Diversity of skills and interests is good. More ideas and experiences means more knowledge. That knowledge leads to grander and better things.Seems obvious, right? And you'd think that gamers -- who tend to pride themselves on being more intelligent and open-minded than the average TV-addicted drone -- would understand this instinctively.
At any gaming convention you'll hear AD&D "hack 'n' slash munchkin power gamers" talking trash about "black-wearing angst-ridden vampire poseurs" who play White Wolf games. Internet newsgroups have ongoing flame wars about different rules systems. Many people who write to InQuest want us to stop covering "games that nobody plays," meaning games other than Magic: The Gathering. Roleplayers wear T-shirts saying "Save Gaming: Kill A Magic Player."
Why such hostility? Because the rest of the world is so eager t tell us we're foolish or geeky for playing these games at all, it's easy to get defensive. And that defensiveness turns into an "I don't like that sort of game" feeling into "How on earth can you play that piece of trash?"
But it's easy to avoid this mindset. You don't have to play every game to be well-rounded; trying different genres is enough. If you're a hard-core card gamer, look into a local live-action group; if you grew up on roleplaying, try a miniatures-based game.
Hey, just because you dislike a game doesn't mean it's bad (see this months "InQuisition" for more on this). And just because a person plays a game you dislike certainly doesn't mean he or she is bad.
In the early '70s, wargames were a big deal. Students and families would spend hours setting up huge maps and plotting how best to conquer Europe. When roleplaying games came out, all the wargamers slammed them, convinced this new hobby would "kill gaming." But a lot of those wargamers still wargame. And many others discovered that roleplaying wasn't so bad. Now it's the roleplayers who're convinced that CCGs will "kill gaming."
But nothing that Wizards of the Coast, TSR, White Wolf, or the next star in the game universe can do will "kill gaming." That'll happen only if, caught up in petty disagreements, we chase away potential gamers.
A game player should be
able to create a character, build a deck, swing a padded sword,
maneuver a 'Mech, construct a dingeon, imagine an adventure,
balance a character sheet, summon a wall, roll a 10-sider, teach
a newbie, speak in character, slide a token, play multiplayer
games, play solitaire, solve riddles, analyze tactics, pitch
manure (hey, it's still useful) boot up a computer, make a saving
throw, win gracefully, lose gallantly.
Bigotry is for mundanes.
InQuest: The Guide to Collectible Card Games
Volume 1, Issue #20