Finite time and games

Finite time and games

Mar 07, 2023    

Taking stock of things here in 2023 and doing a bit of blog reorganization (there is a new RPG page), I counted the games I’ve played and looked back on when I played them. I’m nothing if not overly analytical, so I made a visualization:

visualization of 33 years of gaming
Visualization, of tabletop gaming over 33 years, juxtaposed against the release dates of D&D

I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games for 33 years. My exploration of games other than WOTC D&D brought me to a morbid and ambitious thought. Do my friends and I have 33 years of firing brain cells left in us? I may have more gaming sessions and campaigns behind me than I do in front of me. I’ve never looked at RPGs this way before, and I’m hoping to turn it into a motivator to make time for friends and games.

My father is 30 years older than me, and his Tuesday night movie night with his movie scholar friends is going strong. So staying positive, which was a rule I made when re-starting this journal in 2017, I’ve decided to convert this morbid thought into having lots of choice left infront of me.

The recent campaigns I finished each took 50 to 70 sessions online. Converting that to in-person time (2-hour online sessions vs 3.5 hours of in-person gaming) here’s what’s possible:

In person sessions Equivalent online sessions Time What’s possible
1 2 Month : One-shot, a collection of scenes
3 5 3 Months : An adventure or short module
6 10 6 Months : A mini-series with some character development
12 21 1 Year : A short campaign providing the opportunity for advancement and system mastery
36 63 3 Years : A long campaign providing exploration and depth

30 years is 60 mini-series - similar in size to a starter box for a new game

30 years is 30 short campaigns - similar in size to my current Spelljammer Light of Xaryxis playthrough

30 years is 10 epic-sized campaigns - similar in size to Tomb of Annihilation

That’s a lot to look forward to and hopefully takes some of the fatalism out of the process of picking games. The question left is whether to run longer games or shorter games or a mix of both. My bet would be on whichever keeps a fun group together and helps us stay friends. For fun, I’m going to keep a running ‘play queue’ over on my RPG nav page. This was better said by another:

Gandalf the gray
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us"