Ask any group of mature gamers what their three big problems are and I bet these three will pop up more often than not:
1. The radical reduction in time to prepare for games - you simply cannot dedicate the same amount of time to campaign creation that you could when you were 17.
2. The headache of getting a group of people together in one place, at one time, semi-regularly.
3. Not being able to have those mammoth gaming sessions that were so prevalent when we were young. No all-nighters when you have parents evenings and split shifts to worry about.
One thing I love about my gaming group is that we have worked, over the years, to overcome these problems. The first - planning - has been mitigated by using the internet as a means for coordinating planning and adopting, to a degree, a shared burden of creativity and a penchant for shared world building. Through messageboards, emails and blogs (and admittedly some time over a pint in the pub) we put in a fair bit of collective effort for our gaming and that helps. The second - coordination - has again, come around over the years by massaging our playing style to allow a player to occassionally be missing and to embrace some flexibility in dates.
The last one - the massive session - has been the elusive one. For our group, three hours is a normal session and sometimes we manage to squeeze out an extra hour of fun for something special. The return of the mammoth session is simple a pipe dream and has been for years.
But now, fair readers, we have a solution. We may not have as much time as we used to have as kids, but we have far more money - and money can buy you time if you are creative. So, this May, as long as things go to plan, we will be going on a little holiday. A gaming holiday. A weekend away from everything else with the specific aim to game our little socks off. We've got a provisional date (Weekend of May 18th) and we have a number of possible venues (from a large caravan to a yorkshire cottage to a log cabin near Kielder). It's all coming together nicely.
I have to say, I'm thrilled at the prospect. A number of us will have a chance to flex our GMing muscles which means that some of those long lost ideas, or games of a more fringe nature might see the light of day. Hopefully we can coincide something impressive for Pendragon in the weekend as well and give it the room that it requires. Boardgames will see the light of day as well which should be fun too.
Throw in a few choice DVDs, some good wine and spirits and (because it wouldn't be us if we didn't have it) some really good homemade food and it almost has a mini-con feel to it. Almost. Maybe not a minicon - a microcon!
We've talked about it on and off for years but it looks like it will happen. CottageCon. Who'd have thought?