A few weeks ago, Tracy asked about food and gaming: “Do you eat with your tabletop #rpg group? Are meals an important part of the game [event] or incidental?”

Back in time to the days of that great Shadowrun 2nd Edition campaign,1 we had (mostly) couples attend the game session. In the main group was Bill and Christy, married; Landon and Shannon, married; Tamara and I, dating. I don’t recall who it was that came up with the suggestion we cook for each other, but whomever did changed things. No pizza or burgers here. We’d alternate, bringing food for everyone. Even though we were on a college (and post-college) student’s budget, we’d cook for the group. We’d share meals. It helped to make the gaming event a social occasion among friends instead of a thing were we just showed up to game, then left.

It’s also where I really impressed my soon-to-be-fiancee with Chicken Kiev.

Dude, Chicken Kiev is so simple to make and it’s so impressive. What you do is take softened butter, add the herbs to it, form it into sticks and freeze. Once frozen, you wrap a butterflied chicken breast it, dredge and bread the chicken, and cook. It’s maybe one step more complex than making a peanut butter sandwich.

image from tesco, of all places
Click image for recipe.

Where was I? Yes — we were friends outside the game, but making a meal for everyone and sharing that meal really reinforced that.

The other, more recent home game, was five years ago. Usually that group played on a weeknight from about 7 to 10, 10:30. Some of us had gotten off work late, others had to travel a bit to get to the game. We didn’t have meals together as a regular aspect of the game night.2 What we had were snacks.

Oh, it started out simply. Maybe chips. Maybe popcorn. But then Brian ran by Target on the way to the game session and picked up these flavored pretzel things from their Archer Farms3 line. They were horrible.

Horrible.

We dared each other to try to eat one whole flavored pretzel stick. I don’t know if any of us was able to.

Thus began the awful snacks. The salt and vinegar potato chips that were so disgusting, yet we couldn’t stop eating them. Anything from Archer Farms was suspect. My quest for the perfect jalapeno potato chip. Other foodstuffs that I’m probably repressing from my memory.

While it wasn’t eating a meal together, coming together and daring each other to try the strange new thing Brian brought this week was a joy.

One year ago: The crowdfunded game I’m most pleased to have backed.

Last year, that was Chill, 3rd Edition. It’s the first RPG I’ve worked on where where I was the lead graphic designer and they let me go and do what I wanted.

This year? I think I’ll go with The Sprawl. I love me some Apocalypse World, and I love me that there cyberpunk dystopia. Hamish and Ardens mixed together some peanut butter and chocolate and got a 10+. The game “came out of my desire to play games like Shadowrun, but play them in a timely manner,” Hamish said on +1 Forward, Rich Rogers’ Apocalypse World-themed podcast. “I wanted to be able to play a game — a complete satisfying mission — in a two to four hour con slot or two to four hour evening because I am an adult who has a job and can’t spend all day playing [just] an awesome combat scene.” In episode seven of the podcast, Hamish describes a Shadowrun-esque setting called “Touched” they’re developing to add in magic, orks, and dragons.

While I’m not wild about the original design choice (white text on black, the MIDNIGHT version), I do like the black on white NOON version.4 According to a Kickstarter update from a month ago, both versions are now available on print-on-demand through DriveThruRPG.5

Two years ago: First RPG GMed.

The first roleplaying game I owned was the first one I GMed. See, I read and read the Holmes D&D boxed set over and over that summer and when I got back home to play it with my friends, I knew the game and naturally became the GM. Over the years, it seemed like I was the one who got the new game; I was the one who ran the game. GMing was fun — I hardly ever got to play just one character in the world.

  1. The one where we seamlessly fit The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr  into the game universe. []
  2. We had other rituals, which it looks like I’ll be discussing near the end of the month. []
  3. I just now got why Target’s in-house brand had the word Archer in there. []
  4. I really like the blue header 2s in that book. []
  5. Do yourself a favor when getting any POD through DT: If there’s an option for Premium Color, get that one — it’s much, much better than Standard Color. []

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