#RPGaDay2017 Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

Every game experience I have changes how I play.

That may sound like a cop-out, but other than a period from about 2002-2009, I did not game regularly enough for any one play experience to be “just another game”. Every session bracketing the aforementioned time in my life was kind of make-or-break, with ample lead-in time and lots of space for reflection afterward.

Even during that “hardcore” period in the early aughts, the changes in how I play were accretive. E.g., playing a D&D 3.5 campaign from 1st to 20th level taught me a lot and changed how I play. Discovering the Forge and attending Forge Midwest regularly for a while taught me a lot and changed how I play.

Both within that time frame and outside of it, I find that enduring numerous failures — games that crashed and burned — changed how I play. There’s nothing like having all of your assumptions smacked in the face with a two-by-four (metaphorically) to prompt long-lasting change.

E.g., the first game I ran for one of my “hardcore era” D&D 3.5 groups opened with an introductory set-piece I’d tacked on to a published module, essentially some storytelling I would do to introduce the PCs and the initial situation. I did this all the time as a teen, and my players loved it. This time, however, everyone kept trying to take action and interrupt the planned flow of events. I was baffled by this… until I figured out that what I was doing was complete, deprotagonizing horseshit. Now I know better.

So, honestly, every single game experience changes how I play, because I can’t really let any one of them go by unexamined. It’s not enough for me to participate in this hobby; I’m compelled to get better at it ​if I can.