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You know, I was really uncomfortable when I first did this. Me and two awesome guys were playing Trollbabe in a pretty quiet cafe on Sunday afternoons. We're pretending to be giant ladies with horns and swords. Could be slightly awkward. I found that no one really bothered us, and when they did, they were interested and not at all judgmental. This was Seattle, where nice people grow like weeds.
I get together with people for light wargames at our local hip coffee shop in Durham, and it's been great. I would really like to get a public RPG game going again, though. It definitely causes you to think twice about what you're saying, and can stop you from crossing lines of impropriety or insensitivity, and that is a really good thing. There's times when I don't want that - say, in most of my games with the Durham 3, where we're likely to play ruinous bastards - but having to think about your fiction in the context of other people is, in my experience, a growth opportunity.
Posted By: David ArtmanI've played in bars
Posted By: ClintonIt definitely causes you to think twice about what you're saying, and can stop you from crossing lines of impropriety or insensitivity, and that is a really good thing. There's times when I don't want that - say, in most of my games with the Durham 3, where we're likely to play ruinous bastards - but having to think about your fiction in the context of other people is, in my experience, a growth opportunity.
Posted By: JARAnyway, the reason I will always remember this is that the guy playing the alcoholic preacher Defender actually brought a flask of Jack into the Starbuck's and was sipping pretty steadily from it throughout.I don't think I've gamed in public since. Heck, I don't even like world-building in public...
Posted By: JARQuite so. That's why it worked; the scene was entirely a bunch of characters meeting in a public place, and so the social rules of the occasion and the logic of the fiction dovetailed nicely.Unless that comment is meant to be about the inappropriateness of drinking whiskey in the middle of the afternoon in public. All I can say to that is that it was in a place that was very tolerant of public intoxication.
Posted By: deadlytoqueMy concern has been and will always be annoying the staff. If you're going to use a place of business, you need to consume whatever it is they are selling with at least the frequency that you would if you weren't gaming, or else you are just pissing off staff and management. I've got no problem with gaming in public, but I just don't want to spend the money required to justify my use of the space. I know the look in a server's eye when they have decided that no, your plate of nachos and two glasses of iced tea don't justify the 4 hours you've been sitting there, rolling dice and being disruptive. We have similar problems when we film in public places (my better half is a filmmaker) so we make sure to order a bunch of food and drink up-front.
I, sort of, game in public now.
A brief summary of my situation, for those who haven't been following the Life and Times of Lance D. Allen on HBO.
I am a deployed Soldier, working in a Battalion Ops Center. I work a 12-hour shift, and it's typically pretty quiet. So long as I make sure things continue to run smoothly in the TOC and everything that needs to get done gets done, they're pretty flexible about us doing personal things on work time, from watching movies to surfing the net. At current, I work until 9pm, and twice a week, I get together with some co-workers/friends and we play games. Wednesday nights is card games mostly, but Saturday is RPGs. One of our players is technically at work until midnight, so we can't play anywhere outside of the building where we work. She has to be available for work if it comes up (She's the communications help-desk, essentially) So we play in the Battalion conference room.
Despite that we play after the normal busy hours of the day, we've never had a play session that didn't have someone cutting through the room, or coming in to see what we are doing. The night guys in the Ops Center are tolerant/condescending about our hobby, so we get a little teasing from that front. The BN Sergeant-Major likes to snag some of our snacks when she comes through. The BN Commander has done a little gaming in his youth, so he likes to come in, wave around a sledgehammer, and tell me I should dock them XP for not showing up on time.
Frankly, it's annoying as fuck. We've been here for over half a year, and yet the novelty of cruising through and messing with the geeks hasn't worn off much. I, the main social organizer, am not at the bottom of the foodchain when it comes to rank. I can tell a bunch of people to move on if I need to. But most of the people who like to come in are higher up, so I've got to smile, pretend it doesn't irritate the hell out of me, and hope they go away soon.
This is the sort of thing I imagine happening in public gaming in other venues. Hence, my hesitance to try it out.
Posted By: David ArtmanThe over-riding benefit is that you really can find new players, for your group if not new to gaming itself. The only thing I'd find tricky to pull off comfortably is any kind of minis play--few adults appreciate the tactics of such play, seeing only "toys."
Posted By: Jason Morningstar"The Durham Three: Ruinous Bastards."People don't care as much as you think they do. Don't get caught up in your amazing thing - buy stuff and tip generously, don't take up a lot of space during busy times, don't be loud in a quiet place. Just like book club and the knitting circle, which is basically what you are.
Posted By: EricI'm guessing that's because it's a two-player game (so you can play it with your significant other), and it looks like a puzzle of some kind.
Posted By: WolfeSo we play in the Battalion conference room.
Posted By: greatwolfAlso, I've actually thought about designing a game that is meant for public display.
Posted By: Bret GillanHaving watched Vampire LARPers attempt to engage passersby, I think that would be a dangerous thing to unleash on the world Seth.
Posted By: David ArtmanGuess which RP format actually gets government funding for the arts in some Scandinavian countries...?