- GM enthusiasm drives the games that are brought to the table.
- Buy-in via collaborative campaign so what's important to the player / character is present in the game
- Narrative arc / focus is present which may manifest in 'seasons' for longer campaigns
- If it's narratively complete, don't go back! We tend to consume / burn up ideas / concepts rather than get comfortable with them and return
- Playing with regularity
As we now have a pencilled in end date for the D&D campaign, the conversation was also had about who would referee. In the end, with Andrew and Nigel coming off the back of looooong campaigns it came down to either me, Ian or Dave when he returns. As we are also looking at games with an initial arc of around 8-10 sessions, this choice is essentially 'who goes first' and thus might require a little 'pitching'.
There are two games currently which are sitting in my 'to play' pile: The Dresden Files and Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space. (What? No D&H? No BtQ? - I keep my playtesters fresh and keen...) Well, when I say sitting, DFRPG is not even bought yet, although its purchase is inevitable. I thought I would, in public, run through these and see how the Golden Rules apply. It might help the process.
Rule #1: GM Enthusiasm - I'm going to assume that my love of urban fantasy will latch onto the Dresden rules and produce wonderful babies. Dr Who is back on the TV at the moment so enthusiasm for that will probably increase as well. Generally, I've not got a problem with enthusiasm if I feel that the players are into the game too.
Rule #2: Collaborative Buy-in - This is really a given for our group and I think this might be where Dresden (a game which has collaborative building built into the ruleset) edges out Dr Who. Both have pre-determined worlds and I think I would have to cherry-pick some of the initial Dresden stuff to introduce it slowly, whereas Dr Who is pretty much there and in our face.
Rule #3: Arc Structure - Not a problem. Never a problem. I think there is an awareness needed that the length of the arc (8-10 sessions) does mean that the scope of the game and the arc doesn't need to be as all encompassing as previous games. End on a cliffhanger? Possibly.
Rule #4: Accept Burn Out - I'm not sure that, given careful planning, you could easily burn out Dr Who or Dresden out in 10 sessions. I think thats a strength of the semi-established backgrounds - you can delve into one area and have other things left to look at later.
Rule #5: Play with Regularity - Hopefully, this will not be a problem. As the new academic year approaches, I have less work to prepare which should be able to free up time for prep. Dr Who wins here, as from what I gather Dresden has a bit more prep than Who. If the game is enthralling, I think we will have no problem with regularity.
Well that's put it all down and really, it doesn't get it any clearer. Dresden will probably have me more enthused but Who would be easier to run.