Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter is Coming… and so is Gamer A.D.D.

HBO's Eddard Stark - coming to a game near you?
A few months ago Mrs Beedo decided to switch back to Comcast to save some $$$, and part of the deal was a couple free years of HBO.  :yawn:  And then I see that "A Game of Thrones" will be on HBO in a few short months, and suddenly I am wide awake and paying all sorts of attention.  Winter is Coming, as the tagline says.

And then the dread sets in… you see, I suffer from the G.A.D.D.  - Gamer Attention Deficit Disorder.

Maybe you have the symptoms yourself; you see the "Lord of the Rings" movies, and use your old campaign world to start the fireplace and begin sketching out a faux-Middle Earth for D&D.   You read the "Dark Tower / Gunslinger" comics, and you're thinking what a great mash-up it would be for D&D and Mutant Future or Gamma World.  If only my players suffered a TPK...  Maybe "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" had you thinking about getting that ancient world setting rolling along - or maybe a Hollow World setting.

And now this… "A Game of Thrones".  I'm hoping I've built in enough realpolitik murderous yet killable rulers into Gothic Greyhawk so that when I (inevitably) get caught up in the wonderful carnage and violence of Westeros, I'll be able to scratch the power politics itch without getting all loopy and working on yet another setting (The Black City will be keeping me plenty busy).

I'm calling it the mitigation theory of Gamer ADD - you can' t stop it, so try to contain the damage by lessening the impact when the new shiny idea pops into the brain.  "Squirrel!"  What was I saying?

Following classic risk management strategy, here are some other ideas for controlling your own G.A.D.D. problems:

Mitigation:  You can't stop reading things or watching movies, so new themes *will* pop into your head;  try to incorporate them into your existing campaign and compartmentalize the damage.

Acceptance:  Face it, you can't stick with a campaign, and when a strong new idea comes along, BLAMMO - back to the drawing board.  How many blogs do we see where projects are blown up by newer, better ideas?  Oh the humanity.

Avoidance:  Is it possible to prevent gamer ADD by only reading, watching, and seeing things that reinforce the themes of the game your running or developing?  Hmmm.

Transference:  Let someone else do the work.  Do yourself a favor and get the Green Ronin version of "A Game of Thrones" and run a one-shot or mini-adventure; when "The Hobbit" movie eventually comes out, play in your buddy's Mirkwood game and leave your Sword & Sorcery setting out of it.

How do you deal with your Gamer ADD issues?


  1. This post is awesome, and yes, I believe we all suffer from GADD in a sense. I know I sure do. There's so much good stuff and so much inspiration to draw from. Personally, I try to take the approach of incorporating a little of everything into the game I currently run. There's a little political intrigue, a little dark fantasy, etc. Of course, being my setting I can't get too crazy, like have Roland drop in with giant lobsters chasing him around the beach, but yo uget the idea.

    Also, the squirrel line was classic.

  2. Heh. I'm running Hyboria for my OpenQuest "away" campaign and while going through my files the other day, I ran across a collection of d100 PDF's someone made for running a campaign set in Roland's world. I resolutely fought the GADD, but a TPK might send me back to thinking about a Gunslinger campaign. :)

  3. I know for a fact I suffer from GADD. However, I think the best thing to do is the same thing I do for my writing ideas. Have an idea notebook--or file or scrap paper or something, and jot down those ideas.
    Up until a week ago, I was working on two possible campaigns, a Star Wars Saga and 1st. ed AD&D one. The group decided/pushed for the Star Wars game and forced me to set a number of sessions that we would play. I think that is another way to stop GADD. Having a number of session to be pinned down helps. Yet, we haven't started yet. So, I will get back to you on if it works or not.

  4. I have one of the worst cases of GADD in existence. For some reason WFRP and Nightwick Abbey are able to hold my interest, or at least allow me to soldier on when I'd rather scrap them and run the Underworld, or Harnmaster.

    I'm not sure what it is about Nightwick Abbey, but it's been pretty resilient so far.

  5. I've switched campaigns and games so much my players threaten open revolt if I do it again.
    Actually, I try to work the flavor-of-the-week into my setting somewhere far removed from the center of action. Stick with the same. I posted about it a long time ago here http://playerknowledge.blogspot.com/2011/01/dm-philosophy-post-from-my-old-unread.html

  6. I suffer a strange form of GADD: my problem are the rulesets. I happen to like pretty much any edition of D&D from OD&D to Pathfinder except for BECMI. This cause me many problems, since I tend to connect rulesets with settings: OD&D is for Science Fantasy, B/X is for Tolkien Fantasy, AD&D 1e is for Greyhawk Fantasy, AD&D 2e is for Weird Fantasy, Pathfinder is for FR Fantasy. In my Doomed Wastelands campaign I changed four rulesets (Pathfinder, Labyrinth Lord, LotFP and AD&D 1e), until my players hated me so much that I was forced to stop it ^^

  7. *Stop changing rulesets, not the campaign. The campaign ended because of a TPK in the Jade Castle of Zardoz in the Dreamlands...

  8. GADD seems to strike bloggers particularly hard; it's a very creative bunch and it's hard not to get influenced.

    Maybe we should start a support group.

    Hopefully those risk management strategies help. Sounds like lots of folks "Mitigate".

  9. My players roll their eyes, not the dice when I talk about a new campaign. I think I average about 5 aborted campaign preps for every one that actually sees the PCs in action.

    I got the bug to work on an Ancient-era wargaming campaign about 2 months back. I was going to use imaginary states/armies based on historic cultures. I spent a couple of weeks deciding which armies and cultures I would use, and placing them on a basic planning map. Then I found a folder with notes from 10 years ago: different set of miniatures rules but basically an identical set of cultures and armies! At least I'm a consistent procrastinator.

  10. Then I found a folder with notes from 10 years ago...

    I'm with you brother. Not only do I find myself revisiting old themes, but those half-formed campaigns from years past are like little time-bombs ready to go off; "mind-bombs" that can trigger a case of the GADD.

    I think I'm going to create something on the blog called the "Junkyard" just for getting my GADD ideas out on paper.

  11. So... Is Electronic Gamer ADD (the version specific to bloggers), EGADD?