks for character types, basic move pages, and maybe a supplement or two. I understand that there may be ethical considerations in just posting the whole games, but is there a way to find them in a read-only format or something for those of us who want to be thoroughly prepared and don’t really know what’s going on yet?
General Gauntleteering management… For people at the Patreon level, Gauntlet stuff seems to be spread between Slack, Discus, Google Hangouts, Emails, and the calendar website. I’m not going to lie here… I lose track. Especially because the calendar app doesn’t have options to order by date or filter by what one is attending or waitlisted on, etc. and, at least on most of the browsers on most of the devices I use, the add to Google Calendar button doesn’t actually work. I’ve been trying to use a planner, but I am probably going to switch to a cork board or something… but I still fear I will miss things. I’d love to hear what people’s processes are for making sure their calendars are kept in order and that they’re not missing any information that might have been sent via any of the available channels? Relatedly, do people tend to print things (i.e. the basic moves available for a game, etc.), or just have better screen management skills than I do?
So that’s what I’ve got so far. I know it’s a lot, and I hope that’s not too troublesome. I’m just really excited for the day when I can hop into a game I’ve never heard of and not feel nervous being in over my head. I do recognize that the people running the games are always happy to explain, and everyone has been very kind and patient, but I would still like to feel confident on my own.
Thanks so much everyone!