I have given up on the slide shows, they were a nuisance. I have opted instead for a few photos hear and there with a link to the full collection. There should be little to no narration, just analog still frames of life with no do overs. Full album here.
The Savage is back to discuss one of the great analog wins, pencil and paper roll playing games, and the king of them all, Dungeons & Dragons.
Have you ever seen this guy?
That is Gary Gygax (RIP) and way back in 1974 he gave the world (along with Dave Arneson) something great. He gave us Dungeons & Dragons.
You may never have heard of this game. You may have heard of one like it. You may have heard of this one in a less than favorable manner, as it has a notorious reputation that is utterly undeserved. I’m not going to go into it, but lets just say the zealots blame this game for a lot (along with metal and Harry Potter.) This kind of thing is amazing. I was brought in when I was around nine by my cousin David. Later as an adult I joined the army and moved away, but any time I was home I was welcome in the games of David, My cousin Seth, or my Uncle Lonnie, family gathers around the table.
If you know the game, even a little, if you just know about it, then the mere mention of a D&D session causes something in your soul to spark, the promise of adventure, the smell of the trees and grass, the calm before something sinister comes into being. If you are a player, then this is, of course, paired with the smells of Mountain Dew, cheetos, and a table full of books and dice. The pleasurable tingle of an impending D&D session SHOULD be like the opening sequences of Skyrim in your head.
That is the point, it is kind of like video games, but better! Why better? Well it forces you to get in touch with something you may have forgotten.
- It involves books. You get locked into the books, you learn the worlds, lets face it, books ar amazing.
- No video game will ever be as open world as a pencil/paper RPG.
- It involves real people, gathered together, doing real things.
- Going with the imagination, it does not involve artificial stimulation, it allows you to exercise your creativity.
- It allows you to get locked into a pretty serious dice collection.
- Again, you have to talk to people, with your mouth.
- No call of duty kids. You start being a nine year old and suddenly the other players might just roll up on you and straighten it out.
I tell you this. You need a place to play. Most of the games I have ever played, were in the homes of other people, or my own. In fact, that is how I met my best friend Carl…by spying through the window on a session being played in his home, which I was later welcomed into…but that is another story. You will also need a place to acquire your books and dice. I’m going to slam down my die hard belief in shop local for this kind of thing. The local game store must not die. The game store does not neccesarily end up being where you will play, but in my case it is, and that is why I buy my stuff from them, they give us a place to play with local soul and players.
I give you Knight Watch Games of San Antonio Texas! This place is amazing. The owners have made such an amazing store that, it has a Facebook players community all of it’s own. That was how I got my current game put together. The owners told me about the community and within a couple of hours I had players. That can be one of the hardest parts of playing, is getting committed players together. I was concerned about this when we moved recently, having to leave Carl and all, but Knight Watch and their community made it all a lot easier. Now I am there till closing a couple of nights a week. The new boy has made friends.
You don’t have to know all the lingo right away. Here’s a primer though.
- Numbers paired with an E is a reference to the addition of D&D.
- Editions last quite a while.
- 4E was pure garbage.
- Hot garbage.
- Most people stuck to 3.5.
- Others turned to pathfinder.
- 5E is amazing. It is simple, elegant, beautiful, and gets back to the game.
In my opinion, 5E is what always should have been.
If you have been on the fence about getting into a game like this, let me give you the push, go for it, get into it, give it a go. However, some things to keep in mind that will enrich your playing experience, and that of those around you:
- Be willing to commit to play semi regularly, everyone needs to sit down with their schedules and plan as much in advance as possible. Some land mines are unavoidable (my last game was made up mostly of fellow college students and a night cop from campus. I didn’t make it easier by getting into a play during the semester.)
- Do not expect to have an easy go. Embrace player death. That is part of it, if there is no risk, the game is no fun. Be ready to be written back in as a level 1 and enjoy the hilarity that ensues.
- If you witness a player argue with the DM a few too many times, ask the other players if the DM sucks, if not, punch that argumentative person. (Kidding)
- The real number 5 is for the DM. If you are new, utilize the guys who have the books mostly committed to memory.
- Have fun.
- Try to imagine.
- Play the character that makes you happy. They are not always practical (bards), and may die fast (bards), but you will die smiling.
A side note: D&D is obviosly not the only game like this. It is kind of a rule #34 effect. If you want it, there is most likely an RPG for it. Star Wars, Warmhammer 40k, Zombies, The Lord of the Rings (which is actually set up to work with the current edition of D&D *happy noises*). Try one, try them all! I really want to play the Star Wars games, and am hunting on eBay for the old Robotech RPG books.
Get off Xbox and fire up the brains. Sharpen your #2 pencils, and prepare to roll the dice. Be ready for the thrill of success and the plunging sickness of a rolled 1.
Some Shots of myt current game, players, and the much beloved Knight Watch Games of San Antonio Texas.
If there is one thing we love here at Analog savage it is the great American game of Baseball. Let us get one thing straight right now. I am saying Baseball is American in origin, not in total distinction, the world has picked it up and ran with it, and I love how far the national pastime has spread.
Baseball has always been there for me. I remember watching the Braves with my family as a kid. Those were good, easy times. I did not play as much ball, organized, as I would like to have now. Baseball was always best with your friends, out on some crap field, slamming balls in a disorganized fashion. I don’t think I ever said thank you to the guy who taught me to play catch. I still can, I have him on Facebook. Might be to weird for him…
Anyhow, here is why things like baseball are so important. They are real. Analog games are real. I am not here to put down someone’s lifestyle, but give me something real any day. What makes it real? It is the other people (if the situation calls for them,) it is the tactile experience, the ability to engage your senses. Without those things, something is just well, it isn’t real in a way.
Before someone throws down and threatens to get their ninja gear, I have played my share of video games, hell I collect them, any of them that multi-player essentially means you have to be in the same room, cords optional. I have even played a good amount of World of Warcraft, but that was many moons ago and it isn’t the same, not even close.
Real is the feel of your hands on that wood, the smell of the dirt, that crack that surprises you every time you connect with that smooth ball. It is the uncomfortable dug out seats, it is your kids squeezing in next to you to ask 5000 questions about the game because they want to be close to you, and they want to love that game on tv. Real is the sound of a slide, you know the sound, when a human being heading for a base sounds similar to a vehicle stopping on gravel. Baseball is real, and sorry to have to disappoint, football will never be the national pastime.
My team is the Boston Red Sox. Being a kid from Soddy Daisy (Chattanooga) Tennessee, we watched the Atlanta Braves. They were the closest pro team. My brother in law in South Carolina loves them, and I’m fairly certain it is still a proximity thing. How did I become a Sox fan? I did it experiencing the real.
2007, The Savage was in Baghdad, Iraq. I was walking through the PX on the big base one day while we were there, a real treat mind you, and I came across a sporting goods section. The base we were on did not even have an American owned store, so this blew my mind. I was angry that these spoiled people had time for such things. Then I realized, so did we on our base, and I could not blame them for where they were assigned. What I could do was buy a bunch of gloves and balls, and surprise the guys with a game of catch. It became our thing. We made sure they occupied some odd space in our trucks and when the bigwigs had to talk to the Iraqis leaders for hours, we sometimes tossed ball. It did not occupy every free second, some of them, if they read this, may not remember doing it, but we did it, and we loved it.
One of those guys was from Boston. He is a great guy, we are friends now. We do not speak much, but we are friends, and he could ask me for a going to jail favor today and he would have it. This is the case because there was a time where we lived the real together. He may not even know he did this, he may suspect based on my Facebook posts, but he was the one. We talked baseball, and he told me about the Boston Red Sox, and Fenway park, and the team’s history. I was sold. I was hooked just in time to pay attention during the 2007 World Series. Now The Sox, and Fenway are very important in our house. We even have a “Fenway Wall” where we chronicle our trips to the park to see games.
We do opening day right too. There will be more photos at the bottom for that one. I wrote an entry for the first time we went to see a game at Fenway, my oldest son and I, it is here. It is about the real.
You get a limited amount of time here. Do not waste it. Do not be that person on World of Warcraft with their kids begging them for five minutes attention. A game of catch transcends gender, it is timeless, and it is the open forum. You look for a way to connect with someone? Get to the real, share something real. Real can be found in some video games, but there is a fine line.
Baseball is the top of the analog games. It can even involve a television set, because my family and I, my friends and I, we are connected to something during that time. We get the senses involved, we get the right hats and shirts on. I even found a way to make it cross lines. I recently took up scoring games. What a mind blowing way to get deeper involved, to experience the game on a level I never knew. We play ball, we collect the cards, we watch games as ritual, but scoring a game was like a drug. Try it sometime. Learning how may be a little daunting, the best advice I can give, to clarify the tutorials, just score your team.
I want you to know the beauty of the real, of the analog, and baseball is as good a place to start as any. Go to a game, eat a hot dog, play catch with your kids and neighbor, have an old worn out glove and stick of American Ash cut in Louisville you write your story on.
Baseball was best summed up in the movie “Field of Dreams” by James Earl Jones’s character Terrence Mann, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”
I have talked enough, but here I will leave you with some resources for more on the greatest game in the world, and some summations of my take on ball. Never forget, the first point and most important point is to experience baseball, then read about it and watch movies as it invades your soul.
- Bats are made of wood, and Louisville Slugger is the best
- The Art of Manliness made an awesome post about the 15 Best Baseball Movies, no need for me to re write it.
- Here is some nifty info and a good score card download
- Doping can and should be fought
- I do not care about the designated hitter rule
- Baseball cards have proliferated into madness, but Topps is best
- The evidence says Joe didn’t do it, and it would be amazing to see him reinstated 100 years later
- The best feeling is when the ball lands in glove
- If it is not fun, stop playing, but never forget that you are there to win.
- There will be a last game of catch, don’t let it be because you said no too many times and they stopped asking.
Ganger-Bjorn, The Analog Savage